With all of the laminate flooring and carpet options available today, it can be hard to find a home with authentic hardwood flooring when you're in the market to rent or buy. Laminate flooring and carpet may be cheaper to install, but they can lack the charm of real hardwood. While hardwood flooring may require a little more effort to care for since its a natural, rather than synthetic, material, it'll be time well-spent. Properly maintained hardwood has a rich luster.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when caring for real hardwood flooring:

Daily Maintenance 

-To avoid tracking dirt and debris onto the hardwood, place a mat either outside or just inside your front door.

-Avoid wearing shoes, especially ones with pointy heels, on the hardwood, which could scratch or scuff the surface.

-Place protective pads under furniture and other heavy objects. If you have young children, place a large area rug in any open space to protect the wood from scratches and nicks from toys. 

-Dust the hardwood flooring on a regular basis using a microfiber mop to pick up any dirt, debris or pet hair. You can also spray the mop head with a dusting agent to aid in pick-up. Use a microfiber cloth to spot-clean any small areas.

-Wipe up any spills immediately using a clean, soft cloth to avoid staining the hardwood.

Deep Cleaning

-Clean up any dirt and stubborn stains you can't remove with daily or weekly cleaning with a periodic deep scrubbing. To do this, mix a  wood-cleaning product with water according to the manufacturer's directions. Use a mopped dipped in the solution and wrung out to clean large areas, and a soft sponge to spot-clean smaller areas. 

If it's specified on the cleaning product's label, rinse the wood with either the mop or sponge dampened with clear water. Thoroughly dry the hardwood flooring with soft cloth. You can also set up a fan to blow on the flooring if you live in a damp climate. 

Stain and Scuff Removal

-To remove any stains or scuff marks that remain on finished hardwood after the deep-cleaning process, you can use very fine steel wool. Rub a little floor wax onto any heel or water marks or dark stains using the steel wool until the blemishes are gone. 

-For oily stains, such as grease or food, rub soft a small amount of a gentle dish washing detergent onto the marks using a soft cloth. Rinse the soap off with clear water and dry the area thoroughly.