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  • Lauren Smith

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Everyone thinks wood floors are delicate and require special TLC, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most hardwood floors are polyurethane-finished and are a cinch to maintain if you follow a few easy guidelines. First off, Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, says to stock up on these essentials.

What You'll Need:

  • Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray

  • microfiber mop

  • baking soda

Now, learn how to clean your floors with these products.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Every one to two months, wet-clean surface-treated wood floors, using Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray. Simply spray a small 3-foot by 3-foot area with the cleaner and go over it with the microfiber mop to pick up the dissolved dirt. Work your way around the floor, cleaning one area at a time.

When you see a light scuff, buff it out with a sock or a clean, fuzzy tennis ball. To remove heavier scuffs, apply a little baking soda to a damp cloth and gently rub the mark until it disappears. Rinse with a damp paper towel and buff dry. However, once floors start to look worn, it's time to refinish them and call in a professional.

To reduce the number of times you have to wet-clean your floors, follow this advice.

3 Common Hardwood Floor Mistakes

1. Wearing your shoes at home

"I am a firm believer in taking my shoes off as soon as I come in the door, because this simple act goes a long way to eliminating virtually all of the tracked-in dirt that can wreak havoc on a wood floor's finish," says Forte. Dirt and grit are abrasive and over time these particles leave behind fine scratches that make your floors look dull.

2. Not vacuuming often enough

Nothing removes dirt and fine debris from the cracks and crevices of a wood floor like a good vacuum cleaner. The best choice is a canister vacuum with its long, oval floor brush attached. "If you only have an upright model, be sure to turn off the rotating brush to keep the bristles from scratching your floors," says Forte.

3. Waiting too long to clean up spills

Spills will happen, but if you let them dry on the floor they'll dull the finish and attract additional dirt. Blot spills immediately with an absorbent cloth. "The worst thing you can do is let water puddle on the floor," says Forte. Follow up with a damp paper towel to remove any residue and buff dry.

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