If you’ve just purchased a new home or installed brand new hardwood floors, you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to both clean and care for your floors in order to keep them looking pristine for as long as possible. Floors are subjected to a lot — from spills and stains to scuff marks and pet mess. This is why the best way to clean hard floors starts with smart preventive measures. In today’s article we’ll have a look at exactly what you need to have and do to keep your hard floors in good, so read on to find out more.

Gather The Appropriate Tools and Supplies

The first step in caring for your hardwood floors is to ensure that you have gathered the appropriate tools and supplies. Using the wrong tools or cleaning supplies may end up scratching or damaging your beautiful flooring, so be sure to do your research when it comes to figuring out whether your flooring is made of solid wood, laminate, or composite as all varieties may differ in their needs.

As a general rule of thumb, you’re going to want to ensure you have at least one or two of the following tools at your disposal:

  • A High-Quality Hard Floor Washer
  • A Microfiber Dust Mop
  • A Vacuum Cleaner with hardwood friendly brush attachment
  • Homemade Cleaning Solution or Commercial Hard Floor Cleaner
  • Floor Polish or Wax

Cleaning Hard Floors Naturally

If you want to go the natural route, cleaning your floors with vinegar is one of the most effective ways to do so. It also happens to be a safe, non-toxic and inexpensive method of cleaning, making it ideal for homes with pets or young children. A simple recipe for a vinegar-based cleaning solution includes one quarter cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water.

To get the actual cleaning started, you’ll first want to ensure that you have removed any dust particles from your flooring with the help of a microfiber mop that won’t scratch your flooring. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a suitable brush attachment. Once all dust and debris have been eliminated, simply saturate a sponge or rag mop in your vinegar/water solution and then wring it almost dry, just enough to keep it slightly damp. Simply mop the floor as usual and then wipe up excess liquid because it has the potential to damage wood flooring if left to dry on its own. If the weather is exceptionally cold or humid, it is always recommended to turn your ceiling fan or air-conditioner up to speed up drying.

Cleaning Hard Floors Without Water

If you’d rather skip the water entirely, you can also opt for commercial hard floor cleaners that are suited to your specific flooring material. Most of these cleaners do not require rinsing, nor do they leave any sticky residues, meaning you won’t have to spend ages slaving over the floors. Again, you’ll still have to ensure that you remove dust and debris from the floor prior to using your cleaning solution.

Preventative Measures 

As someone once said, prevention is better than cure, which is why taking the time to ensure that you do as much as possible to protect your hard flooring is important. Some of the following tips are incredibly helpful when it comes to keeping your flooring clean:

  1. Always ensure that guests or children remove their shoes outside the home in order to prevent bringing in mud, dirt or other nasties that have the potential to stain or damage your flooring
  2. If you have a dog or cat, consider purchasing a portable paw-cleaning device and keeping it just outside your door so that you can give your furry friends’ paws a good cleaning before they enter the home after a walk.
  3. Wherever possible, cover your hard flooring with rugs. This will help prevent stains from spilled wine, food and other substances that may damage your floor. This is especially important in the dining and lounge areas that experience high foot traffic and the endless possibilities of spilled food and drink.
  4. Avoid dragging large items or heavy furniture along the floor as this may cause permanent damage in the form of scratches.

How Often Should I Clean My Floors?

Ideally, if you want to keep your floors sparkly and clean at all times, we recommend giving them a good dusting and mopping at least once a week. Regular weekly cleanings will ensure that you prevent floor cleaning from becoming a major on unmanageable task. This is also a good way to make sure that stains and scuff marks don’t make a permanent home on your flooring which is always helpful!

Do I Need To Polish My Floors? 

If you want to go the extra mile, experts recommend polishing your hardwood flooring every 3-4 months. Floor polish will help to fill scratches and protect your flooring’s finish against future damage and over-cleaning. As always, be sure to do a thorough dusting and mopping at least one week prior to polishing.

It is important to keep note that depending on the finish of your flooring, you may or may not have to polish them. Flooring with waterproof barriers such as urethane benefit from polish, while flooring with tung oil or unsealed wood will require wax instead. Using the wrong product can create a host of problems and even impair proper refinishing down the road. This is why it is incredibly important to do your research and figure out exactly what your floors need in order to ensure you don’t cause any damage.

Keeping your hard floors shiny and presentable all year round isn’t as daunting a task as you may imagine it to be. We hope that this article has given you some valuable insight as to how you can take good care of your hard floors in order to maintain their shine and integrity for years to come!