How to Clean Hardwood Floors?


Cleaning something as valuable as hardwood can be intimidating especially if you are aware of how to finish it. To clean the hardwood floor without damaging it can be a big task for those who have newly made their home and put a hardwood floor in it. Most hardwood flooring contractor gives short shifts to this subject. They usually mention washing the floor with soap, oil with vinegar and water. Then they try to sell you some rather expensive cleaning agents supposedly meant only for hardwood floors. They will try to convince you, that there special floor cleaner should be used to clean the hardwood floor and warranty will be avoided. But you need to listen to them you can follow these steps or methods to clean hardwood floors.

clean hardwood floors

Methods to Clean Hardwood Floors:

1.) Determine your Kind of Hardwood Finish

Prefinished floors are easy to spot as every spot has slightly raised edges. If the surface is not looking glossy then you have a stained or unfinished floor. Shiny floors are the most difficult to tell apart. If you want to test your floor for wax, moisten extra fine steel wool and run it on an inconspicuous area. light gray smudge appears on the hardwood floor if you have a wax finish.  If you want it to test it for old or a modern surface seal, then place few drops of water on the most worn area of a floor, if it remains beaded after several minutes, then you probably have a modern seal. But if seems to soak or darken the wood then either you have an older seal or poorly finished one that needs to be handled gently.

  • Most new floors are surface sealed with urethane, polyurethane, or a polyacrylic coating. They all have water and stain resistant and therefore easy to clean.
  • Older floors that haven’t been refinished usually have a lacquer, shellac or varnish finish and technically they are surface seals. They are not as durable as the more modern finishes, for the purpose of this article they will, therefore, be placed under the other category alongside unfinished and waxed floors.
  • On the other hand, prefinished floors are coated with a durable surface seal, the fact that each board is coated separately. Means that they are unsealed cracks between the boards are prone to water damage. Because of this reason, pre-finished floors also belong in the other category.
  • If you are in doubt go for the gentler method. A hardwood floor is not something you want to take chances with.

2.) Sweep the Floor to Clean Hardwood Floors

Sweep the floor with a soft-bristled broom. Broom will help to remove the large particles such as sand or grit that may scratch the floor which is caught beneath a mop. Or you can vacuum the floor, the bristles are extended to prevent scratching and if there is only dust on the floor.

Use a bare floor setting on Vacuum to prevent your floor from scratching. In most of the vacuums bristles are attached to kick up dust, but these setting can ruin your hardwood floor

3.) Sweep and Mop Each Week to Clean Hardwood Floors

You should sweep or vacuum regularly to keep your floor free from dust and scratching agents. But don’t do it frequently, clean when your hardwood floor really needs it. This will help to increase the life of your hardwood floor.

  • Hardwood floors are generally easy to keep than the normal floor because there is nothing to trap dirt or dust on the floor. A simple sweep or vacuum can remove all the mess.

4.) Wipe up any Wet Spills on Hardwood Floors

Always keep in mind while you clean hardwood floors that, don’t leave any moisture to sit around on hardwood floors. Otherwise, it can damage the seal and the wood permanently if you are not careful. Wipe all the moisture with the dry cloth and dry the surface completely and immediately. These small things will help to increase the life of your hardwood floor.

5.) Cleaning Agent to Clean Hardwood Floors

Choosing the right cleaning agent is much more important than anything else because the wrong product can spoil your hardwood floor. Choosing the right cleanser to clean hardwood floors is very important. For general cleaning choose a neutral pH, water-based cleaner like those designed for vinyl floors or hardwood specific cleaner. If grease or dirt is stuck on your floor choose an alkaline water based cleaner like detergents or soap or you can also use a bit of baking soda to dissolve in water. Though should be used sparingly. If you dissolve hard water or mineral deposit, go for acidic water-based cleaner. Vinegar or lemon juice in water will make a good rinsing agent to this effect.

  • But always tries to choose the cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floor cleaner, this is safest and best option.
  • Never use ammonia, bleach or any other abrasive cleaner that will leave a  residue, such furniture spray, oil, other trickwax etc. they will not damage the hardwood but they will even void the warranty on your floor.

6.) Dilute Cleaning Agent to Clean Hardwood Floors

To avoid hard water streaking, you will need a distilled water, which you can purchase cheaply at your local supermarket. However you can use another trick to avoid streak, you can quick wipe own with a lemon juice and water mixture after cleaning, this will help to prevent streaks.

7.) Mop your Floor with the Chosen Cleaning Solution

Dip a mop into a bucket of your cleaning agent diluted with water. Run the mop over the floor along with the grain of the wood, starting in the farthest corner and working towards a door so you never have to step on wet floors. Refill the bucket if the solution gets too dirty.

Remove your shoes. This will prevent you from marking or dirtying the floor while it’s wet.

8.) Spot-Clean Tough Areas with a Cloth

To clean hardwood floors dip the cloth in the cleaning solution and scrub it over with your hands to apply a more pressure while wiping the floor. Then use the mp to remove the excess liquid off the floor an replace the dirty water with fresh and clean water. Rinse and squeeze out the mop so that it is damp, and use it to pick up the dirty water left on the floor. Then squeegee it onto your clean bucket and repeat the process.

  • Wring the mop dry and rub it over the wet floor until its saturated, then repeat the floor until it is fairly dry. Don’t skip this step, as modern surface seals are water resistant and they will not tolerate being wet for prolong. When you will done to clean hardwood floors, rinse the mop and refill the bucket with plain water.

9.) Rinse the Floor with Clean Mop

This will help to remove  the sticky or dulling traces of your cleaning solution. It will give a nice and cleaned look to the wooden floors.

10.) Buff the Floor Dry with Terry Cloth

You can also use the wrung mop method to dry the floor as it will help to prevent streaking and protect the life of your floor.


  • You can ask a flooring specialist if your hardwood require buffing or waxing. These procedures keep your floors radiant and shiny, and they will also not become somewhat slippery for a few days after. Always buff up the floor in the circular motion starting from one corner of the room, working your way towards the exit. This same thing applies to waxing, when you will finish the treatment avoid walking on the floor for at least thirty minutes to one hour.
  • If the guest are coming at your home, so you can put the carpet runner over the flooring which is the most traveled area. These rugs are both stylish and functional, spare your floors from the high helps and heavy shoes as they can leave dents on the floor. If you would prefer to not use runners, so consider at least installing a floor mat near the exterior entrances. These will catch most of the dirt that visitors might track in, making the party a bit easier on your home.
  • This happen most of the time to people, if you notice a scratch in your floor, then don’t get panic. Simply pick up a repair kit that matches your hardwood from your local hardware stores well as pick some floor wax.  Then paint very carefully over the scratch along the grain of the wood. Allow the paint to dry completely. Then apply a wax with a paintbrush until it matches the smoothness of the surrounding floorboards.


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