Hardwood floors give homes an old world charm.  But if you want to make that beauty last for years, you need to give your hardwood floor some tender loving care and attention.

Here are some guidelines on cleaning hardwood floors:

  • Hardwood FloorsKeep dust and dirt away.

Have door mats at your entry ways where people can dust off their shoes to avoid tracking in dirt and mud.

  • Watch out for spills.

Water and other liquids are damaging to hardwood as they can stain and leave marks.  Once a spill of any sort happens, wipe it off at once.  Let the area dry by wiping with another cloth or open the windows to allow ventilation.

  • Sweep

Dust and sweep the floor often.  Make sure you don’t accidentally scuff or scratch it.

  • Vacuum

Vacuum every week using a vacuum cleaner with a floor-brush attachment, not a beater bar.

  • Mop

To deep clean your floor, use a mop.   Wring the mop well so that it is only slightly damp, not soaking wet.  Also, mop in the direction of the wood grain so that it is easier to catch dirt.  For the cleaning solution, use a mild detergent diluted in water.  Give the floor time to dry.  You can go over it again with a clean rag or allow ventilation to speed up the drying time.

You can protect the floor and give it a shiny look by applying floor wax or polish and then buffing.  However, double check first if the wax or polish you want to use is appropriate for your type of hardwood finish.  Place floor protectors under your furniture and arrange some rugs around the room.

  • Stains

Some stains are inevitable.  For stains not caused by water, dish detergent can get rid of most of them.

When it comes to water stains, there are two types you can see on hardwood floors:  white rings and black rings.  White rings are easier to remove since they’re only on the surface of the floor.  Try putting a dry cloth over the stain and then running a flat iron at the lowest setting over it.  Black rings, though, are tricky.  They’ve already soaked through the finish of the floor.  One solution is to dab a little bleach onto the stain using a brush and let it dry.

Image by seier+seier on Flickr