How to Clean Hardwood Floors: The Squeaky-Clean Guide

Hardwood floors are coveted by those who don’t have them, and beloved by those who do… and for good reason! When lovingly cared-for, they add depth and natural beauty to your home and can last for decades. In fact, historic buildings have original hardwood that dates back centuries. Follow our tips for gentle care and your hardwoods will sing for many years to come!


How to clean hardwood floors (by mess type):

Daily dust and dirt


Keep on top of your family’s messes by going over your hardwood floors with a soft microfiber sweeper or vacuum weekly. Make sure your vacuum doesn’t use a beater bar or has a brushroll shut-off, as a beater bar can damage your floors. Here is our favorite microfiber sweeper and canister vacuum.

More resilient dust and dirt—and sticky messes


Add a gentle, wood-specific floor cleaner to your microfiber mop and scrub gently to free your floors of grime, dust, and stickiness in a way that won’t compromise the integrity of your floors. Murphy’s Oil Soap is a long-time favorite, and they offer an easy-to-use solution that doesn’t require dilution. Just squirt on the floor and start mopping!



After mopping, make your hardwood shine by buffing with a fully-dry, totally clean microfiber sweeper. If the dry mopping technique doesn’t work for you, DIY Network suggests boiling tea bags in water, then using that tea mixture to wipe down your floors. If neither of those steps work, it may be time to look into refinishing.

Dark spots

Image source:

Image source:

Dark spots, especially dark water spots, can be unsightly eyesores on your hardwood flooring. In this Hunker post, sponsored by flooring expert Bona, seven steps are presented for removing dark spots from hardwood flooring:

  1. Wipe away existing dirt with a gentle, damp cloth.

  2. Apply white vinegar to the stain with a cloth. Wait 5-10 minutes.

  3. Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water and apply to the stain.

  4. Use steel wool to apply mineral spirits to the stain. (Mineral spirits are often used in indoor applications to clean and prepare surfaces for painting.)

  5. Combine four parts water and one part bleach and wipe onto the stain.

  6. Use fine sandpaper to expose the stain as you clean.

  7. Cover your treated area with hardwood floor wax. (Get help picking a wax from Bob Vila here.)

Now that you know how to clean hardwood floors, check out our other home cleaning tips on our blog. We cover everything from countertops and furniture to your children’s toys.

If you need a little help cleaning, you’ve come to the right place. We tailor home cleaning solutions for busy Wisconsinites, and we’d love to help you get your home sparkling!