How to Care for Oak Hardwood Floors

Taking Care of Oak Hardwood Floors

Oak Hardwood Flooring Care

Oak hardwood floors require tender, love, and care to maintain their beauty and appearance. While durable, they are susceptible to irreparable damage if they aren’t properly cared for. The good news is that caring for your floors takes very little time and effort. We’ll cover how to care for oak hardwood floors, but let’s discuss inspecting your floors first.

Evaluate Your Floors First

Especially before wet-mopping your floors, visually inspect your oak wood floors to verify that the finish is still present and hasn’t become too thin.

If you’re unsure whether the top layer of finish is present or not, you can do a quick in-home test by getting a small droplet of water and placing it on the surface of the floor. If the water immediately absorbs into the wood, then the protective finish has been worn off completely. If the droplet of water sits for a bit but is still absorbed into the wood, your protective finish is too thin and allows moisture to soak through. If the water droplet sits on top and evaporates, the protective finish is still present and doing what it’s supposed to. It’s a good idea to test all the high-traffic areas with this method first, then spot-check areas with less traffic.

If your floors no longer have a proper protective coating, it is not advisable to use a wet-cleaning method. Exposed and bare wood will absorb moisture into the grains and fibers and trap dirt, making them look even worse. Wood can also hold moisture for long periods. Trapped moisture can be transferred to adjacent planks and begin to discolor or blacken over time. Scroll down to the section below, ” The Benefits of an Oak Floor Sand and Refinish” if your floors need completely refinished.

If your floor’s protective coat is still present and working, proceed to the next step below.


how to care for Oak Hardwood Floors Check list

Taking Care of Oak Hardwood Floors

With a soft-bristled broom or vacuum, remove loose dust, debris, and dirt from your floors before wet cleaning them. If using a vacuum cleaner, it should have a hardwood floor setting so that you do not scratch or damage the finish. In case your vacuum cleaner doesn’t come with a hard-surface setting, you should use a soft-bristled broom to clean your oak floors.

As a result of normal wear and tear, dirt is absorbed into nicks, cracks, and recesses, eventually filling the natural grain of the timber. Removing dust and other contaminates will help minimize scratching on the topcoat finish layer.

Wet-Cleaning and What Products to Avoid

For hardwood floors that have a water-based finish, we recommend using only a pH-neutral cleaner. 

The process of wet cleaning oak floors is pretty easy. Using a large 18″ microfiber mop head and a pH-neutral cleaner is all you’ll need. Mist the floor in 6-foot by 6-foot sections and swipe the mop from side-to-side. If you have multiple rooms, you might have to rinse the mop head out a few times. Ring-dry it until no more water comes out. Repeat this process until the floor is clean.

It is recommended, however, that you use a mop that is designed specifically for hardwood floors, such as a microfiber cloth mop head. The use of string mops on hardwood floors is not recommended any longer since they may cause excess moisture to accumulate on the floor.

Polishing or Shining Products Should be Avoided

In most cases, using store-bought rejuvenating and polishing products can cause more harm than good. Many products that claim to shine your floors contain acrylic, waxes, and other agents and are prone to attracting dirt to your floor over time. Despite what many people think, vinegar and water are not recommended as natural cleaning solutions for wooden floors. Vinegar is acidic and will eventually damage the finish on your floors. This effect is often characterized by a cloudy and hazy effect on your floor’s surface.

Preventive Maintenance

Among the most common enemies of wooden floors are shoes, pets, kids, and furniture. You may want to make a new rule that all shoes must be removed at the door. In addition, having the dog’s claws clipped regularly can prevent scratches and gouges to oak floors. In the rooms where oak flooring is installed, only allow children to play with soft toys that won’t cause damage if thrown or dropped.

The Benefits of a Deep Wood Floor Cleaning

There will be times when oak floors will require deep cleaning. If dirt, dust, and grime have been pushed down into the cracks and regular cleaning is not working, then a deep cleaning might be a worthwhile option. Deep cleaning is a method where scrubbing pads or brushes are used to agitate and penetrate deep into the cracks and grains to remove dirt. The following are four signs that your oak wood floors may require a deep cleaning:

1. There is a dull appearance to the floor.

When your oak floors start to appear dull, it is a sign that they require a deep cleaning. The cause of this is usually a thin film buildup of dirt and dust. It is possible to remove this build-up with a deep cleaning, leaving your floors looking shiny and new again.

2. There is a gritty feeling on the floor.

The feeling of gritty oak floors indicates that the floor needs to be deep cleaned. The cause is generally an accumulation of hard contaminates (e.g. sand) partially entrapped in the topcoat.

3. Dark spots are visible on the floor.

Generally, dark spots on oak floors are caused by spills that have not been properly cleaned up. In time, these spills will stain the floor, and deep cleaning may be the only solution.

4. There is a musty smell coming from the floor.

If you’ve used multiple store-bought cleaners over the years, chances are that they have left residues on the surface that is attracting airborne odors. This frequently happens in the kitchen and dining room areas where cooking and food are present.


The Benefits of an Oak Floor Sand and Refinish

Oak wood has withstood the test of time due to its durability, strength, and resilience. It’s a good idea to visually inspect your floor’s protective coating every 3 to 5 years. A few tell-tale signs that your floors require wood floor sanding and refinishing services are listed below.

Signs that your oak wood floors should be evaluated:

  • Excessive scratching is visible throughout.
  • The topcoat wear protection is missing or too thin.
  • Spills and dirt are being absorbed into the wood.
  • Bare wood is exposed and turns gray (oxidation).

Unfortunately, when hardwood floors are missing the topcoat protective layer, no amount of cleaning is going to make them look better. Dirt has already penetrated the wood and can only be sanded out. In that state, the only remedy is sanding and refinishing them.

We will have the necessary equipment and experience as a professional hardwood floor refinishing company to sand down your floors and apply a new finish. This process will take a few days, depending on the square footage, but it will be well worth it in the end. Your floors will look great once more, and they will be protected from further wear and tear. After your flooring has been refinished, you can follow the cleaning instructions in this article. We recommend that topcoats be replaced every 3 to 5 years. Your oak floors should not need to be sanded and refinished for a long time if properly cared for.



Keystone Hardwood Floor Care, Inc


About Us

Keystone Hardwood Floor Care, Inc is dedicated to providing premium quality services for Fort Wayne, IN, within a 60+-mile radius. We provide wood floor services such as annual maintenance plans, refinishing hardwood floors, and restoration. Contact us today with your questions.

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