How to Care for Wood Floors

wood floor cleaner

Before we dive into caring for wood floors, let’s talk about some basics:

For the purpose of this post, there are two categories of wood flooring- unfinished and prefinished

  • Unfinished is just that, a solid piece of raw wood that is installed, sanded, stained, and finished on site in a client’s home. Unfinished or “Sand and Finish” wood can be sanded, stained, and refinished several times.
  • Prefinished comes sanded, stained, and finished from the factory.

Both unfinished and pre-finished have their pluses and minuses. Buying unfinished flooring gives you the most freedom, options, and control when it comes to design but it can be quite messy to install and needs time to dry once coated. Prefinished can be installed and walked on that same day. However, the choices of color and sheen aren’t customizable like sand and finish floors.

There are several sheens of finish ranging from gloss, semi gloss, satin, and even matte

Gloss is shiny like a gym floor and reflects light. Matte is the least shiny and doesn’t reflect much light while semi is somewhere in the middle. Generally speaking, the less shiny the less you will notice imperfections and wear, like dings and scratches. Keep in mind that all levels of sheen will dull over time.

So now you’ve picked out the perfect wood floor, it’s been installed, and it’s time to clean it. Stumped on how?
We’re here to help!

Follow manufacturers directions

Before we go any further, open another tab and pull up your flooring manufacturer’s website.

Each wood floor brand will have manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for their specific product on their website. By following their care and cleaning recommendations you are most likely to achieve the best results. It is important to note that disregarding the manufacturer’s instructions could cause you to void your floor warranty!

You’ve invested good money in your new floors. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you protect that investment.


  • Keep floors free from debris. Sweep, dust mop, or vacuum (without a beater bar) regularly
  • Use rugs, especially in volatile areas like near the kitchen sink or front door. However, do not put rugs down for 4-8 weeks after installation of floors in order to allow the finish to properly cure
  • Trim pet’s nails to avoid scratching floors
  • Damp mop, when needed, using a well wrung out microfiber mop and a ph balanced cleaner specifically made for wood floors
  • Mop with the direction of the wood grain to minimize streaking
  • Use a humidifier during cold, dry months when the heater is used often
  • Adhere felt pads or protectors to the bottom of furniture
  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • To remove hardened on gunk, spray a bit of cleaner on the spot and gently scrape away with a plastic dish scraper or credit card. Then wipe away any residue with a soft damp cloth
  • If possible, remove shoes inside the house. A large portion of dirt, allergens, and bacteria in homes comes from shoes. Rocks and dirt on the bottom of shoes often cause damage to wood floors


  • Don’t wear heeled shoes in the house, especially stilettos. High heels leave divets in wood that must be sanded to fix
  • Don’t vacuum with the beater bar spinning
  • Don’t clean wood floors with vinegar (or lemon, for that matter)- vinegar is an acid that eats away the finish. This is called etching. It dulls, damages, and discolors the floor over time. In many cases, using vinegar can also void your warranty!
  • Don’t use oil soaps, polish, waxes, or wax products, as these leave behind a film that attracts dirt and dulls the finish
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners like bleaches, ammonia, detergents, scouring powders, or pads
  • Don’t use products containing acrylics or urethane polish
  • Don’t let water, fluid, or pet accidents sit on the floor
  • Don’t use a sopping wet mop. Remember this formula: Wood + Water = Warping
  • Don’t steam-mop wood floors! Wood + Water + Heat = Ruined wood floors & lots of tears
wood floor cleaner

How to mop a wood floor:

  1. Sweep floor of debris
  2. Wet a microfiber mop head with hot water and wring out well
  3. Place mop head on mop
  4. Spray mop head 2-3 times with a ph balanced cleaner
  5. Mop an area
  6. Rinse then wring out
  7. Repeat steps until the whole floor is clean
  8. Toss mop head into the washing machine for next time

When properly cared for, wood floors can last the life of your home. Warm, beautiful, classic, inviting, and always in style. Here at Pyne Floor Coverings, wood will forever be our favorite flooring. Nothing else comes close.

If you’ve got questions on how to care for your wood floors, need cleaning supplies, or want to check out flooring options, please stop by our showroom!

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