Taking care of your hardwood floors can be difficult, especially if you are using the wrong cleaning products, mop or vacuum.  Foggy, smeary floors look old and abused, but with a few simple tips and tricks we can have your floors looking shiny and new!

Vacuum often with a canister vacuum – Sand and dust can damage the shine on your hardwood floors. You’ll want to vacuum them as often as you can.  Use a soft, horsehair brush attachment made specifically for hardwood floors.  The gentle brush picks up the dirt without scratching the floor.

Use the correct vacuum – Don’t use an upright vacuum that has a beater bar, as it will scratch the wood. It’s fine to use an upright vacuum if it has a switch that will turn off the beater brush, but the best vacuum to use on a hardwood floor is a canister vacuum. The hardwood floor attachment gently glides of the hardwood floor.

Dry mop the floor – Use a microfiber mop to dry dust your floors in between vacuuming. Dry dusting is a quick way to pick up dust and hair when you don’t have time to vacuum. Use a microfiber mop head that will pick up and hold the dirt.

Washing your hardwood floors – You can use a microfiber mop to wash your hardwood floors. Try my bucket-less mopping technique to have them looking perfect. Bucket-less mopping is a system that uses a microfiber mop and a spray bottle of diluted cleaner. You simply spray the cleaner onto the hardwood floor and wipe it away with the microfiber mop.

Winter time tip – During the winter you’ll want to wipe off any salt that gets onto your hardwood floors immediately, as salt can damage the finish on your hardwood.  Make sure you have plenty of area rugs near the doorways. Should someone come in with salt on their shoes, use a wet towel on the area and wipe off all the salt.

Shoes must come off – Ask your family and guests to remove their shoes when they come into your home. This habit will prevent dirt and dust from scratching the floor.

Use area rugs at entrances to catch dirt before it gets to the hardwood floor. Area rugs will capture dust and dirt at the doorway. There are some great brands of area rugs that are designed to really grab the dirt from the bottoms of shoes as you walk over them. These will remove the maximum amount of grime before walking into the house.

Don’t use straight vinegar to clean your hardwood floor – The acid in the vinegar will damage the finish on your floors. You can use a tablespoon or two of vinegar in a 16-ounce spray bottle but don’t use too much or the acid will work against the finish of the floor.

Consider bringing in an expert if the floor has lost its’ luster. A professional can apply a new coat of finish and recommend other products that will keep it looking its best. He may also recommend having the floor refinished if it’s very damaged.

Protect your floor from sunlight – UV rays can change the color of the wood which may not be obvious until it’s too late.  If you have an area rug, you’ll find that when you remove the rug the wood underneath will be much darker. You can protect the wood with UV filtering blinds or curtains.

Black scuff marks? You can remove black scuff marks with a tennis ball. Just rub the ball over the scuff and it will disappear.

Keep pets nails trimmed at all times – Their claws can really damage hardwood floors.

Try to keep your humidity between 35 and 50% to avoid too much moisture which can warp and damage the wood. You’ll see the wood cup if there’s too much moisture in your home. If the room under the hardwood is damp, make sure you run a dehumidifier to keep the moisture from damaging the floor from underneath.