Choose the Right Vacuum
Yes, you can vacuum your hardwood floors. In fact, doing so can grab dust that's hiding between floor boards. Choose a vacuum that works well on wood floors. There are lots of options from a Dyson to a Roomba.
Related: Why I Love My Central Vac
Less is More
If your floors are really dirty, you want to use more cleanser, right? Wrong! Too much of a harsh product isn't good for them. Instead, thoroughly sweep or vacuum first. Then use a moderate amount of cleanser to wipe them clean. Read the labels to make sure you're using a product that's safe for your floor type.
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A good rule of thumb for cleaning floors is to use the gentlest cleansers first, then up the ante if you need something more powerful. Gentle soap or white vinegar and water are good for starters. Whichever you choose, don't dump anything straight on the floors. Use a mop or a soft cloth to clean.
Related: How To Clean EVERYTHING
Take Care with Furniture
Moving furniture is one of the fastest ways to damage perfectly good floors. When rearranging your space, pick up bookshelves or couches instead of pushing or pulling. Otherwise, it might be time to start shopping for rugs to cover those unsightly scratches.
Related: Moving 101—Easy Ways to Make the Most of Any Move
Even when you're not moving into a new place, furniture can still hurt your floors. Installing furniture pads on chair or table legs can keep your floors from getting scratched.
Related: What Would Bob Do? Fixing Scratches on Wood Floors
Check High Heels at the Door
The click-clack of stilettos on hardwood floors is a death knell. Keep your floors dent-free by wearing indoor-friendly flats or slippers.
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A dented floor board may need to be replaced, but that can be a big project. For smaller dents, a steam iron might do the trick. Test the iron in a corner or hidden spot – some finishes can discolor with steam treatment. Then, wet the area and place a wet towel over it. Apply a heated iron to the cloth and wait for a few minutes. The heat should help the compressed fibers to get back in shape.
Keeping your pets comfortable will help your floors, too. Keep their nails trimmed and clean up any accidental mishaps as soon as possible to prevent lasting damage.
Related: 10 Over-the-Top Ways to Pamper Your Pet
Give dull hardwood floors a little pick-me-up with a tea treatment. Boil 5 or 6 tea bags in 5 cups of water and allow to cool. Using a mop, apply the tea to your floors for a temporary shine that's faster than refinishing.
Related: Parquet You Say! 10 Stunning Wood Floor Patterns
If you choose to refinish your own floors, try a random orbital sander and use sandpaper that's fine enough not to damage them. Move the sander across your floor boards as if you're mowing the lawn, row by row, for an even look. When applying the stain, be sure to test it in an inconspicuous spot in case the hue isn't what you had in mind.
Related: Project Guide—Refinishing Hardwood Floors
If your hardwood floors are squeaking, putting nails through your boards probably isn't going to stop the sound and it certainly won't look nice. Instead, check your floors from underneath. The problem might be the subfloor and the joists rubbing together. If that's the case, you'll want to pull the two together with metal hold-down brackets or drywall screws.
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If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!