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6 Tips for Protecting Your Hardwood Floors

A kitchen and dining room with beautiful hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors are low maintenance in some ways, but to avoid scratches and excess wear, you do need to take some precautions. From a regular (and proper) cleaning routine to protecting them from moisture and sunlight, we have six tips for protecting your hardwood floors.

Once you have the proper gear for the job, you’ll have no trouble keeping your hardwood floors in tip-top shape.

Regularly and Properly Clean Your Hardwoods

Two images of products recommended in the article including a TreeLen broom and dustpan, and a Miele compact vacuum.

While it’s just about impossible to keep outside debris from coming into your home, there are ways of limiting it. When dirt gets tracked into the home, it acts as an abrasive and, when it’s pushed around, it can scratch your floors.

Do your best to limit debris by leaving shoes at the door, wiping pet paws, and cleaning up any gritty food crumbs as soon as possible. It’s also best to regularly sweep and clean your floors.

The Treelen broom is perfect for use on hardwoods, and it features a long handle, which is great for your back. The dustpan features a comb that helps remove dust and hair from the bristles, so you don’t have to bend down and use your hands for this yucky task.

TreeLen Broom and Dust Pan

Locks into place for easy storage.

In addition to routine sweeping, you’ll also appreciate having a reliable vacuum, and nothing quite beats the vortex motor in a Miele. This model offers six different suction power settings, and a combination floorhead that’s fit for both low-pile carpeting and hardwood.

It’s also gentle enough to be used on your precious hardwoods without scratching them.

Miele Compact Vacuum

Superior suction, but gentle enough for precious hardwood.

Quickly Wipe Up Any Spills

A package of Bona hardwood floor cleaner care package placed on a clean hardwood floor in a lovely home dining area.

While maintaining your floors with regular cleaning is crucial, so is taking care of spills right away. When your hardwood floors come in contact with any type of pooled liquid, the wood absorbs the moisture quickly. Eventually, the liquid will cause the wood to swell or warp.

In addition to beverage spills, watch for sink and dishwasher leaks, dripping rainwater, or even melted snow from your winter boots and clothing. For this same reason, mopping with water and a solution isn’t ideal for cleanings. You’ll need something a bit more gentle and specifically made for hardwood floors.

We recommend the Bona Care Kit because it includes everything you need to properly care for your flooring for months. These products are all specifically designed for use on unwaxed, finished hardwood floors. The soft microfiber cleaning pad is both effective and gentle.

Bona Ultimate Hardwood Care Kit

All your hardwood floor cleaning solutions in one kit.

Use Mats and Area Rugs

A Unique Loom Sofia Collection area rug placed in an office area of a living room.
Unique Loom

If you don’t yet have a mat in your entryway, we recommend getting one to avoid any scratches on your hardwoods from outside debris. You’ll also want to clean under your rugs and mats during your regular routine in case any dirt or liquid gets under there.

Area rugs and mats are also an easy way to warm up your home and protect your hardwood floors from regular foot traffic and sliding furniture.

This option from Unique Loom comes in numerous sizes and colors, so you can choose the one that best matches your décor. In addition to the extra layer of safety it offers your precious hardwoods, we love its vintage look.

Unique Loom Traditional Vintage Area Rug

An effective and lovely addition to any home.

A “Slippers Only” Rule

An image of black lined crocs.

If you don’t already have rules in place for removing shoes at the door, it might be time to start, especially if anyone often wears high heels. Tiny rocks, dirt, and salt used in the winter are all easily tracked throughout a home. These are also all abrasive on your hardwoods and can lead to unsightly scratches.

But we get it—hardwood floors aren’t exactly warm and cozy on your feet, like carpeting. Plus, wearing only socks can be quite slippery on hardwood flooring.

If you prefer shoes, we recommend grabbing a pair of slippers that are specifically to be worn only inside. We prefer crocs because they’re like slippers, feel super cozy, and also won’t scratch your floors.

Crocs Unisex

Nothing like a comfy pair of house Crocs.

Use Protective Furniture Pads

A living room with hardwood flooring, and most furniture peices lined with X-Protector furniture felt pads.

Furniture-leg pads belong on just about everything when you have hardwood floors. Even heavy furniture that tends to stay in place will benefit from these because you might need to move it eventually.

These X-Protector felt pads work on anything you often have to slide or move, like dining room chairs. They’ll ensure you can move the piece smoothly without leaving any scratches. You can also use these pads to protect laminate or tile flooring in other areas of your home.

X-Protector Premium Furniture Pads

Ideal for furniture you often have to slide or move.

Protection From Sunlight and Humidity

A LEVOIT Humidifier placed over a nightstand, with a zoom in on essential oils being placed in a compartment.

Sunlight might offer many health benefits, but just like your skin, overexposure to UV rays can damage hardwood flooring, resulting in discoloration. Sun damage can take a long time to notice—most homeowners only see it when they move a large piece of furniture for the first time in years.

Occasionally rearranging your furniture and keeping your blinds closed during the brightest parts of the day can help in the areas of your home that receive the most sunlight.

If your home is particularly dry, this can also cause your flooring to shrink, gap, and, in the worst cases, even split. Very humid homes might struggle with cupping or crowning.

You can avoid these issues by ensuring your home remains at a safe humidity level. Also, grab yourself a humidifier if your house is too dry, or a dehumidifier to remove some of that yucky moisture in humid homes.

LEVOIT Humidifier

Add some moisture to dry air.

hOmeLabs Dehumidifier

For medium-to-large-sized rooms.

Maintaining hardwood floors isn’t all that complicated, but it’s easy to overlook certain things that are specific to their care. If you implement these best practices, you’ll keep those hardwoods gorgeously gleaming for years to come.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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