Cleaning & Care

Cleaning Guide: How To Clean Hardwood Floors

Wood floors can last a lifetime… with proper care and cleaning. Does it make a difference what products you use? With so many options to choose from, selecting the right product can sometimes be overwhelming.

  • Which cleaning products should I use or avoid?
  • Is steam cleaning ok for wood floors?
  • Do I clean prefinished engineered floors the same as solid wood floors?
  • How often should I mop my wood floor?

You can find a range of cleaning products at big box stores and large retailers that promise a clean floor but are they all good for your floor? Many of these can leave a hazy film or residue over time and cause your floors to look worse than before.

Some products may be too harsh to use on wood surfaces and may damage the finish resulting in a sooner-than-expected refinish.

Nobody wants to walk on dirty, sticky, or hazy wood floors!

We will show you simple steps for how to clean hardwood floors ~the right way~ and how you can keep your home clean and your wood floors protected.

What’s the difference between a dusting pad and a cleaning pad?

Dusting pads are designed to be used dry and swept across the floor to collect dust, loose dirt, hair, crumbs, and other dry debris. Sweeping up loose particles will make damp mopping much more effective.

Microfiber cleaning pads are used with hardwood floor cleaning solution that is sprayed lightly across the floor and mopped with the cleaning pad attached to mop.

All recommended cleaning products are for use on either solid and engineered hardwood.

How to Clean Your Wood Floors


Microfiber Dusting Pad

Vacuum or Non-Abrasive Broom

Hardwood Floor Safe Cleaner (we recommend Real Clean Floors or Bona)

woman sweeping
Before mopping your hardwoods, sweep the floor to remove dust and debris.

1. Sweep

Remove dust and debris with a dry microfiber dusting pad, soft bristle broom, or vacuum (without beater bar).

Clean tough spots with a cleaner-dampened cleaning cloth by hand.

2. Spray

Spray the cleaning solution across the area you are about to clean or directly onto the cleaning pad.

3. Mop

Mop with the microfiber cleaning pad. If cleaning a larger area, rinse out pad or swap out with a clean pad as it gets dirty.

When finished cleaning your wood floors, rinse the cleaning pad with warm soapy water or toss it in the washing machine (but don’t use fabric softener as it will contaminate the cleaning pad fibers). Hang on the line to let dry.

woman mopping
We recommend using a microfiber mop instead of a typical wet mop.

How Often Should I Clean My Wood Floors?

Sweep or dust mop high traffic areas of your floor daily. A no-shoes rule helps too! 


  • Wipe up spills right away with a cloth or paper towels.
  • If liquid spilled is anything but water or unsweet tea, use cleaner spray and mop.
  • Clean shoes and boots of dirt and rocks, or just remove them before entering the home.


  • Dry mopping, sweeping, or vacuuming can be done daily as needed.
  • High traffic areas usually need swept every day.
  • Low traffic areas can be swept less frequent.
  • Your main goal is removing dirt and debris from being ground in and damaging your floor, making it harder to clean.


  • Spray and mop once per week, or more often as needed.
  • Kitchens, hallways, entryways and living areas need the most attention.
  • Stains and grime will get harder to clean the longer you wait. A good rule of thumb is to clean after a dinner or birthday party. Your floors will thank you!
  • Always use a hardwood floor safe cleaner.
Shoes on front mat
TIP: Making a “leave your shoes at the door” rule can help keep your hardwoods from getting dirty as quickly. Just leave extra slippers, or crocs for those “reluctant” to go shoeless.

Cleaning Products to Avoid On Wood Floors

  • Wet mops.
    Traditional rag mops are designed to soak up water. They leave too much liquid on the surface that doesn’t evaporate quickly enough, leading to damage to the finish or wood.
  • Steam mops.
    Steam mops will certainly get your floor clean, but the heat and high moisture will damage your floors over time. Most flooring manufacturers claim that steam cleaning voids their flooring warranty!
  • Supermarket oil soaps, waxes, or polishes.
    Traditional oil soaps promote being safe for wood and promise a shiny floor, but over time will leave a hazy residue and make the floor slippery. The buildup from using these products on modern finished floors can cause problems with future refinishing of your wood floors.
  • Vinegar, ammonia or other acidic or alkaline products (even when diluted). Vinegar and ammonia are not formulated for wood floors ~even when diluted. A cleaner’s pH is important for not causing damage to the finish or in appearing dull over time.
steam mop
It’s very important to avoid using steam mops on your hardwoods as the heat and high moisture can damage your floors over time.

Best Products for Cleaning Wood Floors

Real Clean Floors

If you’re looking for a safe, natural wood floor cleaner, Real Clean Floors is your answer. It smells great, is naturally derived, and doesn’t leave any hazy residue. It cleans well without any harsh chemicals and it’s pH balance is perfect for most floors. Order from

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

As a well-known brand in the floor care market, Bona makes a variety of kits, mops, and wood floor safe cleaning solutions. You can purchase Bona floor cleaner and accessories from Bona’s website or from any RW Supply+Design Pro Shops.