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Cleaning Hardwood Floors

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Someone mopping hardwood floors

Some hardwood floors can easily get water damaged and the finishes can be stripped by harsh cleaners. It is important to know how to clean your hardwood floors to insure that they will continue to look beautiful for years to come. This is a guide about cleaning hardwood floors.


Solutions: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Borax for Cleaning Floors

I have hardwood and tile floors. I tried everything to make them shine. One day I was in a hurry. I grabbed a bucket, put in about 1/2 cup of borax, filled it with hot water, and mopped all the floors. When they were dry, it looked like I waxed and buffed them! So simple and so cheap! No more Mop & Glo!

    By Irishwitch [391]

    Tip: Flannel Swiffer Squares with Endust

    I watch garage sales and the Goodwill (last chance store) for really cheap flannel king size sheets. I cut them into Swiffer squares. When I use them, I spray with Endust first. I "never" throw them in the washer -- yuck, so I toss them out after using.

    Endust is the "only" spray furniture polish you should ever use on a floor. Any other furniture polish is slick as ice! I mean it! Very dangerous. Not so with Endust. You can use it on a floor very safely.

    I really like my Swiffer mop. Easy, fast, Bam!

      By hopeful [26]

      Tip: Use Wet and Dry Mop for Floors

      I worked for a cleaning company and we always had those floors. We used a flat mop by O-Cedar and just water. Go over it with a wet one (not soaked), then a dry one in small sections. The best way though is unfortunately on your hands and knees. Same wet then dry, but it looks amazing when you're done.

        By Annissa A. [1]

        Tip: Cleaning Oiled Wood Floors

        I have 105 year old heartpine floors. I use WOCA natural soap to clean them. They have also come out with a refresher that has more oil in it. If your floors aren't horrible, clean them well and try the refresher on a small section. We sanded and oiled our floors six years ago after removing about five layers of linoleum. I used WOCA oil. Haven't had to re-oil yet.


          By Tina K [1]

          Tip: Dusting Hardwood Floors

          If you have hardwood floors and dogs, it is difficult to contain all the dust and dog hair, so what I do is take a dust sweeper (less than $3.00 vs. the disposable brand names) and open a window and have a fan blowing out. Then when I get a decent amount of dust/dog hair, I stick it out the window and shake. This prevents dust from being pushed around. It takes a steady hand but you can guarantee the dust is out of your home!


          Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


          Here are questions related to Cleaning Hardwood Floors.

          Question: Removing Red Candle Wax Stain on Hardwood Floor

          Red wax stains on wood floor.After removing the wax from the floor, there is a red stain left behind. I have tried numerous products that were recommended on this site, but none of them work.

          By Rich L.


          Most Recent Answer

          By Michael N.02/11/2014

          Use a magic eraser from Mr. Clean. It's the only thing that works. You have to scrub very hard for awhile but it will take it up.

          Question: Cleaning Wood Floors With Dog Prints

          I clean for a couple that has wooden floors and 2 very large dogs that track in and out all day long. I only clean there once a week and the dirt from the dogs paws is bad. Everything I have tried makes the floor look as if I just smeared the dirt around. I do vacuum before mopping. What can I use to make this floor shine and make this couple happy?
          in Illinois


          Most Recent Answer

          By Frust8dclnr [2]05/16/2011

          From all that was stated, I wonder what you tried and did any of the following work for you and if so, what did the trick?

          Question: Microfiber Cleaning System For Wood Floors

          Has anyone tried the new swiffer-like microfiber cleaning system for wood floors that comes with a cleaner and upkeep liquids? It runs about $15. We have an older wood floor with some dark spots that were under a carpet we removed and has some scratches. I have used the swiffer wet pads on the wood floors and it leaves them sticky.

          I have cats, so frequent hair removal is a must, and they like to throw up on the floor. I dry mop (sweep) a couple times a week and wet mop every 2 weeks or spot clean the pet presents.

