I can think of two reasons why you need to idiot-proof how you clean hardwood.

The first is that you either have a new floor, or a newly-restored floor, that you want to keep in top condition.

The second is that you want to get the kids to do their chores, but you don’t trust them not to damage the hardwood.

Both may be true. Therefore, let’s figure out our plan of attack.

The first step is to have the proper tools on hand.

Clean Hardwood

Mops for Hardwood

Regular maintenance of your floors is fast and easy when you have one of the best mops for hardwood.

The right dust mop is much more efficient than a broom. It picks up crumbs, hair, and fine dust like nobody’s business.

Try that with a broom and dustpan – there’s always a little bit of grit left behind.

You can keep your hardwood shiny by simply dust-mopping every few days.

Then, instead of shaking the mop pad out of the window or into the trash, grab your trusty vacuum.

Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

The best vacuums for hardwood floors have a key characteristic. They allow you to turn off the brush roller to avoid scratching the surface. This feature is essential on an upright vacuum cleaner.

If you have a canister vacuum, you likely have a bare floor attachment without a roller bar.

Or if you have a robot vacuum like a recent Roomba, these have soft nylon bristles that protect the finish and wheels that won’t leave marks.

In any case, a vacuum with a handheld attachment will suck that mop pad clean, so it’s ready to use the next time.

In fact, you may prefer to use a vacuum on your hardwood instead of a dust mop.

Mop Liquid for Hardwood

Even though you’ve swept, mopped, or vacuumed often, you’ll need to damp-mop once in a while.

Perhaps you’ve been told that getting your hardwood floor wet is a big no-no.

It’s true – saturating it with water ups the risk of moisture warping the wood.

Just avoid the problem by using a pre-mixed cleaner for hardwood. You don’t need to add water to it.

Your floors will dry quickly and have their shine renewed.

Now that you have all the tools you need to maintain your hardwood floor let’s establish a foolproof technique.

Foolproof Cleaning of Hardwood Floors

Prevention is key to protecting the floor.

Put down floor mats and train your family to wipe their feet when they come indoors.

Better yet, get into the habit of removing shoes.

Next, store your cleaning tools where they are easy to access. Keep a cordless vacuum in the kitchen to pick up crumbs.

If the tools are handy, no one has an excuse to let spills stand.

After that, teach the kids how to use the cleaning equipment. If you use the same vacuum on carpet and hardwood, mark the proper settings with brightly colored tape if needed. Make sure they understand how to turn off the roller bar for bare floors.

If the situation is hopeless, get a robotic vacuum and let it do the hard work for you. At worst, you only need to go over the edges of the room.

There are robotic mops, too. It may seem like an expensive investment up front, but the time they save pays for them in no time.

Finally, set a schedule and stick to it. Forming the habit of regular cleaning makes it less awful to do. Even if the floor looks good, run the dust mop over it and keep it in top shape.

Other Tips for Hardwood Floors

We’ve reviewed the best polishes for hardwood, but this is an expense you probably don’t need to worry about much.

New floors have durable finishes that rarely need polishing. It’s the older floors that need a touchup now and then, perhaps every six months or once a year.

One last trick to protect your floor is to put furniture pads underneath chairs, tables, and so on. These fluffy little stickers have the additional benefit of making the furniture easier to move.

Now, go forth without fear and enjoy your hardwood floors!