How To Clean Hardwood Floors

Whether you have a newly installed hardwood flooring or have had an existing one for years, it is always important to restore your substantial investment and learn how to clean hardwood floors. To keep your hardwood floor in pristine condition, it is more than just simply using a traditional mop or broom. There are several ways to guarantee that your hardwood floor is looking great and can last for a lifetime. So, in this blog, let’s rundown the best methods to clean hardwood floors. 

clean hardwood floors

Preventive Care

The best cleaning method is to reduce the frequency of cleaning your hardwood floor. Hence, prevention is always better than cure. Preventing your hardwood floor from getting scratches, dirt, and dust will enormously save you from a lot of headaches, time, and money along the way. You may need the following items for preventive care: 


Throw Rugs. Investing in throw rugs can make a big difference in your quest to clean hardwood floors. Place these throw rugs by doors, so it will prevent any dirt and grime from the outside to track inside your home. It might be a simple method, but it can surely minimize a lot of dirt and debris scraping against your hardwood floor. 


Floor Protection. While it is true that hardwood floors are durable and tough wearing, it is very prone to scratches and dents. Thus, it is always a good idea to use floor protectors to save your floor from the hard impacts of furniture and heavy equipment inside your home. For small to medium-sized furniture, you can use felt furniture pads. These items are widely available and provide the best solution for overall floor protection. It also comes in a variety of sizes and colors to match the furniture. 

clean hardwood floors

Aside from felt furniture pads, you can also use sliders as floor protectors. Sliders are easy to use on any type and size of furniture. However, keep in mind that sliders are not ideal for long-term protection as they can be unsightly when used for a longer period.


If you have large, heavy-duty furniture, you can use moving blankets. It can last for a long time and is designed to protect furniture while you are cleaning the floor. 



Cleaning your hardwood floor starts with a good old-fashioned broom. During the days when you don’t need to deal with vacuum cleaners and cleaning solutions, a broom is your go-to cleaning item. You may also opt for a dust mop or microfiber broom to clean hardwood floors. Depending on the manufacturer, the cloths of dust mops are either reusable or disposable. Dust mops are much better than the traditional bristle-head brooms because the former can easily attract and pick-up dirt on the floor.


Damp Mops

If your hardwood floor is soiled, your damp mop comes to the rescue. A damp mop can get rid of stubborn grime and extra dirt. Depending on the manufacturer, some damp mops are designed like a dust mop with a reusable and washable microfiber head. The fibers of the damp mops attract dust and dirt, but it does not absorb as much moisture, so it will clean hardwood floors without getting saturated. 


Vacuum Cleaners

The most popular and the easiest method to clean hardwood floors is by using vacuum cleaners. However, not all vacuum cleaners are created equal. You should always use a vacuum that is intended for hardwood flooring. The vacuum cleaner needs to have adequate suction to seamlessly lift lint and dirt. It must be lightweight, so it won’t scratch or scuff your hardwood floor finish. Be cautious when using a vacuum with a beater bar. This is because a beater bar can damage the wood finish. Make sure that the beater bar is removable or adjustable to preserve your hardwood floor finish when cleaning. 

clean hardwood floors

The best options for hardwood flooring are cordless stick, lightweight upright vacuum, and a canister vacuum. A cordless design vacuum cleaner is a great choice for stairs and multiple levels. It has powerful suction and a washable filter. On the other hand, most lightweight upright vacuum cleaners have adjustable beater bars and detachable canisters. This type of vacuum cleaner is bag-free and has a washable filter. Whereas, a canister vacuum is also lightweight, but has a corded design with a superb suction. If you are in doubt about which vacuum cleaner is best for your hardwood floor, you can always ask a professional floor contractor near you for recommendations. 


How To Properly Clean Hardwood Floors

Cleaning your hardwood flooring has never been so easy. Here’s a simple guide to making sure that your hardwood floor will stay stunning. 



Before you even start to clean hardwood floors, you need to gather all the necessary cleaning supplies and tools that you will use. Doing so will save you time, so you don’t have to go back and forth and track dirt or grime along with you. To clean hardwood floors, you must have a microfiber dust mop or broom, vacuum cleaner, cleaning solution or a bucket of clean water, a sponge, and a clean cloth or towel. 


Keep in mind that the time it takes to complete the cleaning process depends on how much flooring you need to clean. Cleaning hardwood floors on multiple rooms or areas of the house may take longer than in one or two rooms. 


Dust Mopping And Vacuuming

The very first step in cleaning your hardwood floor is to vacuum and/or dust mop the floor. If you’re cleaning multiple small rooms, start one room at a time. If it is a large room, you can clean the first half then move to the other half. Dust mopping and vacuuming can be combined when cleaning your wood floor. The dust mop is used to attract and pick-up finer particles, reaching corners and small areas of the room easily. On the other hand, a vacuum cleaner suctions larger dirt and debris. Vacuuming and dust mopping should be part of your regular upkeep. 

clean hardwood floors


When damp mopping the floor, you must do small sections at a time. Once done, make sure to use a clean, lint-free towel to dry up the floor completely, then proceed to the next small section. Repeat the process until you finish the entire room. 

clean hardwood floors

The process of mopping and drying the floor can probably be daunting, but it guarantees that it will restore the luster of your floor while preventing the water or any cleaning solution from saturating the floor. These processes, however, should only be done every after 60 or 90 days or until you notice that your hardwood floor is starting to discolor or fade. You may also talk to a local hardwood flooring contractor to inspect your floor. 


