Hardwood floors are a great investment for a homeowner. They add a certain charm and character to a home that can’t be replicated by laminates, carpeting, or any other type of flooring. However, the investment does not stop with the decision to purchase hardwoods.

To retain the value, the hardwood must be properly cared for and maintained. Fortunately, with a few simple, easy, inexpensive steps, your hardwood flooring will always remain in perfect shape.

1. Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

2. Do not use a Wet Swiffer. A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

3. Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.