          Debi from Youngstown, OH

          Most Recent Answer

          By Bren (Guest Post)04/05/2008

          How do you get scuff marks off hardwood floors? I have heard using a dry clean tennis ball?

          Question: Cleaning Unsealed Wooden Floors

          My house has unsealed wooden floors that were sanded and oiled around 15 years ago. They need a spruce up. Does anyone know of a surface application of something that won't damage the timber or does it look like another sand and oil?

          By Rebecca B.

          Most Recent Answer

          By maxsavickas11/30/2013

          I am surprised you haven't slipped and fallen on some of your slippery choices.

          Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

          Regarding someone's question on 8/22 on cleaning polyurethaned hardwood floors. I'm also looking for cleaning info. I have already found out not to use Murphy's Oil Soap (or any products with oil), water, soaps, sprays (like Liquid Gold), and vinegar. Bona appears to be a leading cleaner, but has a wide range of satisfaction reviews.

          Has anyone tried a mild solution of Windex and water? When I had the floors sanded (about 20 years ago), I vaguely remember the contractor mentioning Windex. Thanks for your response.

          By Miss Diezella from Washington, DC

          Most Recent Answer

          By mydogevie09/24/2013

          Windex has ammonia so I'd probably steer clear. Bona so far has worked the best and I've tried all.

          Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors With Murphy's Oil Soap

          To clean my hardwood floors, can I use Murphy's Oil Soap straight (without adding water)? I love the smell and cleaning with it.

          By Steph

          Most Recent Answer

          By Nancy B.06/24/2015

          I've used this before. I love the smell, it looks very clean. I get on my hands and knees and clean in sections. I just don't know how to get my floor to shine. My floor has never shined. I was told that some wood floors just don't shine it's the kind of wood it is.

          Question: Cleaning Wood Floors

          What is the best way to clean wood floors?

          By Heather K.

          Most Recent Answer

          By Noella [11]07/02/2011

          I have oldstyle wood floors and when I want to clean them really well, I use a bucket full of warm water, a little dish detergent and a couple of squirts of baby oil. Seems to work great!

          Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpeting

          My question is about cleaning wood floors after carpeting is removed. We don't have the funds for a professional to do it, so how do I clean and prep wood floors after the carpeting has been removed from 2 rooms in the house?

          By MizAyo from Chicago, IL

          Most Recent Answer

          By susan [33]08/29/2011

          Do as Chloelizabeth says but if there are faded or discolored use some Old English on it, this will make it blend in. Good luck, wood floors are so beautiful!

          Question: How Do I Get the Streaks Out of My Hardwood Floor?

          I just had hardwood floor installed, we cleaned it with a Shark steam cleaner. It looked good, but due to so much dust, etc. I decided to apply Quick Shine by Holloway House. It left streaks! Now how do I get that off; or how do I get my floor to look nice and even with no streaks?

          By Marlana

          Most Recent Answer

          By ann [36]09/05/2012

          I have a shark steam cleaner that I use on my ceramic tile floors, but never on my hardwood floors. I strongly advise you not to use a shark steam cleaner on hardwood floors. I believe there is even a warning on the instructions not to use it on hardwood because the water from the steam will go into the cracks of your hardwood and eventually it will discolour them and warp the boards.

          Either fill an empty (fine) spray bottle with a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar to 4 cups water, or go to a trusted hardware store and ask the salesperson for a hardwood cleaning solution in a spray bottle. Use a wide soft mop and follow the directions on the bottle. Use the spray sparingly, damp mop (not wet) following the grain of the wood, and buff any dampness off your floor until it is dry.

          Question: Where Can I Find a Terrycloth Mop For Hardwood Floors?

          I am looking for a terry cloth mop for use with Bellawood hardwood floor cleaner.


