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How to keep your hardwood floors looking fantastic – CNET

New hardwood floors — or restored old ones — can be a beautiful addition to your home. But they’re also a huge investment. 

You can make that investment last longer with some simple care tips. Here’s how to keep your hardwood floors looking great, long after the installation or renovation.

Start with a clean sweep

You need to sweep hardwood once a day, but your typical broom isn’t going to cut it. Invest in a dust mop such as the O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Sweeper (which is what I use) or something similar. These mops have wide heads that trap dust without making micro scratches in the floor’s finish.

Be sure to push the mop in one direction and swivel to turn. Don’t lift the head of the mop off the floor until you’re done. If you lift the mop prematurely, dust and lint will be released into the air and you’ll need to re-mop the area you just finished.  I learned this trick when I was a school janitor cleaning gymnasium floors way back in the day. 

When you’re done, there will be a line of gunk where your mop stopped. Use a small microfiber brush and dustpan to gather it up. 

Then place the end of the mop into a garbage sack. Close the opening of the sack around the handle with your hand and give the mop a good shake to release trapped dust and debris.

Keep it dry

This may be counter to what you’ve learned about housekeeping, but don’t use wet mops or steam mops on your wood floors. The moisture can damage the finish and may even harm the wood after a while, according to the National Wood Flooring Association

Instead, use a cleaner that’s made for wood floors. Many of these products are formulated to work with the type of finish you have on your floors, so make sure you read the labels before you make a purchase. 

Carefully follow the directions on the bottle when you clean. It’s usually recommended that you clean your floors only once a month with cleanser.

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Beyond cleaning

Cleaning your hardwood floors properly isn’t the only thing that will keep them nice. You also need to take some preventative measures.

Clean up spills or any other moisture right away to avoid damage to the wood. A damp cotton or microfiber cloth is ideal for spot cleaning.

Consider applying a UV coating on your home’s windows. UV rays can bleach the hardwood over time, leaving discolored spots on areas that get the most sunlight.

Finally: Pointy things are bad. Don’t sashay across the floor in high heel shoes, for example. The pointy heel can leave divots in the wood. Furniture legs can also leave imprints and scratches, so be sure to put felt floor protectors on the bottom of each leg.   

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