The Best Way to Clean Wood Floors

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors – what works, what doesn’t. The best way to clean wood floors so they shine!

how to clean shine hardwood floors

Cleaning Wood Floors

Three years ago after my husband came home from a year in Iraq, we decided to build a house. It was so exciting to pick all the finishes and ask for changes and make it just a {teensy} bit customized.  One thing I LOVED was the deep, dark finish we chose for our flooring. 

Well, I loved it until I lived with it and struggled to figure out the best way to clean and shine hardwood floors! While I adore the look of dark wood floors, with a dog and three little boys my floors looked just horrible pretty much all the time. It was so frustrating! (I found this old picture if you wanted to see the tone of the floors.)

vacuuming vent

In one of our previous homes, I had started using a steam mop to clean the wood floors.  That is until we were picking the wood for the house we were building and the representative at the flooring center told us to NEVER use the steam on the wood-it would eventually cause warping…oops.  I went back to my old methods and hated the result.

The Best Way to Clean Wood Floors

Then when our youngest caused major flooding at the house and we lived in a construction zone for weeks two years ago, a cleaning company came in to clean up after the repairs were made. 

My floors had never looked so amazing-I asked them how they did it and they shared their secret to how to shine and clean hardwood floors-the Bona Hardwood Floor Kit.  Boom! This lady right here was all over it!

bona kit

The kit comes with 2 different pads-a supersoft dusting pad that attracts dust and hair like a champ, and a cleaning and polishing pad that has just the right amount of abrasiveness to get tough spots up without damaging the floor. 

It’s so easy that I’ve even taught my 6 and 7-year-olds to use it after going around with the dusting mop, one of them sprays the Bona cleaner on the floor and the other one mops it up. Then we just throw the pads in the washing machine and we’re good to go! This is our go-to routine about every 2-3 days and the floors are sparkling!

how to clean hardwood floors

Cleaning Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

I have tried just about every single cleaner-natural (like vinegar) and chemical-out there and nothing else cleans and shines the wood floors without the streaks those dark hardwoods showed so easily.

(Did you know that even using natural cleaners like vinegar as a cleaner can dull your wood floors over time?)

And it’s non-toxic so I don’t have to worry about my kids or animals-that was huge for me especially when my youngest was still crawling!

This past May we got the inevitable message from the military that it was time to move and we’re now in a rental near Washington DC that we had to sign a lease on sight-unseen…the rental market is tough up here! When we first saw the townhome I was a little disappointed to find that it has light wood floors. (You can see the house as soon as we arrived here, an updated summer tour here, and tune in for a totally changed updated tour next week!)

Fast forward a few months and ohmygoodness this lady right here is loving the light hardwood-it’s like camouflage for lazy housekeeping (not that I ever get lazy!) We have a golden retriever that literally shed the equivalent of a chihuahua daily, and my boys are 3, 6, and 7 so spills are a common occurrence.  The lighter floors are so much more forgiving!

That being said, I still know the nastiness is there, and I’m sure to clean them often with the same Bona kit, but it’s nice to know that the neighbors won’t notice if I skip a day!

Anybody else struggle with dark hardwoods? Or do you prefer light wood for it’s easier maintenance? Do the holidays make anyone else feel like cleaning the house top to bottom? Please share any holiday cleaning tips you have in the comments!

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  1. Your hardwood floor cleaning tips are spot on! It’s fantastic to have a comprehensive guide that covers different methods and solutions for maintaining the beauty of hardwood floors. Thanks for sharing your expertise and making it easier for us to keep our floors looking their best. Your blog is a valuable resource for anyone looking to enhance the cleanliness and appeal of their home.

  2. This post must have been made by Bona. i used Bona on my floors aftr a family member bought the kit for his floors and it nearly ruined them. I cautiously tried the product on my laundry room floors and new immediately that i would never used the product again. It left a grey film on my floors that never came off. This stuff is NOT for hardwood floors!!!

    1. The post is by me, not Bona Frank, it’s what I’ve used and loved for seven years since it was recommended by the hardwood floor vendor when we built our house in NC.

  3. What’s up to all, it’s really a pleasant for me to go to see
    this website, it includes priceless Information.

  4. It’s easy to install hardwood flooring but it’s difficult to keep it clean, thanks for providing this suggestion i was looking for this.

  5. I hadn’t considered to keep direct sunlight off of hardwood floors, and that it can make the floors fade over time. I’d be interested to learn the science behind how UV rays can cause damage to these types of floors. Not only that, but it would be interesting to see what types of interior designs people have come up with on their windows and doors to help let in natural light while also preserving the quality of their floor. Jenny

  6. I completely disagree with these reviews. Bona products completely ruined my hardwood floors. The first product left a heavy, ugly waxy buildup. So I called the company and they said to buy their Bona Polish remover. Kind of curious that they make this product unless there is a known issue with waxy buildup. Never the less, I bought the product. I hand scrubbed the floors with a scotch brite pad. A lot of work! While it took off a little of the wax, the floors still look terrible. . I had a floor cleaning company that had a machine to clean hard wood floors. They went over the floors twice and it made no difference. I blame BONA for ruining my floors!!

  7. I’m definitely going to give this a try..thznk you so much. One site suggested vegetable oil. I was like are you kidding me. You want me to put food on my floor. Won’t that attract bugs?. Will let you know the outcome. I have a long haired German Shepherd, so I have to sweep at the very least twice a day. Wish me luck. Onceagain Thank You!!

  8. For you floor if you choose hardwood floors then it is one of the best option. It can also give new looks to your home and also increase the beauty of your home. So to keep your hardwood floor long lasting you should keep some important tips in your mind. Choose the best kind of cleaner material. Use right kind of tools such as: use soft mop. If there is scratches then clean it by giving color coating. For better result you can take the help of a professional contractor.

  9. We replaced our kitchen, dining room and entry floors with real woods flooring 20 years ago. They still look wonderful since I have always used Bona floor cleaner on them!! I recommen Bona all the time!!!!

    1. Isn’t it amazing how well it works?? We’re in a house (military housing) with no hardwood right now but I stored all of my bona products so I’d have them wherever we move next! The cabinet cleaner is very good as well! ~Melissa

  10. Dear Melissa, Are you using the dusting pad and the polishing pad on a daily basis? Did you buy extra pads for each day or do you wash/shake/clean them out after each use? I, too have a dog that sheds 365, so I’d like to know about the effort needed and what you do to clean the cleaning pads. Thanks!

    1. Hi there! I vacuum the floors daily or every other day to remove the majority of the hair and then clean them with the Bona twice a week, washing the pad as needed. I have to vacuum the hair before cleaning because it’s just too much for the pad-my dog sheds so much! I hope that helps!

  11. Our little church has never looked so good as when I use Bona on the pulpit area and the “kneeling stairs” that lead up to it. The Bona floor cleaners are good enough to use in God’s house!

  12. I am finding that a mid-tone wood seems to be my happy medium (literally). The dark is beautiful, but I have to think with trends changing, a medium toned wood floor would be more flexible through the decades. And agreed, dark floors show all the scratches and dust. I’ve seen this cleaner forever and never tried it. We are getting ready to sell our house and I need something to polish the floors. I am looking into this, thanks!

  13. My daughter and her husband just moved into a Dutch Colonial house built in the 1800’s! The floors really need to be refinished, but I took my Bona mop system over to her house and was amazed at how much better they look.

  14. Melissa – our home was built in 1958 and has the original hard wood floors that I LOVE! But with 3 cats and 2 kids, I can’t wait to try this on our floors!!

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