Top Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors Without Chemicals

To keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful and shiny for years, it’s important to clean them often and methodically. Your floors face a significant amount of wear and tear from dust, dirt, grime, and debris brought in from outside or accumulated from wearing shoes inside the house. Allowing your floors to get too dirty can not only be unsanitary, but it can also damage the wood itself, which can be expensive to repair, refinish, or replace.

Fortunately, cleaning hardwood floors regularly with just a few tools and natural products can help them last longer. By following the tips in this article, you can keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful and protect your investment in your home.

How Often to Should You Clean Hardwood Floors?

To maintain the shine and beauty of your hardwood floors, it is important to clean them regularly. Lightly cleaning your floors a few times a week will prevent dirt and dust from accumulating. For a deep clean, mop your floors once a month or more often if necessary. When choosing a time to clean, it is best to pick a time when foot traffic will be minimal, such as when everyone is out of the house.

A couple of quick regular cleanings per week can keep your floors from getting too dirty. The best way to clean hardwood floors is to use a microfiber dust mop. This type of mop effectively removes dust, dirt, and other particles without scratching your floors, unlike some vacuums.

To summarize, lightly clean your hardwood floors a few times a week, and mop them once a month or as needed. Use a microfiber dust mop for regular cleanings to prevent scratches and keep your floors looking beautiful.

Check This Before You Get Started

Are Your Floors Sealed?

Before you start cleaning your hardwood floors, it’s crucial to check if they are sealed. You can do this by placing a drop of water on the surface. If the water sits on top of the floor, it means that the floor is sealed with a polyurethane finish, and you can use a water-based solution or steam cleaner to clean it.

However, if the water drop is absorbed quickly, it means that the sealant is worn away or was never applied. In this case, you need to limit the amount of water used for cleaning. We recommend using a damp microfiber cloth as needed and drying immediately with a dry microfiber cloth.

Invest in a Quality Vacuum

Investing in a quality vacuum cleaner is essential for maintaining your hardwood floors. If you have a lot of hardwood in your home, we recommend investing in a cordless vacuum cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors. The Dyson Omni-Glide+ is a great choice and has been ranked as one of the best vacuums around.

If you have pets in your home, look for a vacuum cleaner that’s designed to pick up pet hair and is also suitable for hardwood floors. If you’re looking for a more hands-free option, a robot vacuum cleaner that’s designed to clean hard surfaces and carpets is a sound choice. Some robot vacuums for hardwood floors can also mop, which can save you time and effort.

By checking if your floors are sealed and investing in a quality vacuum cleaner, you can keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful for years to come.

Hardfloor Cleaning Routine Checklist :

To Clean With Vinegar

To clean with vinegar, you’ll need a dry microfiber dust mop, a broom or vacuum without beater bar (optional), a large bucket, distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar, and a wet microfiber mop.

To Clean Cracks

To clean cracks, you’ll need a bowl or small bucket, distilled white vinegar, a soft-bristled toothbrush, a microfiber cloth, and a handheld vacuum or vacuum with crevice tool (optional).

To Clean Paint on Floors

To clean paint on floors, you’ll need a small bowl, dishwashing liquid, cleaning cloths, a hard plastic putty knife or old credit card, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, lemon juice, a soft-bristled toothbrush or non-abrasive scrub brush, a blow dryer or heat gun, and citrus-based paint remover (optional).

How to Clean Hardwood Floors With Vinegar

Step 1: Get Rid of Clutter, Dirt, and Debris

Before you start cleaning your hardwood floors, remove any clutter and small items such as area rugs from the floor. This will make the cleaning process faster and easier. Next, use a broom or a vacuum without a beater bar to remove loose dust and soil. However, it is recommended to use a microfiber dust mop as the fibers in the mop attract and trap the dirt. You can wash the mop head after each use to ensure a clean mop every time.

Step 2: Get Your Cleaning Solution Ready

To make a cleaning solution, mix 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar or 1/2 cup of cleaning vinegar in a large bucket or sink. If you decide to use a commercial hardwood floor cleaner, make sure to follow the product instructions carefully. Using too much cleaner can cause waxy buildup and make wood floors look dull.

Step 3: Mop the Floors

Dip a clean microfiber mop into the cleaning solution and wring it until it is just damp and not dripping. You do not want to apply excess water to the floor. Start at the far corner of the room and work your way towards the door, cleaning the entire room. Rinse the mop often (wring until slightly damp!) as the soil is transferred from the floor.

