The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

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Getting to know a new house can sort of be a learning process. Space, materials, and flow can differ so much from one house to another that it can take a while to come up with new systems and figure out what works best. One of the things we knew we’d have to learn when we moved into our new house just over 6 months ago was the best way to care for our hardwood floors.

Home- How to Clean Hardwood Floors, Cleaning Tips, Wood Floor Cleaning, How to Clean Hardwoods, Bona, Swivel Sweeper

We have hardwoods throughout the entire first floor, up the stairs, and in the upstairs hallway, so there are a lot of them! Since Donnie is the “researcher” in our house, he set out to find the best way to clean hardwood floors, and I invited him to hop on and share his findings with all of you! Here he is…

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Hardwood floors look beautiful, but it’s no secret that they can be hard to keep clean. In our old house I installed really cheap IKEA laminate wood flooring. The flooring was incredibly durable and wasn’t particularly shiny, so the floors never looked too dirty.

When Abby and I chose the flooring for our new house, we looked at a lot of hardwood and laminate options. It really is amazing how realistic high-end laminate flooring can look! We almost went the laminate or engineered flooring route because the flooring was low-sheen and tends to hide dirt better.

In the end though, we chose real wood for our flooring. We love the look and color, but the finish is so glossy that it tends to show all of the dirt and smudges. It hasn’t been the easiest to keep clean!

Home- How to Clean Hardwood Floors, Cleaning Tips, Wood Floor Cleaning, How to Clean Hardwoods, Bona, Swivel Sweeper

I knew I needed to have a really simple method for keeping the floor clean on a daily and weekly basis. Getting out a mop and bucket every week just wasn’t going to happen. I needed a solution that was easy to maintain and could be completed in a short period of time.

After talking to some people and looking around online, here’s the process I came up with. Turns out, it works really well and it’s such an easy process that it’s easy to maintain.

The Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

Daily (or as needed)

For visible crumbs, hair, or dirt, we use the cordless Swivel Sweeper to spot clean the floors on a daily or as-needed basis. The Swivel Sweeper isn’t the most powerful vacuum, but it makes up for it with how nimble and easy to use it is. We have the battery charging at all times, and when we notice a lot of visible dirt or crumbs, we grab the little sweeper from the closet.

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The way the Swivel Sweeper is designed makes it super light and super nimble. It’s so easy to get right next kitchen cabinets or kitchen islands. It’s even easy to push it under the front of the fridge and other appliances. Again, the rotating brushes don’t pick up everything, but it does a pretty good job. We use this sweeper a few times a week.

Weekly

Once a week we use the Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop with their hardwood floor cleaner. This is wayyyyy better than using a mop and a bucket. We attach a mop-pad to the bottom of the spray mop and then spray the floor using a trigger on the handle of the mop as we clean.

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Initially I was worried that the floor cleaner would eventually leave a residue or haze on the hardwood floors. After more than six months using this method, that hasn’t been the case! Our hardwood floors look as shiny and new as the day we moved in.

There you have it! That’s our super simple method for keeping our hardwood floors clean. For us, this process has been easy to maintain and work into our routine, which is key for busy families like ours. We love that we can enjoy our new floors and home and keep them in great shape without too much fuss.

Looking for more cleaning tips and tricks? These posts may help:

Our Simple Method for Cleaning Quartz Countertops

Free Printable Spring Cleaning Checklist

Free Laundry Cheat Sheet Printables

[Psssttt… You can find ideas for organizing every single room of the house in this post!]

What our your favorite tips and tricks for cleaning hardwood floors? Let us know in the comments!

Have a great day!

Donnie Signoff

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

38 Comments

  1. I have been living in my new construction home for about 7 months now and had the same issue as you! I didn’t know what to do that would be relatively low maintenance and not ruin our beautiful, brand new hardwood floors. I have a similar routine and love the Bona Spray Mop! I usually sweep in between but will definitely be checking out the Swivel Sweeper! Thank you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! We love it! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week, Tiffany!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Donna Naquin says:

    Hey there! I have hardwood floors, too, along with a 1 year old golden retriever named “Rivers.” I love him, but the shedding is RIDICULOUS! AND YES, I lean more to the OCD side of the cleaning continum.:) I vaccum almost daily and mop every other day. I love that you have presented your experience with products that I have seen and not tried. I am inspired to do so. I have contemplated purchasing a robotic vaccum. I have talked with different people about that and it was recommended that I purchase the most heavy duty (of course, expensive) in the line. Do you have any experience or feedback in that regard? Thanks, Donna Naquin

