Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable flooring materials. Many homeowners undergoing a home remodel or new home construction will opt for hardwood, however, it’s imperative to understand how to clean and maintain this coveted building material to protect your investment.

Types of Hardwood Floors

It doesn’t matter which type of hardwood floors you choose, they will all have similar cleaning and maintenance processes. Hardwood floors can be pricey, so keeping them in top shape is a priority for many homeowners.

There are many different types of hardwood, in addition to various stains to customize your flooring exactly the color you desire. The most common types of hardwood floors are:

  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Bamboo
  • Maple
  • Ash
  • Hickory

Homeowners can also choose between solid wood, engineered wood and reclaimed wood, but the cleaning and maintenance are relatively the same.

Hardwood Floor Maintenance: What to Avoid

Seeing that hardwood floor cleaning and maintenance has many nuances, there are some mistakes to avoid when cleaning your hardwood floors so that you’re not causing unintentional damage. There are different rules for sealed vs. unsealed hardwood floors, mainly that wetting unsealed floors too often can ruin them. Meanwhile, cleaning products that are too abrasive can damage the sealant.

Cleaning hardwood floors should start with cleaning them while they’re dry first, and the mopping will come much less frequently, about once a month. Vacuuming and keeping dust and debris off the hardwood floors will make mopping more effective by starting with a cleaner surface.

Keep in mind hardwood floors can be recoated, resealed, and refinished as needed, so this flooring material is durable enough to last as long as they’re properly taken care of.

Tips Cleaning and Maintaining Hardwood Floors

To aim for longevity and to protect your hardwood floors the best you can, establish a cleaning and maintaining routine from the onset. Doing your research about the specific nuances of hardwood is imperative to keeping them sparkling clean and lasting for years to come.

No Harsh Chemicals

Natural wood doesn’t respond well to cleaning products with harsh chemicals, and they can ruin finished hardwood floors. A simple wood cleaning solution will do the best at cleaning your hardwood floors, such as Murphy Oil mixed with water. Simple soap and water is also effective at cleaning hardwood and keeping it shiny and clean.

Vacuum Often

Vacuuming frequently will keep debris away from the hardwood floors that can potentially scratch them. It’s recommended to vacuum hardwood floors daily to avoid dust and debris buildup from everyday activities, especially coming and going from the house. Finishing it up with a microfiber mop can pick up whatever the vacuum missed.

Recoat Before Refinishing

Staying proactive about recoating your hardwood floors can buy time before having to refinish your floors. The difference between recoating and refinishing is that refinishing requires sanding first. It’s generally recommended to recoat your hardwood floors every 3-5 years and refinishing them as needed, which is likely to be after a decade or more.


Scratches can happen, but it’s best to treat them as soon as possible. If scratches have time to set in, they’re more difficult to remove. For a quick scratch fix, use a stain marker to cover it.

Be Wary of Water

Hardwood floors are easily susceptible to damage from water, moisture, and humidity. Keeping them dry is needed to protect their longevity. Hardwood floors strongly react to drastic temperature changes, and moisture can make it warp or swell. To avoid this type of damage to your hardwood floors, never use a steam mop to clean them.

Housemaster Serving Harrisburg and Lebanon Home Inspections

Why choose Housemaster home inspectors? Your local Housemaster Serving Harrisburg and Lebanon home inspectors provide various benefits to home buyers, home sellers, and can even provide home maintenance check-ups to keep your home safe and prepared for emergencies.

Housemaster home inspections consist of a thorough evaluation of a home's major visible components/systems/elements. We then provide a detailed inspection report documenting the findings of our home inspection, and we encourage you to ask any questions about the inspection report so that you fully understand what’s needed to make the house ready for buying or selling.

Harrisburg home inspectors Dan Ayers and Scott Ayers, like all HouseMaster home inspectors, have extensive training and certifications and are tested annually to meet the industry standards of continuing education, inspection, reporting, and customer service. As part of the oldest and most trusted nationwide home inspection business, Dan and Scott have been able to put their decade long experience in fire and water property restoration and their passion for customer service to good use in the professional home inspection processRequest an inspection today!