Whether you just had hardwood flooring installed, or have had it in your home for years, it is important to practice proper cleaning techniques in order to preserve the integrity of the wood.

While there are many cleaning products available that claim to be safe for hardwood floors, some of these may contain harsh ingredients that can leave a hazy, sticky residue, damage the finish, or wood itself. Not only is this visually unappealing, but it can also result in flooring that is difficult, or impossible, to refinish.

By following our suggested guidelines, you can rest assured knowing that your wood floors stay clean and remain beautiful for years to come.  

Daily Maintenance

For starters, it is important to use a microfiber dusting mop (like this) regularly to capture dirt, hair, and other debris. Sweeping with a broom and dustpan will also suffice, however, microfiber dust mops have better trapping capabilities for finer particles. You can also vacuum, but first ensure that the vacuum is on the proper setting or use the proper attachments. Beater bars used to vacuum carpet can scratch your hardwood flooring.

Removing dust and debris should be done several times a week as needed in high-traffic areas, less often in low-traffic spaces. The goal is to keep your floor free from any debris that may cause discoloration, surface scratches, or abrasions. Using area rugs or door mats at all entry ways will help keep outdoor debris at bay.

You’ll want to tackle spills and messes quickly. A damp cloth should suffice, though you can also use an approved cleaner for tougher messes. It’s important not let liquids linger, as they can damage or stain your floor if left too long.

Weekly Maintenance

We recommend all of our customers invest in a microfiber cleaning mop. This differs from a dusting mop as it is used in conjunction with an approved cleaning solution.

Simply spray a small area (about 3ft x 3ft) with an approved cleaning solution and wipe with the mop, following the grain patterns in the wood; continue until the entire space has been cleaned. If you are mopping a large area, or one that is heavily soiled, be sure to rinse and thoroughly wring, or switch out the pad when it becomes too dirty. If you begin to see streaking during the moping process, this is a sign that your pad is too dirty and needs to be cleaned or replaced. When used properly this method will be quick drying and allow you to regain the use of your space with limited downtime.

What to Avoid

Steam mops: The high-temperatures and moisture content associated with steam mops can be detrimental to hardwood flooring. You may not notice the effects immediately, but over time it can cause wood to warp and/or splinter. Save steam mops for vinyl, tile, or laminate flooring (if it is manufacturer approved).

Traditional wet mops: These types of mops use a lot of water, which takes time to evaporate. Since we know that water and wood are not compatible, avoid using these mops on your hardwood flooring.

Oil Soaps, Paste Waxes, and Liquid Shine products: These types of product, while touted to be safe for hardwood flooring, are not suggested. The chemicals that produce the shine effect can create buildup over time, resulting in hazy, sticky, or discolored floors.

Ammonia, Bleach, Vinegar, etc: These products, and products that contain these ingredients, are too harsh for hardwood. They can wear away at the finish and permanently damage the wood. Reserve these products for kitchen and bathroom applications and keep them off your floor. 

Products We Suggest

 has made a name for itself as a leader in cleaning solutions for hardwood floors. They have a range of cleaning and maintenance products that are specifically designed for hardwood floors and offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Their products can be found online or at many major retailers.

Real Clean Floors
 was created by Real Wood Floors, a manufacturer of hardwood flooring. Using their extensive industry knowledge, they were able to produce a line of products that can safely clean and protect hardwood flooring. You can shop their line here.

Check out our past blog posts and watch for new entries for more knowledge, advice, and tips about hardwood and other types of flooring!