Cleaning Hardwood Floors
A Complete Guide

Cleaning hardwood floors is simple, it's all about cleaning the finish, not the wood! Find out what is on your wood floor... ...

The Key is to know the particular type of hardwood floor finish on your floor before choosing your hardwood floor cleaner because you are cleaning the finish and not the wood!

Using the wrong product could be disastrous on the wood finish, time-consuming to correct, violate your warranty and costly to fix!

Some suggest using a PH balanced dishwashing soap diluted with water is a good cleaning agent.

The only problem with this is even PH balanced dishwashing soaps contain acidic ingredients. So, using this mix rarely and sparingly in emergencies is okay, but prolonged use may remove the sheen off the finish and leave a milky film that is not easily corrected.

Products made for hardwood floors are really the only cleaning agents guaranteed to protect the finish on hardwood floors. If you end up with a problem because of the cleaning product, you have something to fall back on to correct it, the manufacturer!


ALWAYS: Follow the manufacturer's recommendation when it comes to the type of cleaning agent/product to use when cleaning your hardwood floors. The finish on your wood floor depends on it!

This is especially so if the flooring is under warranty. Otherwise the manufacturer may not guarantee their product.

You'll keep your wood floor looking like new and extend its life if you sweep, vacuum and mop it on a regular basis!! BUT when it comes to which cleaning agent to use, NOT just any ole' product will do...

A MUST is a PH balanced cleaning product that does NOT contain any oils, soaps oils or acidic ingredients in its formula. Most (if not all) cleaning agents that specify "for wood floors" meet these specifications. READ the label before you buy!

The Tools

  • Broom: A fine, “exploded” ends broom works best because the ends trap dust and grit.
  • Vacuum Cleaner: A canister type vacuum cleaner, with bare floor attachments (brush), is excellent for cleaning hardwood floors. To avoid the possibility of denting your wood floors, NEVER use the beater bars of a vacuum cleaner... use the "floor" setting.
  • Dust Mop: A wide (12–18 inch) cotton head mop works great! For best results try spraying a treatment made especially for dusting wood floors 12 to 24 hours before dust mopping. Basically what it does is "grab" and hold the dust on the mop head.
  • Wet Mop: A cotton string or sponge mop will work just fine for cleaning hardwood floors. The key is to avoid using too much water. Thoroughly wring out any excess water so the mop is just "damp" and mop with the grain of the wood.

For best results, change the cleaning solution frequently (mopping with dirty water defeats the purpose). The final step is to rinse the entire surface with clean water only (no cleaning products) and a damp mop in the same way you mopped it.

Routine Cleaning for All
Wood Floors

High traffic areas need a frequent sweeping to remove the dirt and grit, maybe even daily, and mopped once or twice a week.

Less-trafficked areas (like a spare bedroom) require less cleaning, but still need to be kept free of dirt and grim and mopped only once or twice a year. You be the judge…

Go to our hardwood floor care do's & don'ts web page for recommended routine cleaning guidelines.


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