Hardwood floors and keeping them clean.

We are finally redoing most areas on the first floor in engineered hardwood, 1/2”. We are leaving the tile in the entry and kitchen. I’ve found a color that blends beautifully with it. It’s light creams, beiges blend. So, our heavy travel area is from the garage door entry to the kitchen. Right now there is a long narrow rug over our carpet, which I hate, but it’s necessary.

The main culprit is out blacktop driveway, but that problem is less and less now that we don’t have kids running in and out all the time. But it still gets dirty. So…how can I keep that clean? Do we just make sure our shoes are taken off?

We never wear outside shoes in the house. That said, we always put an entry rug down and take shoes off on that. Even more important in winter weather.

We use Water Hog mats outside the garage door and back doors, with a nicer looking door mat inside, and we change from outside shoes to inside shoes at a bench inside the garage door. Most of the time, H and I leave a pair of sandals or Crocs on the patio to wear in the backyard.

When our kids visit, they either go barefoot or wear socks, but that’s their preference. I’d never ask guests to remove shoes and would just deal with the floor after they leave. I have various foot problems that make going without shoes painful, and for some people it could be dangerous. I understand why some folks don’t want outside shoes worn indoors, but if they don’t provide advance warning so I could bring a pair of house shoes then I’d have to leave without entering their home.

We live in the south so snow is very rarely a concern. If I lived up north, I might become a fan of old fashion galoshes worn over house shoes when I visit someone who prefers no outdoor shoes in the house.

We tend to leave our shoes by the door (we just aren’t big shoe people) and also keep a keep a good rug by the door (and a basket to throw our shoes in). It is amazing how much stuff that rug picks up! In the winter, we have a “boot tray” to put our wet shoes on. And a good rug or doormat in the garage to the house could help too (LL Bean has some good ones).

Can you get a fun/nice runner for the hardwoods to get from the garage to the kitchen? A runner over the hardwoods would look nicer than over carpeting. And it might be hard to take your shoes off while carrying groceries, etc.

I’m guessing you would have this same issue with any floor type???

In the minority, we do not (H and I) take our shoes off coming in from outside unless it’s wet out or we’ve been doing yard work. I do like some type of flat rug just inside the door.

Just be sure to ask your installer about the recommended cleaning products/options for your type of floor. Sealed hardwood can take steam mops for instance. Unsealed I think it’s a no-no.

We have an entry rug and take shoes off by the front door; none of us really like shoes, so not a big deal. We use Bona hardwood spray and a Bona mop for clean up.

We never wear outside shoes in the house, ever, but we both have indoor shoes that get tossed in the wash every week. Our floors are tile which becomes hard on our knees/backs after a while, so we need the cushioning of shoes which I realize I’m not wearing when the fatigue starts. I prefer to be barefoot, but that doesn’t work for me the way it used to.

Several rooms in our previous house had engineered wood floors. Regular cleaning with a dry micro-fiber mop kept all the dust at bay. They didn’t seem to need anything else, but they weren’t in high-traffic areas.

I’d suggest doing what commercial properties do - have a large mat on either side of the doorway. You want the largest mat that will fit - esp the outdoor one. You want people to take a few steps on that mat before entering the house so that more dirt will fall off the shoes outside the house. You’ll want a more abrasive mat outside (to grab more dirt off the shoe) and a softer one inside. If money isn’t a real issue, I’d recommend the astro-turf mats from this company. I bought the 4x5 mats and they have lasted over a decade. https://donaslett.com/collections/indoor-outdoor-mats

We tried the Bona liquid but it left our floors too slippery for stocking feet. Other floor finishes may not have the same results. We went back to just warm water on microfiber cloths.

I mop my wooden floor every other week. I use dish wash detergent (Dawn), vinegar and some bleach in the water.

In the house, we have wood laminate floors in the kitchen. 15+ years and no wear at the back entry (from a dusty/gritty mudroom.) I think it’s the quality of the flooring, itself. Nor is that area “dirtier.” (If anything, it’s by the stove that things get messy.) I only put a small cheap entry rug on the mudroom side a few years ago. Yes, that collects a lot.

In the front hallway, yes, a large waterhog type entry mat over real hardwood floors. It’s maybe 3’ x 5’, looks like jute weave, but manmade.) I wish I’d done that sooner after they were refinished. By the way that section of flooring is aged, it’s clear that, once again, it’s the grit from outside. Initially, the finish was water resistant, not an issue to just wipe it up.

