The truth is, hardwood floors are super nice, durable and can add tremendous character to your home if they are properly taken care of. Even though the floor may look great now, they will need to be regularly cleaned. But when cleaning, you need to clean them in a manner that will maintain the wood’s integrity, thereby enhancing their useful life.

For starters, you should find out the kind finish of hardwood floors have. For instance, surface-sealed floors are sealed with urethane, polyacrylic or polyurethane, and they are water and stain damage resistant and are also easy to clean. Also, they are penetrating seal treated and oil-treated floors. The oil finish or penetrating seal will soak into the wood’s grain and harden. The last category is shellacked, varnished, lacquered and untreated floors. Even though they are considered to surface finishes, they are not as moisture, wear or spill-resistant as the other finishes.

Once you figure out the type of finish you have, take the smudge test. All you need to do is to rub your finger across the floor so that you can see if the smudge appears, and if you don’t see a smudge, then your hardwood floor is sealed. If you see a smudge, then the floor is treated with an oil finish, lacquer, varnish, shellac, and the penetrating seal.

For the sealed floors, don’t use waxes, oils, or furniture sprays. The reason being, oils leaves residue, wax, on the other hand, takes time and recoating the floors with them is quite complex. As for the furniture spray, you may end up sliding all over the place. Also, don’t use anything abrasive as it will scratch or dull the finish of the floor. Water is okay, but ensure that you don’t use too much to avoid making your floor dingy. Also, soapy water is great, but you shouldn’t overpower the floor. Ensure that you mop the floor regularly.

For the seal treated, varnished oil treated, shellacked as well as the untreated floors, use a stripper to prevent the buildup of wax, especially given that wax is key in this type of finishing. Also, never mop waxed floors – just sweep and vacuum it regularly instead.

Of course, you can always hire a professional cleaning service provider to take care of your hardwood floors. Don’t take any chances, have a professional maintain it.