          Most Recent Answer

          By Kathy [27]06/05/2010

          I have a double sized 'Swiffer' type mop, and got tired of buying the pads for it, so I went to the Dollar store and bought microfiber towels, and use those for cleaning my wood floors with a spray on cleaner. I stretch them tight and push them into the holes on the top of the mop, and they fit and stay on perfectly. The microfiber leaves no lint and minimal streaking, I can rinse them while cleaning or remove them and put another one on when it gets dirty, and they wash up perfectly in the laundry!

          Question: Hardwood Floors Streaky After Cleaning

          After cleaning,the floor is streaky. We've tried several products without any improvement. Before buying another piece of equipment, we need some direction.

          By Jeanne

          Most Recent Answer

          By simplystephanie [1]12/28/2013

          Try this!

          Dry-mop or vacuum floor
          This gets rid of all surface dirt and debris.
          Mop floor, going with the grain

          If your floors are polyurethaned, dampen a mop with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Be sure to ring out the mop thoroughly before using it on the floor. Run the mop back and forth, going with the grain of the wood in smooth strokes.

          Tip: If your floors are lacquered or shellacked, dont use water, which can stain the wood and cause buckling.

          Buff floor with a cloth

          To lift soapy residue after mopping and make your floor shine, hold a soft cloth in your hand and use it to rub the floor gently in a circular motion. Still not sparkling? Use a wood-floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

          Tip: Cloth diapers work well for buffing, because theyre very soft and absorbent.

          Question: Removing Top Job Residue from Hardwood Floors

          I used Top job on hardwood floors and it has a coating that will not come off. Could you please tell me how to get this off?

          By Becky from Burnsville, NC

          Most Recent Answer

          By Kim Marie Davis P. [1]12/04/2014

          I have had my own cleaning business for 14 years, and have tried many floor cleaners...with that said, I will share my experience and opinion. I am afraid that the use of Top Job cleaner may have etched your floors. (Leaving a cloudy appearance ). Using ammonia is risky and I do not recommend it. If this is the case, the only option to "fix" your floors is to re sand. If they are laminate... consider replacement.

          Question: Removing Waxy Buildup on Glossy Hardwood Floors

          Can you please tell me how to remove the residue from my Santos mahogany high gloss hardwood floors? With using Bona, Minwax, and several other products such as Murphy's wood cleaner, there is a dull film that I have been trying to remove for months. It's to the point where I can hardly stand to look at the floors anymore and was thinking about taking them up completely. Please send me an SOS on how to save my floor. Thank you sincerely for your reply.

          By Glenda

          Most Recent Answer

          By Sharon F.09/15/2014

          We have dark mahogany floors that were factory finished. Anything other than water with a few drops per quart of dishwashing liquid leaves a sticky film that attracts dirt. We are actually having these floors refinished, because they are always dirty looking, no matter how clean you keep them. Wish I had better news.

          Question: Cleaning Unfinished Hardwood Floors

          What can I use to clean hardwood floors that are unfinished? The floors were finished at one time (years ago), but now they are dirty and very dull. I'm fixing up an old house, but I've got to clean these floors first!

          By rach

          Most Recent Answer

          By Irene Saltsgaver05/07/2013

          You might try white vinegar and water mixed 1/2 & 1/2 and wipe it up quickly.

          Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

          How do I get grime off a wood floor around the cabinet edges? I have a wood floor in my kitchen.

          By Pat O.

          Most Recent Answer

          By ofarrellsaus04/25/2012

          Degreaser, WD40, apply to rag, rub briskly and it should come off.
          Also try white vinegar, should work a treat.

          Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors Without Leaving Streaks

          What household cleaners would clean hardwood floor without leaving a haze or film behind?

          By Alex A from KS

          Most Recent Answer

          By Andrea [1]04/28/2010

          If you have solid hardwood floors vs laminate, then use strong brewed tea. I had the same problem. Anything commercial left my floors with a film and sometimes tacky. I looked all over the internet and discovered this method. Seems that this is an idea from the "old days". Make very strong brewed tea and use it to clean your floors. No film and not tacky.

