The Worst Mistake You're Making With Hardwood Floors

If you have hardwood floors, you probably have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. They are gorgeous and usually last a long time. They typically don't show too many stains, and as long as you do it quickly, any significant spills are relatively easy to wipe up. However, sometimes they're difficult to clean. Depending on the manufacturer, your hardwood floor may have specific cleaning requirements. If you make a big enough mistake, it could end up ruining your beautiful wood floor (via Cleaning Exec).  

The number one mistake you might be making with your hardwood floors? Cleaning your hardwood with steam. Val Oliveira, the founder of Val's Services cleaning company, told The Kitchn, "You shouldn't use a steamer to clean your hardwood floors because wood and water don't mix well at all. The first time you use steam to clean the floors, it might look fine. But with repeated steam cleans, you'll start to see potentially permanent consequences."

Consumer Reports warned that water and high temperatures from the steam could cause your floors to warp. Steve Stocki, manager of marketing and merchandising at Lumber Liquidators, told the publication, "Drastic temperature changes and moisture may warp the wood." The words of warning apply to traditional hardwood, bamboo, and engineered flooring surfaces.

Avoid making these cleaning mistakes with your hardwood floors

Even if you avoided cleaning your hardwood floors with steam, you might still make other mistakes that could shorten the life of and dull the beauty of your hardwood. Even something as seemingly minor as too much water could cause problems (via Cleaning Exec). Much like the steam, using too much water will allow water to seep in between the boards, causing them to warp. The publication also warned against using harsh cleaners, vinegarammonia, or wax, and you should never pour any products right onto the wood. Any of these methods could damage your floor's finish. Even something as simple as the wrong mop may leave scratches.

Val Oliveira recommended that you stop wearing outside shoes indoors. "Set aside a pair of 'inside shoes' that you won't wear outside to avoid tracking grease and bacteria into your home," she said (via The Kitchn). She also gave some tips for you to clean your hardwood successfully. "Begin mopping from the back of the room, moving towards the front, so you don't track through the covered area," advised Oliveira. Use a small amount of water and cleaner with a soft mop. If dirt remains, make a second pass after some of the water dries. 

With attentive care, hardwood floors can be a long-lasting investment for your home that looks amazing for years.