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I’ve never tried a Roomba or anything like that, but I’ve heard great things about them! My friends Kim from NewlyWoodwards (http://newlywoodwards.com/2013/03/a-roomba-review-2.html) and Lesley from Chaotically Creative (http://chaoticallycreative.com/roomba-vacuum-review/) have both written pretty detailed reviews about them, and they both have pets, so those might be worth reading over. (Spoiler alert: they love them!) I hope this helps! Have a great weekend, Donna!

      ~Abby =)

    2. Michelle Robertson says:

      We have a roomba from probably 8-10 years ago that we just kind of “rediscovered.” We too have a dog that sheds and it’s pretty awesome for that, you’d be amazed how much it picks up. If you also have kids it can be challenging to make sure the floor is always picked up so roomba can do his work. We try to run ours once a day, we just turn it on when it’s a good time. You can also schedule it to run on its own. As a bonus our kids love watching their stuffed animals ride around on top of it ?

    3. Melanie Groves says:

      Donna,
      I saw your post about keeping up with the hardwoods floors and Rivers – i have three four legged fur babies and I can’t live without my Roomba. I got an amazing deal on mine a few years ago on Black Friday. I’m not sure how these comments work or if I am able to share my email but if you are interested I can help you find a deal.

      Also Abby, I am relatively new to your blog but I LOVE!!!

      1. justagirlabby says:

        Thank you so much for chiming in, Melanie, and for your sweet words! Seems like the overall consensus is Roomba + pets = perfect combo! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week!

        ~Abby =)

    4. I purchased the RYOBI cordless vacuum from Home Depot and I am happy I did. I too have a dog; a big, hairy, slobbery dog. It uses a battery that charges in it’s wall mounted charger. No need to detach the battery when hanging it. It’s quick and easy. It’s light and comes with two attachments.

    5. Cliff Ilderton says:

      I Know that this is about a year and a half late but if you haven’t purchased a robotic vac yet I highly recommend the DEBOT. I have always had rough coat St. Bernards and now also have a pit mix, both big shedders. the DEBOT keeps our home clean on a daily basis. it is not expensive so it is not programmable but it does a great job. It fits under most furniture and has a large bin for debris. hope this helps.

  3. Randi @ A Fresh-Squeezed Life says:

    I recently bought a Bona mop and I LOVE it! It’s so easy and I love not having to be on my hands and knees!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! It’s so great!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Sarah | The Teacher's Wife says:

    Bona is good stuff!! I usually use a homemade solution of water and vinegar, but Bona is my go-to when I buy a floor cleaner. You are totally right about it not leaving a residue!! The floors are beautiful!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Sarah! Water and vinegar is a great idea… thanks for the tip! Hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~Abby =)

    2. Brenda Terry says:

      Hello Everyone!
      We have laminated hardwood floors, and because my boyfriend uses to build custom homes in Lake Tahoe I asked him the best way to take care and clean real hardwood floors…He said just plain water is best. I agree the water and vinegar solution sounds like a good way to go.to help get any spills that might need a little more elbow grease to come off. I always try to support other bloggers..Thank you!

      1. justagirlabby says:

        Thanks so much, Brenda! Have a wonderful weekend! <3

        ~Abby =)

  5. My dad turned us on to Bona several years ago and we’ve never looked back!!! The stuff is amazing and since our whole house has nearly 100 year old wood floors throughout we are always cleaning them and picking up dust bunnies. Glad to hear about the Swivel Sweeper, we will look into this option – thanks for sharing.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Lisa! Happy Friday!

      ~Abby =)

  6. We are thinking about getting hardwood through the main floor and it is very confusing with all the different types. When your husband was researching did he find one that did not show scratches? We have dogs and I am worried about the hardwood floors being durable enough for pet traffic. Any ideas?

    1. Donnie Lawson says:

      Ours is real wood (with a nice finish) and it definitely shows scratches. If you’re worried about scratches I would seriously considered engineered hardwood flooring. They are harder, more scratch resistant, and have less of that shiny look which can highlight scratches. We almost went that route but decided on the higher maintenance and less-durable real hardwood flooring. We could’ve gone either way.