          Question: Cleaning Buildup Off Hardwood Floors

          How do I clean the buildup on my hardwood floors?

          By Kahlbrand

          Most Recent Answer

          By Chuck [2]03/27/2010

          I have had beautiful hardwood floors and always used small amounts of ammonia in the mop water every time I mopped. After getting them down to the real wood, I would wax, and start small amounts of ammonia mop water again to slowly strip off. They always shined great and never built up again.

          Question: Removing Quick Shine from Hardwood Floors

          My floors were looking dull so I applied Quick Shine to them. They looked great at first. My son decided to surprise me while I was out of town and applied 5 coats of Quick Shine to "restore them". They were left with streaks. I've tried everything I can think to of to remove this product from my floors including a Shark steamer, floor scrubbers, Windex, vinegar and water and nothing has worked. My husband has even gotten on his hands and knees to no avail. You can see spots where the solution is gone and patches where it remains. At this point I'm wondering if my only hope is sanding them down and re-staining them.

            By kelly.bessey [1]

            Question: Ink Stain On Hardwood Flooring

            My grandson has trodden on a pen on oak flooring. How can I get the stain removed?

            By Ann from Sussex U. K

            Question: Removing Furniture Polish from Wood Floors

            My housecleaners used my Bona furniture polish to clean my wood floors. Now we are slip sliding all over the place! You should see our poor dog. What do I do to fix it?

            By Moshelle

            Question: Cleaner Leaving Streaks on Hardwood Floor

            I have been using Bonaparte on my wood floors, but there are many streaks and smudges. What can I do?

            By Rose

            Question: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            We have a beautiful hardwood floor in our hallway and kitchen. Does anyone have a good product they use to clean them? Or a natural product will do too. I just moved here and I want to keep the floors beautiful and shiny. Thank you

            By Sheila from Ontario

            Question: Removing Black Scuff Marks on Hardwood Flooring

            After a couple friends came over, in the areas where shoes were worn, there were black scuff marks and slight indentations on the hardwood floor. Please help ASAP.

            By Josh

            Question: Oreck Steam Mop Left White Mark on Wood Floor

            I've been using my Oreck mop for quite sometime now and yesterday I found gum on my wooden floor. I used my Oreck to get it up and it just wouldn't come up. So I placed the Oreck on the gum so that maybe the steam would break it up and all it did was leave a white mark on the floor. Any ideas?

            By Ron F.

            Question: Dark Stain on Hardwood Floor

            What can you do when a Swiffer Mop is left on your wooden floor and has left a dark stain? It hasn't been treated with a polyurethane coat since it was sanded down 7 or more years ago.

            By Kathy


            Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            What is the best way to clean hardwood floors? I have found that with cleaners like the Swiffer wetjet or Murphys oil soap and others leave a film and streaks whether I dry it with a cloth or let it dry naturally. I also tried to dilute the cleaners thinking I've used too much. Most of my main floor is hardwood and I miss the shine!


            RE: Hardwood Floor Cleaner

            I am all about vinegar and water for wood floors also. I responded to a similar question but a hardwood floor company suggested 4 oz. to 1 gallon of water. And they are against commercial cleaning products. Shannon (06/11/2004)

            By sjk

            RE: Hardwood Floor Cleaner

            Have you tried 4 oz. to 1 gallon? That doesn't seem like enough. I used 1 cup to 1 gallon, and it didn't work too well. (12/14/2004)

            By Miranda

            RE: Hardwood Floor Cleaner

            I am curious to try this vinegar and water tip on the hardwood floors. I am helping my father prep up his rental apt. to rent out, and there is a lot of dust on the living room/dining room floors from the latest home improvement project. So, I am figuring that using this water/vinegar solution will clean up the dust residue and give the floors a nice shine. Wish me luck, and I will be writing to let you how well it comes out. (03/25/2005)

