Decor Hint is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.
Ever wonder what to use to clean hardwood floors? This is a guide to cleaning your hardwood floors like a Pro.
Hardwood floors are so beautiful. And yet, they can be such a pain to maintain and keep clean!
That is – IF – you don’t know how to do it in a way that’s easy and budget-friendly.
Today I’m showing you how I keep our hardwood floors clean and pretty, even with two young kids and a dog running around. This method is so simple, I sometimes do it daily depending on the season!
I’ll also show you how to clean your floors naturally if you want a great homemade cleaning solution for your hardwoods.
What to Use to Clean your Hardwood Floors
I’m a huge believer in keeping things as simple as possible, especially when it comes to cleaning. If you make the process a pain in the “you-know-what”, you will never want to do it.
How do I make it easy?
I use two products. That’s it.
A spray bottle of floor cleaner and a microfiber mop.
I figured out that the easiest and best way for me to keep up with regular hardwood floor cleaning is to make it a simple grab and go process.
I re-purposed my Swiffer by using these washable, microfiber mop pads.
No more buying Swiffer wet pads.
No more storing clunky boxes of way-too-wet floor pads.
No more having to deal with mop pads falling off during the middle of mopping! I am done with all of that.
This simple spray and mop method is so easy to do, you guys! And the microfiber pads are washable so you simply throw them in the laundry when you’re finished.
Ok, so what’s the cleaning solution?
Glad you asked …
The Bona spray bottle is easy to store and I can spray as I mop and control how much water gets on the floor.
WATER is the #1 enemy of your hardwood floors. You shouldn’t let any amount of water soak into your floors for too long. Which goes back to my whole anti-Swiffer too wet pad thing.
And it’s quick-drying! By the time I work my way to the other end of the room, the floor is pretty much dry!
Just so you know, Bona hardwood floor cleaner is for sealed wood floors only. If you have oiled or waxed floors, Bona makes a special cleaner for that as well.
So, I’m going to go into more detail about exactly how I clean the floors, how often and what else I do for prevention purposes. I’ll also give you a natural hardwood floor cleaning recipe below.
Quick tip: I love free and simple products and Bona has a Free and Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner now! Same awesome cleaning power, but now hypoallergenic!
How to Clean your Hardwood Floors
I broke this down into simple steps! I clean my hardwood floors this way about once per week, sometimes more depending on how dirty they are and what season it is.
- The first thing I do when I’m cleaning my hardwood floors is vacuum or dry dust the floor to pick up any loose dirt and/or debris. It’s much easier to get this stuff out of the way first. The microfiber mop head I use will also attract and pick up debris and dust. You don’t want to use the beater bars on your vacuum because they can scratch the floors. Most vacuums these days have a hardwood floor setting. Use that if you can.
- Starting from one end of your room, pull out your floor cleaner and spray a small section of flooring. Quickly go over this section with the mop. (Remember that rule about not letting water sit on your floors for too long?)
- Continue to spray and mop this way until you make it to the other end of your room.
- When I’m done mopping, I sometimes take a wet paper towel and go over any areas of stubborn dirt that I couldn’t get with the mop including corners, as well as pick up any excess loose dirt that the vacuum missed.
- Your floors will dry quickly and be very clean and pretty!
- Now all you have to do is remove your dirty microfiber pad and throw it in the wash. I also take this time to put on another clean floor pad – that way I’m all set for the next cleaning. 🙂
What about sticky stains on your floor?
Sometimes we end up with these really sticky, gooey stains on our floors. I know that our furniture pads can sometimes cause them and other times it’s just our kids or our dog being, well, kids and dogs! These sticky stains can be really, ridiculously hard to get up with just a mop.
For these troublesome spots, I use a bit of Goo Gone. It dissolves away the sticky part so you can just wipe it clean. I just use a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Sometimes it takes a bit of elbow grease. Goo Gone has proved to be safe for our hardwood floors – however, test a small inconspicuous spot first if you are worried.
After wiping the sticky spot away with Goo Gone, I make sure to wipe down the area with a bit of Bona or dish soap – I don’t want that area to be too slick.
For more cleaning tips, check out these posts:
- How to Clean Oven Racks without Chemicals!
- Natural Disinfectant Spray Recipe
- Free Cleaning Checklists
- My Favorite Spring Cleaning Tools
Natural Floor Cleaner Recipe
If you look on the internet for a natural hardwood floor cleaner – you will find hundreds of recipes. Some hardwood flooring experts say not to use vinegar, while other cleaning pros say vinegar is the best for cleaning floors.
Since vinegar is acidic and it can dull the finish on your floors and eventually cause a cloudy look, I opt for a simple homemade floor solution without vinegar.
- 1-2 teaspoons of Castile Soap (Dr. Bronners, etc.)
In a spray bottle, mix the ingredients together and give it a good shake. Use as you normally would with a microfiber cleaning mop. Make sure to label your spray bottle for future uses.
I make this solution in a spray bottle, so it’s the same spray and mop method that I mentioned above.
If you do swear by Vinegar – I believe it’s best to keep the amount very low in relation to the water and soap. So 1/8 of a cup of less!
How to Prevent Dirty Floors and Scratches
The key to beautiful floors is to prevent them from getting too dirty and dingy in the first place.
Here are a few tips and products we use to keep the dirt and scratches to a minimum – even with a dog and two young kids running wild through the house.
Boot tray/Shoe Bin – We are pretty much a shoes-off at the door household. The exception is for guests – we don’t make any guests take their shoes off unless they want to.
This shoes-off policy not only keeps our floors cleaner, but we also don’t end up with a bunch of shoes lying around in random spots throughout the house.
We have a large shoe bin near our back door for this purpose, but you could also invest in a stylish boot tray.
Door Mats – We use these nonslip rubber doormats during the rainy season to help collect water and mud from the outside. If it’s really a mess outside, I throw one of these dog mats on top. They soak up so much water and dirt from my dog’s paws and it’s machine washable for easy cleaning.
Furniture pads – Furniture pads are a must! We put pads on the bottoms of all our furniture pieces that sit on the hardwood floors. This includes the dining room chairs and table. Since the dining room chairs are constantly being pushed in and out, I find that I have to replace these pads every couple of months. But they are cheap and easy to take on and off, so I don’t mind!
Regular Vacuuming – I make it a point to regularly vacuum our floors. I pretty much do this daily along with our living room rug. If you don’t love to vacuum like me, keep a Swiffer dry dust mop handy and give it a once over every day if you can.
So, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed over the care and maintenance of your hardwood floors – I hope this simple cleaning method and preventative care tips help you.
Cheers to cleaner hardwood floors!