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Natural wood requires extra care, compared to other types of flooring. The best way to clean and maintain hardwood floors is to do it naturally, without chemical treatments and cleaners, which may damage the wood.

Well-finished hardwood floors add beauty and value to any home. Without proper maintenance however, surfaces can become dull, scratches and scuffs can overtake smooth surfacing, and the material itself can warp. Routine cleaning and regular effort are required to preserve the original state of wood flooring for as long as possible. With a little knowledge of how to clean, and what to clean with, maintaining hardwood floors is easy, and well worth the effort.

Proper Wood Floor Maintenance

The key to adequate wood floor maintenance is prevention. Almost anything can deteriorate the quality of wood flooring. Shoes walking over the surface eventually will wear down the finish, and will inevitably lead to scuffs and scratches. Dirt, sand, grime, salt, crumbs — all small particles can affect quality. Even washing with water is a risky game with hardwood floor; water can stain, cause dull surfaces, and even compromise the actual wood.

There are easy steps to follow for maintaining hardwood floors. First, if possible, do not walk on floors with shoes, especially with high heels or heavy boots. Leave mats at all doorways to catch any loose dirt and grime. Use area rugs as extra protection in high traffic areas and near any sources of water, such as a kitchen sink. Use felt pads under heavy furniture legs to avoid scratching. Pads also make it easier to move the furniture. You can buy felt pads locally or online from stores such as

Sweep or vacuum wood floors regularly – once or twice a week is usually enough. Use a soft, high-quality broom, and a soft-bristled attachment when vacuuming. Finally, use care when cleaning wood floors.

hardwood flooring

The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Flooring with a Surface Finish Naturally

A surface finish is standard with newer hardwood floors. A material such as polyurethane is used as a protective layer on top of the wood. Surface-finished floors are usually glossy and smooth to the touch. The best way to clean wood floors with a surface finish is by using a slightly damp mop. Dip a clean mop in warm water, or a homemade wood floor cleaner if desired, and ring out all excess water. Wash the floor once, and then go over the entire surface a second time. Finally, take a clean, dry towel, either by hand or attached to the mop, and polish thoroughly. For spills and accidents, use baking soda and a damp, warm cloth to wash. Again, rub the surface once it is clean to make sure it is completely dry.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors with a Wax Finish

A wax finish is more common with older floors. Wax or oil has penetrated the wood to act as a protective barrier. Usually, these hardwood floors will have more texture and a more rustic appearance. Unlike surface-finished hardwood floors, wax floors cannot handle any amount of water. It is imperative to clean any liquid spills immediately and to never use water when cleaning. Without water, how is it possible to clean these hardwood floors? A natural citrus solvent is the best natural cleaner. Use a small amount, and then polish with a dry clean cloth or mop.

The Benefits of Maintaining Hardwood Floors

By taking time to suitably care for hardwood surfaces, natural flooring can remain elegant and beautiful for years, and even decades. When it is time to sell a home, well-maintained hardwood is an attractive asset. In addition, regular sweeping, cleaning and polishing will make routine surface treatments much more effective and efficient. It is not only possible to keep hardwood floors in their natural state, but it is possible to achieve it naturally.