If you've got hardwood floors installed in your home, you may find them getting dusty and dirty from time to time. Luckily, they'll never get quite as bad as carpets, which require extensive cleaning efforts to remove stains and other issues. Hardwood floors aren't exactly impervious to stains completely, but you'll find they are much easier to maintain than carpets.

It's important to know whether the hardwood floors in your home are a polyurethane finish or wax/oil finish. The latter type of finish are used in older hardwood floors, while most of the newer types will be polyurethane. This will make a difference in how you go about cleaning the hardwood floors. If it's wax or oil finish, you'll want to contact the hardwood flooring manufacturer (if possible), to find out the best way to care for the floors. Otherwise you will be able to use most of the advice given here. Treat the floors carefully though, as you don't want to scratch or damage your floor in the process.

So what exactly is the best way to clean hardwood floors? First and foremost, you're going to want to remove the dirt, dust and debris from the hardwood surface. If you have pets or kids, you realize that they track a lot of various dirt and debris onto the floors. To get that dust and dirt up, use a soft bristle broom that doesn't scratch your floor surface. Completely sweep over the floors you'll be cleaning with the mop next.

After making sure your floor is free of dust or dirt, next you can start the cleaning. You'll want a mop and some water. Use a damp mop to go over the hardwood surface. You may even want to add a special wax or polish afterward to give it an extra-nice looking shine. You can also use various products to assist in keeping the floors clean, possibly making the task easier to do.

For example you can try products like a "Swiffer" for sweeping or even the Swiffer vacuum. The Swiffer company recommends people use their Swiffer Sweeper first to remove all dirt and debris from the floor, and then to use their Swiffer WetJet product to mop the hardwood floors. Many people have great results using these particular products regularly to keep their floors clean.

As mentioned above, once you've finished the sweeping and mopping part of the job you're done, unless you'd like to use a wax or polish for even greater shine. Consult the particular instructions for those products before you start applying them to your floor. Now that you've learned how to clean your hardwood floors properly, you'll see those floors shining elegantly with all their beauty, and visitors will comment at how great your home's interior looks!