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House Post: How do you clean your hardwood floors?

It’s been a while! Work on the house has been crawling along very slowly lately, as I focus on taking care of Tristan and working on business development for Bel Joeor Metier. What I have been doing a lot of is cleaning: really deep cleaning, like the other day I went after the toaster oven with a toothpick.

Earlier this week, I did the master bedroom floor, which of all the exposed wood floors in the house gets the most traffic. As we hopefully will be ripping up more carpet in the near future, I wanted to ask those of you who have wood floors how you take care of them.


bedroom floors when we first uncovered them ❤

My regular routine is a tiered one. On a more regular basis, I vacuum, just to take care of the endless drifts of cat hair. When I want to dig in a little more, I’ll use a dry swiffer after vacuuming to get the last little bits of dust.

What I did to the bedroom is something I do maybe every six months, but feel like maybe I should do more? I start by getting everything up off the floor, and then vacuum. Then dry swiffer.

Then I do a round of mopping, and in this I use Murphy’s Oil Soap, diluted in warm water. I scrub any spots that seem especially dirty, and I only do maybe 3 square feet at a time, rinsing out the mop in between. I use just a plain old sponge mop.

Murphy Oil Soap, Original Formula 16 fl oz (473 ml)

Then I leave that to air-dry, which usually doesn’t take too long – I don’t put a lot of liquid down, and am careful to wring the mop out. I use that time to clean out the mop quite thoroughly, and usually go do another chore.


Once the floor is dry from that, I use the damp clean mop and do a polishing agent – lately it’s been Orange Glo 4-in-1, but I’ll be honest: I picked that after reading all the ones at the grocery store and that one seemed like it would do the most good for the best price. I haven’t been unhappy with it – but I am always curious if something would work better.

The whole process takes about two hours. I adore the hardwood floors, and want to keep them in as good shape as I possibly can, so I work pretty hard at this. I can’t shake the feeling, though, (major insight into my brain coming) that I’m not working as hard or as smart as I could be.

If you have hardwood floors, how do you care for them? Especially interested in hearing from people who have one or any of the following factors: old houses, absentminded husbands/partners, pets.

5 thoughts on “House Post: How do you clean your hardwood floors?

  1. We have hardwood floors in part of the house, and I don’t devote a lot of time or effort to cleaning them. 😬

    We bought a robot vacuum cleaner because both of us are very poor housekeepers. It’s been totally worth it- it keeps the pet hair and miscellaneous debris that’s tracked in to a minimum. About once a month I mop with Murphy’s oil after moving the furniture out of the way. Your floors look great, so maybe I should think about polishing them! (Where’s the robot floor polisher when you need it?)


  2. I’m a die hard Bona girl. I had 100 year old hardwoods in my old place and it kept them looking great. I vacuum every week and then Bona every otherish?


  3. My loft has the original mill floors, which have been left distressed but with a thick, almost indestructible top layer of shiny stuff—urethane, perhaps, or maybe something even sturdier.

    I vacuum and then damp mop with diluted vinegar, which takes off anything icky or sticky. Then when dry I finish where you began, sort of, with Murphy’s. I also fix any scratches or deep scuffs in the finish with a bit of stain rubbed on the wound and then wiped clean, again followed by Murphy’s.

    My house in Montpelier had floors a lot like yours, and besides removing icky bits with vinegar, I would use Liqiud Gold whenever the planks looked dried out, especially around doors that led outside and were damaged by salt. Not an issue in the new place since there is no winter here to speak of.

    I have no solution for all the kitty hair other than sweeping and vacuuming. I do use a fairly hefty air filter machine that captures suspended hair and dander as well as allergens and generic dust. Changing the filters is a revelation—there’s enough hair in there for a whole nother cat.


  4. My hardwoods are 128 years old on the first floor and ~100 on the second floor, and they were professionally refinished with Bona stain so that’s what I use. The Roomba runs every day (to keep the dog hair tumbleweeds down), our maids sweep and use Bona cleaner on them once a week, and then we’re supposed to do the polish every few months…but it ends up being more like once a year. It’s hard to move everything out of the room, especially since our coffee table weighs as much as a small horse.


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