Hardwood floor care and maintenance

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Hardwood floors can bring a clean, warm glow to any home for generations – as long as they are properly cared for, that is. With today’s advances in wood flooring stains and finishes, cleaning your wood floors has never been easier. Regular maintenance requires little more than sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with a soft floor attachment if your wood floor includes a beveled edge that could collect debris. Oil soaps should not be used to clean the floors. The best suggestion is to use the manufacturer's recommended cleaning products. Excessive grit and foot traffic may affect appearance. A properly finished and maintained wood floor does not accumulate hidden soil or odorous compounds. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.

Purposefully Place Rugs

Every hardwood flooring contractor recommends protecting wood flooring by placing rugs in high-traffic areas such as hallways and entrances. Placing rugs on either side of exterior doors will help prevent dirt and toxins from being tracked into your home and damaging your hardwood floors. Portland homeowners also find carpet runners useful in hallways and other high-traffic parts of the home.

Prevent Scratches: Apply Felt Furniture Protectors

Those felt pads may seem like a hassle to apply, but they can save your hardwood floors over the long run by preventing scratches. It is possible to refinish a hardwood floor, thus removing scratches, but it is a time consuming, costly procedure best left to a hardwood flooring contractor.

Sweep At Least Every Other Day

Dust can make wood flooring appear dull, and over the long term it can damage the surface of your floors. Because vacuum wheels can scratch wood floors, it’s best to stick to sweeping. If you are allergic to dust, you can use a vacuum cleaner attachment with soft bristles to minimize scratches to your floor.

One of the benefits of wood flooring is that, unlike carpets, wood floors easily show any dirt they hold. To keep their families healthy and to extend the life of their hardwood floors, Portland residents should understand the importance of regularly sweeping.

Avoid Using Water

When a sticky spill occurs, the temptation is to pull out the mop and wipe it away. While dry mopping is fine for wood flooring, most manufacturers advise against damp mopping. Water is your wood floor’s arch nemesis, as it can cause warping as well as stains. Even if you think it’s ok to wet mop, double-check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you find that some stains are too deep to be removed with the above methods, contact a hardwood flooring contractor, who will have safe methods for removing blemishes without damaging your flooring.

Immediately Clean Up Spills

Inevitably, accidents will happen and you’ll find yourself staring in dismay at a pool of red wine or other spilled substance. Well, to protect your wood flooring, stop staring and start cleaning! The longer a spill stays on your hardwood floor, the more it will soak into the wood and cause lasting damage.

To clean up a spill on hardwood flooring, use a dry cloth. Avoid using pressure as you soak up the spill; this will only rub it deeper into the wood. Instead, allow the cloth to absorb the spilled liquid. Rinse your cloth frequently, and wring out excess moisture before returning to the spill. Once the spilled liquid has been sopped up, use another dry, clean cloth to thoroughly dry the area. If a sticky residue lingers, use a damp mop to clean it off, and follow up with another dry, clean cloth.


  • Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
  • Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt and other debris from being tracked onto your wood floors. This will prevent scratching.
  • Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
  • Do not over-wax a wood floor. If a wax floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
  • Put stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching. Replace these often as dirt and debris can become imbedded on the pad and act like sand paper on the flooring surface.
  • Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats, sports shoes and high heels. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture completely to prevent scratches.
  • For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.