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How to Properly Clean Hardwood So You Don’t Ruin Your Floors

Hardwood floors in a house in Dundas, Ontario

What if we told you that cleaning your hardwood floors doesn’t have to be a headache? Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable home features for many reasons. Designers and real estate agents alike love hardwood floors because they’re timeless, match beautifully with all decor styles and increase a property’s value. As much as you might adore the look of your floors, figuring how to clean them properly is often a different story.


We’ve gathered the best tips and tricks for keeping both your natural hardwood or engineered hardwood floors in tip-top shape…

Hardwood floors in a modern kitchen and living room

Do Your Research

Since there are so many varieties of hardwood flooring, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping your hardwood flooring clean. These days, many manufacturers offer specialized cleaning products for deep-cleaning. Still, there are several different ways to clean and maintain your hardwood floors without using a manufacturer’s products.

However, if you just moved to a new home or are treating hardwood floors for the first time and are starting from square one, the first step is to find out whether or not your hardwood is sealed.

Protecting Your Floors

The last thing you want to do is ruin your hardwood floors, and testing whether or not they are sealed and treated is super easy. Pour a tiny drop of water onto a small area of a wood flooring plank. If the droplet pools up, that means your hardwood floors are sealed.

However, if the droplet of water sinks into the wood, your flooring is untreated and unsealed. In order to protect the wood, you must seal them properly before cleaning untreated hardwood floors with any excess water or liquid cleaning solutions.


Related: We Can’t Live Without These Amazing Cleaning Products 

How to Clean Untreated Hardwood Floors

In the meantime, you can clean your untreated hardwood floors by sweeping, dusting and using a powder cleaner called trisodium phosphate. Take a scrub brush and rub the trisodium phosphate onto the floor. Then use a microfiber mop and rinse with warm water, keeping a dry rag on hand to quickly absorb excess water. This last step is essential because it will help prevent any water damage to untreated floors.

Man cleaning hardwood floors with a vacuum

Sweep and Vacuum

Unlike other types of flooring, one of the best ways to ensure your hardwood floors look clean and beautiful is by keeping wet mopping to a minimum. Instead, opt for dry mopping, sweeping and vacuuming hardwood floors to ensure that crumbs and dust are kept at bay. If you do use a vacuum, opt for a smaller, lighter model to keep floors safe.

See More: The Cleaning Secrets of People Who Always Have a Spotless Home

Stock Up on Proper Supplies

The supplies and tools you use to clean your hardwood floors are important. Keep your hardwood floors looking spotless with a wringable microfiber cleaning spin mop. Microfiber spin mops and microfiber cloths are especially helpful for keeping hardwood floors clean because they are absorbent, dry quickly and effectively remove bacteria. They also use less water than other mops, which is vital for maintaining hardwood floors. Plus, it’s better for the environment. For more ways to be more eco-friendly at home, try these 20 simple ways to go green at home.

Person holding a red microfiber mop, their feet/legs are visible


Try a DIY Cleaner

Good news: cleaning your hardwood floors doesn’t have to be expensive. Learning how to clean your hardwood floors with supplies you already have at home, such as vinegar and dishwashing soap, is an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to store-bought products. Try this easy DIY cleaning solution on your hardwood floors:

Everyday Hardwood Floor Cleaning Solution

  • 4 litres of warm water
  • ⅓ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup of dish soap

Meanwhile, if it’s time to deep clean your hardwood floors, opt for commercial wood products such as Murphy’s Oil or Bona.

Person wiping yellow microfiber cloth

Tackle Spills Pronto

Accidents are inevitable, especially if you have kids and pets in your home. When it comes to spills or stains on your hardwood floor, it’s important to act as quickly as possible whenever a mishap does occur. Keep a stack of microfiber cloths on hand for easy clean-ups, but for trickier stains, using hydrogen peroxide is your best bet.

See More: How to Naturally Clean the 10 Most Stubborn Household Stains

How to Clean Stains on Hardwood Floors

Follow these steps for cleaning stubborn stains on your hardwood floors:

    1. Dampen a rag with hydrogen peroxide
    2. Wipe the lightly soaked rag onto the stain
    3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes
    4. Wipe up any excess and allow the floor to dry

Images courtesy of Lauren Kolyn and Getty Images

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