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The Absolute Easiest Way To Clean A Hardwood Floor

July 25, 2023

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How do you clean a hardwood floor? I do it with white vinegar, water and a damp mop.

My floor are over 20 years old and look brand new.

Get the details and watch your floors shine.

The Quickest and Easiest Way To Clean Your Wood Floor

I've been sharing pictures of my kitchen for over a decade now and every time I do people comment.

Are they asking about the addition?

Do they want to know why I chose laminate countertops?

Are the smitten with the custom hood my husband built for me?

Well, yes.


Ten to one, they want to know how I clean my old hardwood floors.

How do you keep it so shiny?

What product do you use to mop it?

How often do you have it refinished?

And on and on. And on.

The answers are all pretty simple.

However, I never shared, because I thought this was the way everyone cleaned their wooden floors. Apparently not.

So today I'm here with all the details, but don't blink. It's a super quick cleaning DIY.

How To Clean Your Hardwood Floor With Vinegar (without damaging them)

I clean my floors with white vinegar and warm water.

a bottle of vinegar

I don't use a bucket and I don't soak the floor with either. It's a damp mop method and it's kept the Bruce hardwood floors in my kitchen looking brand new for over 20 years.

Plus, it's my go to cleaning method on the original, old hardwood floors in the rest of the cottage, some dating back as far as the 1920s.

No warping, no stripping, no discoloration.

And no dull, cloudy film or streaks left behind.

I trust this process on my dark hardwood floors and the light ones, as well.

Here's exactly what I do.

Step 1: Vacuum

I start by vacuuming my floor with a wide brush tool.

I make sure to get all the dirt and anything that might scratch the floor when the mop gets dragged across it, sucked up.

I have a central vac system, but any good, soft brushed vacuum will do.

Step 2: Wet The Pad

Blue microfiber mop pad getting wet in the sink

I have an old mop I bought when the floors were installed in 2003. It's similar to this mop.

Of course, the pads that velcro to the bottom, are long gone. So I recently bought these microfiber mop pads and they're awesome.

Really big, thick and they cover a lot of ground in a few passes.

Blue microfiber pads on kitchen counter next to white flowers in a vase

Plus they're great for when I just want to dry mop or dust the floor.

I simply wet the pad, by running it under warm water, ring it out, just a bit and attach it to the mop.

Step 3: Mop

Mop cleaning a wood floor under the stove

Then I start to run the pad over sections of the floor.

Step 4: Spray Vinegar

Spraying vinegar on a wood floor

At the same time, I have a spray bottle filled with a water and vinegar mixture. I'd say it's about 2/3 water to 1/3 white vinegar.

I literally walk around and spray some on the floor while I'm damp mopping. I turn the spray bottle nozzle to a stream spray so it easily reaches the floor in a small puddle.

Step 5: Rinse The Pad, Ring and Mop

Mopping a wood floor with a microfiber cloth

Once I've made my way around the entire room, I rinse my pad again with warm water, ring it out well and damp mop the floor one last time.

It rinses away any of the vinegar mixture and removes any excess water at the same time. 

Then I'm done and left with a shiny, clean, mostly dry wood floor.

Clean and shiny wood floor after being mopped

See. Easy.

No chemicals, nothing fancy or super involved. No heavy buckets to lug around or clean out.

I just peel the microfiber pad away from the mop and toss it into the washer and dryer and it comes out super fluffy.

Ready for another day of cleaning.

I use vinegar a lot:

Now, let's answer some of those questions.

I've already answered the how do you keep my wood floor so shiny and what products do you use to clean it ones.

Clean and Shiny Hardwood Kitchen Floor

How often do you have your wood floor refinished?

Never and since I have terrible allergies, I doubt I ever will. We actually painted the one wood floor that needed it instead.

The kitchen looks amazing. Aside from a few water spots that we repaired, that popped up under our hand towel from water drips, it looks fabulous.

No need.

How To Clean Your Wood Floor With Vinegar The Easy Way

Is it OK to clean hardwood floors with vinegar?

I've cleaned my hardwood floor with a damp mop and a vinegar water mixture for over 20 years and they look great. No damage, no warped boards or wear on the finish. 

However, I don't use a bucket full of it. I use it in moderation, I spray it on sparingly and remove it quickly.

Why do you use vinegar on wood floors?

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It also cuts though dirt easily since it's acidic.

We use our back door all day long, lots of feet in and out of this room. Plus it's a kitchen, the floor gets dirty.

I like a clean home, but hate chemicals and mass produced cleaners. 

Is this method really enough to clean it well?

Yes, in my home it is. However, I use the same mop and pads to dust the floor and remove any crumbs on a daily basis. I also clean up any dirty, gritty, sticky or messy spills right away...or quick enough. 

I don't let stuff get stuck on or seep into the wood. The small maintenance goes a long way.

Oh...and we don't wear our shoes in the house. That's probably the biggest help of all.

Cottage Style Red and White Country Kitchen

Of course if you have pets that go in and out a lot, you might want to up your frequency, but we've had indoor/ outdoor cats, pups, hamsters and more in this house over the years and the vinegar has been more than sufficient.

And there you go.

Questions answered.

It only took me a decade to do it.

Now about those laminate countertops...


Happy Mopping, Friends!
Kim Signature

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  1. Your floors really are beautiful! I have laminate flooring. I've never used vinegar on them, but I bet your method would work for them too.
    Thanks for the tip!

    1. I have laminate in my family room and I use the vinegar in there, too!

  2. I have commercial grade flooring that looks like wood. I also use vinegar and the same method you do for cleaning it. We put this in because John was using a walker at the time and they thought he would be in a wheel chair within a year. He was without the walker for almost three years but is back using it again now. Your floors are just beautiful, whole house is just full of warmth and looks joyful. Good job, kiddo! xo Diana

    1. Thanks so much, Diana! You always have the most lovely words for me. I'm sorry to hear John is back to the walker. I hope that's a short term need and he's back on his feet again (literally) very soon. xo

  3. Your floor looks beautiful, Kim. I have hardwood floors throughout most of my main floor. I use Bona, but I'd rather go the all-natural route. Thanks for the tip! (PS - sorry to not be visiting often, but popping in when I can).

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! The natural route works well for me. I appreciate every visit and it makes me smile whenever I see your name in the comment, whenever it may be. I hope that you are having a good summer and things are well in your world.

  4. Very nice! Vinegar is great for cleaning!

    Deanna Rabe

  5. Hi, Your floors are beautiful. Our home is all wood flooring. I love it!! Thank you for the cleaning tips. We use vinegar too... I cannot handle the smell or all the chemicals in many name brand cleaning products.

    1. Thanks so much, Carla! I just know your floors are beautiful and yes, those chemicals are a big no for me, too.

    2. Can I use vinegar & water solution on engineered wood floors?

    3. I have hardwood, prefinished hardwood and vinyl laminate and I use it on all of them. I do know lots of people who use it on engineered hardwood. I think the key is using a damp mop and small amounts of vinegar so you don't dull the finish. Hope that helps!

  6. Thanks for mentioning you painted one of your floors. I'm recycling some tongue and groove for the upstairs bedroom floors. The wood is stained and pitted. I don't want to sand it and any stain would make the rooms even darker. I plan to use porch and floor paint in a light tan color both there and on other areas I'm working on.

  7. What kind of mop do you use?

    1. Here's the link to one that's similar to the one I currently have: