Best Methods for Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors 

Discover a few simple methods to clean your hardwoods and keep them looking lustrous.

Updated January 12, 2023
House cleaning using microfiber wet mop pad

Fresh hardwood floors are a thing of beauty. They sparkle. They shine. They're just gorgeous, and you want to keep them that way. But it's hard when you have kids tromping in mud or spilling juice the second you turn around. Keep them sparkling by learning how to clean your hardwood floor the right way and keep them clean for years to come. Because if nothing else, a freshly cleaned hardwood floor can become a dance floor or a great place for sock skating.

How to Spot Clean Hardwood Floors

One key way to keeping your hardwood floor looking fabulous is to clean up spills quickly. So, you'll want to know how to spot clean any type of mark or stain on your floor. Check out a few sure-fire fixes for hardwood flooring stains.

Stain Cleaner Method
Ink or food Dish soap Add dish soap to a microfiber cloth and buff away stain.
Blood Hydrogen peroxide Dab at stain with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball.
Gum/Grease Ice Hold ice on stain to harden, peel off, and wipe down with cloth.
Watermarks Baking soda Make a paste of baking soda and water; apply to stain and let sit for 24 hours.
Scuff marks Magic eraser Erase the area.
Crayon Toothpaste Apply toothpaste to the mark and rub off with a dry cloth.

Daily Hardwood Floor Sweep or Vacuum

Routine is important, especially for cleaning. Putting in daily effort to keep your floors looking spotless can make weekly and deep cleaning easier. Yes, it's a challenge. Because - well life. However, the effort pays off in the end. So, daily or every few days, take the time to give your hardwood floors some TLC. Pick up the trash and sweep them to remove dirt and grime.

  • A soft broom or microfiber cloth duster works best for removing dust and dirt. Microfiber is best because it's won't scratch.
  • You can also vacuum your floors with the beater bar off (hardwood setting).

Weekly Hardwood Floor Mopping

Weekly cleaning is variable. You can stretch it to every two weeks for floors that don't get a lot of use. However, in areas like your kitchen or dining room, mop them weekly, especially if you have a house full of kids or pets.

You can choose to use a commercial wood cleaner or try a DIY wood cleaner recipe for your floor. I find white vinegar works wonders for cleaning hardwood floors. No matter what you choose, the steps are the same.

You Will Need

  • Bucket
  • Wood cleaner or white vinegar
  • Water
  • Microfiber mop
  • Microfiber cloth


  1. Mix your cleaning solution in a bucket of water. Dip in a microfiber mop.
  2. Wring out the mop so it's damp, but not soaked. (A mop spinner bucket works well to wring it out.)
  3. Work in one direction, moping with the grain of the wood.
  4. Clean the mop head frequently by dipping it back in the cleaning solution and wringing it out.
  5. Wipe the floor down with a microfiber cloth to dry.
Quick Tip

Watch your water as you're mopping. If it looks dingy, change it. You don't want to put dirty water back on the floor you're trying to clean. If you're really ambitious, you can try giving hardwood floors a steam clean! Just check your manufacturer's details to ensure you can use this method.

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How to Clean Buildup on Hardwood Floors

If you've let the floor go a while between washings or it just seems dull and perpetually dirty, it's time to deep clean your floor.

You Will Need

  • Vacuum or broom
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush or hard bristle broom
  • Microfiber mop
  • Microfiber cloth


  1. Use a vacuum or broom to sweep away all the dirt and grime you can.
  2. Create a solution of one cup of water, one cup of dish soap, two cups of baking soda, and a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Allow the reaction to happen.
  3. Use a sponge to apply the cleaner to the floor.
  4. Use a bristle brush or broom to scrub any high traffic or really grimy areas.
  5. Mop away the cleaner with straight water and a microfiber mop. (You'll need to dump and refill the clean water bucket several times.)
  6. Dry with a microfiber cloth.
  7. Optional: Mop with a special cleaner, like Rejuvenate, to restore the shine and fill the scratches.

How to Cover Up Scratches on Hardwood Floors

You can use extra-fine steel wool and wood polish to remove most scratches. However, if it's a big gouge, steel wool won't get you anywhere. You'll typically need to refinish your floor. If you don't have time for that because you have a party coming up, there's a solution that works relatively well until you can get it fixed.

  1. Find a crayon that's a match for your floor color (or use a wood filler stick).
  2. Color in the scratch.
  3. Use a hair dryer to melt the wax into the scratch.
  4. Buff out the area with a cloth.
  5. Continue until the scratch is non-existent.

This won't work for all scratches, but it will work to cover some of those deep ones until you can refinish your floor.

Tips to Preventing Scratches and Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

No one wants a hardwood floor that's all scratched up. Microfiber dusters and mops work really well to keep the cleaning scratches to a minimum. But there are other things you can do to keep your floor looking amazing.

  • Regularly rotate the placement of area rugs to be sure the floor is evenly exposed to traffic and light.
  • Use rugs or mats at the entryway or wherever spills are likely, but don't use mats with rubber backing - the backing can damage the floor.
  • Use soft pads underneath furniture legs to avoid scratches, and never drag furniture across a hardwood floor.
  • To avoid nicks, scratches, and dents, trim pets' nails and avoid walking on a hardwood floor in firm heels such as stilettos or cowboy boots.
  • Don't allow people to wear their shoes on the hardwood floor.
  • Avoid cleaners with oil and ammonia, as these can damage the finish and discolor the floor.
  • Don't wax a hardwood floor. Wax will create a dull buildup that makes the floor dangerously slippery.

When to Call a Professional

You'll find that after a while, your floor has lost its luster. You'll also notice excessive scratches, dents, etc. It's time to call in a professional to strip and refinish the floor - something you should do every few years. You can also choose to do this yourself. Beyond stripping, call a professional to assess your floor if you notice any splintering or rotting. Your floor might need replacing.

Effortless Methods to Clean Hardwood Floors

One of the great things about hardwood floors is the fact they are easy to clean. You can wipe away pet messes, and most stains are relatively effortless to remove. Keeping them clean makes your house look fabulous and ensures they'll stay beautiful for a long time.

Best Methods for Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors