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how to clean hardwood floors

Whether your hardwood floors are oak, maple, ash, or beech, cleaning them is as safe and straightforward as it gets. 

Wiping up spills promptly is key because standing water can quickly damage a wood floor's finish.

The only other major consideration is keeping the floor clear of dirt, sand, and grit, which can act like sandpaper and scratch the finish.

These cleaning tips for wood floors can help ensure yours look lustrous for years to come.

Clean Hardwood Floors Weekly

Once-a-week cleaning with a broom, vacuum, or dust mop is all most floors require. 

If your floors get a lot of use, and if they don't have a urethane finish, damp mop weekly with a neutral-pH wood cleaning product, like this Bean & Lily Floor Cleaner. Wring the mop almost dry before mopping.

Protecting Wood Floors

Here's how to protect your wood floor from scratches and other damage:

  • Put welcome mats at doors to catch the dirt before it gets tracked in. Or better yet, make the house a no-shoe zone. High heels exert up to 8,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the floors. (Not to mention what they do to the female foot.)
  • Protect flooring in high traffic areas with area rugs.
  • Put gliders on chairs, and coasters or felt under all furniture that sits directly on wood floors. Otherwise, the furniture could scratch or dent the wood. Put rubber cups or an area rug under heavy furniture, such as pianos.
  • Vacuum or sweep frequently. Use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum. Grinding in dirt and grime will ruin a finish fast.
  • Don't damp-mop. Even though the wood is sealed, you still don't want to put water on it. And if you spill anything, mop it up immediately with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Choose and use products wisely. Use only the products recommended by the manufacturer. Oil or wax-based products or ammonia cleansers could damage the factory shine on urethane finishes.
  • Avoid sunlight, which can change the color of the flooring. (Cherry gets darker, for example.) Close your shades or curtains during the day when you are not using the room. Also, move furniture and area rugs around occasionally to avoid uneven coloration.

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