How to Clean Hardwood Floors: 5 DIY Methods

How to clean hardwood floors?
  • Author: Ivy Smith
  • Posted On: June 19, 2023
  • Updated On: July 24, 2023

Hardwood floors are aesthetically-compelling and make an interior look coherent with the surroundings. They bring the earthy and warm tones to the house interior and are durable in the long run, hence the reason behind their popularity. But the catch is, you need to take proper care of hardwood floors to make them long lasting.  

With hardwood floors, you can go for different paint hues for your walls or can also keep it plain and simple as you desire. The décor flexibility provided by hardwood floors is yet another reason for their surging popularity.

When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, a number of DIY options can be selected. You can either clean them using the best quality products or without chemical products, choice is yours. Whether you want to go for a regular clean up or a deep cleaning of hardwood floors, this article has got your queries covered.

When to Clean Hardwood Floors?

When to Clean Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors do not require the same level of cleaning as tile floors. As a rule of thumb, you can clean, sweep and dust hardwood floors every few days.However cleaning can be done based on any of the following reasons;

  • Routine foot marks bring with them dirt and debris from outside and this often becomes apparent as the dirt settles on the floor.
  • Food spills and stains that happen to occur accidentally may require instant clean-up of the floor area. If not done so, these may attract more dirt and in some cases, the stains might even become permanent.
  • The air that circulates in a building and ventilates the interior carries dust and pollen. These particles settle on the floor and countertops of the kitchen and require daily brooming to get them off the floor.
  • If you do not maintain the finishing of your hardwood floor, you might end up with one that is dull and scratchy. Therefore, periodic cleaning of the floor using specially-formulated floor cleaners based on the type of wood your hardwood floor is made of, is essential. This is because a surface full of scratches and marks will attract more dirt and make the floor surface look messier.

DIY Cleaning Methods for Hardwood Floors

DIY Cleaning Methods for Hardwood Floors

Although hardwood floors are good at concealing dirt and dust unlike tiles that make it even more pronounced, regular floor cleaning is essential to ensure the longevity of the floor material. However, with hardwood floors, you will not have to rush for floor mops and cleaners every instant you see dirt marks or dust on the floor. Many cleaning methods can be adopted for hardwood floors. Despite the material being hard (as the name suggests), softer cleaning tools would work efficiently. Keeping the floor clean is an excellent way to make the hardwood floor less slippery.

The following DIY methods can be used to clean hardwood floors;

1) Dry Mopping

Dry Mopping

Navigating a dry mop across your hardwood floor is the simplest and effortless cleaning method and this is the one you should go for on a regular basis. Dry mopping will help remove the dust and dirt particles from even the areas that are hard to reach such as under the furniture. However, this method is not meant for deep cleaning your floor.

2) Damp Mopping

Damp mopping for Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Immerse a mop into a water bucket, remove excess water to use the mop in a damp state. It can be a great option for routine cleaning  since it is another effortless method of cleaning hardwood floors.

This method gives an upper hand over ordinary broom cleaning because it also helps remove the stains marks and spills more effectively from the floor. However, the mop should only be slightly damp and should not be dripping water because excessive water can damage the wood.

Prolonged reliance on damped mops can lead to your hardwood getting dull in color overtime. This is because water itself is not sufficient to preserve the properties of wood. Therefore, in the longer run, it is recommended to use readily available floor cleaners.You may also go for steam mopping your hardwood floor but it is advisable to determine the type of hardwood floor before you decide so.

3) Vacuum Cleaning

Vacuum Cleaning to clean hardwood floor

Vacuum cleaning is particularly effective in removing loose dirt and debris. Attach a soft-bristle brush with the vacuum cleaner and gently move it over the floor. The vacuum assembly will catch hold of the dust particles even in the remote areas of a room that are otherwise hard to access.

For instance, cleaning dust and dirt under the furniture becomes a facile task with a vacuum assembly. However, it is recommended to not use vacuums with rotating brushes as they lead to scratches on the floor.

4) Artificial Floor Cleaners

Artificial Floor Cleaners

Specially-formulated hardwood floor cleaners are available in markets and you can buy one for your floor too. An added advantage of these cleaners is that they help protect the natural color of hardwood and preserve the surface.

Hardwood floor cleaners are available in both a spray and liquid form. These are helpful in deep cleaning of hardwood floors. Be it stubborn stains, dust, or debris, these cleaners are a one-stop solution for all cleaning-related problems. Use them with a mop or a floor cloth for cleaning. 

