It’s hard to keep your floors clean. Kids are messy, pets (and people) shed, and there’s that one family member who never learned to wipe their feet on the welcome mat. The good news is that it’s easy to clean hardwood floors and keep them in tip-top shape if you know a few simple methods.

Dry Cleaning

Don’t worry; dry cleaning your floors isn’t as inconvenient (or pricey) as dry cleaning your clothes. The first and most regular step of cleaning your hardwood floors should be vacuuming, sweeping, or dry mopping your floors weekly. If you have pets shedding all over your floor or kids making Hansel-and-Gretel-inspired trails of crumbs, you may want to do this more often. These crumby particles are more than just frustrating to feel under your bare feet. They can cause tiny scratches in your flooring, which can wear down the finish on your floor, causing them to look dull over time.

Liquid Cleaning

While dust mopping and vacuuming are great for removing crumbs, hair, and dust from your floors, they won’t remove all the dirt built up over time. For a deep clean every now and then, you’ll need a liquid cleaner. One option is to use a warranty-approved store-bought wood-cleaning product. Another solid choice is to make a homemade cleaner using one part vinegar to 10 parts warm water. You could also add a few drops of a plant-based soap like liquid castile soap. Just the water and vinegar mixture alone are sure to make your floor shine, but the added soap is helpful if your floor is especially grimy. If you’re feeling fancy, you could even add a few drops of essential oils to make your floor look clean and smell like a spa.

When using liquid wood floor cleaners, cover a rag or sponge mop in the cleaning solution and wring it out to ensure that it is damp but not wet. If it’s too wet, moisture can seep into the floor and cause it to warp. Once you’ve mopped the floor, rinse the mop, wring out excess water, and damp mop the floor again to remove the cleaner. Make sure there’s no moisture left on your floor by wiping up any excess with a dry towel.

Steam Cleaning

As a general rule, never steam clean wood floors. Steam cleaning can work on floors that are fully sealed, meaning they won’t absorb any moisture, but more often than not, hardwood floors are not sealed and therefore should not be exposed to steam. The heat and moisture from steam mops can cause wood floors to warp and never recover. Remember—moisture is the bane of hardwood floors’ existence.

No matter what cleaning method you’re considering, remember to always check your floor’s warranty before committing to one. Whether you just got new floors and want to keep them in good shape, or you suspect you’ve been cleaning them wrong for years, our experts are here to answer all of your questions. Our flooring specialists are happy to help with all your projects, so visit our Gold River Flooring America showroom today to start one.