September 23, 2021

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10 Best Wood Floor Cleaners

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Wood floors may look fragile and hard to care for, but nothing could be further from the truth. A well-maintained one can pretty much withstand the abuse pets, kids, spills and track-in dirt can bring. In fact, hardwood floors are pretty easy to maintain. Regular vacuuming is the best thing you can do because it removes the fine, gritty, abrasive dust that can scratch the finish. Next, use products that both clean and protect the finish, so it continues to resist the wear and tear your family dishes out. Even though it’s relatively simple to clean wood floors, choosing the right product to suit your needs can help get the job done faster and easier.

That’s where the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab comes in: we test hundreds of soaps, sprays and stain removers every year to find the best cleaning products, including wood floor cleaners. When we test these cleaners, we evaluate how well they remove a sticky, dried-on gelatin mixture we precisely paint onto hardwood planks, how quickly and completely they remove scuff marks, ease of application and drying time. We’ve found that the best cleaners are those specifically formulated for use on hard, surface-finished or polyurethane-treated floors. These cleaners have ingredients to dissolve dirt and grime without damaging the coating or dulling the shine. Note: none of the cleaners we list here are recommended for floors treated with wax or other penetrating finishes. Here are our top picks for the best wood floor cleaners, plus two vacuum cleaners specifically designed for wood floors:

How to Care for Wood Floors

You may have read that wood floors should only be cleaned with vinegar — we don’t recommend it. Vinegar cleans on the surface, but it’s acidic and can dull the finish over time. The best way to give your wood floors some TLC is to leave your shoes at the door, vacuum regularly to remove abrasive dirt and dust (with a straight suction vacuum or with the rotating brush turned off to prevent scratching), clean up spills promptly and keep your pet’s nails trimmed.

When it’s time to clean your floors, use a light application of one of our recommended products and work in small three-foot square sections to avoid over-wetting the floor. Make sure the area you’ve just cleaned dries promptly before moving on to the next section, as too much moisture sitting on wood for too long is damaging. For quick touch-ups, clean in the direction of the wood planks. For deeper cleaning, go with and across the planks to nab dirt trapped in the crevices. Only damp clean floors when they need it, depending on how much traffic they get. There’s no need to over-wash them; in fact, doing so can do more harm than good. Here is a quick look at the best wood floor cleaners you can buy:

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1

Best Overall Wood Floor Cleaner

Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray

Bona began as (and still is) a professional wood floor refinishing company, so it’s no surprise Bona’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner cut through sticky soil and erased shoe marks faster than all the other products we tested. Use the spray with Bona’s own cleaning pad, any plain microfiber pad mop or buy it in a pre-filled cartridge that snaps onto the Bona Spray Mop (below) to get the job done even faster.

  • Removes sticky residue quickly
  • Removes shoe marks quickly

2

Best Value Wood Floor Cleaner

Oil Soap Wood Cleaner

Murphy’s Oil Soap is one of the lowest-priced cleaners on this list, and since it’s concentrated, it will last a long time, giving you the best value for your purchase. In our tests, this wood floor cleaner did a great job erasing scuff marks with just a few passes. It also was impressive in removing sticky soil, though it did take a little more scrubbing to completely remove residue.

  • Erases scuff marks
  • Removes sticky residue

3

Best Wood Floor Cleaner for Big Jobs

Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner

Because it comes in a squeeze bottle, Pledge Clean It Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner is our top choice when you have big open areas of wood floors to clean. It’s easier than a trigger to dispense over large areas and quicker than a concentrate that requires mixing. Simply squeeze the bottle to dispense the liquid in an “S” pattern onto the floor. Pledge not only did a very good job dissolving our sticky test soil, but it also required the fewest strokes of any of the other products we tested to completely erase any remaining residue.

  • Easy to dispense over large areas
  • Dissolves sticky residue
  • Requires less scrubbing

4

Best Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner

Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner

Black Diamond
amazon.com

$12.98

The trigger style of Black Diamond’s Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner made it easy to apply, and its clear directions made it one of our top-scoring products for ease of use. Plus, it can be used on finished hardwood and laminate floors. And because it’s in a spray bottle, spot cleaning is as easy as a spritz and a wipe, especially on scuff marks that took only a few passes to remove in our tests. 

  • Cleans wood and laminate floors
  • Removes scuff marks
  • Easy to spray

5

Best Disposable Mop with Cleaner for Wood Floors

Wetjet Wood Starter Kit

Swiffer
amazon.com

$42.00

Good Housekeeping Seal holder Swiffer Wet Jet Mop Wood Floor Starter Kit dispenses cleaner onto the floor through a battery-operated mop and uses textured pads with a scrubby strip to attack soil. Even better: The pads are disposable, which eliminates the need to store a dirty, germy mop. Lights on the mop head make it easy to navigate under furniture, too. 

  • Disposable pads for easy cleanup
  • Easy to navigate under furniture

6

Best Wood Floor Cleaner for Allergy Sufferers

Free & Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner

This version of Bona’s hardwood floor cleaner is formulated without dyes or scents. It’s certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation to remove dust and other particles from hard floors, perfect for homes where family members are sensitive to irritants. In our tests, it removed scuff marks quickly and did a good job dissolving sticky soil. The trigger spray is very easy to use, especially when targeting spots and stains. Also, the large jug size means refills are always on hand.

  • No dyes or scents
  • Certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation
  • Removes scuff marks
  • Removes sticky residue

7

Best Concentrated Wood Floor Cleaner

Hardwood Concentrated Floor Cleaner

This Libman hardwood floor cleaning formula is made to be mixed with water for use either in your own bucket or with Libman’s Freedom Dispensing Microfiber Mop. It did a very good job quickly dissolving our sticky soil and scuff marks, and because it can be diluted, a little goes a long way. The bottle top has a handle for easy carrying and a built-in cup for mess-free measuring. Simply squeeze the bottle to fill the measuring cap with the recommended dose of cleaner, and pour it directly into a bucket or the Freedom Mop canister. One little bottle makes four gallons of cleaner, and this innovative package prevents spills and eliminates the need for a separate measuring cup.

  • Dissolves scuff marks
  • Removes sticky residue

8

Best Microfiber Mop with Cleaner for Wood Floors

Hardwood Floor Premium Spray Mop

This easy-to-use spray mop has an oversized head, so it covers more ground quickly (Read: You’ll finish faster!) and cleans floors with a washable, reusable microfiber pad. The on-board cleaner cartridge is refillable for less waste and the mop dispenses a wide, fine spray evenly onto the floor. The long rectangular head maneuvers easily into narrow spaces, and the corners on each side are soft and flexible, so they flip up when you go along walls and baseboards to catch every speck. Bona offers deep-cleaning and even dusting pads that can also be used with this mop. 

  • Large cleaning head to clean faster
  • Reusable microfiber pad
  • Refillable cleaner cartridge

9

Best Vacuum Cleaner for Wood Floors

Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum

Bissell
amazon.com

$209.99

To remove dirt and debris from wood floor crevices, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner. This vacuum did well in our tests and we love its unique, air-powered soft brush. This gentle brush sweeps away particles in the wood floor crevices so they can be vacuumed up and does not scratch the floor like other rotating vacuum brushes. 

  • Air-powered soft brush does not scratch floors

10

Best Stick Vacuum Cleaner for Wood Floors

Omni-Glide

Dyson
bedbathandbeyond.com

$399.99

Our Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab Director tested this Dyson stick vacuum at home and says, It’s amazing for wood floors! It has soft, fluffy rollers, goes in any direction and is just the perfect size for stair treads, the edges of the room and around area rugs.” The soft rollers pick up large debris and fine particles with ease, all without scratching the wood floor. Plus, it’s lightweight and rechargeable. 

  • Moves in any direction
  • Soft rollers do not scratch floor

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