Hardwood floors are known for their durability and timeless look, but they still need to be properly taken care of. Barnum’s hardwood floors are sealed with a coating and finish to maximize their longevity, but naturally, hardwood floors are not indestructible. It can be easy to ignore or not know how to take care of your hardwood floors properly, so discover these common mistakes customers make and how to avoid them. These mistakes often fall into one of three categories: cleaning mistakes, furniture-related mistakes, and mistakes that cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Cleaning Mistakes 

Neglecting accurate cleaning and maintenance on hardwood floors is pretty common. However, it’s easy to learn by avoiding these cleaning mistakes.

  • Ignoring spills: As soon as a spill occurs, blot the moisture with an absorbent cloth; otherwise, warping and discoloration can happen. If needed, dampen a paper towel and then wipe dry.
  • Using harsh chemicals: Cleaning products that are ammonia-based, contain bleach, or are meant for glass can damage your hardwood floors. These products are known to be abrasive and can discolor flooring and weaken hardwood layers.
  • Cleaning with vinegar: While vinegar is a common natural cleaning solution, its acidity is damaging to hardwood floors. Using vinegar once may not show a difference, but continual use can wear away at your hardwood floors over time.
  • Steam cleaning: Water usage on all hardwood floors should be minimal, so using a steamer is not recommended. The combination of heat and water can break down your floor’s finish. We have also had customers have water damage where the steamer has leaked onto the hardwood when left in a closet.
  • Pouring cleaning products: When cleaning your floors, you may want to dump out a bunch of product and then spread it out, but this is bad for your hardwood floors. Allowing a puddle of cleaner to lay on your floor has the same effect as too much water on your flooring, it can absorb into the wood and cause puffiness and irregularities.

After reading these mistakes, you may be wondering how to clean your hardwood floors. Luckily, it’s not a strenuous process.

How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors 

  1. Vacuum your hardwood floors.
  2. Use the hardwood cleaner provided to you by Barnum Floors for your particular finish or mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a bucket.
  3. Dip a microfiber mop into the mixture or use a spray bottle to sprtiz cleaner over wood..
  4. Wring out excess liquid from the mop.
  5. Mop your floors.
  6. Do not walk on floors for 30 minutes until air-dried.

Furniture Mistakes

Besides cleaning incorrectly, your furniture can have an impact on your hardwood floor’s lifespan. Avoid these furniture mistakes.

  • Not using furniture pads: Applying furniture pads to the bottom of furniture legs can help prevent scratches. Also, the natural weight of heavy pieces can damage the finish over time. We highly recommend placing some type of protection on all furniture legs that touch the hardwood. The plastic wheels of rolling chairs should be replaced with rubber wheels.
  • Pushing your furniture around: Even with furniture pads on the legs of your furniture, dragging your furniture around is not recommended. Lift or use furniture straps and additional assistance to move your furniture. This will prevent you from getting scuff marks on your finish.
  • Leaving furniture in one spot:  Not moving your furniture for years on end is not good for your hardwood floors. Switching up your furniture arrangement can help diminish uneven discoloration from the sun. 

In most cases, being mindful of how your furniture interacts with your hardwood floors helps preserve them. By taking proactive measures and periodically thinking about your furniture, you can extend the beauty and durability of your hardwood floors.

Wear and Tear Mistakes 

Depending on the traffic on your hardwood floors, try to be conscious of what is walking on them. Common actions below can be mistakes for your hardwood floors.  

  • Wearing shoes: Walking on your hardwood floors with shoes (especially high heels) causes scuffs and scratches and carries in dirt and moisture. Create a space before your hardwood floors to leave your shoes as a reminder not to wear them. A 125 lb woman exerts 2,000 pounds of pressure on the tip of a high-heeled shoe – if the rubber tip is missing, it will severely damage your wood.  
  • Letting your pets’ nails get long: Most customers have cats and/or dogs. They are part of our families. To minimize scratches, keeping their nails trimmed is the best practice.  If there is a problem area where your pet seems to cause more challenges, put a rug in that area.
  • Rugs:  Safety first when talking about rugs. If you need a non-slip rug in an area, rubber back rugs are fine. Just be sure the rug & wood are completely dry before laying the rug back down. Most rugs are safe, but some with a jute back that scratches should have a pad laid between the rug & the wood. Remember, if you leave a rug in the same place for months or years, there will be a color charge between the exposed wood and the wood under the rug.

We do like to remind our customers your hardwood is a floor and not a piece of fine furniture.  Expect surface abuse, bumps & bruises, relax and enjoy the ease & health benefits of owning a hardwood floor. 

Learn More About Your Hardwood Floors

At Barnum Floors, we are happy to help answer all your hardwood floor care questions. We have been following hardwood floor best practices since 1995, and our team is full of hardwood floor experts and professionals to help you from new installations and refinishing to any questions you have about hardwood floors. Call today with questions, comments, or concerns about your hardwoods, or to schedule a service from our experienced team.