How to Clean and Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

hardwood flooring in living room
Hardwood floors are gorgeous in any home; they make a statement and evoke warmth or comfort. In addition, hardwood is easier to clean than carpet. Carpet often houses a variety of allergens and bacteria regardless of how much you wash them. For that reason, many look to hardwood for easy maintenance. If installed correctly, hardwood floors can last up to 100 years. This is significantly more than carpet, which is only three to five years. However, hardwood flooring must be maintained in order to last so long. Many make mistakes caring for their hardwood floors. Follow the steps below in order to clean and maintain your hardwood floors correctly.

The Proper Method of Mopping

Wood does not react kindly to water. In fact, water is wood’s worst enemy when it comes to a long life. Once the water comes into contact with wood, it can seep into the material. This creates an environment where mold and rot can set in. Furthermore, water allows the wood to warp, which affects the flatness of your floor. Since water is dangerous for wood, mopping needs to be handled properly. Start cleaning your hardwood floor by purchasing a wood floor mop and hardwood cleaning solution. Unlike a usual mop, ensure the mop is wrung out, so it is only a little damp. Avoid plopping the mop onto the floor with it soaking wet. Standing water is detrimental to the life of wood, so clean up any water that may have spilled onto the floor. Once you have mopped the entire area, let the floor air dry. You can speed up this process by turning on an air conditioner or a ceiling fan.

Removing Stains From Hardwood Floors

Your hardwood floors may need more than a simple mopping to make it look like new. Well, there are many methods of removing stains. Some stains you could encounter on your hardwood floor include:
  • pet stains
  • shoe or heel marks
  • dark spots
  • oil-based stains
  • watermarks
  • white stains
Here is how you can remove each of these stains.

Pet Stains and Dark Spots

Firstly, you’ll need a fine steel wool scrub and floor wax. Secondly, apply the floor wax to the area and rub it in with the steel wool. If the stain persists, you can use vinegar or bleach. Let one of these chemicals soak into the stain before rinsing the area with a damp cloth.

Shoe Marks

Shoe marks are easier to remove. Simply take your floor wax and scrub it in with the steel wool.

Oil-Based Stains

Removing oil-based stains is more intensive than other types. Use a washcloth with Dawn dish soap or another dishwashing liquid. Rub the liquid into the stain. The dishwashing liquid helps breakdown the grease left behind by the oil. Clean the space with water and repeat if necessary. Ensure any pets or children avoid the spot as you clean.

Watermarks and White Stains

Finally, you can remove watermarks or white stains with a fine steel wool scrub and a floor wax. Your stain may lay deeper than the just surface. In that case, use sandpaper to get further down. Finish it off with the steel wool and mineral spirits.

Prevent Damage, Dirt, and Future Stains

There are many effective ways of preventing scratches, scuff marks, dirt buildup, and stains from affecting your hardwood floor. One of the most effective ways is using rugs and welcome mats. Place doormats inside and outside doors, so it reduces the buildup of dirt in the home. For high traffic areas such as hallways, place down floor runners or rugs to preserve the area. When it comes to furniture, place floor protectors on the bottom of furniture. These small actions prevent scratches and stains from affecting the look of your hardwood floors.


Typically, the average hardwood floor needs to be refinished four to six times in its lifetime. Over time, the finish of your hardwood floor loses its deep color. The ultraviolet light from the sun, water damage, and simple wear and tear can cause it to lose its livelihood. Find the type of finish you used before or switch over to a new type. Regardless, the condition of your wood floor will significantly determine if it needs to be refinished. Refinishing is not a quick process. It requires hours of preparation and execution. You can complete the job yourself, or you can always hire a professional service to finish the job. Now that you know how to clean and maintain your hardwood floor, you can start enjoying its look even more now. Hardwood is an exceptional choice for flooring and beats all other types. You can always reach Top Notch Construction if you are interested in making the switch. Reach out to us for additional information on our hardwood installation services.

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