Never use a soaking wet mop to wash a wood floor, wring it out thoroughly after rinsing. Or use a dry mop, or one with a replaceable anti-static cloth. In any case, use as little water as possible because water deteriorates the wood and the finish. An excessive amount of water can infiltrate the wood though scratches and around the edges causing the finish to deteriorate. Wood expands when it absorbs water. In extreme cases, such as a leaking roof or pipe, the floor may buckle upwards, necessitating replacement.
Cleaning methods using vinegar, ammonia or bleach can cut the life of a wood floor. In fact, many people clean their wood floors with water and vinegar or cleaners containing ammonia. These elements prematurely alter the luster of the finish and can cause black stains to appear on the planks because water can infiltrate planks and blacken the wood. Vinegar is an oxidant and alters the finish. The only way to remedy these alterations is to sand the floor and finish it again. However, sometimes the stains are too deep to sand out, leaving permanent dark areas.
Sweeping the floor and/or vacuuming regularly will prevent abrasive sand or dust from accumulating and scratching the finished surface. Clean the bristles of the broom or vacuum attachment often to avoid scratching. Never use a vacuum with a beater bar. Remove and clean rugs, mats, and other coverings and clean them and the floor often.
Never use wax, oil-based soaps or other oily, all-purpose cleaning products. The all-purpose cleansers on the market contain detergents and leave an oily or soapy film on the floor. This gives dirt a grip. What's more, when sanding becomes necessary, this accumulated coating of residue makes the sanding operation more difficult. Polyurethane finishes do not need waxing, polishing, or buffing.
Never use oil based products such as Murphy's Oil Soap on a wood floor, or any other finished wood surface, for that matter. It will soften the finish and leave a nasty, sticky residue that is difficult to remove and will trap dust and dirt.
Never slide furniture or other objects on a wood floor. Put self-adhesive felt discs on the bottom of the feet or legs of all of your furniture. Use rubber cups under the wheels of the piano.
Large dogs and small kids can be hard on floors of any type. If dirt is tracked in, it should be cleaned up right away to prevent grinding it into the finish. Keep the dog’s nails clipped and do not encourage running. Sell your kids to the circus.