Cleaning Hardwood Floors

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 page about cleaning hardwood floors.


Check out these tips.

March 25, 2005

Try using tea to clean your wood floors. It works.

By pittypatty

Editor's Note: We are assuming this is non sweetened brewed black tea. Has anyone else tried this?

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November 21, 2013

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!


June 8, 2004

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!


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April 29, 2015

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.


40 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

September 15, 2010

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


September 16, 20101 found this helpful

Clean your hardwood floors with water. I bought a mop with a wide head and a microfiber cover. I wet the cover, wring it out, put it on the mop and clean my hardwood floors with water only. I carry a spray bottle of water with me as I go. When the mop appears to be drying out, I mist the floor with water and keep going. Unless your floors are absolutely filthy, you can keep them clean without any chemicals at all. On the rare occasion that my floors need additional help, I use Bruce Hardwood Floor Cleaner. I buy it at Home Depot for about $5.

September 18, 20100 found this helpful

When I had my hardwood floors refinished several years ago, the worker suggested I use Polycare. It is a liquid and I use one capful to a quart bottle. It is about $7 or so but lasts a long time.


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September 18, 20100 found this helpful

I use my swiffer wet jet and it cleans them just fine.

September 24, 20130 found this helpful

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

June 1, 20160 found this helpful

Bona has just smeared my floors worse than ever. I had them refinished to a satin finish so the smearing wouldn't be as obvious and it didn't help. I have tried a few drops of Dawn (not for sensitive hands type) in hot water and a microfiber pad and the floors still look smeared.


I've tried Windex, I've tried vinegar, and I am ready to give up and just never have another wood floor.

June 15, 20160 found this helpful

Please help me clean the mop residue off my hardwood floors nothing had help new mop new floor cleaner nothing help me and they are beautiful when clean help plz

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March 12, 2006

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


By Julie, Canada (Guest Post)
March 14, 20061 found this helpful

Please stop using these, as I know some are very harmful and fatal for pets, especially cats.... I know some lost their pets because these wet cleaners are very toxic and can cause liver disease, that might be why your cats throw up.. as the cleaner comes in contact with the paws of the cats and they lick themselves... please check for any warning... you can clean your floors with a little water and vinegar and save your cats from any illness. Catperson who cares.


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March 14, 20060 found this helpful

To get through the gunk, Murphy's oil soap is one of the best (vegetable oil based) or use the water/vinegar if the finish is old. Lemon Juice is another that kills bacteria, but is even SAFER.

March 14, 20060 found this helpful

I totally agree with the other postings but just wanted to add something. The pads on the Swifter wet jet is excellent for picking up pet hair. So I don't use the spray liquid with my swifter. I use a spray bottle with 1/8 lemon juice then equal parts of vinegar and water.


I simply mist a small area of the floor and use the swifter to mop it up. It cleans hard wood like a dream and the microfiber cloth picks up the hair and cuts down on streaking.


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March 15, 20060 found this helpful

I got a package of 6 white /cream dish/wash cloths at the Dollar Tree. They are a perfect size replacements for the swiffer PLUS washable. I use Windex to clean my laminate floors. It was recommended by the floor maker. I know you were asking about WOOD floors , but thought some readers might be interested in this thrifty hint.

By Bren (Guest Post)
April 5, 20080 found this helpful

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

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May 4, 2015

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.

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March 21, 2017

I clean my wooden floor with my steamer everyday. I put white vinegar and water in the part where you fill the steamer up. Then I buff it up with a dry Swiffer, but when walked on it leaves footprints, etc.

Can anyone help me to stop this happening please?


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March 22, 20170 found this helpful

Make sure the floor is thoroughly dry before anyone walks on it.


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March 31, 20171 found this helpful

Is it a pergo type floor or one with a shellac or clear coat? If so, vinegar is not recommend for them.

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June 27, 2011

What is the best way to clean wood floors?

By Heather K.


June 28, 20110 found this helpful

When my wood floors aren't terribly dirty, I damp mop them with just plain water. When they need a little more cleaning than that, I buy Bruce hardwood floor cleaner at Home Depot, spray an area of the floor and damp mop.


The Bruce cleaner comes out as a fine spray, so the bottle lasts a long time.


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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

As I stated in the comment before you, I use a Shark steam cleaner and love it!

July 2, 20110 found this helpful

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!

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January 9, 2015

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

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August 27, 2011

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


August 29, 20110 found this helpful

Much will depend on the condition of the wood. First, get up all the dust. You need a strong vacuum for this. Use the crevice tool to clean between the boards. Next, use a hardwood floor cleaner and follow the directions carefully. Do NOT use water. If there are areas that do not look nice, use an area rug there or even a piece of furniture to cover the spot.

If you plan to enjoy the natural wood, do use area rugs and throw rugs in areas of high traffic and in front of seatings. Door ways get the most wear so you may want to put a runner rug through the doorway. I have seen some fantastic rugs at thrift stores.

August 29, 20110 found this helpful

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!

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September 30, 2015

Can I spray salt and water from a sprayer bottle on my Bellawood floor to clean it? I have a reason for the salt.

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March 29, 2015

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

By Ann from Sussex U. K

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November 18, 2013

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


December 4, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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April 28, 2013

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 kfulcher


May 7, 20130 found this helpful

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

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April 21, 2012

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

By Pat O.


April 25, 20120 found this helpful

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

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March 10, 2014

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

By Rose

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January 6, 2014

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

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August 6, 2013

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.

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January 26, 2017

Unsealed wood flooring can be kept looking good by using an oil or wax finish. Then just use the best cleaning method for the finish you choose. This is a page about cleaning unsealed wooden floors.

Unsealed Wooden Floors

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December 19, 2016

Tested solutions for removing candle wax from hardwood floors. The key to removing candle wax from most surfaces is heating it up with an hair dryer or clothes iron. Beyond that there are some solvents, like Goo Gone, that have been effective.

Red wax stains on wood floor.

January 19, 2017

Certain cleaning products can leave an unsightly buildup on your hardwood floors. This is a page about cleaning buildup off hardwood floors.

Hardwood Floors

August 22, 2022

I have a little boy who is learning to use the potty. Can anyone give me a solution for cleaning the hardwood floor around the toilet? I find that I clean it everyday. He misses sometimes, so I just want to get the area clean and smell free.

January 26, 2017

Using Murphy's oil soap on hardwood floors can have mixed results. This is a page about cleaning hardwood floors with Murphy's oil soap.

Mopping a hardwood floor.

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