How to Clean Hardwood Floors for DIY Home Renovation Projects

Evelyn Long

Jan 29, 2023


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Hardwood floors provide a classic look for any modern home. They are also a durable and eco-friendly material that lasts for decades. Yet, over time your surfaces can build up dirt. This is especially true if you have younger kids or pets. So, you want to clean them regularly. Follow these steps for how to clean hardwood floors. 

1. Dust Your Floors

To start, you want to remove any dust or hair build-up. Find a broom with a pre-treated dusting agent to prevent any scratches. You also want to vacuum your floors. Be sure to use the floor-brush attachment and turn the brush tool off. 

This can minimize damage to the surface. You want to vacuum and dust at least once a week. It will help keep your indoor air safe and allow your family to breathe easily. 

2. Use a Mop for a Deeper Clean

Dusting won’t remove built-up dirt or grime. So, for a deeper clean, use a liquid cleaner. Find a product designed for hardwood from companies like Bona or Murphy. Try to avoid harsh detergents or steam cleaning, which can dull the surface. Another option is using a spray-and-mop product or disposable wet pads. 

To clean the surface, follow these steps:

  • Place a sponge mop in the cleaning mix.
  • Squeeze out the water until it’s damp. 
  • Mop the floor using the cleaner.
  • Rinse the sponge with water and then mop the floor to remove the cleaner. Don’t leave any standing water, since this can damage the floors.  

3. Try Natural Solutions 

If you want to skip the harsh chemicals, try using tea bags. You may already have them in your cabinets, saving a trip to the grocery store. You’ll want to steep tea bags in boiling water for a few minutes. 

Then pour the tea into a bucket and place a soft cloth inside. It just needs to be damp, not completely soaked. That will allow the floors to dry quicker. Then wash the surface to get that beautiful shine. You can also add Castile soap and essential oils for natural cleaning. 

4. Remove Any Stains

Removing stains is an essential step when cleaning hardwood floors. Start by determining your flooring’s finish, which impacts the washing method. If there is a stain on the surface, you have a hard finish. If the stain penetrates through the wood, you have a soft finish. 

Wipe with a soft, clean cloth for surfaces with a hard finish. Stay away from sandpaper and harsh chemicals because they can damage the finish. However, if you have a soft oil finish, use steel wool and floor wax for dark spots and pet stains. 

5. Give Your Floors That Extra Shine

Once you wash your floors, ensure that they still look visually appealing. This involves covering up any remaining scratches. Find a crayon the color of your floor and rub it on the surface to fill in the gap. Then use a blow dryer to heat the area and buff with a soft cloth. 

Another good option is liquid scratch concealers, such as WearMax. Once dry, these create a permanent seal that stays on even after cleaning. You can then restore your floor’s shine with wood floor polish. 

Here are some other tricks to revitalize your hardwood:

  • Use floor wax for worn-down materials. Apply the floor wax to go with the grain of the wood.
  • Try other floor protection materials like repair, scratch and touch-up kits.
  • Lightly sand and apply a new finish for real hardwood.

6. Keep Up With Long-Term Maintenance 

Regular vacuuming and mopping are essential. Although, to clean hardwood floors need to consider long-term care. This includes things like applying a fresh coat of finish every two years. It can keep your floors looking shiny and impress your guests. Place the base coat before the water-based poly one to prevent discoloration. 

Another thing you want to do is sand and refinish your surfaces in about 10 years. It gives them a brand new look, reducing their faded or worn-out appearance. If you’re handy, you can do the project yourself. However, it takes time and precise expertise. Suppose you hire a professional. Read online reviews, check the Better Business Bureau for complaints and verify their licenses. 

7. Prevent Dirt Accumulation in the Future 

Once you have your floor cleaned, you can take steps to protect them. Place doormats in entryways to reduce the amount of dirt and moisture tracked inside. You can also minimize scratches by using floor protectors under heavy furniture. Place additional furniture pads on the legs of chairs, sofas and tables. 

When moving around decor, use furniture sliders. Rugs are another way to keep your floors looking nice. Place them in high-traffic areas, like the kitchen or living room. Also, clean up any spills right away to prevent permanent stains. This is especially important if you have younger children prone to making messes. 

How to Clean Hardwood Floors Successfully 

Your hardwood floors accumulate dirt and debris over time. They also recruit wear and tear from heavy foot traffic. So, you need to clean them and keep up with long-term maintenance. Follow these steps for how to clean hardwood floors efficiently. 


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