Hardwood Floor Care and Maintenance

Hardwood Floor Maintenance

A guide to maintaining your hardwood floor

Now that you have had your floors done, whether it be sanded and refinished or newly installed hardwood, maintenance and care are the next steps in keeping the floors as free of scratches and blemishes as possible. All hardwood floors scratch at some point. However, you can reduce the amount of scratching by following the steps below.

Hardwood flooring has the ability to last 100+ years. We have been in many homes built in the 1800s with its original hardwood that just needs a good sanding and refinishing. Here are a few need-to-know tips on how to keep your new hardwood floors looking beautiful for years to come:

      Tip #1:

            Take off your shoes:

Grit, dirt and debris are your hardwood floors’ new enemy.  Tracking in any of these things from outside doorways or garage entrances into your home spell nothing but trouble for your floors fresh finish.  Things like small pebbles or even salt from your driveway in the winter time that get lodged into a boot or sneaker can cause scuffs and scratches that may only be completely fixed with a screening and recoating of your floor.

We’d like to help you avoid this…

A great place to start is by placing mats by the doorways for your shoes.  This will allow anyone coming in to wipe any dirt or debris off their shoes, (or even better) remove their shoes completely, especially in inclement weather. Mats should be cleaned regularly. The area where the mat is placed should be kept dry at all times.

Tip #2:

Sweep or vacuum regularly:

Keeping your hardwood floor as free from dirt and debris as possible is the goal in preventing unwanted scratches.  Try to sweep or vacuum regularly; we recommend using a soft bristled broom or a microfiber dusting mop (like a Swiffer or Cedar microfiber cloth duster.)  There are vacuums made for hardwood floors also, which are just fine; but remember to keep the vacuum wheels clean to prevent any scratching from them, and only use the flooring attachment meant for hardwood floors (they usually have a soft brush on the end).

  Tip #3:

Forget about the old Mop and Bucket:

When it comes time to clean your hardwood floors, don’t even think about the old bucket filled with soapy water and big sponge mop!  All that water will seep into the grooves and get absorbed causing your hardwood floor to buckle and need replacing.  A well-wrung cloth mop made from terry-cloth or microfiber will hold enough of your cleaner to get the job done yet not enough to allow moisture to penetrate your hardwood floors.

microfinber-mop microfiber-mop-3

Microfiber Mop

Tip #4:

           No harsh chemical cleaners:
Using a cleaner with harsh chemicals can slowly damage the finish on your hardwood floor. We do not recommend the use of any products containing chemicals like ammonia, vinegar, dish washing detergent, powdered all-purpose cleaner, Endust, Pledge, oil soap, or any type of wax or silicone based products on your floor. Also, try not to pour your cleaning product directly onto the hardwood floor.  It may be tempting to create a puddle of cleaner and spread it out over your floor but this approach can have the same effect as using too much water when cleaning. Cleaning products that are applied too liberally in spots can absorb into wood, cause swelling, buckling, and an uneven look over time.  There are a lot of great products out there that are even “Green.”

We find that the ammonia-free Window cleaner works great on just about any floor covering.  It cleans beautifully, won’t harm your floors finish, and dries quickly enough eliminating the threat of standing water/moisture.

Tip #5:

Felt pads under furniture

This is a point to stress. Any kind of furniture, when dragged across a hardwood floor, can damage its finish. Whether it’s a heavy piece or not, we always recommend using felt pads under all the furniture that’s going to be on top of your hardwood flooring.  Over time, heavy furniture can leave indents in the hardwood, so even though you might not be moving that big heavy corner cabinet any time soon, the felt padding underneath will prevent any surprises left on your floor.

floor care and maintenance
Dents on Douglas Fir Pine from a bed.

Tip #6


Prolonged sun exposure to your hardwood floors can discolor the wood. Placing blinds and curtains on your windows where direct sunlight comes in and onto the hardwood floors will take care of this.

Tip #7


Keep pet nails trimmed to avoid scratches. Food and water bowls should be kept on a mat. Remember to keep the mat as clean and dry as possible.

Pet scratches on hardwood floor

Douglas Fir Pine wood showing scratches from dog nails

Tip #8


It’s best to keep your home at a consistent temperature between 65-80 degrees. Drastic fluctuation in the temperature and humidity will cause the floors to expand and contract rapidly and that can induce gaps between the boards and/or buckling.

Tip #9

Area Rugs

Area rugs are a great accent piece with a purpose! Area rugs are great in rooms where smaller furniture pieces are moved frequently such as coffee/end tables and dining room chairs. A child’s bedroom/playroom is another great place for an area rug. Putting an area rug will help prevent scratches and scuffs from toys (not to mention it will reduce the amount of noise.)

Tip #10

Screen and Recoat your hardwood floors

This tip is for floors that were finished on site- whether is was a new unfinished installation or your existing floors were sanded and refinished. We recommend screen and recoats every few years.  During the screen and recoat process, we take a thin layer of poly off and apply a new fresh layer. This is an important upkeep as it helps maintain the finish on your floors without having to do a full sanding and refinishing. Screen and recoats are typically a quick process and does not require the amount of time off your floors as a standard sanding and refinishing requires. Screen and recoats do not sand down to the raw hardwood. The stain is not affected during this process nor the integrity of the hardwood. Light surface scratches are usually fixed with a screen and recoat, however, deep penetrating scratches are not. If you do have some deep scratching, it may be time to refinish your hardwood. You can read more about the refinishing process here.

