How To Care for Hardwood Floors

Men laying new hardwood flooring

Time, traffic, stains and spills will take their toll on your hardwood floor. Correct maintenance will ensure it remains a beautiful and timeless design element.

Sweeping and Buffing

Sweep your floor regularly using a good quality broom. A vacuum cleaner, without a beater bar, can be helpful in between planks and other hard-to-reach areas. Once dirt and grease are gone, buffing can help restore the luster of your hardwood floor.


For “Finish in Place” hardwood floors, or unfinished hardwood, use an 8-x-14-inch terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards an easy task. Spray a professional wood floor-cleaning product to safely remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your floor.

Never wet-mop or use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter. Being a natural product, hardwood will expand and contract due to moisture-level changes. Minimize water exposure to hardwood floors and clean up spills as soon as they happen.


Manufacturers of “pre-finished” hardwood floors recommend their own specific products. Floors with a urethane finish should never be waxed and require cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue. A hardwood floor cleaner is useful in removing occasional scuffs or heel marks. Spray some cleaner on a cloth, and lightly rub the stained area. Sticky spots can be cleaned with a damp towel or sponge. Don’t use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor because they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These products will also affect the ability to recoat your floor later.

Janice Howell is vice president of MODA Floors & Interiors, Atlanta’s first Shaw Design Center, located in the West Midtown Design District. For more information visit

Use protective surfaces

Mats and Area Rugs
Place mats or area rugs at entryways to collect dirt and grit that might be tracked in. Rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs can damage your floor. Use mats or rugs that are made especially for hardwood floors and remember to shake them out regularly. Place mats in areas where water may be splashed.

Window Treatments
All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process. Window treatments are recommended as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure. Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage. Stiletto heels can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by your warranty. Regularly trim your pet’s nails or claws to avoid scratches on the hardwood floor.

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