When in doubt, go back to basics. For a hardwood floor cleaner that doesn’t require an expensive Amazon purchase, combine four cups of warm water with a few drops of Murphy Oil soap. Water and white vinegar is another long-acting household cleaning solution, though its effectiveness is debated.
Keep Floors Dry (Beautiful)
Once you find the right wood floor cleaner, apply it to your floors with a damp mop. “You don’t want to get out a wet bucket and start soaking the floors because that will cause the wood to swell,” says Miller. For this reason, consider using a microfiber mop instead of a cotton mop, as the former requires less water, and won’t leave a dripping wet mop. In fact, according to Bona—the world leader in wood floor care—microfiber mops use about 20 times less liquid and are the best mops for the job. You’ll also spend a lot less time trying to wring the mop head, making it a good deal for you and your hardwood floors.
Brett also advises against using a steam and steam mop. While it may provide a deep cleaning for hardwood floors, it allows steam to get into small spaces and damage the floors in your living room.
Know the warning signs
Knowing how to clean hardwood floors isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to immaculate wood floors. The environment around your floor is also a big factor in its care and durability. Wood reacts greatly to temperature and humidity, so it’s important to understand these elements as well, even if they are beyond your control. Your best line of defense is to be aware of red flags. “The nice thing about wood is that it’s a natural product, so it’ll tell you if it’s not happy,” Brett explains.
If there is too much moisture on, around, or under the wood, it will crack. Eliminate the water source, especially any standing water, to prevent this from happening. Extremely dry conditions lead to gapping, cracking, and splitting. Here, a moisturizer should do the trick. “Adding a little moisture to the air will allow the floor to settle again,” Brett says.
Touch surface scratches
Although it hurts when you scratch the floors, it is completely normal. “It’s part of having a wood floor,” Brett says. If you want to repair surface scratches, it’s a relatively simple DIY project. Simply use the Spot Marker Pen from the Wood Furniture Repair Kit.
A simple area rug or doormat can be another way to add personality to your space while also serving as a floor protector.
Recoat before it’s too late
When the floor starts to wear down, it’s time to step in and repaint. “Repainting doesn’t involve sanding,” Whatley says. “It’s actually another coat of finish applied over the top of the floors to bring back the shine and life of that finish, so you don’t have to go through the sanding process.”
This exercise can extend the life of your floor for many years by adding a layer of protection every time you need it. There are many different flooring finishes on the market, and the best refinishing option may fit your wood flooring needs and specifications. “The beauty of wood floors is that they can be repaired, refinished, and refinished,” says Miller. “It can take care of a lot of normal wear and tear on wood floors.”