Many homeowners love finishing their houses with a lot of wood, from their ceilings to their walls, to their floors. A hardwood floor has character. It may darken or fade over time, depending on its exposure and your care. Wooden floor boards are decorative in themselves, and they will stay that way as long as we clean and maintain them. Remember that you are cleaning the top of the finish and not the floor boards themselves, so you have to ease up on the use of water and harmful chemicals.

Step 1

Clear the area of all mats and rugs. These materials tend to collect dust and dirt. Shake them off and hang them out while you're cleaning your floor.

Step 2

Sweep your floor to gather up dust particles and dirt grains. Use a soft-bristled broom.

Step 3

Vacuum your floor boards in between planks and in hard-to-reach corners.

Step 4

Wipe off any sticky spots and spills using a damp terrycloth mop, cloth or sponge. Excess water could cause your wood to swell and crack, so always wipe off. Use mild detergents and avoid ammonia, strong vinegar, harsh detergents or ordinary oil soaps which dull and destroy newly-finished floors.

Step 5

Spray wood-cleaning products or floor cleaners by squirting in an "S"-like fashion. A hardwood floor cleaner removes heel or scuff marks left behind by shoe prints, and it removes tough stains and grease. Water-based cleaners, low-pH to neutral floor cleaners, and moisture-cured urethanes are water-resistant and protective of well-finished floors.

Step 6

Wax and buff as needed, especially on areas that are frequently used and scratched.

Step 7

Buff your floor boards using a dry, non-abrasive rug to restore their luster. Unless you're sure what finish was placed on your floor boards, it's always safest to just wipe and buff dry.

Step 8

Place mats on floors where water may splash or spill like near sinks, aquariums or entryways to doors and gardens. Wet mopping only needs to be done once a month or when dirty.