How to Clean a Wooden Floor

Whether you refer to it as hardwood, timber, or wooden flooring, there’s no denying the timeless elegance and natural beauty it brings to any space. But, to maintain this beauty, regular cleaning is essential. Knowing how to clean a wooden floor to ensure its longevity and preserve its natural appeal. Regardless of whether you’re wondering how to clean a hardwood floor or how to clean timber flooring in general, this is the guide for you. Let’s explore the step-by-step process of how to clean a wooden floor effectively and safely.

how to clean a wooden floor

How to Clean a Wooden Floor

The Importance of Cleaning Wooden Floors

Hardwood flooring brings a timeless charm and unique character to any room, making it a favoured choice for both traditional and modern interior styles. One of the key advantages of hardwood flooring is its exceptional durability and longevity. However, being a natural product, timber flooring is susceptible to damage caused by dirt, dust, and debris. Over time, as these particles accumulate, they can scratch the surface and dull the appearance of the floor. To ensure the long-lasting beauty of your hardwood floors, it is crucial to establish a consistent cleaning routine that protects them from potential harm.

According to YourHome, pet dander and dust mites can exacerbate symptoms of hay fever, asthma, nasal inflammation, and eczema. Hardwood flooring is recommended over carpets to reduce the amount of dander and dust mites in your home. Regularly cleaning your wooden floors becomes vital in this regard, as it helps eliminate these allergens and particles from the surface, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.

How Often Should You Clean Wooden Floors?

The frequency of cleaning wooden floors depends on various factors such as foot traffic, household environment, and personal preference. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean hardwood floors at least once a week using gentle cleaning techniques and products specifically designed for hardwood. 

The porous nature of wooden floors makes them susceptible to absorbing liquids, which can result in permanent discolouration or the development of mould. Consequently, promptly addressing spills on wooden floors is of utmost importance to maintain their condition and prevent potential damage. 

Regular sweeping or vacuuming with a soft-bristle attachment, followed by damp mopping using a hardwood floor cleaner, can effectively remove dirt and maintain the floor’s shine.

Types of Wooden Floors

Wooden floors come in various types, including hardwood, laminate, and engineered wood. Therefore, it’s crucial to determine what type of wooden flooring you have before jumping into the cleaning process, as the cleaning method will vary. 

For instance, understanding how to clean a hardwood floor vs how to clean engineered wood flooring is essential to ensure effective and safe maintenance. 

  • Hardwood floors are made from solid wood and provide a classic, natural look. When it comes to hardwood flooring, it is crucial to avoid excessive moisture and use gentle cleaning techniques. 
  • Engineered wood floors are composed of multiple layers of wood, offering increased stability and resistance to moisture. Engineered wood flooring, similar to hardwood, requires cautious moisture management. 

By understanding how to clean timber flooring and tailoring your cleaning approach to the specific type of wooden floor you have, you can ensure effective cleaning, prolong the lifespan of your floors, and maintain their natural beauty for years to come.

how to clean timber flooring

Preparing for Cleaning Wooden Floors

Before you begin cleaning your wooden floor, it is important to make the necessary preparations. First, remove any furniture or objects from the floor to create a clear space for cleaning. Then, gather the tools and supplies you’ll need. These include: 

  • A soft broom or dust mop
  • A bucket 
  • A vacuum cleaner with appropriate attachments
  • A microfiber mop
  • Wood floor cleaner
  • A mild dish soap
  • Warm water

How to Clean a Hardwood Floor

 Cleaning hardwood floors requires a careful and gentle approach to preserve their beauty and integrity. Remember, it is crucial to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific hardwood flooring and any recommended cleaning products. Follow these steps to effectively clean your hardwood floors:

1. Begin by removing loose dirt and debris from the floor’s surface. You can use a soft-bristle broom, a microfiber dust mop, or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment. Avoid using vacuums with beater bars because they can scratch the wood.

2. For more thorough cleaning, dampen a microfiber mop or cloth with a hardwood floor cleaner specifically designed for your type of finish. 

Alternatively, you can create a homemade solution by mixing a small amount of mild dish soap with warm water. Fill a bucket with warm water and ensure the water isn’t too hot because excessive heat can damage the wood. Add a teaspoon of mild dish soap to the warm water.

3. Wring out the mop or cloth well, ensuring it is only slightly damp, not soaking wet. Gently mop the floor using back-and-forth motions, following the grain of the wood. Pay attention to any spills or stains, giving them a little extra cleaning effort. Avoid leaving standing water on the floor and work in small sections if needed.

4. Once you have cleaned the entire floor, allow it to air dry completely before walking on it or placing any furniture back in place. If needed, you can use fans or open windows to facilitate the drying process.

5. Lastly, for added shine and protection, you can use a wood floor polish or a microfiber cloth to gently buff the surface.

how to clean a hardwood floor

How to Clean Engineered Wood Floors

Cleaning engineered wood floors is similar to cleaning hardwood floors, as both require a gentle and cautious approach to maintain their appearance and durability. Here are the steps to effectively clean your engineered wood floors:

1. Firstly, remove loose dirt and debris from the surface using a soft-bristle broom, a dry microfiber mop, or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. 

