How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Wooden floors are a major investment―and yet they take such a beating: We walk all over them, track dirt onto them, and still expect them to gleam at the end of the day. This video shows how to attain spotless floors without damaging them in the process.


1. Clear the floor

Clear the floor area of any furniture that’s easy to move.

* Tip: Invest in furniture pads—they make moving furniture much easier, and prevent your wood floors from getting scuffed.

2. Dry-mop or vacuum floor

This gets rid of all surface dirt and debris.

3. Mop floor, going with the grain

If your floors are polyurethaned, dampen a mop with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Be sure to ring out the mop thoroughly before using it on the floor. Run the mop back and forth, going with the grain of the wood in smooth strokes.

*Tip: If your floors are lacquered or shellacked, don’t use water, which can stain the wood and cause buckling.

4. Buff floor with a cloth

To lift soapy residue after mopping and make your floor shine, hold a soft cloth in your hand and use it to rub the floor gently in a circular motion. Still not sparkling? Use a wood-floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

*Tip: Cloth diapers work well for buffing, because they’re very soft and absorbent.

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