Best hardwood floor cleaner

Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Protect the finish on wooden floors by using doormats, removing outdoor footwear and sweeping regularly.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which hardwood floor cleaner is best?

Hardwood floors are relatively low maintenance and generally only require sweeping and mopping to keep them looking good. However, wood is a natural product and some cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage the wood or its protective surface and make the floor look dull.

It is essential to know what type of finish your wooden floor has in order to choose the most suitable cleaning agent. A popular choice is the plant-based Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner, which is designed for sealed and laminate floors. It is sprayed directly onto the wood and doesn’t need diluting or rinsing afterward. Alternatively, there are several other recommended products for different types of floors and finishes.

What to know before you buy a hardwood floor cleaner

Type of finish

Sealed floors are usually finished with an impervious sealant such as varnish or polyurethane. These floors are water-resistant and can be cleaned with many different products.

A floor with a penetrating finish such as oil or wax needs more care and attention and often requires specialized cleaning products to prevent damage.

Type of cleaner

You want to avoid any hardwood floor cleaner that contains ammonia or bleach, as these can cause damage to both the wood and the finish, even on sealed floors. Nonabrasive, water-based cleaners and soaps are best for sealed floors and may also contain oxidizers to remove stubborn stains.

Conversely, oiled or waxed floors should only be cleaned with a solvent-based cleaner because water, even in small amounts, could penetrate the wood and cause damage.

What to look for in a quality hardwood floor cleaner

Polish

Cleaners with oil or polish in them can make your floor look shiny and new. However, this will also make them dangerously slippery. Instead, avoid cleaners with polish and buff the floor with a dry mop or a duster after cleaning.

Size

Most kinds of floor cleaners come in a useful 32-ounce bottle. Some are also available in larger refill sizes, which reduces the price. If the cleaner doesn’t need to be diluted before use, then a bottle with a spray top will make it much easier to apply.

Tips

When cleaning a floor, sweep or vacuum it first to remove any abrasive material that could scratch the surface while mopping. Even on sealed floors, use as little water as possible, as cleaners for waxed floors don’t need diluting at all. 

Always test new cleaning products on a small wood area first to be sure it doesn’t damage the floor. Finally, mop with the wood grain to prevent streaks as the floor dries.

How much you can expect to spend on a hardwood floor cleaner

Most water-based hardwood floor cleaners cost between $10 and $20 for a 32-ounce bottle, which is enough to cover up to 300 square feet. Solvent-based cleaners can be more pricey, up to $70 for 2 liters.

Hardwood floor cleaner FAQ

How often do hardwood floors need cleaning?

A. In high-traffic areas, it may be necessary to sweep them every day and mop them once a week. In rooms used less often, once every two weeks or less should be sufficient.

Do hardwood floor cleaners remove scuff marks?

A. Some more aggressive cleaners may remove scuff marks. However, gentle cleaners will protect the floor more. Alternatively, for stubborn stains, try using baking soda and a damp cloth.

How often do hardwood floors need resurfacing?

A.  This depends very much on the type of surface. For example, sealed floors are the most hardwearing and can last up to 10 years. Other types of finishes may last much less. In particular, wax should be removed and reapplied every 12 to 18 months.

What’s the best Hardwood floor cleaner to buy?

Top hardwood floor cleaner

Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner

What you need to know: This floor cleaner is designed to be used on sealed hardwood and laminate floors.

What you’ll love: It is produced from plant-based materials and doesn’t need to be diluted or rinsed.

What you should consider: It has an almond scent, which may not suit some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and The Home Depot

Top hardwood floor cleaner for the money

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

What you need to know: This water-based cleaning formula can be sprayed directly onto any kind of sealed wooden floor and dries quickly.

What you’ll love: It is nontoxic, making it safe for use around children and pets. It has a neutral pH and leaves no residue or stickiness after use.

What you should consider: As this cleaner is water-based, it cannot be used on oiled or waxed floors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and The Home Depot

Worth checking out

DuChateau Premium Floor Cleaner & Protectant

DuChateau Premium Floor Cleaner & Protectant

What you need to know: This versatile cleaner is solvent-based and can be used undiluted on oiled and waxed floors.

What you’ll love: It creates a protective barrier on the surface and is particularly suitable for high-traffic areas.

What you should consider: It can take up to an hour to dry completely.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.