Winter has a way of making your beautiful wood floors look dingy and scuffed up. Harsh commercial cleaners can dull the natural shine, but these common household items can make the wood look like it should…

Salad dressing for your floor: To clean and revive your finished hardwood floor, combine equal parts white vinegar and vegetable oil in a recycled spray bottle. (We usually start with one-quarter cup each…this dressing goes a long way.) Give it a little shake, and now you’re ready to clean. Working in small sections, spritz your floor with the mixture and rub it in with a clean cotton cloth. With another clean cotton cloth, buff the wood until there’s a bright, natural shine. Then start on the next section of floor.

Gentle care for scuff marks: Those black streaks on your wood floor look like serious damage, but they’re (usually) not hard to remove. Put a little petroleum jelly or baby oil on a cloth, and work it into the floor to remove the mark. Once the mark’s gone, go over the area with dry paper towels, making sure there’s not a trace of slippery jelly or oil left. The jelly or baby oil cleaner should work on both laminated and untreated wood. Scratch-free buffer: If the marks are too tough for petroleum jelly or baby oil, get an old, clean toothbrush, apply some white toothpaste and gently scrub the mark. Then wipe the area clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

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