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Hardwood’s Most Wanted: The Biggest Villains of Hardwood Flooring Care

Every plank tells its own story of elegance and style with the waves of grain, the burls, the knots and the wide range of hues. And because these floors are so special, they need special care.

3 min read
Published on July 14, 2023

Hardwood floors are, without question, special. Every plank tells its own story of elegance and style with the waves of grain, the burls, the knots and the wide range of hues. 

And because these floors are so special, they need special care. This includes knowing how some common cleaning and care products can cause serious damage.


a bedroom with solid hardwood flooring from ll flooring


To help you preserve your hardwood floors for years to come — and to make you a hardwood flooring hero — here’s what you should know about some of hardwood’s “biggest villains.” 


Be Gone, Beater Bar

Many homeowners have great intentions of keeping their hardwood floors looking clean and pristine. But far too many reach for the vacuum to do their regular sweeps — and as a result, the dreaded beater bar starts a-spinning. 

This hard-scrubbing device at the bottom of your vacuum is meant for cleaning carpet but it can do a number on hardwood, leaving a trail of scratches, scrapes and scars in their wake.

So, what to do? Disengage the bristle bar when rolling over hardwood, but ideally find a hardwood-flooring specific vacuum. The good news is there are plenty of excellent made-for-hardwood vacuums that come with soft pads to clean them properly and gently.


Just Say ‘Whoa’ to Wet Mops 

A big enemy of hardwood flooring? Way too much water. Wet mops, while effective for many types of floors, should not be used for hardwood cleaning. Too much water can cause your hardwood to split, creak or crack.

That’s not to say you can’t give your hardwood flooring a deep clean. A safer and better alternative is a lightly dampened microfiber mop. Plus, no bucket required.



Ammonia Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

Certainly, ammonia is a great product to clean a wide variety of places in your household, including tile, greasy counters and stovetops, even jewelry. 

But for hardwood floors, it really stinks.

The reason? Ammonia can do damage to your hardwood surface and seep into the wood to do greater harm. The best advice is to always review your hardwood flooring maintenance guide to understand the best way to get rid of big stains and grime.


Hold the Vinegar

Another common home cleaning product that should not be applied to hardwood flooring is vinegar. Sure, vinegar can do cleaning wonders for a variety of places in the home like sinks and inside microwaves, but using vinegar can dull your hardwood flooring’s shine and damage the upper layer of the hardwood plank.

One pro tip to make sure vinegar doesn’t touch the floor when others are doing the cleaning: apply a “don’t use on hardwood flooring” label on the bottle.


See Through the Dangers of Glass Cleaners

We all love spotless windows, and that’s why we grab the glass cleaners for the spraying satisfaction of wiping away fingerprints and whatever else is mucking up our view. But when applied to flooring, glass cleaners — which contain ammonia — can actually cause spots and discoloration. 

That said, there are glass cleaning products that can be effective — but be sure they are ammonia free, and again, read your hardwood flooring’s care instructions.


Be a Hardwood Floor Hero

Now you know the villains of hardwood flooring, you can be a hardwood flooring hero to keep your hardwood looking great for years. 

And one key way to accomplish this is with the right care tools: LL Flooring’s Bellawood Floor Care Maintenance Kit comes with a dry mop, Bellawood floor cleaner, felt pads for furniture protection and more. With this kit in your toolbelt, you’ll be well on your way to preserving the beauty of your floors for years to come — and showing your hardwood floors the love they deserve.


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ALSO, do you learn about home improvement and design with fun and informative videos? Subscribe to the LL Flooring YouTube Channel to learn more, leave comments or ideas that helped you, and join the community!

In this YouTube Short, LL flooring installation experts Mark and Louie share decades of hands-on experience, showing a dramatic hardwood plank replacement in under a minute!




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