  7. My favorite cleaner for hardwood (and any wood) is Murphy’s Oil Soap. I love the smell! I do all my woodwork with it. As I’m slowly going green, I know I’ll have to switch, but vinegar and water seem to strip the floors, including non-hardwood. However, I do have a friend who is teaching me about essential oils so maybe I can create a nice replacement for MOS.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooo thanks for the suggestion! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says:

    I LOVE the idea of a spray mop and have been considering one for our new house that has all hardwood floors too. They seem so handy! But I’m curious too why you wouldn’t use just vinegar and water instead of Bona spray? The guy that refinished our floors for us said that we should never use hardwood cleaners on them because they’re actually hard on the floor…but to just use water and vinegar. I thought maybe Donnie came across something in his research that made him decide that that wasn’t a good option.

    1. Donnie Lawson says:

      I’ve certainly read about the idea of vinegar and water. To me it seems like vinegar would have the potential to be acidic or something on the floor and that scared me. I was worried about the Bona cleaner leaving a haze or taking off the finish but it hasn’t at all.It also seem to dry quickly which is a plus when kids are around

      1. Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says:

        I’ve wondered about the acidic thing too. I’ve heard others talk highly of Bona too but the cost always scared me away. But I may just need to give it a try anyway! Thanks for the reply.

  9. Scottie Mom says:

    I currently use vinegar and water, washing the hardwoods by hand. With hardwoods covering two-thirds of my house, it can take forever so sometimes I cheat and use a steam mop. I’ve heard of Bona but I’m always wary of trying cleaning products on areas that my dogs frequent. Once, I tried a product that was supposedly safe for pets and both dogs ended up at the emergency vet. Good luck with your floors…it really does take a lot to keep them clean!

    1. Jeanne Alter says:

      My daughter in law had brand new hardwood floors put into her home and opted for a steak cleaner as well thinking it would be perfect for keeping her floors nice and clean for the three children and two pets.
      Unfortunately she discovered that after consistently using it day after day, the wood began to warp and buckle, forcing them to remove and replace all the hardwood flooring.
      When we had our own home remodeled last year, we removed all the wood and subflooring, and replaced with all new oak floors. But when it came to keeping our own floors clean, we discovered that as disabled senior citizens, we weren’t quite up to the task of all the sweeping and cleaning necessary to keep up with the maintenance especially with two dogs and a cat!

      We decided to buy a ROOMBA, and it would run every morning before we got out of bed… then every other day, we would run a Bona cleaner over it, to pick up any extra dirt or grime. For the past 8 months this has kept our living, dining and kitchen area perfectly clean, only needing an occasional use of a vacuum or a wet mop for dirty muddy paws.

  10. The article was about cleaning hardwood floors with a commercial coating on them. How do you best clean hardwood floors that are polished, not sealed. Any suggestions?

  11. I just picked up a Bona mop! Excited to try it out. Having a dog, the floors are something I definitely I need to keep up with more!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Hope you love it as much as we do! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  12. Jade Brunet says:

    It is good to know that one should remove visible crumbs, hair, or dirt from a hardwood floor on a daily basis. I understand that these things could scratch and damage the floor. I have heard that it is best to use cool water to clean wood floors so that the floor fibers stay closed and do not allow for dirt to get in.

  13. Conall Smith says:

    I will use these smart hardwood floor cleaning methods to keep my hardwood floors clean and in great condition. Great Article. Thanks for sharing !!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Jenny Dominic says:

    Yes, I agree you that it is hard to maintain hardwood floors. Generally, I use a dry mop to remove dirt, small hairs of pet and debris that could scratch the floor.
    While using vacuum cleaner avoid using beater bar attachment as it could damage the surface of the floor. I prefer using floor-brush attachment while vacuum cleaning the floor.
    You should try doing this once a week.

  15. Hi Abby what is the stain color of your floor? Love it!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Marie! The floors are Dundee Oak 3 1/4″ Plank in Mocha! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Looks similar to mine. Ebony. You as well 🙂

  16. Stephane Horstead says:

    What is the wall color of the room with the shutters? Thanks!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Stephane! It’s Sherwin Williams Heron Plume. That is the original builder’s color and, to be honest, it is not really my favorite. I find it to be kind of a dingy white. 🙁

      ~Abby =)

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