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How to protect your floors during a move

February 15th, 2017 - 1:42 PM

Best floor protection tips

From shoes and pets tracking in the elements to everyday spills and scratches, you may not realize how many things cause wear and tear on your floors. And moving couches, appliances and a lot of boxes into a new home means even more foot traffic and a higher risk for damage. While you may be in a rush to get everything unloaded, there are steps to take before, during and after a move to make sure your floors remain in perfect condition.

hardwood floor protection

Preparing your home

The following tips will help protect your floors during a move, but are also great for routine maintenance and floor care.

Step 1: Clean before moving in

To keep floors pristine, thoroughly clean them before bringing items inside. Remember to use the proper tools and cleaning agents so you don’t accidently cause damage. 


Because large dirt particles can damage carpet fibers, it’s best to vacuum before moving day so your furniture is placed on a clean surface. If your vacuum height can be adjusted, make sure it’s set properly — the beater bar should barely brush the fibers. Best practice is to vacuum slow and steady and in different directions (back-and-forth and side-to-side). You may also consider having the carpet shampooed or professionally cleaned.  

Hardwood floor

Even though hardwood floors are durable, they’re sensitive to certain products and cleaning tools. If you choose to sweep or vacuum, use a broom with exploded tips (otherwise known as flagged bristles — where the ends are frayed), a microfiber dust mop, or a vacuum designed for hardwood floors. When mopping, choose a cleaning agent that won’t leave residue or dull the finish. It’s best to avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, vinegar, wax, polish or oil soaps. Once you find the proper cleaner, use a damp mop followed immediately with a dry mop.


Tile is stronger than other flooring types, but it isn’t indestructible and should still be properly cleaned to prevent scratches. Start by sweeping or vacuuming to pick up loose dirt and other debris, and then follow with a damp mop. For deeper cleaning, use a steam mop, working in all directions. You can purchase a tile cleaner from a hardware store or create a solution by mixing half a cup of vinegar with one gallon of warm water. Just avoid cleaners with ammonia, bleach or oils because they may dull the finish. Pay attention to the grout, too. Because it’s porous, it easily absorbs dirt and grease. Depending on how dirty it is you may consider using a grout paste and warm water for hands-on scrubbing.

Laminate flooring

Laminate wood (like hardwood) calls for specific cleaning techniques. Avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar or a wet mop. Instead, use a broom with exploded tips or a dust mop to prevent scratches. Make sure the cleaner is specifically designed for laminate, and consider testing a new cleaner on a small section of the floor to make sure it cleans well without causing damage.

Vinyl flooring

Often found in kitchens and utility rooms, vinyl flooring is durable and easy to clean. Start by sweeping to clear the floor of large particles, and then use a vinyl or multi-surface cleaner to disinfect and remove stains. Avoid ammonia and abrasive cleaners because they can cause damage. 

Step 2: Prep for heavy foot traffic

Before moving items inside, take precautions to ensure floors aren’t damaged in the process. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Use old rugs. If you have rugs you don’t want to use in your new home, use them as floor protection while you’re unloading. Place them by the doors for people to wipe their shoes on when coming and going, or use them to cover flooring in high traffic areas.
  • Have inside/outside people. If you have enough friends and family helping (or if you’ve hired a moving crew), have some people stay inside while others stay outside. Have the outside people unload items from the moving trailer to the door, and have people inside carry them from the door to their designated room. This will help make sure you don’t track in dirt and debris.
  • Make a path. No matter what type of floors you have, it’s a good idea to use some sort of covering (such as plastic stretch wrap or rubber, non-slip pads) to create a pathway through your home. This way you’re less likely to cause damage while moving heavy furniture and boxes.
  • Provide shoe covers. To be even more cautious, think about providing shoe covers for your helpers to wear while inside the house.

Step 3: Follow furniture moving tips

If moved incorrectly, furniture can scratch or dent hardwood and laminate floors, rip or fray carpet, and crack or chip tile. Use these tips to make sure you’re using the proper technique.

  • Don’t drag. Make sure to lift furniture instead of dragging it across the floor. If the pieces are too heavy to lift, use furniture felt pads or furniture sliders to assist you. Forearm Forklifts® can also help you lift large items.
  • Use a dolly for appliances. A dolly is a simple way to move large appliances like stoves and washing machines, since pushing and puling them can cause floor damage. Make sure the wheels are clean and try to stay on designated paths inside the house.
  • Use moving blankets. Avoid scratches and scuff marks by wrapping furniture in moving blankets.

Carpet, hardwood, tile, vinyl and laminate floor maintenance

Moving is certainly a time to worry about floor damage, but it’s not the only time it should be a concern. Continue protecting floors after you move in by:

  • Not wearing high heels or sport cleats inside (or encouraging everyone to take their shoes off)
  • Cleaning floors regularly
  • Keeping a welcome mat near outside doors

 By taking these steps to avoid everyday scratches, your floors will remain in good condition for many years.


Do you have questions about keeping your floors safe while moving? Let us know in the comments, and then continue planning for your upcoming move with these helpful posts:

21 Tips on How to Pack for a Move

Mistakes to Avoid when Packing for a Move

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