Do You Clean Hardwood With Vacuum or Mop?

Standing on Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors give our homes a warm classy feel. The last thing we need is a stain or an ugly scratch on the floor. They have a natural shine that makes the floor look beautiful.

If not handled properly, the floor loses its shine and becomes just another piece of wood.

If you use hard bristled brooms or regularly drag furniture across the surface of your hardwood floor, it will lose its shiny finishing and expose the wood below.

Another thing most of us don’t know is that dust accelerates the wearing out of the floor. Places like corridors, kitchens and doorways are usually the first places to lose the finishing because they are high traffic areas in the house.

Mopping a Hardwood Floor

Mopping Hardwood FloorFor many years I’ve been using these strategies to clean my hardwood floor with a mop. My floor still has most of its original finishing shine and it is still in good condition. Most people would discourage mopping but the idea is how you mop.

  • If you choose this method, the mop should be as dry as possible. A sopping wet mop will destroy your floor. The point of this is to keep as least moisture on the floor as possible. If you let water stay on it for too long, it will stain and lead to expansion of the boards.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t add vinegar or bleach to your mop water. The solution will be too acidic and will wear out the finishing.
  • Follow the wood. Always mop in the direction of the grain of the wood. This way, you will get as much dirt as possible and will make mopping more effective.
  • I have never used hot water to clean my floor. Hot water has a higher probability of seeping into the wood than cool water. And we all know what happens to wood when it stays damp for along time. Cracks, splinters, the works. Hot water damages your floor.

Vacuuming a Hardwood Floor

This would be a good option if you live with pets. Pets are just shedding machines. I use a vacuum cleaner on my carpets and rugs but a friend recently told me you can still use it on your hardwood. It actually works much better than a broom

  • Most vacuum cleaners have rotating bristles, which makes them ideal for carpets and rugs. But for floors, repeated contact can lead to damage.
  • The best type of vacuum cleaner for hardwood flooring is a canister vacuum according to It has a setting for floors, where the bristles are not rotating and has very high suction power.
  • You also have to choose a vacuum cleaner that has rubber wheels to help you move it around the house. Plastic wheels, or no wheels at all end up scratching your floor.

Which is Better; Mopping or Vacuuming?

Whether you should mop or vacuum really depends on what you’re dealing with. Even if you vacuum regularly, it will still be good to mop it from time to time (just make sure you get rid of all the dust first if you choose to use water or any liquids). These two methods go hand in hand, however; I prefer the vacuum cleaning for its ability to clean hard to reach areas. There are a number of helpful resources like Floor Executives that can really make your life easier.

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