If you’ve just had a freshly laid and lacquered timber floor installed in your home it’s vital you learn how to take proper care of the new hardwood to ensure it enjoys a long, healthy and lustrous lifespan.

Maintaining wood floors is a breeze once you have the procedure down-pat, but there are as many different cleaning processes to adhere to as there are timber flooring choices available. Different wooden flooring products, finishes and coatings mean there is no one process to rule them all.

Using the wrong cleaning substance and equipment can do more harm than good despite your best intentions, so we’ve put together some tips for how to clean new hardwood floors without doing any damage.

Cleaning & Maintaining a Timber Floor

  • Use an anti-static mop to sweep regularly
  • Stick to a soft-brush head vacuum to avoid scratching the wood
  • Use a damp mop as recommended by the type of coating manufacturer (fortnightly to monthly)
  • Adhere to recommended cleaning product guidelines
  • Ensure furniture and appliances are fitted with floor protection to avoid scraping the wood
  • Wipe up any spills immediately to avoid stains/discolouration
  • Trim your pet’s nails regularly to avoid scratching the flooring
  • Lift furniture (bend at the knees) when moving furniture and appliances
  • Lay down entry rugs and/or mats to trap dirt
  • Maintaining wood floors also requires you to regularly move around any internal rugs laid

DON’T USE wet mops, steam mops, rubber-backed rugs, hard-head vacuum cleaners, worn brushes, abrasive cleaners, silicone sprays and steel wool or other abrasive brushes/mops. Avoid walking on the hardwood wearing stilettos, sport shoes or work boots.

Did You Know?

Aside from the clear-cut dos and don’ts, how to clean new hardwood floors without damaging them requires you to remember a few general rules of thumb:

  • When cleaning with a damp mop, the mop must be as dry as possible. Make sure to wipe any residue water off the timber floor when you’re done to avoid staining.
  • Sand and grit particles act like sandpaper. Entrance mats (when regularly shaken out) can help prevent you from dragging these harmful particles onto your hardwood.
  • Check the cleaning product is pH neutral and read the safety advice prior to purchase as some products can be a breathing or skin irritant.
  • Ensure the cleaning products are diluted as per instructions. If they’re too concentrated they will damage the wood coating, leaving permanent dull marks.
  • Always wear gloves and ensure the area is well-ventilated before getting started. Test the product first on an inconspicuous area of the floor before liberally cleaning the hardwood in its entirety.

Guide to Cleaning & Maintaining Wood Floors

For in-depth information on how to clean new hardwood floors and ongoing maintenance tips, please refer to the Floor Care & Maintenance PDF.

For Industry Professionals

If you’re in the timber flooring business you will find workshops and courses relating to timber floor assessments, compliance, techniques and more at the Australasian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA), the peak body for wooden floors and the timber flooring industry in Australia and New Zealand.