It seems everyone has an opinion on the best way to wash hardwood floors. Some say soap and water, others polish, or wax. It can all be very confusing. These tips will help you have your hardwoods happily gleaming in no time. In order to know how to clean your floors you will first need to determine the finish. In other words, you will need to know how your wood floor is sealed. It is the finish, not the wood type that determines how you clean and care for the floor. Surface-sealed floors: If your hardwoods are newer they are most likely sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. These floors are the easiest to clean. All they need is a sweep, a quick mop and just like that you are done! Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors: Another type of common hardwood floor is a penetrating seal or oil finish. These soak into the wood grain and harden. This type of floor can be difficult to maintain, these floors must be be protected with liquid or paste wax. Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors: Another fussy floor to deal with, these floors need to be protected with liquid or paste wax. They are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear and tear. If you don't know what kind of finish you have rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, the floor is surface sealed. If you do create a smudge, the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer, and then waxed.