Updated April 28, 2021

Caring For Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors not only look beautiful but also increase the value of your home. Learn how to take care of your investment.

Hardwood floor maintenance procedures are dependent on the type of finish used on the hardwood floors. The information below is based on floors finished with polyurethane.

Common Mistake

The most common mistake homeowners make when caring for their wood floors is using the wrong products. Any product containing wax or silicone can dull the finish on your hardwood floors. The wax or silicone solvents can prevent the polyurethane from properly adhering to the hardwood floor during a maintenance buffing and coating.

Be careful when using products on your floor, always check the label or ask the manufacturer if the product contains wax or silicone. Be leery of products such as Murphy’s Oil soap, Pledge, and Mop and Glow. We recommend the Bona Wood Floor Cleaning Solution (not the polish). The Bona products are readily available at your local hardware store, home depot, Bed bath and Beyond and many other major retailers.

When dusting your furniture with polish be careful to avoid overspray. There are wax solvents in most furniture polish and if excessive overspray occurs it may interfere with the bonding of polyurethane with future maintenance coatings. Always apply the furniture polish to the dusting cloth and avoid contact with hardwood flooring.

Key is Protection

An ounce of prevention! Yes it takes a bit of time to add felt protectors to the legs/feet of all your furniture. This step is key in avoiding those dreaded scratches on your floors. Protectors allow chairs, tables, couches etc. to move easily over the floor without scuffing. When cleaning check the felt protectors to be sure their integrity is intact.

No High Heels

High heel shoes can be disastrous to your floor especially if they have lost their protective cap thus exposing the fastening nail. Did you know heels that have lost their protective cap will exert over 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure in a floor! That’s high enough to damage hardened concrete.

In some cases, even high heels in good repair can cause damage to your wood floors. One year after New Year’s I was in a customer’s home and she was perplexed by numerous small dents on her wood floors. Turns out they occurred from high heels after a holiday gathering.

It goes without saying, any baseball, soccer or other sport cleat or metal spike footwear should never be worn on your hardwood floors.

Water Damage

Never wet mop a hardwood floor. Excessive water or standing water will damage your wood floors. The water will get down into the cracks of the boards, cause the wood to expand and the boards to swell thus breaking the bond of the finish. Water damage will cause the boards to cup and or warp. To learn more about water damaged floors click here.


The first step in caring for your wood floors is to clean up any elements tracked in from the great outdoors. After the floors have been cleared of dirt and debris using a vacuum or broom the floor is ready to be cleaned. I recommend using the Bona Wood Floor Cleaner (Not Polish). To clean your floor it is as simple as spray and wipe with the mop. If you have tough spots you may need to use elbow grease or get down on your hands and knees to scrub the dirt or grime. To learn more about products and cleaning your hardwood floors click here.

Welcome Mats

Mats are more than a welcoming for your guests, they are another layer of protection to keep your hardwood floors luster. Use walk off mats at the exterior doors and interior to help prevent sand and grit from being tracked onto your hardwood floors. Be sure your interior mats do not have rubber, foam or plastic backing which can adhere, discolor or scratch your wood floor. The backs of area rugs should be smooth.

If your floors have seen better days, call your wood flooring professional to either buff and coat/maintenance coating or a refinishing of your hardwood floors.