How to Clean & Revitalize Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors can add warmth and natural appeal to any home.
Hardwood floors can add warmth and natural appeal to any home. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Hardwood floors often require a great deal of care and maintenance to keep them rich and glowing. No matter which type of finish your floors have, most all-purpose cleaners can dull the wood surface or finish. If the wood isn't finished, saturating the floor with water can cause the wood to swell or warp. Sweep or vacuum hardwood floors on a regular basis, and clean them with products made specifically for wood floors to keep them clean and revitalized.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum, with nozzle or brush attachment
  • Broom and dust pan (optional)
  • Bucket
  • Hardwood floor cleaner
  • Mop
  • Large towels
  • Soft cloth
  • String (optional)

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Vacuum the hardwood floors with the bare floor setting to remove any loose dirt. Use a nozzle or brush attachment to clean the edges and corners. If you don't want to vacuum, use a broom and a dust pan. Start at one end of the room and work your way across.

Fill a bucket with warm water. Spray the floor in one small section at a time with hardwood floor cleaner. Dip the mop into the water, and wring it out thoroughly. Mop one section at a time, rinsing and wringing the mop when it becomes dirty. Spray and mop the floor, working your way across and out of the room.

Dry the floor immediately with large towels to prevent the water from soaking into the wood. Wipe and dab the floor with the towel to absorb and remaining moisture.

Buff the floor with a dry, soft cloth. Use small, circular motions and work your way across the room. You can do this by hand, or wrap the cloth around the end of a clean mop and tie it with string. It can bring out the shine of your hardwood floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use floor mats at entryways or high traffic areas to trap dirt and prevent damage to your wood flooring.
  • Avoid using polish or wax on your wood floors. It can cause a buildup that interferes with refinishing.


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