In addition to common basic preventive and cleaning methods, such as placing mats in front of doors, vacuuming and sweeping regularly, there are also several lines of quality floor cleaners that can be used for a more thorough cleaning. Different cleaners go with different types and ages of hardwood floors.
To determine which cleaner to use, it is important to know the age and type of floor finish one has. Some floors are merely surface sealed, whereas many older floors are waxed after applying a penetrating seal, shellac, varnish, lacquer or oil finish. If information on the floor manufacturer or installer is at hand, then it helps to contact these individuals and ask for a recommendation on the best floor cleaner to use. Some types of hardwood floor manufactures also make their own cleaner. Customers should verify that such cleaners work on older floors. If all else fails, customers can buy and test a generic brand.
The use of water in hardwood floor cleaning requires special caution, as excessive amounts of water can easily cause wood expansion and damage. Some floor specialists discourage the use of water altogether, whereas others allow for damp mopping or wiping with water and a small amount of vinegar. Many professionals recommend approved wood cleaners instead.