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Wood Floors | How to Maintain Your Wooden Flooring

Posted on May 20, 2023


Master the Art of Wood Floor Maintenance: A Comprehensive Guide

Wooden floors are a timeless and versatile choice for any home, promising not only a visually appealing aesthetic but also durability and easy maintenance. With an array of styles, finishes, and types available, wood floors offer an option for every taste. However, the key to enjoying the entire lifespan of your wood flooring lies in proper care and maintenance.

In this comprehensive 4000-word guide, we will explore the world of wood floors and delve into the essentials of looking after them. From routine cleaning to dealing with scratches and spills, we will cover it all to ensure your wood floors remain impeccable for years.

Wood Floors and How to Look After Them
  1. Understanding your wood floors

To properly care for your wood floors, you need to understand the type of wood flooring you have. The two main types are solid hardwood and engineered wood floors. Solid hardwood floors are made from solid wood planks, while engineered floors comprise several layers of wood with a hardwood top layer.

These types of flooring behave differently under varying conditions. For example, solid hardwood tends to expand and contract more with changes in humidity and temperature, while engineered wood is more stable. This knowledge is essential when deciding on the most suitable cleaning and maintenance practices.

  1. Daily care: sweep and vacuum

The first step in preserving the integrity of your wooden flooring is adopting a daily care routine. Start by sweeping or vacuuming your floors daily to remove dust, dirt, and grit that can scratch and dull the finish of your wood floor.

Use a broom with soft, fine bristles or a vacuum with a hardwood floor-friendly setting. Avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar, as it can damage your floor. Microfiber mops are also excellent for attracting and holding dust and allergens.

wood floor care
  1. Weekly care: damp mopping

A damp mop can be used on your wood floors for deeper weekly cleaning. However, remember that water and wood do not mix! Excessive water can warp your floors, so the mop should be damp, not wet.

Using a cleaning solution designed for wood floors is essential. Avoid using vinegar, soap-based cleaners, or steam cleaners, as these can damage your flooring over time. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using cleaning products.

damp mopping
  1. Preventing and Addressing Scratches

One of the common concerns with wood flooring is the potential for scratches, especially in high-traffic areas or homes with pets. Here are some preventative measures:

  • Use protective pads under furniture legs to avoid scratching the floor when moving furniture.
  • Keep pets’ nails trimmed.
  • Avoid walking on wood floors with high heels or sports cleats.
  • Place a mat at the entrance to trap dirt and grit that could scratch the floor.

If scratches occur, their impact can be minimized with various techniques. A bit of baking soda mixed with olive oil can work wonders for minor scratches. Rub it on the scratch until it disappears. For deeper scratches, you may need to use a wood filler and sand it down before refinishing the area.

  1. Dealing with Spills and Stains

Promptly address any spills, as allowing liquids to sit on your wooden flooring can lead to staining and damage. Blot the spill with a clean cloth immediately. Avoid rubbing, as it might spread the liquid and potentially scratch the floor’s surface.

For stains, a damp cloth with a wood floor cleaner should be enough to clean them. You may need a specialized wood floor stain remover, following the product’s instructions for stubborn stains like oil, ink, or markers.

  1. Seasonal Care: Humidity and Temperature

Wooden flooring is susceptible to the effects of humidity and temperature changes. In summer, when humidity levels rise, wood floors can expand. Conversely, when indoor heating systems are in use in winter, humidity levels can drop, causing wood floors to contract and possibly develop gaps.

Maintaining a stable indoor environment is critical to managing these effects. Keep your home’s temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. The use of air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers can help maintain these levels.

  1. Professional Refinishing: Knowing When It’s Time

Even with the most diligent care, your wood floors may eventually show signs of aging and wear. When you notice significant discoloration, deep scratches, or an overall dullness that cleaning cannot restore, it may be time for professional refinishing.

Refinishing involves sanding the floor’s surface and applying a new finish. Calling professionals for this task is recommended, as improper techniques can lead to more harm than good.

Remember, solid hardwood floors can be refinished several times over their lifetime, while engineered wood floors can only be refinished a few times, depending on the thickness of the top layer.

  1. Floor Protectors: Rugs and Runners

Floor protectors like rugs and runners are aesthetic additions and can also serve as protective measures for your wooden flooring. Place rugs in high-traffic areas like hallways, entryways, or near the kitchen sink to minimize wear and tear. Opt for rugs with natural backings like felt or rubber—avoid plastic mats or those with rough backing, which can scratch your floors.

  1. Polishing for Extra Shine

Polishing your wooden floors every few months can help restore their shine, especially in high-traffic areas. Polish fills in micro-scratches and forms a protective layer on your floor. It’s simple: after thoroughly cleaning the floor, apply a wood floor polish and buff it using a microfiber cloth or a buffing machine.

Finishing oak boards (190mmx19mm) with Osmo Hardwax Oil semi-gloss 35%
  1. Preventative Measures: The Dos and Don’ts

Lastly, here are some general dos and don’ts to help maintain your wooden floors:

  • Do: Lift furniture when moving it to prevent scratches.
  • Don’t drag furniture or heavy appliances across the floor.
  • Do: Take off your shoes, incredibly high heels, or footwear with a stiff sole when walking on wood floors.
  • Don’t allow water to sit on your floors. Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Do: Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to manage humidity levels.
  • Don’t: Use harsh cleaning materials like steel wool or abrasive brushes.


Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of your wooden floors and keep them looking their best. This involves regular cleaning, prompt action on spills and scratches, protective measures, and attentive seasonal care. With the right approach, your wood floors will remain a charming, durable, and value-adding feature of your home for years to come. Enjoy the journey of caring for your wooden floors and reap the rewards of your diligence.

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