Skip to Content

WARNING: How to Clean Wood Floors Without Damaging Them

Have your beautiful wood floors lost their luster? There’s no shortage of products that promise to bring back and keep your wood floors shining. However, using the wrong products or methods could cause severe and irreversible damage to your beloved flooring.

Luckily, we’ve found several ways for you to clean your floors and keep them safe. So if you want to know how to clean wood floors, keep reading! Let’s get started!

What Is the Best Thing to Use to Clean Wood Floors?

Walking down the cleaning aisle at your favorite big-box retailer will likely reveal plenty of options for cleaning your wood floors. However, most people already have what they need to clean theirs.

One of the best cleaners for wood floors is good old soapy water. Take a quarter cup of dish soap and mix it with a gallon of water. This inexpensive way to clean your floors may save you from packing up and heading to the store.

What Should You Not Clean Hardwood Floors With?

You want to avoid using any harsh chemicals on your hardwood floors. Chemicals like ammonia and vinegar are great for eating at and removing stubborn dirt and gunk stuck to them. However, they can also eat at and remove the protective finish. Repetitive cleanings with these harsh chemicals will dull your floors and leave splotchy patches. They may provide a short-term benefit, but over the long term, they’ll ruin your floors, and you’ll need to resurface and do major repairs.

Does Swiffer WetJet Ruin Wood Floors?

The Swiffer WetJet is a powerful and versatile cleaning solution. It is a great option for any finished flooring. However, you shouldn’t use it on any flooring that is unfinished, oiled or waxed. 

Swiffer states on its website that the Swiffer WetJet is “safe on most floor types.” They also say, “You can use it on marble & stone, ceramic tile, vinyl & linoleum, finished wood & laminate.” However, they caution that you should “not use your SteamBoost on waxed or unfinished wood floors.” If you’re using it on one of these surfaces, your floors will likely be safe.

Pro Tip: Keep your toes toasty by finding out How To Keep Your RV Floor Warm.

Cleaning tools for cleaning woodfloors
Avoid using harsh chemicals on your hardwood floors.

How to Clean Wood Floors Without Damaging Them

If you want to avoid damaging your wood flooring, how you clean your floors is equally as important as what you use to clean them. Follow these steps to get the brightest and longest shine.

Sweep or Dry Mop

You should be sweeping and dry mopping your floors regularly to remove dust and debris. Make sure to get into the nooks and crannies, the baseboards, and any places where the debris can hide. Don’t forget to check out under the furniture from time to time. Take your time and get as much dirt and gunk as you can. A microfiber dust mop can help pick up as much dust as possible from your flooring.


While sweeping and dry mopping can pick up most of the dust and dirt from your floors, it’s not going to get it all. Vacuuming can help lift the dirt and debris from the cracks and other porous surfaces in your flooring. You should vacuum your wood floors at least once a week. However, you’ll want to adjust your vacuum to the “hardwood” setting, which raises the vacuum off the floor and only utilizes the suction feature. Avoid using your vacuum’s brush roll to clean your wood floors, as it can scratch and damage your flooring. 

Damp Mop

Use a damp mop on your floors every week or two. Higher traffic areas may require that you increase the frequency of mopping. You want to make sure the mop is damp and not soaking wet. Avoid standing water and harsh chemicals, as they can damage your flooring. While your flooring should dry relatively quickly, you can turn on a ceiling fan to expedite the process. Make sure to close off the room to keep other humans and pets from walking across your freshly cleaned floors as they dry.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Use hardwood floor cleaner on your floors once a month, especially in higher-traffic areas. A simple DIY soap-water mixture will do the trick. However, you should avoid using any products containing harsh chemicals like ammonia or vinegar. They’ll eat away at the protective layers and finish on your flooring. 

Man cleaning his hardwood floors
Use dish soap and warm water to clean your floors with ease.

How Do You Clean Old Hardwood Floors Naturally?

You’ll want to use a soap-water mixture for old hardwood floors. Combine a quarter cup of dish soap with a gallon of warm water. Gently mop and scrub the floor in small sections and then dry with a clean cloth. Be careful not to let water sit for too long on the surface or in areas where the finish needs maintenance. Letting water sit on the flooring for too long can cause severe damage to your precious flooring and be challenging to repair or replace.

Pro Tip: On a cleaning spree? Use our guide on How to Clean Rubber Floor Mats in Your Truck or Car.

How Often Should I Clean My Wood Floors? 

The best way to keep your wood floors looking like new is to clean them regularly. You should sweep or dry mop every single day, vacuum weekly, mop heavy-traffic areas a couple of times each month, and use a hardwood floor cleaner at least every month. This method will help ensure your floors look new for years to come. 

Take immediate action in areas where the protective finishes are starting to crack or splotch. Shiny wood floors can help increase the value of your home and make it a more comfortable environment.

What do you use to clean your hardwood floors? Tell us in the comments!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: