Timber floors are typically very durable and may actually need less professional cleaning and maintenance than tile or carpeting; they are also very hygienic, since they hold less dust and debris than carpeting or floor tiles. To ensure your timber floors look their best for as long as possible, note a few important tips on caring for these floors in your home.
Avoid using wax
You may assume that wax is good for timber floors since you may add a layer of wax to wood furniture, but wax can easily dry up and then cause the wood under it to become dry. It's also easy to scuff the wax on the floors so that it looks unsightly, and these scuffed areas can then hold dust, dirt and other debris. If your timber floors are looking a bit dull, have a professional give them a buff and polish rather than just waxing the surface.
Avoid citrus cleansers
Some home cleansers are scented with lemon, lime, or orange extract, but this citrus can be very drying and damaging to the floors. If you want any of these scents in a cleanser, but sure to opt for something with artificial additives and not real citrus acids or oils. Also, be sure the cleansers you use are meant for timber floors in particular so they don't dry or damage the wood.
Never clean the floors with water
You may be tempted to damp mop a very dirty timber floor, but this will typically leave unsightly watermarks behind. Water will also dry the timber itself and cause it to become brittle and cracked. In some cases, you might even need to call a professional to have the floors buffed to remove those watermarks, so always use a dust mop or polishing cloth on the floors instead.
Vacuum the floors
You may hesitate to vacuum wood floors, assuming this would cause damage; however, a vacuum can reach nooks and crannies between floorboards and also pull up dirt from the porous surface of the timber itself. Be sure to use a lightweight vacuum and not a heavy-duty shop vacuum, and adjust the head of the vacuum to a setting used for thick carpeting; this will keep the vacuum from dragging across the floor and potentially causing scratches and scuffs. If the slats of the floorboard have pulled away from each other, you can use the vacuum hose with a brush attachment to get dirt and dust that may have settled into these areas.