Floor Care - General Do's and Don'ts
Here are some general do's and don'ts to help keep
your hardwood floor looking like new:
Enemy Number 1: Water
Regardless of its finish your floor will quickly
lose its luster if exposed to water. More serious
damage is also possible, including warping and other
DO: Wipe up any spills immediately with a soft,
dry cloth, starting at the edges of the spill and
working your way toward the center.
DO: Check with the manufacturer to find out if
your steam cleaner is appropriate for use on your
wood floor. Some models are designed for use on
hardwood floors. Others are not. Remember that water
is wood’s No. 1 enemy. If the finish is worn or
scratched, steam could seep into your wood floors,
eventually causing damage.
DON'T: Let water stand on your floor, or use wet
cloths for clean up.
DON'T: Do not mop sealed-and-waxed floors, not
even with a slightly damp mop.
Banish Dirt, Dust and Grit
Dirt, dust and grit can also damage your hardwood
floor. Tracking dirt, dust, and grit can dull its
finish and cause scratches that can only be repaired
by refinishing the floor.
DO: Sweep your floors regularly. Invest in a good
broom that features exploded tips to trap dust and
dirt, not simply spread it around. Dust mops can
also be helpful in keeping dirt, dust, and grit
DO: Vacuum frequently, using a canister vacuum
with special hardwood floor attachments.
DON'T: Use an upright vacuum with beater bars.
They can cause dents in your floor's finish.
DON'T: Use any dust treatment unless it is
approved by your floor's manufacturer. The wrong
treatment can make your floor dull and cause
problems the next time you refinish.
DO: Use doormats at the entrances of your home to
help trap dirt and grit. Clean them regularly.
DO: Use area rugs or small sections of carpet
placed inside doorways and in areas like kitchens
where spills are likely to occur.
DON'T: Use throw rugs with rubber or vinyl
backing without checking to determine if they will
affect your floor's finish. Some materials in the
backing can react with certain floor finishes,
discoloring or causing the finish to become dull.
DON'T: Let even damp throw or scatter rugs sit on
the floor. Check the rugs frequently and make sure
damp rugs are removed.
DO: Move your area carpets or throw rugs
occasionally to maintain a uniform appearance in the
The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause
discoloration over time.
The ultraviolet rays that can burn and age our
skin will affect any organic material, including
wood. That’s why the finest art collections are kept
in rooms without windows. Prolonged exposure to
sunlight will change the color of virtually any wood
floor, regardless of the stain or finish. Some woods
lighten when exposed to sunlight. Others, like
cherry and oak, tend to darken. The newest
water-based urethane finishes seem to slow color
changes more effectively than oil-based urethane
finishes, which tend to turn the brownish-yellow
color of amber. Some finishes feature sunscreens to
help block the penetration of ultraviolet rays,
extending the time it will take the wood to change.
DO: Protect your floors by using sheer drapes,
curtains, or blinds to limit sunlight.
DO: Place glides made of felt or some other
fabric under the legs of furniture to prevent
scratches. Clean the glides regularly to ensure that
dust and grit do not become imbedded.
DO: Use barrel-type casters instead of ball
casters to prevent dents.
DO: Use non-marking rubber casters instead of
plastic or metal.
DO: Lift furniture when moving it to avoid
scratches in the floor's surface.
DO: Make sure there are no exposed nails or metal
heel supports on shoes that could scratch or dent
DO: Check shoes with soles that have deep treads
to ensure that any trapped dirt or gravel won't
scratch or dent the floor.
DO: Be aware that high heels can dent a hardwood