Hardwoods are a warm and beautiful choice for your home. And while hardwoods are easy to clean, they do require a bit of care and maintenance to keep them beautiful through the years. Here are a few basic things to learn about caring for your floors.

The natural enemy of wood floors are sand, dirt, and grit. They scratch and dull wood floors years before their time. This mean regular upkeep is needed. Rugs should be vacuumed and shaken out to be sure that dirt is not tracked around the room. Wet mops, swiffers, and even simple sweeping can keep dirt at bay.

Also guilty for scratching? Furniture. You can buy inexpensive protective pads that adhere to the bottoms of furniture legs. These prevent scratches and indentation when furniture is moved. And be sure to lift heavy items. Pushing or dragging can leave marks.

High-heeled shoes can also be damaging to wood floors. If this is a real concern for you, be sure to ask your guests to remove their shoes upon entering, no matter how fabulous they look!

Another danger can be the sun. Wood may experience discoloration over time if left in direct sunlight. To protect your flooring, consider using shades and drapes from time to time.

Next, don't allow water to stand on the floor. If you spill, be sure to quickly mop it up and dry the wood. It is the same concept as a wet glass leaving a ring behind on your wooden coffee table.

As a general rule, avoid waxes (on urethane finishes), oil soaps, petroleum based products, dust cleaners, and ammonia products when cleaning your wood floors.

Instead, use the correct cleaner, ideally one created specifically for wood floors. The best choice is a damp mop, which cleanses gently. Next, be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines if you have them. By using cleaning products specifically engineered for your hardwoods, you avoid leaving behind an oily residue that can slowly eat away at your woods.

These simple tips can help extend the longevity of your hardwoods! Now you can enjoy their beauty for years to come!

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