The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors – A Step By Step Guide

hardwood floor living room featured

Hardwood floors can last for years and continue looking magnificent, so long as you know how to properly clean and maintain them. There’s more to cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors than you may realize, which is why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide for you to follow.

By the end, you’ll be feeling more confident about what products to use, the methods on how to really clean wood floors, as well as things to avoid.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Wood Floors?

One of the best ways to clean hardwood floors is to use a vacuum as it’s one of the simplest and effective methods. However, be sure not to rush out and purchase any type of vacuum cleaner. Certain vacuum cleaners have been specifically made for cleaning hardwood floors.

For those of you with floors that include a combination of hardwood and carpet, you can find vacuum cleaners that are designed to work great for both floors.

When it comes to the design of a vacuum for hardwood floors, one of the main features to look out for involves the wheels. While vacuuming your hardwood floors, you’ll want to avoid using wheels that could cause scratches. The best vacuums for hardwood floors come with rubber materials around the wheels that prevent damages.

Furthermore, you’ll want to think about the weight of the vacuum. Using a lightweight vacuum can make it a lot easier for you to clean your hardwood floors across your entire home without causing too much physical strain.

Below, you can learn more about some of the features available with the best vacuums for hardwood floors.

Shark Rocket HV301


Shark’s Rocket HV301 can be used on carpets and hardwood floors which makes it great for homes that include both surfaces. We liked how they’ve made the vacuum with a lightweight design as it weighs just 7 lbs.

Therefore, you can be sure to have an easy time vacuuming different areas around your home without the hassle.

The swivel head feature means that you’re able to easily maneuver the vacuum while cleaning around objects.

  • Swivel head
  • Lightweight
  • Great for carpets & hardwood floors
  • Hair can get tangled in the brush
  • Doesn’t stand upright on its own
  • Noisey

Hoover Linx SH20030

hoover linx bagless corded cyclonic lightweight stick vacuum

Hoover’s Linx SH20030 features cyclonic technology which provides it with plenty of suction power. There’s also a function that lets you use the vacuum on either carpet or hardwood floors.

The 20-foot long power cord means you can vacuum your floors without feeling restricted. Furthermore, the handle has a recline feature that makes it easier for you to reach underneath furniture.

  • Long power cord
  • Powerful suction power
  • Recline handle feature
  • The filter requires frequent emptying
  • Hair can get tangled in the brush
  • The motor can produce an odor after heavy use

Other Wood Floor Cleaners

While vacuums are the most effective way to clean your hardwood floors, other products can also be effective. You can learn more about other ways to keep your hardwood floors shining below.

Can you mop real hardwood floors?

You most definitely can, as long as you do it correctly. If you’re interested in washing wood floors, using mops could be an effective tool. This is especially the case if your hardwood floors have become incredibly dirty over time and require dampness before vacuuming as they can clean grime off wood floors.

The best way to mop hardwood floors is to use a mop that comes with microfiber materials. Microfiber heads are great for capturing more dust and grime from being stuck to your floors. Another excellent benefit to using these kinds of mops is that they don’t retain excessive quantities of moisture which allows you to prevent your hardwood floors from becoming too wet.

Turbo Microfiber Mop


The handle available with this mop lets you spin it around 360-degree, which is fantastic for making it easier to mop your floors with. Furthermore, the handle has been made with a lightweight design that makes it easy to handle.

We liked how the length of the microfiber pads are 18” as it’s long enough to help you cover a larger surface area for quicker cleaning.

  • 360-degree handle
  • Lightweight design
  • Long microfiber pads
  • Handle unscrews too easily
  • Velcro connection could be stronger
  • No system to ring the mop head

Microfiber Wholesale Professional Mop

professional microfiber mop stainless steel

Two microfiber pads are included with this mop that is 18” in length to make sure you have lots of coverage when cleaning hardwood floors. We liked how the mop handle is adjustable so that it’s comfortable for you to use.

In addition to this, aluminum materials have been used for the frame so that the mop can remain durable and feel sturdy for deep cleans.

  • Long microfiber pads
  • Adjustable handle
  • Durable frame construction
  • Microfiber pads can get damaged in the washing machine
  • Velcro elements lose their stickiness
  • Difficult for reaching corners


Brooms could be another option to consider for cleaning hardwood floors in small rooms. Using vacuums and mops are the more effective ways to clean your floors but brooms can still be used for smaller messes.

