The Handy Hardwood Cleaning, Care and Tips Guide

The Hardwood Cleaning, Care and Tips Guide


Keeping a hardwood floor looking beautiful for the long haul isn’t easy unless you follow a well thought out plan and have a trouble shooting guide for when life happens to your hardwood flooring. And as we know, life always happens!

Before you get started on following this guide to it’s fullest it is very important that you carefully read  the care and maintenance requirements for your hardwood flooring’s manufacturer’s warranty. Every company has a different take on how you should handle your care and maintenance, and it is possible to void your warranty if you do not follow the given guidelines. With that being said however, most are generally the same when it comes to hardwood care and maintenance and this guide will be very accommodating to most manufacturer’s requirements.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance:

Luckily for us, hardwood flooring is much different than hardwoods of the past. Today we have many options and advancements in the staining and finishing department. It has never been easier to keep your wood floors looking show room quality for years to come.

In general, regular maintenance on your floor is as simple as sweeping up with a soft bristle broom or vacuuming with soft flooring attachments to get into corners or in between hardwoods with beveled edges or rustic edging. Using a professional wood floor cleaner periodically will also factor into regular cleaning. Have a professional in the field come look at the type of wood your have and recommend the best product for your wood in the geographical area that your home is located in. This is a very important part of wood floor care.

Prevention Maintenance

There are many steps that you can take to minimize the amount of maintenance your will undergo periodically. These steps will maintain the beautiful look of your hardwood flooring in a whole as well.

  • Never use any type of sheet vinyl or tile flooring cleaning products on hardwood or wood flooring. Most of these are self-polishing acrylic waxes and the will reek havoc on your wood flooring. The cause a slippery film to build up that will also cause your wood to dull and loose it’s luster with as little as one use.
  • Always use area and throw rugs where appropriate. This includes inside and outside of doorways or anywhere where dirt and debris has a tendency to appear or is tracked in. Doing this will help to alleviate any grit, dirt or debris from being brought in and scratching your hardwood flooring.
  • Never use a wet mop on a wood floor. As the water sits on your flooring waiting to dry it will dull the finish, damage the wood as it is very porous, and leave a discoloring residue on the surface.
  • Immediately clean up any spills with a damp towel. Followed by a dry towel.
  • If you have a wood floor that needs waxing, be sure not to over wax the hardwood. Instead of going straight for a wax at the time you notice a dulling, spring for a buffing instead. To make sure wax does not build up under furniture or other light traffic areas of the home, only apply the wax in these areas every other waxing.
  • Always place a soft plastic or felt glide under the legs of any furniture or decor that sits on the hardwood’s surface to prevent any scuffing or scratching related to sudden movements of the items.Always remove cleats, sports shoes or heels when walking on your hardwood flooring. Fact: A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When it is time to move very heavy furniture, never slid it across the flooring without a buffer. Even with felt pads or clothe between the legs and the surface of you hardwood, it is still possible to scratch it with heavy furniture. Always lift the furniture off of the flooring before moving it.
  • Always place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink and dishwasher if you have chosen to put hardwood as your kitchen flooring. This helps to prevent occasional splashing from washing using the sink and washing operating your dishwasher.
  • To help with seasonal changes making your hardwood flooring swell or shrink. Invest in a humidifier and keep it running throughout the winter months. This will help during the harsh dry winter weather.

Renewing and Repairing your Hardwood Flooring

Wood flooring is incredibly forgiving, compared to other flooring options. If the proper preventative measures are taken you won’t have a lot to worry about, but sometimes bad things happen. When they do, it is almost always possible to repair or renew your hardwood flooring.

Tip: When renewing or repairing stains and scratches on a hardwood floor, always begin at the outer edge of the stain or scratch and work toward the middle.

Waxed Hardwood Flooring

Stains Removal for Wax Floors:

Stains on waxed hardwood flooring are vastly different than on carpet. Here is a list of common stains and how to renew, repair or remove them.

Gum, Crayons and Candles

When dealing with gum, apply a plastic bag filled with ice until the stain has turned hard and rigid enough to remove by crumbling off. When a crayon or candle is the culprit place an ink blotter on the stain and apply a hot iron to the top of the blotter. You could also apply a solvent based wax around the area to loosen the stain.

Cigarette and Cigar Burning

Depending on how deep the burn is you have two different methods. For light burns, rub the area with fine sandpaper or steel wool. For best results moisten the steel wool with wax. For heavier burns that go deep into the wood, use a penknife to remove the charred area. After stain it, wax it and hand buff it.

Dark Stains like Ink or Dye

Rub the spot with #000 steel wool and wax the area. If this does not work lightly sand the area with a fine sandpaper and follow up by cleaning it with #00 steel wool and mineral spirits. Allow the floor to dry and then finish by staining, waxing and hand buffing it. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Dried Milk and Food

Gently rub the stain with a moist cloth, dry and wax.


Remove with a hardwood cleaner.

Oily and Greasy Stains

Time to break out a good old fashioned kitchen soap and rub it over the stain with a clean cotton cloth, rinse and dry. Repeat until the stain is gone and then hand buff.

Water Staining and Spotting

Rub the area with #000 steel wool and wax. If that doesn’t work lightly sand it with a piece of fine sandpaper and clean it with #00 steel wool and mineral spirits. Allow it to dry then stain, wax and hand buff.

Wax Build Up

Use mineral spirits to strip the old wax away, then use cloths and fine steel wool to remove the excess residue. When it is all dry, simply wax and hand buff the area.


To fix scratches on a waxed hardwood floor is simple. Just wax it again. When it comes to heel marks on the hardwood, rub in a bit of wax with fine steel wool and hand buff to a shine.

Surface Finished Hardwood Flooring

Stain Removal for Surface Finished Wood Floors

Gum, Crayons and Candles

Use a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the stain until it is hard and rigid and then crumble it off the surface. After this is done clean the affected area with a product specifically made for urethane finishes.

Cigarette and Cigar Burns

In this case you will need to purchase a urethane finish hardwood touch up kit. Rub it with sandpaper, stain it and then refinish it. For very bed burns the individual plank will need to be replaced.

Food, Water, Darkening Liquids, Wine, Etc.

Use a urethane finish cleaning solution to remove the spot or stain. Some that are being difficult may require a lot of scrubbing with a wood flooring scrub pad, but with a little elbow grease it should come right up.

Oil and Grease Stains

Rub the area with a cleaner developed for urethane.


Repair with a touch up kit made for urethane finish.

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