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Since throw rugs trap dirt, sand, and pebbles from your shoes that get tracked indoors, make sure you place rubber pads outside your exterior doors while keeping decorative rugs (with natural fiber non-slip pads) inside. In particular, buy ones with a label reading “safe for wood floors” to make sure they won’t damage or discolor the hardwood finish.

Don’t wait for a big clean to remove dirt or grit, “which becomes like sandpaper underfoot,” says Miller, from your hardwood floors. You can also use a vacuum, but make sure it has a hardwood floor setting and that the beater head is turned off to prevent dents or scratches.

Take off any cleats or shoes with spiked heels or at least use caution when wearing them because they can dent floors. A key to that is regular pup pedicures—be sure their toenails stay trimmed and that sharp edges are filed off.

Keep fabric-backed slides on the bottom of furniture legs such as chairs to prevent dragging them over the floor. Spray mops are fine as long as you don’t overdo it and leave the floor sopping wet. Every three to five years, you’ll likely need a maintenance, also called glaze, coat, which is application of a new layer of the floor’s finish. It’s generally not a DIY job because it’s labor-intensive and requires a high level of skill for even sanding and application of finishes.

Headshot of Arricca Elin SanSone
Headshot of Arricca Elin SanSone

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