Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors? 4 Easy Steps

What is the best way to clean hardwood floors? Hardwood floors are very attractive, but if they aren’t cleaned, they will lose their attraction. In this article, I’ll describe the best way to clean hardwood floors and give tips on maintaining them.

What is the best way to clean hardwood floors? The best way to clean hardwood floors is with these four easy steps:

  1. Sweep – optional step as you can just vacuum instead.
  2. Vacuum – choose one with a hardwood floor setting.
  3. Mop – an electric spray mop is much easier than a manual mop.
  4. Polish – optional step for extra shine.

For the initial cleaning, you can use a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom; however, not all vacuum models are ideal for hardwood floors. It’s important to use a vacuum that effectively removes dirt without leaving any scratches on the hardwood.

Read on to learn more about the best way to clean hardwood floors, as well as important maintenance tips.

Also, take a look at an excellent hardwood floor wet-dry vacuum/mop, the Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop for Hard Floors. This Bissell cleaner vacuums, steams, and makes cleaning your floors a breeze.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?

There are different ways to take care of your hardwood floor. As mentioned above, you may use a mop, a microfiber cloth, or a floor polisher for cleaning. But let me emphasize to you first the importance of sweeping your floor to maintain its quality and appearance.

how do you clean hardwood floors

1. Sweep

If you don’t have a vacuum or maybe don’t want to bring out your vacuum, then you can sweep your floors on a regular basis.

Sweeping helps remove excess dirt, dust, and grime. If these elements are not removed, then cleaning using a mop, cloth, or polisher only defeats its purpose in the end. So, you have to sweep your floor first to prevent the further spread of dust and from making a mess. At the same time, sweeping the floor will make mopping or wiping more efficient.

A microfiber cloth sweeper, like the Turbo Microfiber Floor Cleaning System with Washable Microfiber Pads, is perfect for cleaning hardwood floors. It is more effective than a regular broom as the microfiber will attract all particles of dust.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

2. Vacuum

Vacuum cleaning is an excellent alternative for sweeping. Perhaps, it is the most efficient alternative of all. However, not every vacuum cleaner is designed for cleaning hardwood floors. So, you have to be careful in choosing which one to buy or use.

You have to check if your vacuum cleaner has an on-off brush roll feature. Turning this feature off will deactivate the brush rolls that are only intended for cleaning carpets. If you fail to turn this off, the brush rolls will most likely leave scratches on hardwood floors.

Make sure that you choose a vacuum cleaner with a hard floor setting. This setting will remove debris from hardwood floors by suction. Check the type of wheels, too. It is a good idea to choose a vacuum cleaner with rubber wheels. Those with hard plastic wheels are more likely to leave scratches on the floor.

The Bagotte 2200 Pa Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

To make vacuuming your hardwood floors super easy, the Bagotte BG700 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is an excellent friend to have.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It is the best value robot vacuum on the market from the ones I have tried. It comes with remote control, but you can also control it using your smartphone.

By downloading its app, you can control your vacuum cleaner with just a few clicks or via voice command. You can set its routine schedule, too. That way, it will automatically operate as you attend to other important tasks.

This vacuum is ideal, not only for hardwood floors, but also for marble floors, plain floors, and carpets. It has a sensor that detects what type of flooring it is on, then automatically adjusts its suction features.

The Bissell Vacuum Cleaner and Steam Mop

This vacuum/steam mop is one of my favorite cleaning tools for hardwood floors. The Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop for Hard Floors, efficiently vacuums debris, and at the same time, steam cleans your hardwood floors. Or you can use the features one at a time.

Click here to see the Bissell vacuum on Amazon.

You can adjust the settings if you only want to vacuum your floors. Settings may also be adjusted if you’re going to steam and mop, or you simply want to mop without steam cleaning.

3. Mop

You may start mopping once you are sure that there are no sharp objects or excessive dirt on the floor. Mopping may be done every two weeks. But for heavily trafficked areas, it must be done every week.

Make sure to use a damp mop. After you wet the mop, you have to wring most of the water out of it. Otherwise, it will leave standing water, which causes floor damage, particularly in pre-finished hardwood floors.

If you are sure that your floors are sealed well, a wood cleaning product may be added when mopping. However, ensure that the wood cleaning product is diluted according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. There are several safe wood care products available in stores. Don’t just use any detergent available at home as it might be harsh and will only make the floor surface look dull.

You may spray a wood care product on the floor before you start mopping. Some products don’t require you to use a bucket. They even dry quickly and effectively remove grime, dirt, and dust.

After mopping, you can wipe the floors using disposable wet pads. These wet pads are ideal for touch-up cleaning. However, when buying wet pads, you have to make sure that they are suitable for your floors. You must remember that not all wet pads are ideal for cleaning hardwood floors.

The Bissell Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner

The Bissell Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner makes mopping hardwood floors a breeze.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It is more efficient to use compared to manual mopping since it saves you more time and energy.