We hope these tips help in keeping your floor looking new and beautiful.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tips, I recently restored some hardwood floors that I found under my kitchen and have been looking for the best ways to keep them looking great. I didn’t realize that the temperature of my home would have an effect on the hardwood floors, but that does make sense with humidity and what not. Fortunately, I tend to keep my house at around 75 degrees anyways, so it doesn’t look like that will be too much of a problem according to your advice.

    1. Thanks for commenting! We’re so glad you found our tips useful! If you have any other questions, feel free to Contact Us.

  2. It is easy to install a flooring system, but quite tough to maintain it. I would like to follow the essential tips from here regarding how to maintain a hardwood floor. Thanks for such a wonderful article with useful information about how to maintain hardwood floors this is really impressive.

    1. Thanks Dwayne, we’re glad we could help you with your hardwood floor maintenance. Thanks for reading, and let us know if there are any questions you may have.

  3. My wife and I have been looking for someone to come out and do some floor refinishing at our home, but I think that looking into screening and recoating could be an option as well! I hadn’t ever hear of having someone come and screen and recoat our flooring before, I’d only heard about having full floor refinishing done. I think It’s probably time for us to have the floor refinishing done in our home, but its good to know we can keep it nice with screening and recoating every few years! Thanks for the info!

  4. Thanks for mentioning that you should always take off your shoes on hardwood to avoid scratching them with debris. I have been thinking about having hardwood floors installed for a while, but I want to make sure I know how to take care of them first. I will definitely keep these tips in mind once I get new floors, thanks!

  5. We are so excited to be getting hardwood floors installed in our kitchen and are looking to know how to maintain it. It is good to know that one should not use harsh chemical cleaners. I like what was said about how one should avoid cleaners with ammonia, vinegar, dish washing detergent, and pledge. We will be sure to keep this in mind, thanks.

  6. My sister is excited to be remodeling her kitchen and is thinking about installing hard wood floors. It is good to know that one should try to sweep or vacuum these floors regularly. Thanks for informing me that it is recommended to use a soft bristled broom or microfiber dusting mop. I will be sure to share this information with my sister to help her keep her floors looking great for a long time.

  7. Recently, I restored hardwood floor of my home. I was bit worried about that how to maintain the timeless elegance of newly restored floor. But after reading these handy tips about microfiber mop, temperature/humidity, sun exposure and harsh chemicals, I am bit relaxed now. Indeed a useful post! Thanks!

  8. Thank you so much for mentioning how recoating your floors can help you avoid having to sand and refinish them. It makes sense that taking the right steps to keep your hardwood looking great from the beginning can help you avoid having to spend a ton of money trying to keep them looking good. My brother is planning to install timber woods in his home and wants to coat them and waterproof them, do you have any suggestions about this? We want to make sure that the coatings will not end up damaging the wood or have no effect on it.

    1. Hello Marcus,
      Thank you so much for that nice comment. Do you by any chance know the exact species your brother will be installing?

  9. I grew up mopping floors of every variety, and not once did I stop to consider the fact that I was splashing water onto surfaces that didn’t like that very much. I probably should have, because it’s true that water will make wood warp and buckle, and that’s the last thing that a homeowner needs from their floors. I’ll be sure to use a microfiber or terry-cloth rag from now on to avoid getting unnecessary fluid into my wooden floors.

  10. I have discovered some old hard wood floors under the carpet in my grandma’s house. I have been debating on having them refinished, but wasn’t sure about the best ways to maintain them. Thanks for all the great tips. Now I can have the hardwood floors refinished and not worry some much about damaging them and there fore wasting that money.

  11. I didn’t know screens do not sand down to the hardwood. What other things are used to protect the floor from being damaged. My wife and I are thinking about doing a remodel of the living room and maybe it would be a good idea to get the floors done as well.

  12. Thanks for these great tips! We just had our house flooring redone and my dad decided to use hardwood. I wanted to check if there are things that need to be considered for cleaning. I didn’t know that there are a lot of cleaning materials that could damage hardwood floors. I’ve even always thought that applying polishing wax on it does it well. I do agree, though, that using furniture felt padding would be the best thing you could do to any floor. Cheers!

  13. I really like what you had to say here about maintaining your hardwood flooring. We have been thinking about switching to the hardwood for a while now, but we want to make sure that we can take care of it before we have it installed. One thing that I think will be really beneficial to us is that you should sweep or vacuum regularly because that will help you keep your floor dirt and debris free. Thanks for the post, and we will make sure that one of us makes the time to do this daily!

  14. I liked that you had mentioned that when it comes to hardwood that it can be important to sweep or vacuum regularly to make sure there isn’t anything damaging it. My wife and I have been talking about getting new flooring but we haven’t really known what we’d be getting. We’ll have to start looking into having hardwood floor installed, and we’ll be making sure we take care of it often to avoid possible problems.

  15. Relatives will be coming over next weekend to attend our family’s annual reunion event. My mom wants to make sure that our floor will be squeaky clean by that time. Dad suggested hiring professionals for floor maintenance and shared this article this with her. It says that we should regularly take off our shoes and have mats in our doorways.

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