how to properly care for your hardwood floor main
(Photo: Pixabay)

Make your hardwood floors last longer with the following expert tips:

  •  Vacuum or sweep regularly, particularly in high-traffic areas, as small particles can get dragged along and scratch your floor.
  • Place doormats outside every entrance to help trap dirt, sand and grit.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Stick felt pads under all chair and table legs.
  • To remove hardened substances, such as candle wax, place an ice pack on the problem spot. Leave for about 10 minutes, or until the substance dries and becomes brittle. Scrape off gently using a butter knife or a credit card.

(Read on for types of floor finishes and maintenance do’s and don’ts)

IMPORTANT: Maintain your hardwood floor according to type of finish, not type of wood!

how to properly care for your hardwood floors
(Photo: Stocksnap)

Type of finish: Glossy

Surface-sealed floors appear glossy as they are finished with urethane or polyurethane, which also make them resistant to stain and water damage.


  • Use a floor-cleaning product recommended by the floor installer; or opt for plain water and mild, pH-neutral soap (such as dishwashing liquid)
  • Use a microfibre mop and wring it out completely (damp or nearly dry) before use.


  • Use oils, waxes, acidic products (such as vinegar) or furniture sprays, which can dull the finish.
  • Use a soaking-wet mop.
how to properly care for your hardwood floor matte
(Photo: Pixabay)

Type of finish: Matte or satin

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors have oil-based finishes that soak deeper into the wood and harden. They give the floor a matte or satin finish.


  • Apply paste wax or liquid wax designed for wood floors once or twice a year.
  • Buff regularly to maintain shine.


  • Use a damp mop – just sweep or vacuum.
  • Use acrylic or water-based waxes, which can discolour the woodwork.
  • Over-wax; if the floor loses shine, try buffing first. Lacquered, varnished and shellacked floors are technically considered to be surface-sealed, but they are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear. Treat these floors, as well as untreated floors, as you would penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors.

Not sure what kind of floor finish you have? Using a sharp blade, scrape off a bit of the finish in an inconspicuous area. If you scrape up a clear material, the finish is likely a surface seal. If the floor smudges but no clear material is scraped up, it is likely a penetrating finish.

Here’s to hardwood floors that will last!

For more home-related tips, read 6 Most Fashionable Floorings You Should Have In Your Home15 Efficient And Useful Home Hacks To Make Life Easier and 8 Common Home Cleaning Myths: True Or False?

Text: Verlaine Marquez/Home & Decor
Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew