cleaning wood floors
Floor & Surface Cleaning

Cleaning Wood Floors: A How-To Guide

Keep your wooden floors in pristine condition with this essential guide, including advice on types of flooring & the methods you should use to clean them.

Few things add more to the appearance of a house or a flat than impressive wooden flooring. However, if not cared for properly, wooden floors can easily lose their handsome appearance. The question of how to clean your wood floors must therefore be treated carefully. Fortunately, cleaning wood floors is relatively straightforward and pain-free, as long as it is done correctly.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning: Caring For Your Floors

Although robust by nature, hardwood floors are also sensitive and can easily be damaged if exposed to intense cleaning routines. If you’re looking for ways to clean wood floors that are less time consuming, the answer is to get into a routine of cleaning the floor regularly to avoid a build-up of dirt and stains over time. A regular vacuum or sweep of the floor will prevent dirt from becoming embedded into the wood and make your periodic deeper clean much easier. Just be sure to use brushes or appliances that will not scratch the surface of the flooring – check their suitability by reading the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How to Clean Wood Floors

  • First, determine what kind of hardwood surface you have. If it is sealed flooring, with a polyacrylic surface, more water can be used in the cleaning process. If it is an unfinished, or a lacquered surface, use water far more sparingly. If you are in any doubt, use less water, and consult a specialist.
  • The starting point on how to clean solid wooden floors, irrespective of surface, is to sweep the flooring, using a non-scratching broom or vacuum appliance, or with a fibre cloth, which will pick up loose dirt. Then move on to the appropriate steps below.

How to Clean Solid Wood Floors with a Protective Coating

  • Create a water solution using an appropriate floor cleaner suitable for wood. Never use a bleach-based product, or a furniture wax or spray, as these could stain the wood. Always read the label to ensure that you are using your chosen product safely and correctly.
cleaning wood floors
  • Mop the floor using the solution, going with the grain. For particularly stubborn areas, dip a cloth in neat floor cleaning solution and work the area at close quarters.
  • Then go over the entire surface again with clean water in order to rinse, ensuring that no excess water or solution is left.
  • Finally, leave the floor to dry naturally.

How to Clean Solid Wood Floors Without a Protective Coating

  • If you’re wondering how to clean real wooden floors that have either a lacquered coating or no coating at all, the answer is to simply use clean water, or distilled water, with no products added.
  • Mop the surface, but using as little water as possible – as a rule of thumb, the mop should be damp but entirely wrung out before being applied to the flooring.
  • Particularly dirty areas can still be treated, but apply a neutral spray before working on it with a cloth.
  • There should be no need to dry the surface if you use the right amount of water (very little), but if you are unsure, use a dry cloth to do so, following the grain.

Final Tips for Hardwood Floor Cleaning

When cleaning wooden floors for the first time, it is advisable to test your product and method on a small area in an unobtrusive part of the room, so that should any damage be caused, it will affect only a small part, and it will not be easily visible.

Be aware, when cleaning wood floors with a protective coating, that substantial treatment with water can still, in excess, cause the wood to warp. So even in those cases, try to use the water sparingly.

Now that you know how to clean your wood floors properly, you can keep them looking as handsome as ever over the years. Enjoy your beautiful home!

Top Tip


When it comes to cleaning wood floors, it’s essential that you don’t accidentally scratch the surface. Use a soft broom to sweep the floor, and when vacuuming, ensure the head brush attachment is suitable for wooden flooring.

Key Steps:

  • Prevent dust and dirt from accumulating by regularly sweeping or vacuuming the floor
  • Always take care to use a product that’s suitable for the type of wood!
  • Use water sparingly to prevent flooding.