Remove residue with no-wax wood floor cleaner
iStock/Fonrimso Keep it in the hall closet or another convenient location so that you can get to it quickly to clean up small problems before they become big ones. Wipe up spills and dirt immediately; then use the cleaner to remove the residue. Dirt can damage the finish or get ground in. Liquids can damage the finish or stain the floor. It’s important to clean spills on wood floor quickly, but make sure you’re not over-cleaning these other areas of your house.
Know the rules about using waxes and restorers
iStock/akurtz You can rejuvenate a wax finish with more wax. But never use wax on a surface finish such as shellac, varnish, or polyurethane. It not only makes the floor far too slippery, it also interferes with subsequent finishes. If the finish is polyurethane, use a polish made for polyurethane. If it’s another type of surface finish, get a general-purpose floor restorer; test the restorer on an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t peel off.
Use an extra-long “walk-off ” doormat
iStock/courtneyk Ideally, people should always remove their shoes when they come inside. This way, dirt, water, and salt and ice won’t be trekked onto the wood floors. But, since shoes don’t always get removed, doormats, inside and out, earn their keep and then some. While vacuuming and spot cleaning they are great, and keeping the dirt out in the first place is even better. Get a 4- to 6-foot-long “walk-off ” mat for the front door. The longer the mat leading up to the door, the more people will rub dirt and moisture off their shoes as they walk in, even if they don’t stop to wipe them.