Deep Cleaning 

Every after three to four months, or when necessary, you can use a cleaning solution recommended by your local contractor or manufacturer to remove all the dirt and debris that accumulate over time. Make sure to use a cleaning solution designed specifically for hardwood floors. 


In deep cleaning your hardwood floor, you can start by mopping your floor with the cleaning solution. The best mops for hardwood floors are rag mops or sponge mops. Always remember that the mop can be damp, but it should never be soaking wet. Wring the mop out to remove any excess water or moisture. Mop the floor with a cleaning solution, then mop it again with only clean water to wash away any residue. Once done, dry up the floor using a clean towel to remove any excess moisture. 


Sealing And Refinishing

clean hardwood floors

While vacuuming and mopping are important cleaning methods to keep your hardwood floor in great shape, they are not sufficient intervention to prevent your floor from fading. Over time, your wood finish will fade and discolor, so you need a special sealant or wood finish to maintain its luster. Hardwood floor refinishing is one of the best methods to bring your floor back to life. You can also change the color of your hardwood through staining. 


Hardwood Cleaning Solution

Cleaning hardwood floors is very straightforward and simple. Typically, you only need a little amount of water to clean it. However, if you notice any stubborn dirt and your floor needs disinfection, then you can try out a commercial floor cleaner intended for hardwood flooring. For the most cost-effective option, you can use dish soap or mild soap diluted in distilled water as a cleaning solution. However, the best hardwood cleaning solution so far is Bona hardwood floor cleaner spray. 


If you are thinking about commercial hardwood cleaning products, make sure to always check the label before using them. The most important thing you need to know is that the cleaning solution should be pH-neutral and created specifically for hardwood flooring. If your hardwood floor is finished with oil or wax, refrain from using water. There is a specific cleaning solution for this wood finish. 


DIY Cleaning Solutions

Instead of using store-bought cleaning products, you can rather make your own solution to clean hardwood floors. This is more beneficial as you will know exactly the components of the cleaner, how much it is, and how effective it can become. Here are some of the best DIY cleaning solutions for your hardwood floor. 


Vinegar Solution. Vinegar is typically used as a cleaning agent on a lot of floor materials. If done and applied properly, it can clean hardwood floors effectively. To create a vinegar solution, combine a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of distilled water. Keep in mind that too much vinegar can damage the wear layer or sealant of your floorboards. Make sure to clean hardwood floors with vinegar solution once a year.

clean hardwood floors

Castile Soap. An all-natural cleanser, castile soap is made from natural ingredients and typically used for body soap, shampoo, degreaser, floor cleaner, and more. You can use a diluted cleanser as it can be gentle on your hardwood floor and it won’t leave any soapy residue after cleaning. Wipe the cleanser once, then let it dry. With this benefit, you may want to save up a bottle of castile soap ready and handy for your hardwood floor maintenance. 


Hardwood Flooring Maintenance FAQs


Is Steam Cleaning A Safe Method For Your Hardwood Floor?

In most cases, steam cleaning or mopping is never recommended for hardwood floors. The intense heat from the steam mop can drive the moisture and penetrate the wood, which may lead to irreversible damage. As you know, moisture or water is the enemy of hardwood. When hardwood floors are exposed to moisture for a long time, it will eventually contract and expand. If your hardwood floor is destroyed due to water or moisture damage, the only solution is to replace it. 

clean hardwood floors

Should You Wax Your Hardwood Floor After Cleaning?

The only reason to wax your hardwood floor after cleaning is when your floorboard has a penetrative sealant covered by a layer of wax paste. However, if your planks have a clear sealant, you must never wax your hardwood floor. Waxing the floor is also depending on the wood species and the brand of wood you have chosen. You can always ask a professional hardwood floor contractor for the best recommendation.


Is It Okay To Leave Wet Mop Or Water On Hardwood Floors?

Even if your hardwood floor is labeled waterproof, you may not want to leave standing water or wet mop on your floor. The waterproof label on some hardwood floorboards is pertaining to the sealants that normally add protection on the topmost layer of the hardwood. However, any amount of moisture or water that gets into the wood can still break down this protective layer, causing major damage to your hardwood floor. 


You may also refrain from letting water stand on the floor for so long. Never use mops that are too wet as it will cause water damage. It is important to always wring out mops before using them, so it will remove any excess water. 


Can You Use Dish Soap Or Soap Solution To Clean Hardwood Floors?

If you can’t remove stubborn stains and dirt by using water, you can use dish soap to clean hardwood floors. In 3 to 4 gallons of water, add ¼ cup of dish soap. Make sure not to over mix it, so it won’t create a lot of soap suds. When using the soap solution on your hardwood floor, always remember to completely remove the soap water after cleaning. Never leave any soap residue on your hardwood floor as it will only attract more dirt and dust. Rinse it well with water and make sure it has dried up completely.


Final Thoughts 

Cleaning your hardwood flooring does not need to be daunting and expensive. With the right amount of preventive care, effective maintenance, and proper cleaning methods, your hardwood floor will last for a lifetime. Your hardwood floor is a substantial investment and can enhance your home’s resale value, so you must provide the TLC it deserves. However, if you think that you have done enough and everything you can to restore its appeal, it is probably the best time to talk to a professional hardwood floor contractor near you. If in case you need further help from the experts, feel free to contact us today. We offer a free in-home consultation to give you a cost-effective solution to revive your hardwood floor to its natural, stunning look!