Step 4: Allow the Floors to Dry

After mopping, allow the floor to air-dry before walking on it. Excess moisture can damage wood floors, so it is important to turn on ceiling fans or add a circulating fan to help speed up the drying time. This will allow you to walk on the floor sooner and replace any rugs or floor items you previously removed.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your hardwood floors looking clean and shiny. Remember to clean your floors regularly to prevent dirt and debris buildup, which can cause damage to your floors over time.

How to Get Into the Cracks

If you have older wood floors or poorly installed hardwood, you may notice cracks between the boards that trap dirt and dust. These cracks can worsen during periods of low humidity when the wood dries out. Fortunately, removing the dirt and debris that becomes trapped is easy with the following steps:

Step 1: Work Section by Section

To make the process more manageable, clean the floor in small sections. Start at the furthest corner of the room and work your way to the door. This technique is helpful so you can pick up where you left off if you can’t clean the entire room at once.

Step 2: Get the Cleaning Solution Ready

Create a cleaning solution by combining 2 cups of warm water and 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar in a small bucket. This solution is gentle and effective for cleaning hardwood floors.

Step 3: Scrub Cracks

Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the cleaning solution and shake until just damp. Gently scrub the cracks, then wipe away the debris with a soft cloth. You can also vacuum it up with a handheld vacuum or a vacuum with a crevice tool.

Step 4: Clean Floors

Once the cracks have been cleaned, clean the floor as usual by dusting and mopping. Be sure to follow the same pattern of cleaning in small sections, starting at the furthest corner of the room and working your way to the door.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your hardwood floors looking their best and prevent dirt and debris from becoming trapped in the cracks.

How to Remove Paint Stains

With Dish Soap

To remove paint stains from hardwood floors, you can start with a simple solution of dish soap and hot water. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of hot water in a bowl. Wet a cloth with the solution and wring it until it is not dripping. Then, work in the direction of the wood grain and scrub the paint splatter. As the paint loosens, use a dry rag to wipe it away. If the paint won’t budge, use the edge of an old credit card or a plastic putty knife to gently scrape it away.

With Alcohol and Lemon Juice

If the paint stains or drips still exist, you can try a more powerful cleaning solution of rubbing alcohol and lemon juice. Mix three parts rubbing alcohol with one part lemon juice in a bowl. Dip a cloth in the mixture, wring it out, and place it over the paint drips. Let it sit for five minutes, then scrub gently with an old toothbrush or gently scrape with a credit card. Wipe away the paint.

With Heat

If the paint still won’t come off, direct a hair dryer set on high toward the paint to soften it and try the above cleaning methods again. If the paint is oil-based, you may have to use a store-bought eco-friendly, citrus-based paint remover. Follow the directions on the label.

Keeping Your Hardwood Floors Clean for Longer

To maintain the beauty of your hardwood floors, it’s essential to keep them clean. Here are some tips to help you keep your hardwood floors clean for longer:

  • Immediately wipe up spills to prevent discoloration and sticky residue build-up. Use a shop vac or wet/dry vacuum to remove excess moisture.
  • Dust mop your floors at least once a week. Focus on high-traffic areas to remove loose soil, grit, and dust that can scratch the hardwood floor finish.
  • Place doormats inside and outside entrance doors to capture dirt and debris. Remember to clean the mats regularly to prevent them from becoming a source of dirt.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your hardwood floors looking clean and beautiful for longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re considering using a steam mop on your hardwood floors, you may have some questions about how to avoid damaging them. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you keep your hardwood floors looking their best:

Can I use a steam mop on my hardwood floors?Yes, but be cautious. High temperatures and excess moisture can cause damage to hardwood floors, especially if they are not sealed correctly. Make sure your floors are well-sealed and set the mop to the lowest temperature setting. Avoid creating steam bursts and never leave the mop in one spot for too long.
What cleaners should I avoid using on my hardwood floors?Avoid using abrasive cleaners, ammonia, or alkaline products. These can cause damage to the wood and finish. Stick to natural cleaning methods or cleaners specified for use on wooden floors.
Can I use wax or furniture sprays on my hardwood floors?No, it’s best to avoid using wax, oil, or furniture sprays on hardwood floors. These can leave residue on the floor and make it too slippery.
How can I prevent damage from sunlight?Excessive sunlight can cause your wooden floors to discolor and become dull. Use blinds or window coverings on very sunny days to protect your floors.
How can I prevent scratches and dents from furniture?When moving furniture around your house, pick up pieces to relocate them instead of sliding them across the floor. This way, you prevent scratches or dents. Also, be careful with vacuum cleaners. Avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar that can scrape or dent floors. Turn off the vacuum brush to avoid damage.

By following these tips and being cautious, you can keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful for years to come.