It is essential to clean hardwood floors with products or natural remedies approved by the flooring manufacturer – depending upon the finish or coating protecting the raw wood itself.
You should also be particular about the tools and equipment you use for cleaning.
Below is an overview to guide you in making good choices regarding products and accessories that are efficient and effective – and most importantly – do not damage your hardwood floor or void the manufacturer warranty.
Delve into each section further for specific guidance and recommendations.
How To Clean Hardwood Floors
We recommend a step by step process on how to clean hardwood floors. Considerations include:
- The type of cleaning product and the way you use it.
For instance, some products claim to be ‘safe for wood floors’ or ‘safe for hard surfaces’ when, in fact, they will damage a polyurethane-coated floor.
- The type of equipment you choose and how you use it.
For example, a hardwood floor steam cleaner should only be used with extreme caution.
Vinegar or Water to Clean Hardwood Floors?
Vinegar is an inexpensive, chemical-free, environmentally-friendly cleaning agent for hardwood flooring with polyurethane finishes. However, it should be used sparingly and occasionally.
It’s also great for all-around house cleaning, personal hygiene, lawn and garden, cooking and much more. Learn more about using vinegar on hardwood floors.
You may also want to review cleaning hardwood floors with water. Remember that wood and water don’t generally mix well.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning Products
Be mindful of the hardwood floor cleaning products you are using to be sure they won’t damage your floor.
As an example, some can cause a wax or oil build-up that might look great at first, but can chip or peel in the future and/or cause big problems when it is time for a buff and re-coat.
Review our full cleaning section, to include:
Hardwood Floor Cleaners Overview
What Cleaners NOT to use (you may be surprised)
Hardwood Floor Cleaning Product Guide
Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaner
We recommend a hardwood floor vacuum rather than a broom for regular cleaning as it does a better job of picking up the tiny debris that can scratch your floor.
These particles get pushed around by a mop or your cleaning towel and can leave scratches and marks in your finish.
A hardwood floor vacuum is also handy for area rugs and door mats. Be sure the head of the vacuum is padded.
Vacuum Product Guide
Hardwood Floor Mop
Some so-called ‘hardwood floor mops’ can be used just as easily on any hard floor surface, they just cost more because they are marketed as a specialty item. And really, wouldn’t any mop work just fine? It often comes down to personal preference.
But there are definitely some features, and some cautions, to consider before purchasing a hardwood floor mop.
Hardwood Floor Broom
A broom is nice for quick clean-ups in between thorough vacuums. Be sure to use a soft-bristle broom that is gentle on your wood floor. An angled head is great for getting into nooks and crannies where dust and dirt collects.
A frequent sweep of entrances such as door frames and steps – where tiny pebbles, mud and other outside debris gets dragged in – will extend the longevity of your hardwood flooring.
There are brooms on the market which claim to be ‘hardwood floor brooms’. They probably have the features mentioned above but can be found in a less expensive model. If you choose an electric broom, be sure to add thin padding to the head to protect your floor’s surface from scrapes and scratches.
Hardwood Floor Stains
There are hardwood floor stains that can probably be removed, such as black heel marks, lipstick or crayon.
And then there are hardwood floor stains that are much more difficult to deal with, like pet urine stains, water stains and rug pad discoloration.
The good new is that, unlike any other flooring material, hardwood floors can be fully restored to look like new, one way or another.
Check out the hardwood floor stains section for help with stain prevention and clean-up.