How to Clean Dirty Hardwood Floors The Right Way

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

There’s no doubt about the fact that hardwood floors look beautiful and add to the overall elegance and style of your house, but all this beauty comes at a price. The price is keeping those hardwood floors clean and tidy, which can be a bit of a struggle.

Your floor is one part of your house which takes the most damage. Paint, food crumbs, scratches, drinks spillage, your pet’s dirty paws and everything else lands on the floor. Worry not as we will be discussing various ways of keeping your hardwood floors clean, shiny and free from all the mess they get on a daily basis.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

First off, to prevent the floors from getting dirty in the first place, it is important that you mop them every other day. Use a soft mop or broom to remove any debris or dust, and be sure to cover the corners too.

You can use a vacuum cleaner as well. It will do the job just fine. iRobot Roomba 650 is a great choice for this purpose because it can vacuum as well as mop the floor. If you program it through the app, you can have it clean the house while you are away.

If the floor looks too dirty, use a spray bottle to spray some cleaning solution meant specifically for hardwood floors. Use the mop to spread the solution and rub it gently until it dries off, leaving the floor clean and shiny. Some great cleaning solutions for hardwood floors include Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Pledge Clean It Floor Cleaner.

Only use cleaners that are designed for hardwood floors. Such cleaners come with ingredients like citric acid, oxidizers and surfactants that really help cut out tough stains like grease and sticky spills from hardwood floors. They also maintain a particular pH level that will not harm the floor.

Sticky Mess

Sticky Mess Floor

If there’s something stuck to the floor, like a chewing gum, wax or any other adhesive, scrape it off using a plastic spatula or putty knife. Make sure you scrape it gently. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave scratch marks all over your perfect wooden floor.

If the gum or wax is not coming off, try putting a plastic bag filled with ice cubes on the area. Let the bag sit for a few minutes and then try scraping it off again.

Unsound Finish

If your floor has an unsound finish, use an odorless mineral spirit. Just simply pour some on a soft piece of cloth and wipe the hardwood surface thoroughly. If there are tougher spots, you can use a scouring pad or sanding screen to get rid of them.

Pet Stains and Other Tough Messes

Some stains are really tough and take some time before they give in and finally come off. These consist of pet stains and paint stains. If a stain is not coming off easily, pour some hydrogen peroxide onto the affected area, take a piece of cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide and let it sit on the affected area overnight. The next day, wipe everything off the floor and then screen and refinish it.

What Not to Do

  • Never ignore wet or sticky spills like juices, drinks or even water. It is important that you wipe off the spill as soon as it happens or else it can leave tough stains.
  • You can cause damage to hardwood floors by using rough brooms and mops that are meant for tiles or other materials. The damage will mostly be cosmetic such as scratches.
  • Knowing your floor type and finish is important so that you can use a cleaning solution accordingly. If you use solutions not meant for your floor, you will end up damaging its shiny layer or coat.
  • Stagnant water or soaking wet mops can cause moisture to seep through the hardwood floor, which can have disastrous effects. Moisture can cause serious and irreparable damage to wood.
  • Never steam-clean a wood floor. It is only meant for tiles or vinyl flooring/
  • Never use vinegar, ammonia or other harsh chemicals to clean your hardwood floor.

Screening Hardwood Floors

Screening Hardwood Floors

If your floor has lost all its shine and glory that it once had, you can screen it in order to restore it to its glory. For that, you will need a buffer, which can easily be rented from any local hardware store.

You need to make sure that you get the appropriate type of sanding disc or sanding pad for your buffer, which you can determine by its color coding. Black, purple and brown are abrasive stripping pads, green and blue color denote mid-level abrasive, and tan and white pads are mild polishing pads.

Use the buffer to gently clean the entire floor. Since the buffer can’t reach tight corners, you should use a handheld sanding screen to cover such areas in order to give your floor a uniformly shiny look.

Keep in mind that buffing will not remove deep scratches or damages that require proper repairs. It will, however, bring bag your hardwood floor’s shine, remove all the scratches and take away its dull look.

After you are done buffing the room, it is advised that you vacuum the room thoroughly as a final touch to the entire process so that all kinds of dust and debris are removed from the floor.


If your floor has become really worn out, it has become damaged beyond repair or it has deep scratches and stains that will be extremely hard to remove, it is always best to hire professionals. They will carefully examine and assess your floor and tell you the right approach to take. However, you can prevent your floor from getting to such a stage by taking care of it properly using the tips we have mentioned above.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links. Affiliate disclosure.

Related Content