 2. Subsequently, for a more thorough clean, dampen a mop or microfiber cloth with a cleaning solution specifically formulated for engineered wood floors, such as Bona Timber Floor Cleaner. Most importantly, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate cleaning solution.

3. Lightly mop the floor, moving in the direction of the wood grain. This helps prevent streaks and ensures even coverage. However, avoid using excessive water as it can seep into the wood and cause damage. In short, make sure the mop or cloth is only slightly damp, and remove any standing water promptly.

4. After cleaning the entire floor, rinse the mop or cloth thoroughly with clean water and wring out any excess moisture. Go over the floor again with the damp mop or cloth to remove any residue or cleaning solution.

5. Finally, use a clean, dry cloth or towel to thoroughly dry the floor. This step is crucial to prevent water damage or warping of the wood.

How to Remove Stains from Wooden Floors

When it comes to removing stains from timber flooring, the key is to act quickly and use the appropriate cleaning techniques. However, it’s not always feasible to address spills immediately, especially in households with active children and pets

So, how does one clean a timber floor when it comes to stains? The good news is that you can still tackle stains effectively and restore the beauty of your timber flooring with these simple methods below:

  • For liquid stains or fresh spills, use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the area gently. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the stain further into the wood.
  • For water-based stains, such as food or beverage spills, create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. 
  • For oil-based stains, such as grease or oil spills, use a solvent-based cleaner recommended for hardwood or timber flooring. Most importantly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dilution and application method.
  • Using a soft cloth or sponge, apply the cleaning solution to the stain. Gently scrub the area in a circular motion, working from the outer edges toward the center. However, be careful not to apply excessive moisture that can damage the wood.
  • Once the stain is removed, wipe away any excess moisture.

How to Clean Gaps in Timber Flooring

Wondering how to clean a timber floor with gaps? It may surprise you that the best tool for this process is a toothbrush. 

  1. First, dip the toothbrush into a solution of warm water and mild dish soap.  
  2. Secondly, gently brush between the gaps in the hardwood to remove dirt and debris. 
  3. Lastly, once you’ve finished scrubbing the gaps, dry the area with a microfiber mop or cloth.

Maintaining and Protecting Wooden Floors

Knowing how to clean a wooden floor is essential for maintaining its aesthetic appeal and ensuring its longevity.  But there are also steps you can take to prevent damage and safeguard your wooden floor for years to come.

  • Regular Cleaning: Implement a regular cleaning routine to remove dirt, dust, and debris that can scratch the floor’s surface. Sweep or vacuum the floors regularly using a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor setting.
  • Avoid Excessive Moisture: Wood is sensitive to moisture, so it’s crucial to prevent excessive water exposure. Wipe up spills immediately using a soft cloth or paper towel. 
  • Protect from Scratches: Place protective pads or felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scratches when moving or rearranging items. Avoid dragging heavy furniture or sharp objects across the floor. Consider using rugs or mats in high-traffic areas or under furniture to provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Control Humidity Levels: Wood floors can expand or contract with changes in humidity, which can lead to warping or gaps between the floorboards. Maintain consistent humidity levels in the room by using a humidifier or dehumidifier, especially in environments with extreme humidity fluctuations.
  • Protect from Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading and discolouration of wooden floors. Use curtains, blinds, or UV-protective window films to minimise sunlight exposure during peak hours. Consider rotating area rugs or furniture periodically to ensure even exposure.
  • Use Proper Cleaning Products: Choose cleaning products specifically formulated for hardwood or timber floors. Avoid abrasive cleaners and cloths and wax-based products (unless coating is oil or wax).

Side notes

While vinegar is a natural cleaning agent, it is not recommended for cleaning wooden floors. This is because the acidity of vinegar can damage the finish and dull the surface of the wood. It is best to use cleaning solutions specifically formulated for wooden floors. 

Similarly, using a steam cleaner on a wooden floor is not recommended. The heat and moisture from the steam can cause damage to the wood, including warping and swelling. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products and techniques.

Regular Maintenance: Schedule periodic maintenance tasks such as refinishing or resealing the floor to restore its appearance and protect it from wear.


In conclusion, by following these guidelines and implementing a proactive approach to care and maintenance, you can help ensure that your wooden floors remain beautiful, functional, and durable for years to come. 

Moreover, knowing how to clean a wooden floor without relying on professional help every time is not only cost-effective but also empowers you to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of your floor at your convenience.

While this guide on how to clean a timber floor is comprehensive, you may not have the time or ability to do it yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the cleanliness and beauty of your timber floor. Contact SimplySpotless today and let our expert cleaners work their magic. 

Our skilled team knows the ins and outs of how to clean a wooden floor, and we are ready to provide you with the best solutions. Contact SimplySpotless today and let our expert cleaners work their magic.

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