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How to Kill Germs on Hardwood Floors

Advice from our experts

Cleaning hardwood floors

When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, caring for them regularly can keep them looking spectacular for years. The best way to clean hardwood floors is to tend to them often.

Continue reading to learn how to clean floors. And get all kinds of helpful tips for mopping (with mopping cloths or a dry mop), sweeping, light and deep cleaning, and how to clean in one easy step with Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths1. You can also learn how to disinfect hardwood floors properly.

Tools for disinfecting hardwood floors

Before jumping right in to cleaning wood floors, it’s helpful to get all your supplies together. Cleaning hardwood floors is easier and faster when all your tools and products are on standby.

For a convenient way to clean hardwood floors, you’ll need:

  • Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths in your favorite scent
  • Swiffer® Sweeper2 or another standard mopping tool

Another option is to use a wet mop and hardwood floor cleaner. For this option, you’ll need:

  • Floor cleaner safe for hardwood floors
  • Hands-free wringing mop or another mop of your preference
  • Bucket
  • Clean towel
  • Gloves (if your hands are sensitive to cleaners or if required by use instructions)

There are a variety of cleaning products that are safe to use on hardwood floors. A convenient choice is Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths, which are great for lighter day-to-day and deeper floor cleaning and disinfecting. These wet mopping cloths are bleach-free and are safe to use on finished or sealed hardwood floors. They are pre-saturated with cleaning solution and fit Swiffer® Sweeper2 and other standard mop heads.

These mopping cloths are simple to use and make cleaning hardwood floors quick and easy while also killing the sneaky germs3 lurking on floors throughout your home. Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths eliminate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria — we’re talking the serious stuff — staph, strep, salmonella, E. coli and more.

These floor wipes will also freshen your room with uplifting long-lasting scents without harsh chemical smells. (There’s no harm in inspiring the senses while you mop, is there?).

Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths come in three elevated scents:

  • Tuscan Lavender & Jasmine: Lavish yet delicate balance of lavender and blossomed jasmine petals
  • Pacific Breeze & Coconut: Vibrant, enticing scent of freshly shaved coconut carried on a warm ocean breeze
  • Fresh Brazilian Blossoms: Elegant blend of florals with layers of lush fruity notes

You can also use Clorox® Bleach to deep-clean hardwood floors. However, bleach should never be used full-strength. Always dilute it in water and follow the instructions on the bottle. Learn more about cleaning floors with bleach.

For information on indulging your home beyond your floors, check out additional Clorox® Scentiva® products.

Read on for the step-by-step breakdown on how to disinfect hardwood floors using any of these options.

Steps for cleaning hardwood floors

Now that you’ve gotten all your tools together, it’s time to get into cleaning mode. Even if you’re unsure how to clean hardwood floors we’re here to help you come prepared so getting down to the business of cleaning your hardwood floors is simple, easy, and fast.

Before mopping the floor, use a soft broom, dry mop or microfiber cloth to pick up dust, pet hair and loose debris such as dirt and gravel. You can also use a vacuum to clean hardwood floors; just make sure it’s on the hardwood floor setting.

Now it’s time to mop, which can be done for daily light cleaning or for deep cleaning hardwood floors. Follow these steps to learn how to clean hardwood floors and to give your hardwood floors a glorious gleam:

One
Sweep
After sweeping, be sure to scrape off any debris that doesn’t come loose when running a microfiber cloth or vacuum over the floor. You can use a toothbrush or a sponge to gently brush away resistant, caked-on grime. And don’t ever use anything abrasive like steel wool or other scouring products on hardwood floors.
Two
Get your cleaning solution
  1. If you use Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths, no mixing is needed; just attach the cloth to the sweeper head and begin mopping — it’s as easy as that!
  2. If you use Clorox® Bleach, mix 1/2 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water in a bucket.
Three
Using other products
If using products other than Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths, saturate the mop in the diluted cleaning solution (see Step 2 above) and wring out the excess liquid. Then, start mopping the hardwood floor one section at a time.
Four
Rinse and wring
Rinse and wring out the mop occasionally so you don’t push dirty water around. It’s best to work in smaller sections so you can rinse your mop quickly and thoroughly.
Five
Rinse the floor
After you go over the entire floor, rinse the mop with clean water. Then, take a quick pass over the floor again to remove any cleaner. And make sure there isn’t any water pooling. Sitting water can cause the wood to warp.

Remember, for an easier option, clean your hardwood floors with Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths. They can be used with a Swiffer® Sweeper2 tool or similar mop head tool. Just follow these three easy (and we do mean easy!) steps to learn how to clean hardwood floors:

One
Attach
wet mopping cloth to sweeper head.
Two
Mop
the hardwood floor. Make sure to use enough cloths so the floor is visibly wet for 10 seconds to sanitize. If you want to disinfect your hardwood floors, make sure floors remain wet for 4 minutes.
Three
Let floors air dry
whether you’re cleaning or disinfecting. There is no rinsing required.

Best practices for cleaning hardwood floors:

Here are some best practices for hardwood floor cleaning and upkeep:

Do a quick sweep or dust every day. It’s also good to vacuum once a week (make sure to use the bare hardwood floor setting on your vacuum). Vacuuming will get up any particles that might have gotten into the seams between the floorboards. Loose debris can scratch wood floors.

Clean hardwood floors with a wet mop once a week. For a convenient solution, try using Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths, which are safe for sealed or finished hardwood floors, and they can save a lot of time. (Hooray!) If you have a lot of foot traffic in your home, you may find it’s better to go over hardwood floors with wet mopping cloths twice a week.

Whether you’re sweeping or mopping your hardwood floors make sure the area you’re cleaning is well-ventilated and keep kids and pets away while floors dry (which may be easier said than done!).

Before you clean your hardwood floor with a new product test a small section of the floor first to decide if you can safely proceed and always use as directed.

Natural ingredients to clean hardwood floors

If you’re interested in natural products for cleaning hardwood floors, you can use a mixture of vinegar (distilled white vinegar or apple cider) and warm water.

The typical recommended mixture contains 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. You can also use this cleaning mixture on many others surfaces in addition to hardwood floors.

Follow the same steps listed above for regular mopping or mopping with bleach. And — gentle reminder — don’t leave any standing water. It could seep between the boards and warp them or even remove the finish.

Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for your floor cleaning routine

When you stick with a regular cleaning routine, use the right tools and cleaning products, and follow a few easy and effective steps you can experience the satisfaction of having clean hardwood floors and seeing your hardwood floors shine.

1. Clorox® Scentiva® Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths are not for use on unpainted wood and unfinished, unsealed, unpainted, waxed, oiled or worn surfaces. Test a small area first.
2. Swiffer® is a registered trademark of The Procter & Gamble Company.
3. When used as directed on hard, nonporous surfaces.