Wood Floor Cleaning Guide: What To Use, What To Avoid, And How To Clean Your Wood Floor

Wood Floor Cleaning Guide: How to Clean Your Hardwood Floor

Wood Floor Cleaning Guide
Want to keep a copy for your home or showroom? Download a PDF version of this article. We guide you through what to use, what to avoid, and how to clean your wood floors.

Wood floors should last a lifetime with proper care, but many homeowners are confused when it comes to cleaning their floors.

  • Which products should I use?
  • What products should I avoid?
  • How do I clean my floor without damaging it?
  • When should my floor need to be cleaned?

There are many products you can find at big box and supermarket stores that promise a clean floor but can leave a hazy residue over time and prevent you from being able to refinish them someday.

Other products are too harsh to use on wood surfaces and can damage the finish.

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

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

What you should use to clean your wood floors

  • Microfiber dusting pad
  • Vacuum or broom
  • Microfiber cleaning pad.
  • Hardwood safe cleaning solution

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

A dusting pad is designed to be used dry and swept across the floor to collect loose dirt, hair, crumbs, and other debris. Getting this stuff off your floor will make mopping much more effective.

A microfiber cleaning pad should be used with a hardwood floor cleaning solution that is sprayed lightly across the floor and mopped with the cleaning pad.

Please note that this method can also be used on engineered wood floors, too. All of the cleaners we recommend are for use on solid and engineered hardwood.

How to clean your wood floors

  1. Remove dust and debris with the dry microfiber dusting pad, vacuum or broom.
  2. Clean tough spots with a damp rag by hand.
  3. Spray the cleaning solution across the area you are about to clean.
  4. Mop with the microfiber cleaning pad (rinse and clean or swap out to a clean pad if it’s a large area you are cleaning).
  5. Rinse the cleaning pad with warm soapy water or throw it in the washing machine.

These simple steps are easy to do and will keep your floor looking great.

When you should clean your wood floors

It’s a good idea to sweep or mop the high traffic areas of your floor daily. A no-shoes rule helps too! Keep a copy handy to refer to when cleaning – download a PDF version of this article here.


  • Wipe up spills right away with a rag or paper towels.


  • Dry mopping, sweeping or vacuuming can be done daily as needed.
  • High traffic areas usually need to be swept every day.
  • Low traffic areas can be 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 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

Things to avoid when cleaning your wood floors

  • Wet mops. They generally put too much water on your floors, which takes too long to evaporate. Water and wood don’t mix so avoid wet mopping with straight water.
  • 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 these will void the finish warranty on your floors!
  • Supermarket oil soaps, waxes, or polishes. These wood floor oil soaps often say they are safe for wood and promise a shiny floor, but over time will leave a hazy residue. The buildup from these products can cause major problems if you ever want to refinish your wood floors. Avoid them for sure!
  • Straight or diluted ammonia or alkaline products. Ammonia is too harsh for wood floors – even if it’s been diluted – and is likely to damage the finish or cause it to appear dull over time.

Products we recommend to clean your wood floors

how to clean engineered wood floors
Real Clean Floors makes an excellent wood-floor-safe cleaner.

Real Clean FloorsReal Clean Floors (from Real Wood Floors)

If you’re looking for how to clean wood floors naturally, Real Clean Floors might be the very best on the market. It smells great, is naturally derived, and doesn’t leave any hazy residue. It cleans well without using any harsh chemicals. Order from RealCleanFloors.co or on Amazon.com

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaning Kit

Bona Cleaning Products

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 at Bona’s website, or on Amazon.com

We carry both of these products in stock at our 12 Midwest locations. Get a quote today.

Wood Floor Resources Guides Wood Floor Resource Guides

Download and share our guides to learn more about how to clean and maintain your wood floor.



  1. Randi Pyle says:

    We just had our hardwood floors sanded, restained and finished a couple weeks ago. I believe the floors were not completely cured and the pads of my dogs feet have left “scuff” marks on the floor as she slid to stop. How can I fix this? It is not toe nail scratches, it is scuffs. I am devastated and want to know what to do to fix. The floor guys left Bona Traffic HD and I will apply if this will cover the scuffs. I don’t want to make the issue worse so need expert advice on how to fix. If we use the Bona Traffic HD, how long do I need to wait to keep her off the floor to avoid this in the future. Also, can I just spot treat the scuffed areas or do I need to do the whole floor?

  2. jackson says:

    I have read your practical steps. I want to follow these steps to clean my Hardwood Floor .Cleaning things in a better way we learn from your blog. You have so much valuable information for everything. Thank you – May God reward you.

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Brandon, thanks for the question. That’s a tricky one that depends on a number of factors. Bona cleaner is a great wood flooring cleaner that doesn’t affect your ability to re-coat your existing floor. You might run into problems if anything like an acrylic product (such as Bona Polish) or furniture polish/oil has ever been used on the floor. Keep in mind that re-coating an existing aged floor involves other factors like whether it has been contaminated by substances that would prevent adhesion (acrylic polish, furniture polish, etc…), the type of coating originally on the existing floor, and the type of re-coating system that will be used. The best thing you can do is find an experienced contractor who can test your floor for contamination and is familiar good re-coating systems out there. Even though they test some spots first, contractors typically do not guarantee re-coats to work 100% of the time because there may be contamination in spots that prevent adhesion. Don’t let this scare you, though, the vast majority of floors do not have problems and re-coating is a great option to revitalize your floor.

    • Katie Knight says:

      Hi Aman, yes, microfiber towels would be great to use with a wood floor cleaner when cleaning up spills.

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Hi Teresa, I would be sure to test the Goo Gone in an area that isn’t important to you. Mineral spirits could also work. The important thing is to use it sparingly, and not let it stay on the floor for long. If you test this and it seems to work, then I wouldn’t see a problem using it in small areas to remove tape residue.

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Vicki, in our experience Murphy’s oil can leave a hazy residue on your floors over time that can be nearly impossible to remove and can lead to contamination issues if you ever want to have your floors professionally recoated.

      • Jordan says:

        Great post Caleb!

        Love the wood floor cleaning guide.
        Just thought I could help out, I noticed you didn’t recommend any microfiber mop in particular. We have a mop that comes with both the dusting pads and cleaning pads you recommended in this post. I can send it over if you like?



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