Hardwood Floor Care for Consumers

Wood floor refinished with Wood-Solv

A surefire way to improve the look, durability and value of a home or apartment is with hardwood floors.

Besides being beautiful and hard-wearing, hardwood floors are environmentally friendly as well. Wood is a natural resource that is both renewable and recyclable.

Most hardwood floors almost never need to be replaced and can add thousands of dollars to the value of a home. Hardwood floors offer an incredible array of aesthetic options, too. From the kind of wood to the finish to the design of the floor pattern, hardwood floors will suit almost any taste and circumstance. This type of flooring is increasingly popular as you can tell if you watch any of the home remodeling television shows!

Protect Your Solid Investment:

Solid hardwood floors are among the easiest to keep clean. Protect their warmth and character with simple, everyday cleaning techniques. It’s important to know how to prevent damage to your solid hardwood floors.

Prevention of Damage to Your Wood or Laminate Floor:

  • DIRT and GRIT: Dirt, grit and sand are your hardwood floor’s worst enemies. They act like sandpaper on the finish, causing scratches, dents and dulling.
  • WATER AND OTHER SPILLS: Standing water can warp a poorly finished hardwood floor and can damage the finish.
  • FLOOR CLEANERS: Avoid oil soaps. They can build up and create problems when it’s time to put a maintenance coat on the floor. Instead, neutral pH cleaners such as Wood Fresh Hardwood Cleaner made specifically for wood floors are recommended.
  • FURNITURE: Lift the furniture to move it --- avoid dragging. Felt contacts under the legs will help prevent scratches.
  • DENTS: Vacuum with a brush attachment -- don’t use vacuums with beater bars.
  • SUN: Direct sun can discolor your hardwood floor. Close curtains and blinds or add sheer drapes to protect from the sun’s intense UV rays.
  • Never use oily, waxy products such as Orange Glo®, Murphey’s Oil Soap®, Holloway House®, Mop and Glo® and similar products available at hardware stores and discount stores. These products often leave an oily, soil-attracting, shine reducing residue that is sometimes hard to remove if many layers are applied over time.

Regular Care of Your HardWood and Laminate Floors:

  • SWEEP: Brooms with fine, exploded ends trap dust and grit effectively.
  • VACUUM: Canister vacuums with special bare floor attachments are the surest way to get rid of all the dirt and dust.
  • DUST MOP: Use a good dust mop --- one with a 12- to 18- inch cotton head ---- and a special dust mop treatment. Spray the treatment onto the mop head 12 to 24 hours before dust mopping.

Does Your New Hardwood Floor Look Old?

Perhaps your hardwood floors were installed just a few years ago, but you haven’t taken care of them and now they look old. What can you do? Before you do anything, check the condition of the finish and the wood to see whether they need special cleaning or more involved repair.

What condition is your wood floor in?

Follow these steps to evaluate the condition of your hardwood floor and its finish:

  • Finish Condition: Has the finish been worn off or is it just dirty? See if the finish is dull, chipped, scraped or gouged. To test if the finish has worn off, begin in a high-traffic area and pour one to two tablespoons of water onto the floor. If the water soaks in immediately and leaves a darkened spot, the finish is worn through and water can damage the wood. If the water soaks in after a few minutes and darkens the wood only slightly, the finish is partially worn. If the water beads on top, the surface is properly sealed. Repeat this test in low- and medium-traffic areas.
  • Wood Condition: If the finish is worn, the wood may have been damaged. Are there stains, burns, cuts, gouges, holes, cracks or warped boards? If the wood is damaged, repair or replacement may be required before you deep clean your floor or apply a maintenance coat.

When Your Hardwood Floor Needs Extra Care:

  • Damp Mopping: This is the fastest and best way to deep-clean solid hardwood floors. Depending on how much use your floor gets, you may have to mop it as often as once a week. Use a neutral pH wood cleaner such as Wood Fresh Hardwood Cleaner or manufacturer recommended products. Wet the mop and wring so it’s about half-dry. Wet the floor with the mop. Dip the mop into clean water, wring it as dry as you can and mop over the floor again. If your floor’s finish is in good shape and mopping is done correctly, the water won’t penetrate even the oil and wax finishes. You’re cleaning the finish, not the wood, so don’t use water if the finish is in poor shape.
  • Maintenance Coat: Waxing may limit some refinishing and re-coating options down the road. If not properly stripped, the wax can cause adhesion problems when re-coating the surface. Consult a professional to refinish your floor. Only wax a surface finish if the original finish is in poor shape and you don’t plan to refinish your floor.
  • Removing Stains In Waxed Floors:
    • Water Stains: Rub the spot with No. 2 steel wood and rewax. For more serious water stains, lightly sand with fine sandpaper, clean the spot with No. 1 or 00 steel wool and mineral spirits or floor cleaner then refinish and wax.
    • Cigarette Burns: If not severe, the burn can be removed by rubbing with steel wool moistened with soap and water.
    • Heel and Caster Marks: Rub vigorously with fine steel wool and floor cleaner. Wipe dry and polish.
    • Ink Stains and Other Dark Spots: Use No. 2 steel wool and floor cleaner to clean the spot and surrounding area. Thoroughly wash the affected area. If the spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper, re-wax and polish. Stubborn stains may require that you replace the affected area.
    • Chewing Gum and Wax Deposits: Ice until the deposit is brittle and crumbles off. Pour floor cleaner around the stain so the fluid soaks under and loosens it.
    • Alcohol Spots: Rub the spot with liquid or paste wax.
    • Severe Stains: Use steel wood or sand paper to remove one or two complete layers of finish along the entire length of the board where damage has occurred. Remove all dust. Apply the same type of finish that was removed, being careful not to build additional layers on top of adjoining boards
  • Repairing Wax Finishes: Rub fine steel wood in a puddle of reconditioner or paint thinner and clean as you go. Apply wax and buff.

Hard Wood Floors Information:


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Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: February 6, 2021

Date Published: September 1, 2015