Despite what many people think, wood floors are actually not that hard to maintain. Sure, tiles or vinyl are easier to clean and don’t stain as easily.
But there is nothing special you need to do to keep your wood flooring clean. You just need to be extra-careful to keep the dirt out, vacuum often and watch out for stains.
If you have wood flooring in your home or are planning to install one in an upcoming renovation, here are some quick cleaning hacks to help you keep it clean and free of stains and scuffs.
- Keep out the dirt
Small bits of dirt and salt will scratch and dull your floor over time. They usually find their way into the house riding on the underside of shoes.
A no-shoes-inside policy would go a long way in keeping the wood looking great. Just designate an area on the porch or mud room where everyone can take off their shoes before getting into the house.
If that’s not possible, use an entryway mat to get all that dirt before it reaches the floor. Get a long mat such that even if someone doesn’t wipe their feet, their shoes will be clean by the time they are stepping onto the floor.
- Clean spills immediately
Wooden floors are much more vulnerable to spills than other types of hard floors. Even if you have a treated floor, fluids can still find their way into the wood if you leave them on the floor long enough.
As soon as you spot a mess, clean it immediately.
Use paper towels or a microfiber cloth to wipe up whatever has been spilt. Depending on what it is, you may need to use a wood cleaner (commercial or homemade) to completely get rid of any traces of the fluid.
If it’s something like blood or urine, spray a disinfectant after you clean.
- Use the right wax or polish
A bit of waxing now and then keeps the floor looking beautiful and smooth. It’s especially handy when you are trying to cover up scuff marks or stains.
But you need to be careful about the type of wax or polish you use. Use the wrong one and you could damage your floor.
The right one will depend on the type of finish on your floor.
If it is polyurethane, find a polish specifically for polyurethane wood floors. If the floor is unvarnished, use solid paste wax.
- Use rugs for high-traffic areas
High traffic areas are more likely to develop scuffs and scratches even if people don’t wear shoes inside. The finish also wears more quickly.
Use area rugs in those high-traffic zones such as the hallway, the kitchen work area or the living room sitting area to protect the floor.
If you have a wooden staircase, consider installing runners to reduce wear on the floor as people go up and down.
- Remove scuff marks with a pencil eraser and tennis ball
Scuff marks are pretty easy to hide without having to wax the floor.
Start with a damp soft towel and wipe down on the scuff. If that doesn’t remove it, rub a pencil eraser over the scuff and then wipe gently with a damp cloth or sponge. Then wipe with a dry towel and see if the scuff is gone.
To completely buff out the scuffs, rub over them with a tennis ball. Then wipe the floor with a damp towel to get rid of any discoloration. Finish off with a dry towel to remove all moisture.
- Clean with a microfiber mop
To avoid creating scratches and scuff marks every time you sweep or mop your floor, use a microfiber mop head.
They sweep up dust, pet hair and food particles well enough while still being very gentle on your floor.
When you are mopping remember to thoroughly wring the mop until it is just barely damp, not dripping wet.
- Get a robotic vacuum cleaner
Constantly vacuuming the floor can be tiring especially if you have pets that shed a lot. Instead of doing all the work yourself, let modern technology offer a hand. Get a robotic vacuum cleaner.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are really handy especially if you have a busy schedule. They have improved enough in the last couple of years that they can clean just as well as a traditional vacuum on wood floors.
They are pretty affordable too.
You can get a smart WiFi connected robotic vacuum that you can set on an auto-cleaning schedule for under $300.