This Bissell model can be assembled in less than two minutes. For a floor area of 900 sq. ft., you can mop your hardwood floor in less than fifteen minutes with minimal effort. But then again, don’t forget to sweep your floor first before letting this electric mop work its magic.

Sometimes, tiny sharp objects that go unnoticed are lying on the floor. If we proceed with mopping without sweeping first, these objects might scratch our floor. Worse, it might result in permanent damage. It is costly to have hardwood floors installed, and the least we’d want to happen is to spend money on repairs.

4. Polish

Polishing your hardwood floor is optional and not something you need to do on a regular basis. An electric mop like the Bissell Spinwave I mentioned earlier, will give your floors a shine; however, for that ultimate polished look, you can add a polishing liquid like the Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer and Polish.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Polishing your floor, whichever way you do it, helps restore the shine, and further protects your floor from wearing out. Using floor wax is another effective method of revitalizing worn floors. It provides a deep clean and beautifies your floors with a satin finish.

See the below video for other tips on how to clean hardwood floors:

Solid Vs. Engineered Hardwood Floors

In this section, I want to mention the difference between engineered and solid hardwood floors. Knowing the difference between the two will make it easier to know the cleaning methods for both. The best way to clean engineered hardwood floors may not be the best when it comes to cleaning solid hardwood floors — or vice versa.

As the name suggests, solid hardwood flooring consists of genuine solid wood nailed down up to the subfloor. Whereas, an engineered hardwood flooring consists of a thin layer of authentic and durable wood nailed down to sublayers of plywood.

It means that if the surface of a solid hardwood floor wears out, it can be repaired by sanding and refinishing. You can also sand and refinish engineered hardwood floors, but they are more likely to be replaced with a new one. Moreover, if the plywood underneath is damaged, it needs to be replaced as well.

Solid hardwood floors can last up until a hundred years, while the engineered ones have a maximum lifespan of 40 years. It’s the reason why solid hardwood is more costly compared to the engineered ones.

The Best Way to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors

The cleaning method for engineered and solid hardwood floors is basically the same. But since engineered ones are made out of a thin layer of wood, it is best to take extra care of it to maintain its quality and maximize its lifespan.

Aside from the abovementioned cleaning tips, here are additional ones for your engineered hardwood floors:

how to clean hardwood floors
  • Spills on an engineered hardwood floor must be cleaned as soon as possible. Engineered hardwood is less prone to water damage compared to solid hardwood. However, if it is exposed to liquid for a long time, it will cause permanent damage to the wood.
  • Protect your engineered hardwood floor from direct sunlight by pulling down your blinds or drapes during peak sunlight hours.
  • If you have indoor plants, put felt pads underneath them to prevent scratches.
  • If you have to move pieces of furniture during cleaning time, don’t drag them so your floor won’t get scratched.
  • Sweeping your floors every day will prevent dirt buildup, which can cause scratches.
  • If you have pets, keep their toenails trimmed to prevent them from damaging your floors.
  • Be aware of the moisture level in your home. Humidity control is necessary for maintaining the quality of your floor.
  • Avoid using hard water as it can dull the surface of your floor. Instead, use softened water or appropriate floor cleaners that are readily available in stores.
  • Avoid placing electronics directly on the floor because its heat can result in permanent damage.
  • If your floor is still a little bit wet after cleaning, dry it by turning on your fan and pointing it directly to the floor. You may also wipe your floor with the use of a soft microfiber cloth.
  • It is impossible to avoid scratches, especially if you have pets or toddlers at home. So, it would be best to put a liquid scratch concealer to protect your floors.

Caring for Cleaning Devices

By now, you already know the best way to clean hardwood floors. But, of course, you have to take good care of your cleaning appliances as well. Otherwise, you will end up replacing them every so often.

Vacuum cleaners and floor polishers come with a manual when bought. It doesn’t only indicate how to assemble the product, but it also shows how to clean them properly. It’s best to read their manuals carefully to maintain their quality and lifespan.

Below are some general pointers on how to take care of your vacuum cleaner or floor polisher:

  • Always do a visual check for clogs before and after cleaning your floors. If there are clogs, the efficiency of your appliance will most likely deteriorate.
  • Don’t wait for your vacuum cleaner’s cup, canister, or bag to overfill. Replace this part or empty it once you notice that it is already half full.
  • Do not use your appliance beyond its limits. No matter how durable it is, it also gets stressed. The motor can heat up and produce smoke when it’s overused.
  • Taking care of your cleaning appliances is a must. Failure to do so might damage your appliances and floors.

Conclusion – Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

So, to revisit our initial question: What is the best way to clean hardwood floors? The best way to clean hardwood floors is with these four steps:

  1. Sweep – optional step as you can just vacuum instead.
  2. Vacuum – choose one with a hardwood floor setting.
  3. Mop – an electric spray mop is much easier than a manual mop.
  4. Polish – optional step for extra shine.

To keep your hardwood floors cleaned and well-maintained, you can just vacuum and mop on a regular basis. Polishing is an optional step only if want extra shine.