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How to Properly Maintain Wood Floors

Do you know what you should be using to clean your floors and the proper wood floor maintenance? Mike has some great tips this month that will save you money and keep your floors looking great! Mike is handing down tips from his family of flooring professionals. Check out our link to see different types of wood.

Wood Floor Maintenance & Cleaning

Michael Isaksen
Applied Wood Products
4th Generation Wood Flooring Expert

  • Helpful tips on wood floor maintenance
  • How to keep your wood floors looking beautiful
  • How to make a simple & effective cleaning solution

Cleaning wood floors is easy. Regular wood floor maintenance includes sweeping with a soft bristle broom or dusting with a dry microfiber mop. If the floor has beveled edges, vacuum with the beater bar turned off to remove dust from between the floor boards. Clean the floors periodically with my recommended cleaning solution that you can easily make at home.
Recommended Maintenance Schedule


  • Sweep or dust mop


    • Vacuum using the bare floor setting

As needed:

      • Clean with Distilled White Vinegar & Water solution
      • 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon of warm water (mixing ratio) or 1 Tablespoon per
        quart of water, I suggest storing in spay bottle under the sink to have on hand.
        Mist from spray bottle onto floor, remove with a dry microfiber floor mop

Every 3 – 5 Years:

      • Maintenance coats of floor finish

Every Few Decades

      • Sand and refinish

To keep wood floors looking and performing well for generations, follow these guidelines. Individual maintenance schedules will vary depending on use, wear and tear, and lifestyle.
There are other steps that can help maintain the beauty of wood floors:

  • Do not use vinyl or tile cleaning products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
  • Do not use anything but vinegar & water solution, no other cleaners, many cause problems when applying polyurethane maintenance coats
  • Use throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching the floor.
  • Do not wet-mop or steam mop a wood floor. Water and steam can dull the finish and even damage the wood.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened cloth.
  • Do not over-wax a wood floor. If a wax floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
  • Put stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching. Replace these often as dirt and debris can become embedded on the pad and act like sand paper on the flooring surface.
  • Avoid walking on your wood floors with sports cleats and high heels in disrepair. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels with an exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture to move it and to prevent scratches.
  • For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug at the kitchen sink.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps.

wood floor maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions: Care + Maintenance

How are polyurethane or other surface finishes maintained?
Dust, mop, sweep, or vacuum regularly. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known. When cleaning no longer restores shine, re-coat the floor with a surface finish. The frequency of re-coating depends on the amount of traffic. Never wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor.

Can cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors be used on wood floors?
No. Never use vinyl or tile cleaning products on wood floors. And never use self-polishing acrylic waxes on wood floors. These waxes cause wood to become slippery and dull. In this case, the floor must be sanded and refinished.

Can a wood floor be damp-mopped or steam cleaned?
No. Never damp mop or steam clean a waxed floor. When cleaning a surface-finished floor, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. You may generally use a dampened (near dry) mop to maintain a wood floor; however excessive moisture can cause damage as can steam cleaners. Water can dull the finish and even damage the wood. If water spills on a wood floor, immediately wipe it up with a clean cloth.

How can I prevent scratches on wood flooring?
Place rugs at entrance doorways, front door, rear & side entries, to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt and debris Vacuum the rugs frequently. Place felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floor regularly.

For questions Contact Mike Isaksen
*some of the information courtesy of NWFA