            By Patricia

            RE: Hardwood Floor Cleaner

            Use a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water to clean hardwood floors. It's cheaper than the commercial cleaners and chemical-free! (06/21/2005)

            By Dianne

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            We recently had our hardwood floors re-sanded and polyurethane. The man who did our floors said only to clean them ONCE a year with vinegar and water. Other than that, simply sweep often and spot clean with plain water--anything else and you risk damaging the finish. (06/22/2005)

            By ght

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            Vinegar smell is short lived. I clean with it daily. (09/07/2005)

            By Jennifer from CA

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I have polyurethaned wood floors. Can't imagine not cleaning them every week, especially in the kitchen. Vinegar and water works fine and there is no smell! The vinegar smell dissipates after a few minutes--and it works well (09/21/2005) (09/07/2005)

            By KathleenLI

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I have been trying for weeks to remove the cloudy look to my hardwood floors. I believe that murphy's oil soap is what put it there. I will NEVER use that again! It's driving me nuts trying to get that terrible dull coating off the floor. (09/22/2005)

            By Valerie

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I use windex on my hard floors. They turn out really nice. (09/25/2005)

            By Joyce wis

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I use a bucket of hot water and a little Murphy's Oil soap. Lemon oil works well too. (09/26/2005)

            By Tanya

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            Use cheap shaving cream on your floors. Spray it on and then wipe it off. Gives the floor a nice shine. (09/26/2005)

            By sjackie2000

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            Try cleaning your floors with armstrong dura-luster. It comes in a spray bottle and the floors look great. I have a problem finding it and at present, I'm all out. I tried min wax and I didn't like it at all, left my floor dull. The person that put my floors down said vinegar but I don't think it's as good as the cleaner and does not smell good either. (12/12/2005)

            By lizzy195

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            i just used the water and vinegar on my floors and i loved it. I used about 1/2 a cup to 2 gallons and did it throughout my house. (01/03/2006)

            By Dana

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I use Bruce hardwood floor cleaner just spray it on and wipe off. The flooring company recommended only using this stuff you should never use water to clean hard wood floors. You can get the floor cleaner at Home Depot or try any company who sells hard wood floors. (01/25/2006)

            By Jeanette

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I tried the water and vinegar solution and it left a cloudy film on my hardwood floors. I'll never use it again. I only use cleaner recommended by the professionals. It's worth the money. (06/05/2006)

            By Kate

            RE: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I used vinegar on my floor, and it took the finish off. I will never use it again. (06/23/2006)

            By Gail

            Vinegar and Water

            My floors are polyurethaned. Since house construction I have only ever used vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water). I damp mop the floors then dry them (on hands and knees) with a soft towel, essentially buffing them. I get lots of compliments! I do this about every 3 to 4 months. In between cleanings I just sweep with broom, then use the swiffer or pledge dusters to pick up any remaining dirt and for a shine. (10/25/2006)

            By CMW

            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I have never had hardwood floors before. Ours have a polyurethane coating, high gloss. It appeared that the floor was smudged with footprints. Using a Bona product.


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            What is the best thing to use to clean hardwood floors?


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            How do I clean hardwood floors?


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            Does anyone know a solution to use to clean hardwood floors? The floors are sealed. I have smudge marks all over them from attempting to clean them with Pledge for hardwood floors.


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            Daily cleaning of hardwood floors can be a challenge, especially if you have pets. The best tool I have found for daily maintenance of my hardwood floors is a good vacuum cleaner.


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

            I have light colored hardwood floors and when I wash them I always get streaks. You can see all of them. Any suggestions for a cleaner?


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors

            I am looking for tips for cleaning hardwood floors.


            Archive: Cleaning Hardwood Floors Without Leaving Streaks

            To keep your laminate floors or your wooden floors streak free, it helps to dry them. I use my Swiffer for this, but use a an old towel in it instead of the dust cloths.