Ask someone who knows about real estate, and he’ll agree: hardwood floors add character, charm and value to any home.
However, hardwood floors--whether they’re a hundred years old or newly re-finished--take a great deal of abuse, from the grit lodged on the bottom of your shoes to pet paws and claws to over-watered houseplants, birthday parties and the rearranging of your furniture.
The most important thing to do to care for your hardwood floors is simple: keep them cleaner. As grit, dirt and dust accumulate, they turn throw rugs, slippers and shoes into sandpaper--wearing down the finish and exposing your hardwood floors to permanent damage from water, sunlight and spills.
Before people knew better, their solution to dirty hardwood floors was often a home-made concoction of hot, soapy water tainted with ammonia or harsh cleaners. They weren't cleaning their floors, they were slowly stripping them! We know that water can seep into the joints between boards. Without a protective finish to repel it, water can cause the pores to swell, the wood to rot and the floor to buckle. If that weren't bad enough, the detergents added to the water don't just remove the dirt, they softened the finish, shortening its life and leaving behind soapy streaks or a dull residue.
The best and safest product I have found for cleaning, but not weakening, my hardwood floors is Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner. No buckets, no water, no mops, no mess. I simply squirt it onto a 4' by 4' area of the floor and apply it with a damp, well wrung-out mop. This removes the dust, grit and grime from the floor. The cleaner is also great for laminate flooring.
Note: If your floor is very dirty, first use a vacuum or dry mop to pickup the majority of the dirt.
So, remember—a clean floor isn't just a floor that looks great. It's a floor with a strong finish that will protect your investment for years to come.