Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors Without Risking the Finish

Hardwood Floors in Dining Room and Living Room

If you have hardwood floors in your home and want to keep them in beautiful condition, then you need to take special care in how to clean them. Otherwise, you risk dulling them or harming the finish. Therefore, let me share the best way that I found to clean hardwood floors and preserve that lovely shine.

The first thing that I like to do for daily maintenance is run a treated microfiber dust mop like my Swifter just to pick up dust and pet hairs. However, this is not real cleaning of what grime remains behind and accumulates over time.

When I need to deep clean the wood, I need water, my regular mop and a specialized cleaner. You don’t want to use just any liquid cleaner on the hardwood flooring because it can risk the look of the finish. What I like to use is a product safely formulated for this purpose such as Murphy’s Oil Soap and my mop. Too much soap and water can hurt the wood so make sure to wring out the mop as much as possible before washing the floor helps. I also found it is better to mop following the grain on the wood instead of randomly as you might on other types of flooring.

Some people may have read vinegar mixed with water to use as a deep cleaner is safe to use on hardwood floors, but this is a mistake. The acid will hurt the flooring and strip the polyurethane surface. This is an incident my neighbor experienced firsthand.

For tackling scuff marks, I save old socks to recycle as cleaning cloths. They work well for rubbing light scuff marks most of the time. With a mark that is more difficult, I like to use a clean tennis ball that is soft and can buff it out safely without marring the wood finish. Don’t be tempted to use something like a Magic Eraser because it was not designed for that purpose and can scratch the wood.

Spot cleaning a stubborn mark with a moistened cloth with baking soda on a hardwood floor is not a good idea. It won’t damage the floor as much as vinegar, but it can risk the finish.

Occasionally, you run into unexpected problems such as from the kid’s walking in the house with gum or something sticky on the bottom of their shoes. Don’t panic or attempt going drastic with your metal scraper. Instead, get a zip-lock bag and throw in an ice cube to rub over the area. Keep it pressed on the spot for five or ten minutes can help loosen that firm hold. Afterwards, take a credit card or plastic playing card to use as your tool for lifting it up.

Though you can make your kids and husband take off their shoes at the door and step into their slippers or house shoes, you can’t expect your guests to do the same thing. Hopefully, this post will come in handy. You also want to read my earlier post on time-saving cleaning shortcuts that get you finished with some of those tedious chores sooner.


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