If you are going to use a broom, we recommend using one that comes with a microfiber cloth instead of the bristle head. A broom with a bristle head can lead to scratches on your floors and they’re not so effective at picking up the smaller pieces of dirt.

Microfiber cloths on the head of brooms enable you to have an easier time picking up more dirt. If you were interested in using a broom for the smaller cleaning jobs, check out the option below.

O-Cedar Fast ‘N Easy Angle Broom


The O-Cedar broom comes with an angled feature that makes it super easy for you to reach corners and edges without any hassle. It weighs just 1.37 lbs which means you can sweep dirt from your hardwood floors with ease.

We liked how the broom is wide to let you cover a larger area while sweeping to get the job done faster. Moreover, the broom head can be removed and replaced with new ones.

  • Lightweight
  • Soft bristles
  • Angled feature
  • Broom head can get loose
  • Feels a little stiff to use
  • Broom head requires regular replacements

Best Ways to Protect Hardwood Floors

Now that you know more about some of the best ways to clean hardwood floors, you’ll want to be sure that you keep them well protected. Some people make the mistake of forgetting to protect their hardwood floors which can cause them to become damaged.

Furniture on hardwood floors is one of the main culprits for causing them to become damaged, but the problem can be easily avoided. There are pads and coasters available that have been specifically made for furniture.

You can place these pads and coasters underneath the legs of your furniture. It’s a huge help when you’re looking to complete a deep clean and need to move furniture around as you can simply push sofas and tables out of the way without worrying about scratching your floors.

X-Protector Furniture Pads


A strong adhesive element has been added to these furniture pads which ensure that they remain firmly stuck to the bottom of your furniture. They are 1.5” thick and have been made with soft felt and rubber materials.

Users have been impressed to find that these anti-skid pads last for a long time. Moreover, they’re super easy to use by simply peeling off the top pad and sticking it to the bottom of your furniture legs.

  • Anti-skid design
  • Soft rubber & felt
  • Easy to use
  • Can be a little tricky to slide furniture around
  • Layers of the pads separate over time
  • Smaller than some were expecting

What To Clean Hardwood Floors With?

For the most part, cleaning hardwood floors can be achieved pretty easily by using some water. Although, you may want to avoid water on floors with wax or oil finishes as these types of floors have specific cleaning soaps that work best.

If your real wood floors have become dirtier and haven’t been thoroughly cleaned in a while, implementing a high-quality floor cleaner would be a good idea.

Choosing between the wide variety of floor cleaners can be difficult as they all claim to produce the same effects. Well, one of the main features to keep an eye out for is the pH level.

One of the best things to clean hardwood floors with are products that come with a neutral pH level. Moreover, if you are going to use water, make sure that it’s distilled because tap water is likely to contain chlorine that can lead to hardwood floors becoming discolored. This discoloration can become permanent as it’s difficult to remove without causing further damage.

What is the best product to use on hardwood floors? Well, you can check out a recommended wood floor cleaner below.

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner


Bona’s hardwood floor cleaner has been made with a formula that’s water-based to ensure that no residue is left behind. We also liked how the formula dries up quickly as it’s a safe way to wash hardwood floors and prevent discoloration.

It’s also a recommended wood floor cleaner for pets as it doesn’t cause them any harm.

  • Safe for pets
  • Dries quickly
  • Doesn’t leave residue
  • Some notice no lid is included upon delivery
  • Refilling container can be tricky
  • Doesn’t leave floors shining as brightly as some were hoping

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Hopefully, you’re now feeling more confident about what types of products are best to sanitize wood floors and how to properly look after them. If you were interested in a more in-depth look into how to clean and polish hardwood floors, check out the easy to follow a step-by-step process below.

Clear the Area

Begin by removing any objects from the area that includes furniture and anything else on the floor. The furniture pads and coasters come in handy here for letting you simply slide them out of the way without scratching the floor.

If you’re unable to completely move larger pieces of furniture out of the room, you can put them all in one area of the room while you clean the floor. You can then move the furniture back into place and clean the area where you had them left to one side.

This may only be something necessary if you haven’t cleaned your floors in a long time and want to do a deep clean.

