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How to Clean Hardwood Floors

how to clean hardwood floors

Wood floors should last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance, but when it comes to cleaning, homeowners can become confused.

• Which floor cleaning products should I use or avoid?
• Is steam cleaning wood floors ok?
• Is cleaning engineered wood floors different than solid?
• How often should I mop my wood floor?

You can find an aisle of cleaning products at big box stores and large retailers that promise a clean floor but many of these can leave a hazy film or residue over time and cause your floors to look worse than before.

Some products may be too harsh to use on wood surfaces and may damage the finish leading to having to refinish them sooner.

Nobody wants to walk on dirty, sticky, or hazy wood floors!

Keep reading to find out how to clean hardwood floors – the right way – so you can keep your home clean and your wood floors protected.

How often should I clean my wood floors?

How Often Should I Clean My Wood Floors?


It’s a good idea to sweep or dust mop high traffic areas of your floor daily. A no-shoes rule helps too!




  • Wipe up spills right away with a cloth or paper towels.
  • Clean shoes and boots of dirt and rocks, or take off upon entering the home.



  • Dry mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming can be done daily as needed.
  • High-traffic areas usually need swept every day.
  • Low-traffic areas can be swept less frequent.
  • Your main goal is removing dirt and debris that could damage your floor or be hard to clean up later.



  • Spray and mop once per week, or more often as needed.
  • Kitchens, hallways, entryways, and living areas need the most attention
  • Stains and grime will get harder to clean the longer you wait.
  • Always use a wood floor-safe cleaner.

How to Clean Your Wood Floors

Microfiber Dusting Pad
Vacuum or Non-Abrasive Broom
Hardwood Floor Safe Cleaner (we recommend Real Clean Floors or Bona)
Microfiber Cleaning Pad and Mop

1. Sweep

Remove dust and debris with a dry microfiber dusting pad, soft bristle broom, or vacuum (without beater bar).

Clean tough spots with a damp rag by hand.

2. Spray

Spray the cleaning solution across the area you are about to clean or directly to the cleaning pad.

3. Mop

Mop with the microfiber cleaning pad. If cleaning a larger area, rinse out pad or swap out with a clean pad as it gets dirty.

When finished cleaning your wood floors, rinse the cleaning pad with warm soapy water. You can also throw it in the washing machine but don’t use fabric softener as it will contaminate the cleaning pad fibers. Hang to let dry.

What’s the difference between a dusting pad and a cleaning pad? 

Dusting pads are designed to be used dry and swept across the floor to collect dust, loose dirt, hair, crumbs, and other dry debris. Getting these off your floor will make damp mopping much more effective.

Microfiber cleaning pads are used with hardwood floor cleaning solution that is sprayed lightly across the floor and mopped with the cleaning pad attached to mop.

All cleaning products recommended on Portercraft.com are good to use on solid and engineered hardwood.

Cleaning products to avoid with wood floors

Cleaning Products to Avoid With Wood Floors

  • Wet mops. Traditional mops are designed to soak up water. They leave too much liquid on the surface that doesn’t evaporate quick enough leading to damage to the finish or wood.
  • Steam mops. Steam mops will certainly get your floor clean, but the heat and high moisture will damage your floors over time. Most flooring manufacturers tell you that steam cleaning wood floors these will void the finish warranty on your floors!
  • Supermarket oil soaps, waxes, or polishes. Traditional oil soaps promote being safe for wood and promise a shiny floor, but over time will leave a hazy residue and make the floor slippery. The buildup from using these products can cause problems in future refinishing your wood floors.
  • Vinegar, ammonia or alkaline products (even when diluted). Vinegar and ammonia are too harsh for wood floors – even if it’s been diluted. Due to them not being pH balanced, they can damage the finish or cause it to appear dull over time.

Best products for cleaning hardwoods

Best Products for Cleaning Wood Floors

Get our top 2 recommended products for cleaning wood floors.

Real Clean Floors

If you’re looking for a natural wood floor cleaner, Real Clean Floors is your answer. It smells great, is naturally derived, and doesn’t leave any hazy residue. It cleans well without any harsh chemicals. Order from RealCleanFloors.co.

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

As a well-known brand in the floor care market, Bona makes a large variety of kits, mops, and wood floor safe cleaning solutions. You can purchase Bona floor cleaner and accessories from Bona’s website.

Download This Cleaning Guide

Get a free a copy of our hardwood floor cleaning guide to print or save on your device.


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