7 tips to keep your wooden floor scratch-free

A scratched hardwood floor
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When well-kept, wooden floors can look fantastic. Unfortunately, life often has other ideas when it comes to keeping things pristine. Wooden floors can feel as vulnerable as wet cement at times with scratches and scuffs easily forming. 

You wouldn’t put up with a torn carpet, why settle for a damaged wooden floor? In addition to regular cleaning, prevention is the best way to keep a wooden floor looking its best. Here are 7 tips to keep your wooden floor scratch-free. 

To keep your wooden floors looking pristine, you need to avoid these 7 mopping mistakes which are ruining your floor

1. Remove your shoes

Shoes on a hardwood floor

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Good manners and good practice, getting guests and family to remove their shoes will go a long way to sparing the floors. No one will be offended and shoes, particularly those with pointed heels, can cause serious damage to a wooden floor.

If your wooden floor is by the front or back yard, shoes can bring in all kinds of debris that can be ground into the floor. Sticks and stones may break your bones but they can also scratch the floor. If you can’t get children or family members to de-shoe before coming in from outside, try reminding them with one of the best outdoor rugs. Speaking of which… 

2. Rugs 

Rolled-up rugs

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As well as being great for hiding the worst scratches and dents, rugs will cushion the floor from any potential scratch-inducing impacts. Of course, you will still need to clean the rug, but that is easier than getting rid of a deep scratch.

Rugs can also provide extra insulation and keep your (shoeless) feet off of cold wooden floors. If you have underfloor heating, be careful when using rugs as they can cause it to overexert and overheat. 

3. Protect furniture feet 

A chair with pads on the feet

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Furniture feet can cause damage to the floor quite easily — especially heavier pieces with a small surface area — but it’s also easy to prevent. Try putting felt pads under the feet or if you’ve got old carpet or a rug lying around you could always cut it up. Sliding can be an especially common problem if you have kids jumping on furniture or getting up and sitting down without care. Rubber pads are the best way to counteract this.  

4. Pet Claws 

iRobot Roomba 675

(Image credit: iRobot)

We all love our furry friends but they aren’t always helpful when it comes to keeping the house clean. To solve the shedding issue we would suggest one of the best robot vacuums for pet hair, but sharp claws can be devastating on wooden floors and need more than just a dog-lick to come out.

Dogs should have their claws trimmed every 3-4 weeks and cats every 2-3 weeks. This can be done by professional groomers (especially if your dog is as wiggly as mine) but if you have a well-behaved cat or dog and are happy to perform a pet pedicure, it can be done yourself. Ask your vet for tips and never cut too close; the American Kennel Club has a handy guide. 

If you love to spoil your pets (and who doesn’t) make sure as well not to give them any chewable toys or treats in a room with a wooden floor. It’s easy for messy eaters to scratch the floor with their teeth.

5. Take care when moving furniture 

Moving furniture

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Moving furniture can be a risky business for wooden floors. Always make sure to lift it well off the ground as the chance of scratching the floor is high if you catch it while moving. Be as gentle as you can when lifting up and putting down furniture and put feet pads down at the new location beforehand.

If you’re one to move things around and freshen up rooms often, make sure you know for certain where furniture is going to keep moving to a minimum. Apps such as Room Planner (available on Android and iOS) and sites such as Roomstyler can help you plan and preview different furniture configurations. 

6. Protective oils and varnish 

Oiling a hardwood floor

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are plenty of oils and varnishes that can clean and protect your floor from stains and scratches. If your floor has been treated or oiled before then you can re-apply without worry but if your floor has been previously varnished then take care. A varnished floor needs to be sanded down first to the exposed wood. A good varnish should last for between 5 and 10 years whereas floors should be oiled every 2 to 3 years. 

7. Vacuum regularly 

A cordless vacuum cleaner being pushed through the living room with a sofa behind

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Keeping the floor clean will obviously minimize the risk of visible damage to it. Vacuuming regularly will stop any dirt and debris from being trodden into the floor and save you a lot of work in the long run. 

It’s also important to use the right settings on your vacuum. If you’ve got one of the best vacuum cleaners make sure to use any hard floor settings and definitely avoid using the brush bar. 

By following these measures your floor will not only look great, but it should also hopefully last longer and need less upkeep, too. If it’s too late for your floor, don’t fret. Learn how to clean hardwood floors without damaging them. If you’ve decided you’re done with hardwood floors check out how to install laminate without a builder.

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer – VPN

Andy is Tom's Guide Staff Writer for VPNs and privacy. Based in the UK, he originally cut his teeth at Tom's Guide as a Trainee Writer (go and click on his articles!) before moving to cover all things Tech and streaming at T3. He's now back at Tom's Guide to keep you safe online, and bring you the latest news in VPN and cybersecurity.