My advice is to get whatever rug for now, big enough, and take your shoes off, until you’re more familiar with your new flooring, where it forgives or not. Swiffer or stick vacuum regularly. Later, you can make the decorating choice.

We don’t wear outdoor shoes in the house. We have a mudroom where they are taken off…and we all have slippers.

We use Bona. I’ve never had an issue with it being slippery, but then, I usually have slippers on. But now I want to try the @oldfort blend!

We also have a small rug in the doorway between our front hall and kitchen/family room area. We can wipe our feet on that before walking in the wood floor area if we forget to take our shoes off…and yes, that does happen.

We just had our wood floors refinished a few years ago after more than 20 years, and really the only area that needed to be done was the kitchen which gets the most use.

We use Bona, but no asphalt to contend with. My father had linoleum ruined by asphalt oils, he thinks partly due to dog tracking it in. (I think the top end linoleum might have been more resistant.)

We have an asphalt driveway…and always have. What is the issue? Don’t folks know how to wipe their feet on a doormat?

I guess we sort of are doing what @bookreader1 does. We have a mat in our garage (one entrance that goes into the mud room). Then a waterhog in the mud room. We have another mat in front of the front entrance door. Then inside in the foyer, we have a “fake” oriental rug (dark colors) that folks walk on next.

Maybe those mats catch the debris.

We never wear shoes in the house. Don’t know if your budget allows it, but there is a huge difference between engineered hardwood floors and the real thing. Not only in terms of cleaning but alsot in terms of wear. If you can afford to use real hardwood floors, I would highly recommend ( especially if you plan to live there for a long time). Often you can get wood on sale and that can make a difference.

We don’t wear shoes inside, just comfy slippers or slipper socks. We also have the water hog mats at every door (I use the hose and spray nozzle outside twice a year to clean them). I have Shark vacuum cleaner with a “dust away” attachment that does a great job keeping the hardwood clean.

from https://jlpavers.net/blacktop-vs-concrete/
“The oils released from the asphalt can stick to the undersides of shoes and be carried indoors. If you don’t remove your shoes upon entering, these oils may eventually discolor vinyl or tile floors or get imbedded into the carpeting.”

Humans can take off shoes or mitigate the risk by wiping their feet. Dogs not so much.

When we switched out our carpeting to engineered wood last year the flooring installer gave us a LOBA Spray Mop Set. Works well and doesn’t leave a residue. Also vacuum regularly with a Dyson stick.

@Happytimes2001 Engineered wood is real wood, albeit a layer of wood bonded on plywood. In our case solid wood wasn’t a good installation option (concrete slab). We did get a very thick wood layer that should be able to be refinished several times.

Here’s a pros and cons comparison: https://www.thespruce.com/engineered-hardwood-vs-solid-flooring-1821677

I have waterhog mats inside both doors (and regular entry mats outside.) I sweep the hardwood and Bona when the spirit moves me. But those waterhog mats get sprayed down way more often than twice a year. Besides capturing water they grab anything that’s produced by trees (leaves, seeds, etc.) And fur and hair. I sometimes wonder why the long-haired cat and I aren’t bald given how much human and cat hair is caught in the waterhog mats.

@aMacMom Yes, I know it’s real wood but the difference is substanstial as you probably know. IF you have real wood ( non-engineered) then you can refinish several times and they look great. Engineered limits the redos. We’ve always lived in old homes with gorgeous old floors ( sometimes 100 years plus). Amazing character and appeal. Just can’t be gotten from the new floors (even non engineered). The new floors like really flat which is both a blessing and a curse ;).

We’ve had many friends with engineered floors tell us about the pros. We even have them in our finished basement area. I’ve found the engineered ones to be ok. Here’s the downside. The finish is different so washing deeply with the old ones is fine but with the new engineered ones we have to be careful excess liquid doesn’t sop into them. This was also part of the documentation when we bought the house. It’s great they said you can refinish several times ( though I’d be dubious as most have about 1/2" at the most and many have a much thinner top layer). Our last refinish went pretty deep. They had to do it twice in some spots.
For normal cleaning we use Murphys Oil soap and hot water. For the engineered ones we have an i-robot which picks up dust and then we use something just a bit damp.

I like hardwood floors and have never had anything else. Even in the bedrooms.
My only caveat is I’d never want hardwood floors in a kitchen again. We had them in our old house and it was just silly as we cook a lot. We finally put down some rugs but I love having a really clean floor in a kitchen and we could never keep the hardwoods clean enough (even with no shoes).
I’m thinking when all this Covid stuff is over to replace the current hardwood floors we have with a lighter color throughout. I might even go with old recycled floors.