This post covers how to clean hardwood floors, the best products to use, natural alternatives, and what to avoid. It’s a complete guide to cleaning your hardwood floors and keeping them looking shiny.
Before we look at how to clean your floors, it’s worth mentioning that proper hardwood floor care starts with prevention. Avoid habits like wearing dirty shoes, pulling heavy furniture across your floors, and be sure to use mats to make clean-up of your floors easier.
The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors
The best way to clean hardwood floors is to follow a simple cleaning routine with daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance.
Daily: Microfiber Cloth
On a daily basis, keep your floors dirt and dust-free by cleaning them with a microfiber cloth. Regular, gentle wipe-downs with a cloth prevent build up of dirt that can scratch and damage your floors. You should also spot-clean, and wipe up any messes or sticky areas before they get too attached to your floor.
Recommended product: Microfiber Cloth
Note: sweeping will also work for day-to-day dust clean-up. A microfiber cloth is recommended because it’s gentlest on your floors; but an angled broom will also do the trick.
Recommended product: Large Angle Broom
On a weekly basis, vacuum your floors to remove any build up of dirt. Use a vacuum with a soft floor nozzle, not a beater bar, which could damage your floors. Be sure to vacuum along the edges of rooms, along baseboards and to get into other hard-to-reach areas where dirt might accumulate.
Recommended product: Dyson Cordless Stick Vacuum for Hard Floors
Monthly: Dust Mop
Deep clean your hardwood floors monthly using a wood floor dust mop with a microfiber end. In some cases, your dust mop may also call for a cleaning agent. A monthly deep clean will keep your floors looking shiny and take care of any tricky spots that might have been missed with the vacuum. Be careful to avoid using excess water as you use your mop and to use a fan or turn on your air conditioning to speed the drying process.
Recommended product: Microfiber Mop
Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaners
For a natural, DIY Floor Cleaner, we recommend using Martha Stewart’s homemade solution found here: DIY Floor Cleaner. This is a mix of plant-based soap, white vinegar and water.
You can also use only vinegar and water: 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon warm (not hot) water.
Important note: with any vinegar-based, natural floor cleaner it’s possible that the vinegar will damage the finish on your floor. Test it on a hidden area before using it widespread.
If you’re worried about using vinegar on your floors, you can try a close alternative to a natural solution: Bona’s Free & Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner. And look for a Geenguard Gold certified cleaners, which are safe for pets and kids.
What NOT To Do
Now that we’ve covered how to clean your hardwood floors, here’s a few common mistakes to avoid in the process:
- Don’t use non-hardwood floor products (like tile cleaners): these can damage your floors.
- Don’t use a steam cleaner: these have excess heat and water that can damage your floors
- Don’t use a vacuum with a beater brush: this can scratch your floors
- Don’t use excess water: when mopping and wiping, avoid excess water. Your mop should be damp instead of soaking wet. Dry your floors as quickly as possible and look for areas or cracks where water might pool. Repetitive use off too much water on your floors can cause long term damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section covers the most common questions about how to clean hardwood floors. For more best-practices on each of these questions, make sure to go back and read the first section of this article ’The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors.’
How do you deep clean hardwood floors?
The best way to deep clean hardwood floors is to mop them monthly with a wood floor mop that has a microfiber end. Be sure to read the instructions for your mop and also use a cleaning agent if it’s called for. When mopping hardwood floors, always avoid excess water and dry them quickly.
Can you mop hardwood floors?
Yes, you can mop hardwood floors but the best way to do so is with a wood floor mop. The danger of mopping hardwood floors is using too much water – be sure to use a mop that’s damp (not too wet) and to quickly dry up wet spots using a fan or by turning on your A/C.
How do you clean hardwood floors yourself?
The best way to clean hardwood floors yourself is to wipe them with a microfiber cloth daily, vacuum with a soft floor nozzle weekly, and deep clean with a wood floor mop monthly. For how to do each of these, check out the details and products in the first section of this article.
What is the best cleaner for hardwood floors?
The best all-purpose wood floor cleaner is by Bona: Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. It’s effective, easy to use and widely-available.
What is the best natural way to clean hardwood floors?
For a natural/DIY solution to clean hardwood floors, Martha Stewart has a homemade solution here: DIY Floor Cleaner. You can also use a mix of water and vinegar (1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water). BUT it’s important to note that natural cleaners that use vinegar could damage the finish on your floors. Be sure to test your cleaner in an inconspicuous area first.