3 Simple Steps to Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking Good!

I have been a disobedient daughter. :-(   My parents moved into a new house several weeks ago, and my Mom asked me for advice about how to clean and care for her new wood floors. Apparently she has been getting conflicting advice on how best to clean them.

Well, while I don’t have personal experience with cleaning wood floors, I have spent a good amount of time now researching it and have been surprised to find out it’s actually VERY SIMPLE. So this is for you Mom….better late than never? :-)



3 Simple Steps to keep your hardwood floors looking good!



Take your shoes off! When you walk on a wooden floor with dirty shoes, you are leaving lots of sand and dirt behind. These abrasive particles can ruin your wood floors. Position mats both outside and inside exterior doors to lessen tracked-in dirt. In snowy or rainy weather, include a boot removal area to avoid damage from water and de-icers.



Next, make sure to get rid of dirt and grime with a vacuum or dust mop before you attempt to wash a wood floor. Rubbing dirt into your floors is never a good idea. Dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent (or use a microfiber duster) to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair.



For occasional deep cleaning (dirt, oil and grime will build up over time), the best solution for cleaning wood floors is one cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water. Immerse a clean mop into the solution and wring it until it is damp-dry. Mop the floor in the direction of the floorboards, so if the water dries with a bit of a streak in it, it will not be as visible.  After mopping, use a soft, clean towel to dry it or let it air dry.



If you want to get a little creative….steep 1 bag of tea in 2 cups of boiling water and leave until it comes to room temperature. Remove tea bag and soak cloth in liquid, wring out then wipe floor clean. Dry with a soft cloth. The tannic acid in the tea will help bring wood to a shine.


Finally….after cleaning your hardwood floor, if you find any scratches, here’s a simple trick to try:

Take a crayon the color of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth.

Keep these simple wood cleaning tips in mind, and your wooden floors will sparkle all the time.



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  1. Mary Alice says

    Laminate floors can take vinegar (mix it with water, a bit of alcohol to speed drying time, and a couple drops of dish detergent to take care of water surface tension).

    For my hardwood floors, I only use Bona. Spray on the floor and then wipe up with a microfiber mop. I also did a ton a research looking for a homemade solution (tightwad that I am), but came up empty. For hardwood, Bona is best. (And I am not affiliated in any way with this company.)

  2. says

    Thank you, Jillybean, for helping me to know how to deal with my new wood floors. I am anxious to try this. I couldn’t help but think…How the tide has turned! It used to be me telling you. ;-) Love you.

  3. Margaret says

    I think Swiffer has a liquid for wood floors. You could dry swiffer than use the wet one, with the wood solution.

    • yomama3 says

      I don’t care for the Swiffer hardwood floor cleaner. It left a dull residue on the floor.

  4. Marybeth says

    I used to think vinegar was the way to go with wood flooring – that’s what the installer led us to believe. However, ten years later and my floor is very dull; no shine hardly at all. I have done a lot of research on this lately and I found this article and it explains how vinegar is acidid and can etch the coating on the wood of the floor. I have stopped using vinegar and use Bona floor cleaner now. It is easy and dries quickly. I want to use the wood floor polish and see if that helps.

    Sorry to disagree with you, but my advice would be – NO vinegar.


    • Nalu says

      I agree with you, Marybeth. I tried vinegar several times only to have dull floors. I have used Bona on my floors for over 5 years. It’s water based and I love the luster it leaves behind. I have bought the polish by accident and decided to try. It clearly says on the bottle it’s not supposed to be used as a cleaner. More like a re-finisher. To be honest I was not very impressed with the results.

  5. Mama T says

    I’ve had laminate floors for 2 years now. I follow much of this advice on my laminate floors, and they have stayed looking nice.

    Everyone in my house, or visitors to my house, know that shoes come off at the door.

    I use a Swiffer vacuum on my floors, then follow with a damp dust mop to pick up all of the dirt/dust that the Swiffer may have missed. To mop, I change the dust mop head, and spray it until just damp with a vinegar/water solution, and mop until clean. This helps cut down on the streaking. For deep cleaning, I use the same method, only a mop and a bucket instead. Then, I use a dry dust mop to “buff” so it doesn’t streak.

    This takes me at most, 30 minutes a day to do. 10 minutes to Swiffer, 10 minutes to damp mop, and if I have to actually mop, another 10 minutes. It takes longer to pick the kids’ toys up, than it does to do my floors!

    • Melanie says

      I use a solution that is 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water adn 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol. I am not sure if the alcohol is really good for your laminate floors. but have read else where that it is ok. When I wash my lam floors it usually has a film over it. Mama T. do u have this problem? what do u suggest? How often do u do ur deep cleaning mop (actual mop)? Thanks!

  6. Heidi says

    This is great information…. I have a question though…. is it the same for laminate floors? I keep finding info for wood floors but not laminate floors. I’ve read that I should use a steam mop, others say NOT to use a steam mop, etc. Does the vinegar ruin the finish on a laminate floor. UGH. Any tips or suggestions????

  7. Dina says

    I have hardwood floors as well-not laminate or the pressed wood pergo type) thanks so much for the info. One of the major conflicts in advice I’ve gotten is how often to clean the hardwood. When you were researching did you happen to come across this? I’ve heard at the most 3 times a year to once a month.