How to clean wood floors

Often trampled with mud and spills, floors are the foundation of the home and brave the daily hustle.

It’s important to regularly clean wood floors, not only to sanitize them but also to maintain the structure.

A study nook under the stairs uses every last bit of space.

There are various wood floor cleaners to choose from but be aware of the characteristics of each cleaner and monitor your floor for any reactions.

What to clean wood floors with:

  • For a natural homemade solution, fill a bucket to halfway with warm water and add 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Note: Although cleaning wood floors with vinegar is a terrific non-toxic option, it is acidic so may start etching your floor (meaning an uneven appearance on the sheen).
  • Store-bought wood floor cleaner is preferred as its pH is formulated especially for wood and creates a nice shine. Using warm water in a bucket, follow the product instructions for quantity required.
  • All-purpose cleaners may contain harsh chemicals or traces of bleach, so best to avoid on wood surfaces.

The thing to remember is wood doesn’t react well to being wet. You can avoid costly wood rot and buckling damages by making sure the mop is squeezed well before touching the floor.

Also, place the bucket on an old towel so any spills are immediately soaked up.

It’s not good for your wooden floors to get too wet, so make sure you give the mop a good squeeze. Picture: Getty

What’s the best way to clean hardwood floors?

Follow this five-step guide for recommended tips on how to clean wood floors. These tips can also loosely be applied for cleaning bamboo floors and laminate floors.

#1 – Sweep or vacuum the floor first to remove all debris and dust.

#2 – Using a flat head mop, dip into the bucket containing your timber floor cleaner of choice, then squeeze out any excess liquid. First drag the mop around the perimeter of the room, pressing up against the skirting boards.

#3 – Now that your boundary is complete, the best way to clean wood floors is to start from the furthest corner to the room exit. Look at the floor and see which direction the wood grain runs, as you’ll want to follow the grain to minimise residue marks.

Start mopping at the farthest corner of the room. Picture: Getty

#4 – A handy method is the S-pattern, whereby you pull the mop across the floor, then turn in a half circle to pull back to the other side, meeting just below to where you began. Continue this action until you’ve reached the exit.

#5 – Leave the windows and doors open, or a fan on for a few minutes and try not to walk on the floors until they have dried.

Your floor will be shining bright and safe for the family. It’s really that easy!

Article repurposed from How to clean wood floors by Elke Keeley.  Author at