Hardwood floor can be a beautiful investment. It adds warmth and beauty to the room and can increase the value of your home. But in order to keep it shiny and inviting, it needs regular maintenance.

Here’s how to keep your hardwood floor looking good today and for the years to come.

Use area rugs

Use area rugs in high traffic area such as hallways and living room. But be sure to sweep and mop the floor before placing a rug. Walking on an area rug that has been placed over a dirty floor can grind the dust, dirt and sand into the wood.

Vacuum regularly

This is the easiest way to extend the life and beauty of your wood floor. Nothing removes fine dirt and debris better than a good vacuum cleaner. These abrasive particles can ruin your floor. Use a vacuum with a brush or felt attachment, not a vacuum beater bar, to avoid scratching your floor. You can also dust mop the floor if you don’t feel like hauling out the vacuum.

Take off your shoes

Avoid walking on hardwood floors with high heels or shoes with sports cleats as it can scuff and scratch the wood. If possible, remove your shoes at the front door. This simple act goes a long way toward maintaining the beauty of your floor. Tracked-in dirt will wear through your wood floor’s finish. Foot prints may also show on dark floors. Be sure to leave a pair of slippers at the front door so you don’t have to walk barefoot.

Keep water out

Water can penetrate deep into the wood and cause permanent damage to your floor. Never use water when mopping. Wring it almost dry so it only feels slightly damp to the touch.

If you have kids, chances of spills are very high. Be sure to wipe up spills immediately with an absorbent cloth. To remove any residue, follow it up with a damp paper towel and buff dry.