Shiny, polished hardwood floors are lovely to look at, but they can be dangerously slippery for children or elderly adults. One wrong move could mean a trip to the emergency room, leaving you out a couple hundred bucks and majorly frustrated. While you do always have the option to refinish or even replace your floor, you may not have the funds or time to do it right now. Maybe you just really love your floor as-is and the thought of having to change it is unappealing. Both are great reasons to find a plan B, so here are some steps you can take to making your floor safer for the entire family:
1) Cover those feet carefully.
A super effective way to prevent your floors from becoming too slippery is to start a "no shoes in the house" policy. Shoes track in dirt and grit from outside, which works like sandpaper on your floors, wearing them down to where they have no traction. If you eliminate the carrier, you minimize the problem.
Now that you have the shoes taken care of, let's move on to your socks. Regular, cotton socks won't cut it if you're trying to avoid a fall. They make the problem even worse. Opt instead for slippers with a rubber sole, house socks with those sticky little dots on the bottom, or even just bare feet. All of these alternatives will be comfortable, safe ways to create some traction between you and your floor.
2) Try vinegar.
A simple DIY solution of vinegar and water does a surprisingly good job of making your floor less slick. Mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water and spray it around your floor with a spray bottle. Be careful not to drench your floor in the liquid; just a nice spritz is fine. When finished, dry your floor with a soft towel or dry mop.
3) Try tape, rugs, and mats.
Rugs, floor mats, anti-slip tape; these can all be used as barriers between your feet and your floors to protect you from slipping. The most important thing with the rugs in particular is to make sure you put a non-slip rug pad underneath. Otherwise you'll be going on a magic carpet ride that will send you straight to the hospital.
4) Be a neat freak.
How often you clean your hardwood floors is a huge factor in how slippery your floors do or do not become. As we mentioned earlier, grit wears down your floor over time if left on its surface. Get rid of that possibility by vacuuming and sweeping your floor at least twice a week.
5) Look into additives.
There are anti-slip additives and nonskid treatments available that you can apply to your floor. When researching your options, make sure that what you're buying is designed to be used with hardwood floors. You should also test it out on a small, discreet area on your floor first to see if it works well with your wood.