Cleaning and Maintaining Hardwood Floors on a Budget

We all know that to keep our hardwoods looking their finest that typically you sweep them regularly, vacuum them every week and wash them when they are dirty. But what do you use to wash them? Some cleaners can strip the wood of its oils and leave it looking dull. If you use commercial cleaners, always use those designed specifically for hardwood floors. I have a few favorites on my list for all price points.

Vinegar – When you are looking for a cleaner that has no negative environmental impact, which is non-toxic and multi-purpose, look no further than white vinegar. With its natural cleaning power, white vinegar can cut thru some nasty messes. Mix 1/8 cup vinegar to 1 cup water to make a strong effective cleaning solution. For extra freshness, mix in several drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix in a spray bottle and apply it to your hardwoods. Clean off with a microfiber cloth or mop.

Murphy’s Oil Soap – Another low cost, high impact cleaner is Murphy’s Oil soap. This cleaner is made of 98% naturally derived ingredients, so this is a low environmental impact cleaner as well. To use, mix ¼ cup of cleaner with 1 gallon of warm water and wash the floor lightly with a lint-free mop. The key is to not leave a lot of dampness behind as this can damage the floor. As an added bonus, Murphy’s Oil soap is also a multi-purpose cleaner. It leaves stainless steel clean and with a streak-free shine and it can be used to protect and preserve leather.

Swiffer Wet Jet /Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop – If you are looking to get away from the traditional mop and bucket, you may want to opt for a Swiffer Wet Jet Wood or a Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop (can be found at The Swiffer has disposable mop heads for easy clean up when finished, whereas Bona uses a reusable mop head that is just as easily thrown in the washer and dryer. Both prepackaged systems contain a cleaner specifically designed for wood floors that attaches to the mop and sprays out with a mop head attached to the bottom. Just spray and mop in small sections allowing to air dry.

As you can see, all methods are simple, cost-effective, and do not require a lot of time or effort. Keeping your hardwoods clean and shining not only keeps your home sanitary and smelling fresh, but it also is a smart idea as far as an investment standpoint. Well taken care of hardwood floors are a selling point when listing a home for sale.