How to Remove Laundry Detergent From a Hardwood Floor

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Things You'll Need

  • Non-abrasive vacuum hose attachment

  • Powerful shop vacuum

  • Plastic putty knife

  • Rag

  • White vinegar

Hardwood floors are beautiful when well maintained.

The majority of wood floors today are finished with a coat of polyurethane. When you clean a wood floor, you're actually cleaning the the polyurethane and not the wood. The wood sits beneath the polyurethane finish. If you've spilled laundry detergent on a hardwood floor, don't fret, because you can clean this right off the surface of the polyurethane. When choosing a cleaner to use on the floor, think of the floor surface more as a mirror or glass window, rather than a wood floor. Polyurethane cleans up better when you use a product that won't leave streaks.


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Step 1

Place a non-abrasive attachment on the end of a powerful shop vacuum and suck up all excess laundry detergent.

Step 2

Use a plastic putty knife to lift any detergent film up off the floor. It is important to use plastic instead of metal to avoid scratching the floor's finish.


Step 3

Use a wet rag to mop up the bulk of the laundry detergent. Wring the rag out in a sink, rinse it and then re-mop the area until you can't see any more of the spilled detergent.

Step 4

Dip the rag in a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar and use this to remove any remaining residue. Rinse the floor again with a rag and plain water to remove the vinegar.


You can use rubbing alcohol if you don't have any white vinegar. Always clean with the grain of the wood to help hide water spots.


Avoid scrubbing too hard with the rag or you'll dull the finish on the floor.