How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Learn how to care for hardwood floors by using these natural cleaners and following these simple tips.

vacuum cleaner

vacuum cleaner

the floor clean with a vacuum cleaner

Photo by: Enrico Mantegazza

Enrico Mantegazza

Hardwood floors bring an earthy, warm beauty to your home. They’re durable and, with proper care, last for decades. You can keep them looking lovely by following these tips on how to clean hardwood floors.

The first step: Use a dust mop or vacuum to remove dirt, dust, pet hair and other debris that could scratch the floor. Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment as it could damage the surface of the floor. Use the floor-brush attachment. Depending on traffic and the number of pets and children you have, you’ll need to do this at least once a week.

Dust mopping won’t remove the dirt and grime that build up over time. For periodic deep cleaning, you’ll need to use a liquid cleaner. You can use a commercial wood-cleaning product, like Bona or Murphy’s Oil Soap. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions. You can also make your own cleaner by mixing one part vinegar to 10 parts warm water. Add a few drops of liquid Castile soap.

Whatever cleaner you choose, the process for how to clean wood floors and how to clean engineered hardwood floors is the same. Saturate a rag or sponge mop in your cleaning solution. Wring it out thoroughly so the mop is damp, not wet. Mop the floor with the cleaner, being careful to not put too much liquid on the floor. Rinse the mop with clean water, wring out excess, and damp mop the floor to remove the cleaner. Wipe up excess water with a clean, dry towel because standing water will damage the floor. 

You can also use boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine. Let two teabags steep in the boiling water for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a bucket. Take a soft cloth and wring it out in the tea. The cloth merely needs to be damp, not soaked. This will enable the floor to dry quickly. Wash the floor and be ready to be amazed by the sheen.

Covering scratches that remain after cleaning is part of knowing how to clean a wood floor. Take a crayon the color of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth.

Prevent dirt and damage to your newly cleaned floors. Put doormats inside and outside exterior doors to cut down on the dirt and moisture tracked in. Avoid scratches by using floor protectors under furniture and putting down rugs in high-traffic areas. Knowing how to clean a wood floor will keep yours looking beautiful for years.

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