How to Clean Wood Floors
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Hardwood floors are an investment. Learning how to clean wood floors is one of the best ways to protect that investment. When you care for your hardwood floors properly, they’ll last a lifetime.
Tip: Use throw rugs and floor mats near doorways to stop dirt from being tracked in and damaging the floor.
This guide will teach you how to deep clean hardwood floors and what to use to clean hardwood floors safely, so that you can select the best way to clean hardwood floors for you.
- Hardwoods need to be kept clean and free of dust and debris that can scratch and dull the surface.
- Use a broom or hardwood floor mop, for daily cleaning; a wood floor vacuum should be used weekly.
- If you only have a standard vacuum, check to see if it has a “hard floor” setting. This raises the vacuum, deactivates the brush roll, and works only by suction.
- Be careful to always turn the brush roll off since it can scratch your floors.
- Some models offer rubber wheels which are less likely to leave scratches than models with hard plastic wheels.
Tip: Try a microfiber mop pre-treated with a dusting agent. It’ll help pick up dust and dirt and prevent scratches.
- Make sure to wring out most of the water out of the mop so it’s damp.
- Heavily trafficked areas should be cleaned more often, every week or two.
- Avoid leaving any standing water on the floor, for this can damage the wood. This is especially true for prefinished hardwood floors.
- If your floors are well sealed you can add a diluted hardwood floor cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse with a clean mop dampened in clear water, but only if the cleaning product requires it.
- Avoid using harsh detergents or they’ll dull the surface.
- You can also use a spray-and-mop product. They don’t require a bucket and dry quickly.
- For a quick clean, use disposable wet pads. Make sure you use a variety that is safe for hardwood floors.
- Steam cleaning is not advised for hardwood floors. Steam can dull the finish and damage the wood. There are hardwood floor steam cleaners [link: ] designed for use with hardwood flooring, however, the floors must be properly sealed for the tools to be considered safe to use.
Tip: Your floors should dry pretty quickly, but you can speed up the process by turning on a ceiling fan, air conditioning or by drying the floor using a soft, microfiber cloth.
No matter how often you clean your hardwood floor, scratches are inevitable, especially if you have pets. Here’s a few quick fixes:
- Try liquid scratch concealers. When they dry, they form a permanent seal that won’t come off during cleaning. Be sure to select a concealer that best matches the color of your floor’s finish.
- If your floor is real hardwood, lightly sand it, then apply a new finish to restore the wood's natural beauty.
- You can restore the shine with floor polish. It’ll also protect your floor from wear and help fill small scratches.
- Use floor wax to revitalize and deep clean worn floors. Always apply floor wax to go with the grain of the wood.
Tip: Don’t over-wax a wood floor. Try buffing your hardwood floor instead if it looks dull.
The best way to clean wood floors and keep them in shape is to stick to a regular schedule of maintenance.
Daily or as often as possible: Sweep, dust or mop
Weekly: Vacuum on bare floor setting
Bi-Weekly: Clean heavy-traffic areas with a damp mop
Monthly: Clean with recommended wood cleaner
Every three to five years: Apply a fresh coat of finish
Every few decades: Sand and refinish