One of the most elegant and timeless flooring types is something you might already have in your home: hardwood.

Hardwood floors don’t just have a classic look—they are long-lasting, strong and durable, relatively low maintenance, and when taken care of, can add value to your home. For any of these reasons, you might have already installed them or are considering it.

But just to put them into your home isn’t enough to really get all you can out of hardwood. Without the proper care and attention, they can fade rather than shine, deteriorate rather than age like fine wine.

And that’s no good.

At CVM Enterprises Inc., we want you to enjoy your hardwood floors for years to come, not watch them break down because you don’t know how to take care of them. So here, we’re going to help you.

Here are 4 steps to clean and maintain your hardwood floors properly. So they can shine for a long time.

1.      Dust and Dirt Removal

The first step is easy and can be chalked up to one of your daily home maintenance activities.

You have to remove dust and dirt.

Dust particles and debris will buildup on any flooring surface, but you’ll notice it more on hardwood floors because of their smooth surface.

You never want to use anything too harsh or scratchy on the hardwood. This could cause minor scratches and damage, which should be avoided at all costs. We recommend using one of two things: a vacuum cleaner or a dust mop.

Using these as opposed to brooms accomplished a very gentle dry dust and dirt removal job. For the vacuum, you want to use a floor-brush attachment, nothing that will beat and scratch the floor. If this is unavailable, then you need a soft dust mop, which can eliminate dust and dirt accumulations without any scratching.

Go over the whole surface, in all the nooks and crannies, and make sure all the solid, floating debris is taken care of. Once you’ve done this, you can move on to Step 2.

2.      Mopping the Floors

Although dusting and dirt cleaning should be done regularly to avoid significant messes, this shouldn’t be where you stop every time. Some mess can’t be removed with a dry clean.

That’s where mopping comes in. But here, you’re not mopping tile or laminate. Harmful cleaning chemicals are going to be dangerous on your hardwood, potentially damaging the finish and preventing your floors from lasting as long as they should.

There are a couple of safer mopping solutions you can use instead:

Vinegar Solution

The first is all-natural. We’re talking about vinegar.

In your mop bucket, you want to mix 1 gallon (16 cups) of lukewarm water and ½ cup of white vinegar. A solution like this will be gentle and won’t harm most hardwood. To make sure you have the right blend, find a spot on the floor that’s out of the way, like in a dark corner, and test it. Some hardwood finishes can become dull with vinegar, and we don’t want that to happen. If you see this is the case with your floors, don’t worry. We have a backup plan.

Wood Cleaner

While white vinegar is a simple and cheaper option, there are other things you can use on the market. There are many kinds of wood floor cleaners, and all can get the job done. We recommend using Pledge or Murphy wood cleaners, but no matter what you choose, it’s important to read the instructions and act accordingly.

Avoid over-wetting your floors; it can be helpful to clean in small sections to keep your amount of cleaner and water manageable. Mop as you would any floor, as you shouldn’t have to worry about scratching.

Once you’ve finished mopping, this could be the end of your cleaning. But to maximize your floor’s lifespan, we recommend some extra steps on occasion to keep them well maintained and shiny.

3.      Buffing Scratches

Over the course of time, wood floors can receive scratches in many ways. When it comes to scratches, obviously the best solution is prevention. But that isn’t always possible. We all have lives to live, and you can’t always be careful to keep the floors safe. That’s okay. There are ways to fix these scratches.

Just by combining some pantry ingredients, you could reduce and remove your scratches.

Combine baking soda and olive oil – just several drops for moisture – and apply it to a scratched area. Let it sit for five minutes, and then gently rub in the solution with a sponge.

If you want to buy something specifically for scratches, there are many products on the market. Test them out, and follow the instructions, and you should be able to make your scratches disappear.

4.      Final Polish

We recommend polishing your floors only once in a while, but if you’re going to have shiny floors for a long time, it’s important that you don’t skip this step.

Buy a wood floor polish, and you will be all set to go. You need to empty out the room you’re going to polish and work in small sections. Polish with a flat mop or applicator to get an even application and rub the polish back and forth to get rid of any stripes.

After polishing the whole surface evenly, you need to let the polish dry. This can take 24 hours, so it’s important to polish when you have the time to let it dry before allowing people to walk around or put the furniture back in place.

That’s it – your comprehensive guide to cleaning and taking care of your hardwood floors. If you follow these steps exactly, you should be able to enjoy your floors for a long time, truly accessing the beauty and longevity they offer.

If you have hardwood floors, let us, CVM Enterprises Inc, know in the comments how these tips have helped you!