Cleaning and Preventing Streaks on Hardwood Floors

Category Floors
Many cleaners and methods of cleaning can leave streaks on your hardwood floors. This is a page about cleaning and preventing streaks on hardwood floors.


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

November 29, 2015

I moved into a house where I have real hardwood floors. My old house had laminate and I've tried everything a steam mop, a steam vacuum mop, the regular mop by hand method, and I always had streaky laminate floors. With the new house and hardwood, which is about 11 years old, I was determined to find a way to have streak free floors. I have tried many combinations of natural solutions different mops and always end up non-streak free, but today I realize there's only one solution to the problem no matter what cleaning products you want to use.

The first step is to vacuum or sweep. Then fill a bucket 1/4 full, with;


  • warm water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 drops "drops" of dish soap, drop the soap into still water to avoid suds

Next, using a mop start with a small section. Here's the trick, immediately throw an absorbent clean towel down and using the mop wipe the floor dry. Continue in sections. Remember you may have to get extra towels as they get too damp. The problem that we're having with the streaks is the water is drying in place and leaving a watermark, so if you wipe the excess water immediately ya got a beautiful shine.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 2
Read More Comments


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 3, 2011

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


May 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

If your floor does not have a Eurathene finish I would say use Murphy's oil soap, If it does try Bruce dura-luster no-wax floor cleaner, or a solution of vinegar or windex and water. Otherwise, you may need to just sand down the top layer and re-stain and finish it. Sometimes ya just gotta start over, unfortunately.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

December 26, 2013

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


December 28, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

April 25, 2010

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

By ALEX A from KS


April 28, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 28, 2009

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

Leona from St Paul, Alberta


Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

Use only vinegar and water with paper towel and wipe dry with clean dry paper towel. It is best to do a small square at a time and to spray on the vinegar and water mixture. It works!
Good luck from Canada (01/04/2008)

By Sharon L Martin

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

What kind of finish do your floors have? Wax/natural, polyeurethane or aluminum-oxide? Are they solid wood or engineered hardwood floors?

All of these factors are very important in assessing what kind of cleaner to use! Unfortunately, Pine-Sol or Swiffer WetJet Wood Floor Solution won't be able clean all types of wood floors effectively and properly, even if they claim they can. The best cleaning product to use is the floor manufacturer's brand cleaner or whatever they recommend to avoid voiding a warranty if your floors are brand new or newer.

If you're not sure what type of floor or what type of finish you have, stop by a hardwood flooring store or your local building supply center. Compare their samples with what your floor looks and feels like and get the opinion of the salesperson in the flooring department as well, if necessary. They can recommend something on the spot for you once you've determined what kind of floor you have. (01/04/2008)

By Rebecca

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

Use a 1/2 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water to clean hardwood floors. Use one of those mop thingies that you put a cloth on and take off and throw in wash. you don't need to get soak it. (01/06/2008)

By glea

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

Mix half a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water. You can pour this mix into a spray bottle and spritz your floor, them mop with a Swiffer style mop, the kind with a terry cloth pad that is removable to wash. (01/06/2008)

By gwynna

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

Vinegar and water is all I've used, and been told to use for the last 20 years. If I don't have time to wipe the floor dry, I have a fan blowing on it. Also, change the water when it looks dirty. (01/09/2008)

By Kim

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

Instead of totally "wet mopping" the floor, use a regular ring mop, but ring it out very well and just kind of "damp mop" it! Use vinegar and water because it's all natural and doesn't have any type of soaps in it to leave water spots. Pergo floors are harder to clean. Did you put these down or were they pre-existing when you moved there? Someone may have waxed them or tried to put the wrong finish on them . My husband refinishes hardwoods and lays flooring and he's run in to that problem before. Let me know if I can help. (01/21/2008)

By Elizabeth

Cleaning Hardwood Floors without Leaving Streaks

I use glass cleaner. The cheap kind from the dollar store and then dry it with a Pergo mop. (01/13/2009)

By Phyllis B.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Comments

In This Page
Home and Garden Cleaning FloorsSeptember 25, 2016
Summer Ideas!
Pest Control
Coronavirus Tips
Back to School Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2020-07-23 16:15:09 in 2 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2020 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Add to PageAsk a Question