Time to Clean

If your floors are filled with dirt, using a mop to sweep over the area and pick up large debris could be a great start. However, the vacuum is the device that’s going to be the most effective at sucking up the dirt.

One of the reasons why using a damp mop on hardwood floors before vacuuming is because you’re able to pick up hard substances that can end up scratching your floor if they get caught in the wheels of a vacuum.

When vacuuming hardwood floors, we recommend that you go with the grain and not against it. This provides you with the least level of resistance so that you can smoothly suck up dirt and debris and have streak-free wood floors.

Using the main head of your vacuum is awesome for covering a larger surface area quicker. Vacuums that come with a handheld attachment or crevice tools should be saved for cleaning dirt from edges and corners that are more difficult to reach.

A handheld vacuum attachment can also make it easier for you to reach under pieces of furniture so that you don’t have to completely move them out of the way.

You’ll also want to be wary of vacuums for pets to make sure you can effectively clean up the hair that they shed.

Making Your Floors Sparkle

Once you’ve cleaned your floors, you can take the extra step to make them sparkle by using a wood floor product. If you’re using a concentrated cleaner, be sure to follow the product’s directions carefully so that it’s properly diluted with water. Too much floor cleaner concentrate can leave the finish of your floors ruined.

You can also find good wood floor cleaners that have already been mixed to avoid any mistakes. Before you start spraying the product all over your floors, we recommend spraying a small quantity somewhere more unnoticeable and leave it for a few minutes before wiping it and seeing if there’s any discoloration. If not, then you’re good to go and start using it across your floors.

Utilizing a mop along with the wood floor product will make the process easier and quicker. The best way to mop hardwood floors with a product is to work in sections and go with the grain. Using a figure of eight movement patterns will help to clean up more of the smaller pieces of dirt so that the product can reach your floors and work to make them shiny.

The aim when using a mop and product on hardwood floors is to use a limited quantity to make sure that it dries quickly. If you’ve used a little too much, it won’t be a big issue as long as you use a dry mop or some type of cloth to soak up the excess moisture.

Maintenance Hardwood Floors

If you’re wondering how to keep hardwood floors clean, the key is to wash them more regularly. Regularly cleaning your hardwood floors is the best way to spend less time doing the chore as you don’t wait long enough for tougher dirt to accumulate. When you haven’t cleaned your floors for a while, it means doing a deep clean which takes more effort and time. As long as you vacuum your floors regularly, you won’t have to do as many deep cleans.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Hardwood Floors

After taking you through the steps to keep your hardwood floors clean, there are also some things to avoid. To give yourself the best opportunity of having shining floors and preventing any mistakes, check out the section below.

Choosing the Right Floor Cleaner

Searching online for hardwood floor cleaners can be tricky because even though there are highly recommended options, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be the best for your floors.

This is because there are different kinds of hardwood floors. So, when you’re searching for floor products, make sure that you’re specific in finding options that suit your hardwood floors to prevent discoloration.

As a general guideline, it’s best to avoid using products with solvents and abrasives. Not to mention, it’s best to always use a soft mop or broom instead of scrubbing brushes as they can damage wood floors.

Using Too Much Water

As we mentioned earlier, the aim of using products and water on hardwood floors is to use a limited quantity so that it dries quickly. This is since hardwood floors don’t have any waterproof qualities which makes them more prone to being damaged by water. 

Should You Use Steamers?

Steamer machines involve using high temperatures to send water deep into surfaces for cleaning. Doing this on hardwood floors can cause damage that’s irreversible. Steam mops and machines cause moisture to get locked deep within hardwood floors which leads them to splinter and looking older than they actually are. 

Pets & Hardwood Floors

If you have pets roaming around the house, there’s not too much you can do to prevent them from causing small scratches. Having said that, it’s a good idea to keep up with trimming their nails to minimize any scratches.


That concludes our guide on how to get wood floors really clean. When you properly look after hardwood floors, they can look spectacular and bring the rooms in your home to life.

By using the tips mentioned throughout our post, you’ll be able to clean and maintain hardwood floors to have them looking great for years to come. You’ll also be able to feel more confident about the things to do and what things to avoid when maintaining and cleaning your hardwood floors.

Hopefully, the information found throughout our post has been useful in helping you learn how to best clean wood floors and enjoy them for years.

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