How You Could Be Destroying Your Hardwood Floors Without Even Realizing It

You probably have hardwood floors in your home, or know someone who does. But you may not know that your hardwood floors may be getting destroyed by seemingly harmless home decor items and activities. Discover how you could be destroying your hardwood floors, ahead.

No rugs or entry mat

Living room with gallery wall

Protect your hardwood floors. | Scovad/iStock/Getty Images

Hardwood floors without any coverings — e.g., rugs — will be worse for the wear. Rugs and doormats protect hardwood floors from dirt, grime, and potential scratches in high traffic areas. A “good entry mat is the first line of defense against dirt, gravel, and other outdoor elements that can mar a wood floor,” according to

Hint: Your vacuum could be ruining your hardwood floors.

Or using the wrong vacuum attachments

vacuuming a wood floor

Some attachments can damage floors. | antagonist74/iStock/Getty Images

Vacuum attachments can gouge wood floors, according to To avoid this, use the correct vacuum attachment. “If you only have an upright model, be sure to turn off the rotating brush to keep the bristles from scratching your floors,” Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Labs told Good Housekeeping.

Hint: This harms wood floors and they’re probably in every room of your house.

Wearing shoes

Pair of men's worn leather shoes or boots in doorway of home

Take your shoes off at the door. | jodiejohnson/iStock/Getty Images

One of the most important — and easiest — ways to take better care of hardwood floors is to stop wearing shoes in the house. Forte stresses taking shoes off at the door. “This simple act goes a long way to eliminating virtually all of the tracked-in dirt that can wreak havoc on a wood floor’s finish,” Forte said.

Hint: One shoe style is especially harmful to hardwood floors.

Wearing high heels

Red high heels on a wood floor

Heels cause damage. | Anetlanda/iStock/Getty Images

“Walking on wood with high heels can do similar damage” to taking a tiny hammer to wood floors, according to The force from the heel itself can put dents in hardwood floors. Avoid wearing shoes, but especially high heels on hardwood floors.

Hint: Don’t wait to clean up a spill.

Not cleaning up messes

spilled cereal on a wood floor

Don’t cry — just clean up the spill. | dwstinson87/iStock/Getty Images

You may find yourself “crying over spilt milk” as the saying goes if you don’t clean up spills on hardwood floors. Leaving liquids on hardwood floors can cause the finish to dull, according to Forte. Immediately wipe up any spills with a soft cloth and make sure the wood is completely dry.

Hint: Don’t use this household cleaning tool on wood floors.


mop on wood floor

Don’t use too much water. | tommaso79/iStock/Getty Images

“Moisture can penetrate the wood’s fibers causing boards to swell, cup, warp, and separate,” according to Don’t mop or use any sort of water to clean hardwood floors. The best strategy is to clean the floor with a mop that’s hardly damp.

Hint: Crucial information is needed before deep cleaning wood floors.

Using the wrong cleanser

Plastic bucket with cleaning supplies on wood background

Some cleaners are too harsh. | Logoff/iStock/Getty Images

When washing hardwood floors, the wrong cleaning supplies can be damaging. To know the correct cleaning supplies to use, one must first determine if the flooring is covered with polyurethane or wax, according to the DIY Network. Once you have the answer, either buy wax for wax-coated floors, or use vinegar and water to clean polyurethane-coated floors.

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