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Everything You Need to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

Three products recommended in the article below including a Treelen broom, a Miele vacuum and a Bona spray mop.
TreeLen/Miele/Bona

There are hundreds of floor-cleaning products on the market, but when it comes to your precious hardwoods, there are some special requirements. Armed with these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep those hardwood floors gorgeously gleaming without harming them.

Whether you’re doing a deep spring cleaning or just some weekly maintenance, your hardwood floors need some TLC. Before you grab that mop and bucket, let’s look at the best ways to keep your floors looking their best, and a few cleaning methods you should avoid.

How You Might Be Damaging Your Floors

A glass of water spilled over a hardwood floor.
polya_olya/Shutterstock.com

Hardwood floors are gorgeous and having them can increase the value of your home up to 2.5%. However, the luxury of having those natural floors comes with a bit of extra labor.

In addition to knowing how to properly clean them, it’s also vital that you know how to avoid damaging them. From sticky spills to using the wrong cleaning products, harming natural wood is easier than you might think.

Here are the four most common things that damage hardwood floors:

  • Standing water: While a barely (and we mean just a tiny bit) damp mop is okay to use on your floors, too much water can be disastrous. Moisture will seep right through to the wood fibers and cause them to swell, warp, or even crack. So, you should never use a wet mop on your hardwood floors and always immediately clean up any spills.
  • Using the wrong cleaning solutions: All-purpose cleaners are often filled with harsh chemicals that could discolor your hardwood floors. Ammonia is an abrasive ingredient that can actually scratch your floors. Avoid oil-based products, as well, as they can make your floors super slippery and dangerous. You should also never use bleach on hardwoods, as it’ll permanently discolor them. Use only the gentlest cleaners that are made specifically for hardwoods (recommendations below)
  • Heavy-duty cleaning equipment: Be sure to use only vacuums and brooms designed for hardwood, indoor floors only. Leave that heavy-duty push broom in the garage and that large, rotating carpet beater brush attachment on the vacuum. Make sure you always use the correct, soft-bristled vacuum attachment to avoid scratching the wood.
  • Steam cleaning: These are fantastic for porcelain tile, but you should never use one on hardwood, vinyl, or laminate floors. Because wood is naturally porous, it’ll suck up any hot moisture coming from the steam cleaner, which can lead to long-term damage.

If you’ve been using any of the methods above and haven’t yet noticed any heavy damage to your hardwoods, you’re lucky! However, you should definitely switch to the safer methods we outline below to protect your investment.

Four Ways to Clean Hardwood Floors

Three products recommended in the article below including a Treelen broom, a Miele vacuum and a Bona spray mop.
TreeLen/Miele/Bona

Maintaining your hardwood floors means more than the occasional sweep. From quick wipes to regular vacuuming, there are a few methods and products that’ll help keep your floors looking bright and shiny.

Let’s look at the five tried-and-true methods and accessories we recommend for cleaning and caring for those fetching floorboards.

Sweep Them Regularly

Two images of the TreeLen broom and dustpan being used to sweep hardwood floors.
TreeLen

Try to sweep your floors with a soft, fine bristle broom regularly. How often you need to do this will depend on how much traffic the room gets each day. Dust, dirt, and food crumbs act like sandpaper, and can easily scratch your floors just by being tracked around. This is why you’ll want to regularly remove these particles.

The TreeLen broom is lightweight, with soft bristles that are perfect for use on your hardwood floors. You’ll also love the built-in scraper comb, which you can use to pull hair out of the bristles, instead of your hands.

Broom and Dustpan

Snaps together for easy storage.

Vacuum with the Right Attachment

Two images of a Miele vacuum demonstrating how well it works to clean floors.
Miele

You can skip sweeping altogether if you’d rather vacuum—just make sure you use the proper attachment. Avoid using a beater bar brush (the large rotating-brush attachment). The spinning bar is meant to open carpet fibers and remove dirt and hair from within it.

Those types of attachments are too heavy-duty for your delicate floors and could easily scratch them. Opt for the floor brush designed with bristles to protect your floors from scratches.

Miele is a trustworthy brand known for its meticulously well-engineered vacuums. They provide powerful suction and also come with a generous seven-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The attachments offer a combination floorhead, which means you can use it on hardwood floors or low pile carpet. Simply use your foot to press the button and switch from one mode to the next. It also comes with a dusting brush, as well as crevice and upholstery tools for getting into those hard-to-reach spots.

Miele Compact Canister

Strong suction and carefully designed with your hardwoods in mind.

Clean Up Spills Immediately

Two products recommended in the article including a stack of microfiber towels by The Rag COmpany and a bottle of Bona wood floor cleaner.
The Rag Company/ Bona

Whether your little one spilled his juice on the floor or threw half of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich across the room, you’ll want to clean up those sticky messes right away.

Liquid spills are especially important to wipe up as soon as possible. Liquid can cause your floor to swell and warp. An all-purpose microfiber towel and some hardwood floor cleaner are all you need to take care of these types of messes.

We love The Rag Company’s durable (and affordable) microfiber towels, and nothing cleans your hardwood floors better than Bona.

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray

Safe for waxed, unoiled, or polyurethane finished wood floors.

Follow these steps to clean up any liquid spills:

  1. Wipe up/absorb any pooling liquid with paper towels.
  2. Wet your microfiber towel with a bit of hot water, and then wring it out, until you have just a barely damp towel.
  3. Spray the affected area with some Bona, and then massage it with your towel. You can use your foot to move the towel if you can’t easily crouch down.

Mop Regularly

Two images of the Bona mop being used on hardwood floors, and someone refilling the cartridge with bona cleaning solution.
Bona

When it comes to mopping, we recommend Bona’s Hardwood Floor Premium Spray Mop. It’s one of the safest, most convenient ways to clean hardwood floors. You can use it on unwaxed, unoiled, or polyurethane-finished wooden flooring. We also love that the gentle, water-based cleaning solution is safe for people, pets, and the planet.

The mop comes with a full 34-ounce, ready-to-use bottle of cleaner, which you can easily refill when necessary. Before mopping your floors, though, you’ll want to be sure to sweep or vacuum the area to avoid scratches.

To use the mop, just run the detachable (and reusable) microfiber pad under some hot water, and then wring it out until it’s barely damp. Replace it on the mop head, and then spray and mop.

Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop

This microfiber mop head is gentle, yet effective, on hardwood floors.

A Few More Hardwood Essentials

A package of Bona hardwood floor cleaner care package placed on a clean hardwood floor in a lovely home dining area.
Bona

If you’re lucky enough to have several levels of hardwood floors in your home, you’ll definitely benefit from having an extra mop and other supplies.

This Bona Ultimate Hardwood Floor Care Kit does include a standard mop, but it doesn’t have the cleaner spray feature like the model we covered above. Still, if you need a mop for just a few rooms on another floor, this option is perfect.

The cleaning kit includes:

  • Four-piece mop handle with extra-large premium mop head
  • Two cleaning pads
  • One dusting pad
  • Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray
  • Hardwood Floor Polish
  • Hardwood Floor Cleaner Refill

Once you’re finished cleaning your floors, you can throw the pad in the washing machine and reuse it next time.

Bona Ultimate Hardwood Floor Care Kit

Everything you need to mop your hardwoods.


Caring for hardwood floors doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and adding it to a fun spring cleaning challenge might motivate you to get going. Armed with the right tools, accessories, and cleaners, you’ll be ready to tackle those hardwoods and keep them looking incredible.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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