8 Things That Will Destroy Hardwood Floors

steam cleaning a hardwood floor

The Spruce / Olivia Inman

Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable features in North American homes. They look great, and they can last forever, but they require some special considerations. In fact, there are a lot of things people do on a regular basis that contribute to their deterioration. Most people don't want to ruin their hardwood floors, but if you do any of these things that's exactly what will happen!

Furniture Pads

If you want scratches and marks on your beautiful hardwood floors, don't use furniture pads. Any time you sit down on a sofa or chair that's right atop hardwood floors, the piece will shift ever so slightly, and the legs will mark the floor. When it's done over and over again, the marks will get worse and worse. Using furniture pads on all the legs will prevent there from being any marks and will help to keep your floor scratch-free.


Dirt, dust, and other abrasive particles can gather and scratch the floor without you even noticing. If you don't sweep on a regular basis, it can slowly damage your hardwood floors. If you want to ruin your floors, don't sweep them. It's that simple.

Using Too Much Liquid Cleaner

A liquid is an enemy of hardwood floors. Today's hardwood is treated to endure certain amounts of wet cleaning, but this doesn't mean you should just drench your floors with a liquid cleaner. When it comes time to wet-clean your floor (every four to six weeks depending on foot traffic) work on small areas at a time and use only a damp cloth or mop.

Using the Wrong Rug Pad

Rug pads are great for keeping area rugs from sliding around on hardwood floors, but the wrong one can leave marks and hurt your floor. Rubber-backed mats can dull your floor's shine, and even cause some discoloration. To protect your hardwood floor use, a combination felt and rubber pad to keep your area rugs from sliding.

Have a Mat Near the Door

If your exterior door opens right onto your hardwood floors and you're okay with totally ruining them then don't put a mat by the door. A mat is a buffer between the outdoors and in where you can wipe off any dirt and grit that's collected on your shoes. If you step directly from outside onto the hardwood, you'll leave dirt, grit and possibly make some scratches.

High Heels

Wearing high heels around the house is a great way to ruin hardwood floors. Because the heels tend to be pointier and the body's weight isn't evenly distributed, they leave dents in the floor—particularly stiletto heels. Do your floors a favor and leave the heels at the door. Place a comfy pair of slippers near the door if you need a reminder.

Trimming Your Pets' Nails

Dog and cat claws can easily scratch and dent hardwood floors (and the sound of them hitting the floor can drive you crazy!). If you're OK with scratched floors, go ahead and leave them, but you and your pets will probably be a lot happier if you keep them trimmed.

Pet Stains

If your pet has an accident on the floor and you leave it for too long, it will ruin the floor. Always clean it immediately to keep the damage to a minimum. If the accident happens on an area rug, make sure to clean and dry both the rug and the wood floor underneath.