The dilution ratio is often specified on the packaging in addition to the instructions related to application and usage.

5) Natural Floor Cleaners

Vinegar to clean hardwood floors

If you are someone who relies on DIY products and solutions, we have sorted out one for you. In order to clean hardwood floors naturally, prepare a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and ensure that the mixture is not too acidic as it may damage the wooden panels over time. Test the cleaner over a small patch of floor and proceed with cleaning your room if found compatible with your hardwood floor. 

Another DIY alternative that can be used as a cleaner is dishwashing soap and water. Make a foamy mixture by taking a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and add half a cup of water into it. It is recommended to first test it over a small patch and then proceed with deep cleaning hardwood floors.

How to Maintain Old Hardwood Floors?

How to Maintain Old Hardwood Floors

Old hardwood floors are tricky since the wooden boards have already covered a major chunk of their service life. You might also witness the floor getting dull overtime; however, hardwood floors are naturally durable and with proper care, you can preserve their appearance. Follow the steps below for maintaining old hardwood floors;

Old hardwood floors are tricky since the wooden boards have already covered a major chunk of their service life. You might also witness the floor getting dull overtime; however, hardwood floors are naturally durable and with proper care, you can preserve their appearance. Follow the steps below for maintaining old hardwood floors;

Step 1: Dust the Floor Surface with a Broom

In order to clean old hardwood floors, proceed first by dusting the floor surface using a soft-bristle broom or a mop. Carefully cover all the corners and crevices that often have dirt accumulated in them.

Step 2: Remove Stains Using a Damp Cloth

If you figure out some stubborn stains on the surface, use a cloth dampened with water to rub off the stains by navigating it over the floor area in a spiral manner. However, in case the marks persist, dip a sponge in a mixture of floor cleaner and water (as mentioned above) and gently rub the stained area. 

Step 3: Deep Clean the Floor Using Specialized Cleaners

Deep clean your floor by selecting some specialized cleaner depending on the wood type. Go for one that nourishes the wooden surface in addition to cleaning it. However, test a small patch to see the result and if found compatible, go for deep cleaning the entire floor area.

Step 4: Apply a Coat of Protective Layer

Once the floor is clean and dry, apply a coat of protective layer or wood polish, depending upon the type of finish your floor has.

Which Cleaning Method is the Best?

For Routine Cleaning

Regular cleaning using a sweeping brush is a recommended approach. It instantly removes spill marks and stains off the floor that will help preserve the durability of your hardwood floors.

For Deep Cleaning

The best way to deep clean hardwood floors is to buy a specially-formulated floor cleaner for your hardwood type. These are easily available in the markets. You may schedule a deep cleaning session once a week or when required.

Cleaning With Pets at Home

If you have pets roaming inside your house, you need to make sure you use a cleaning solution that is not too harsh. The best way to clean hardwood floors with pets is to remove the foot marks, pet hair or debris with a broom having soft bristles and then mop the floor with a pet-friendly cleaning solution.

6 Effective Tips When Cleaning Hardwood Floors

  1. Do not use hard brushes that will leave scratch marks on your floor. Instead, go for soft bristles that keep the surface texture intact.
  2. Do not bring your hardwood floor in contact with water excessively. Water itself is damaging for wood if prolonged exposure is not curtailed. In addition, avoid standing water on the floor.
  3. Avoid using harsh floor cleaners that prove to be abrasive and damage the wooden panels.
  4. It is recommended to always place furniture pads when the hardwood floor is installed. This will help prevent the supporting end of furniture from punching into the floor.
  5. If your room receives excessive sunlight and you have no provision to block it using blinds, curtains, etc., you might end up with a dull floor texture over time.
  6. Make sure you clean your floor on a regular basis and also deep clean it periodically using specially-formulated cleaners.

Let’s Wrap Up!

The above-mentioned DIY methods for cleaning and maintaining hardwood floors are highly effective and easy. They can preserve a hardwood floor’s appearance and quality. No damages whatsoever. So, go grab all the missing essentials and schedule a thorough floor clean-up so you end up with a safer and cleaner living space.

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Author: Ivy Smith

Ivy is a professional civil engineer and also provides her consultancy at ConstructionHow from the technical aspect. Her expertise entails home improvements and real estate. But the primary strength pins down to the construction sector. She began her career with a property management company cultivating more than 20 construction and real estate projects. She also contributes as a contractor to local and international commercial and domestic individuals.