How to Clean and Shine Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are among the most beautiful and durable flooring options. Made with natural materials, they can last for generations and add a unique warmth to any room. To keep your hardwood floors looking their best for years to come, however, it's important to understand how to properly clean and shine them.

This article outlines the best techniques for cleaning and shining hardwood floors. We'll show you how to clean really dirty wood floors and recommend some of the best cleaning products to use. By the end of this article, you'll know the best way to keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful and glossy.

What this article covers:

What To Clean Hardwood Floors With To Make Them Shine

clean and shine hardwood floors

The market is flooded with cleaners and polishes to make hardwood floors shiny, but not all of them are the best choice. Many contain harsh chemicals that can damage your floor's finish, so it's important to choose a product designed specifically for hardwood floors.

Below are some home cleaning products that are safe to use on hardwood floors:


Apart from cleaning prefinished hardwood floors, vinegar is also very effective at removing tough dirt, grease, and grime. Simply mix one-part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bucket and mop the floor. For stubborn stains, you can use full-strength vinegar mixed with equal parts water.

White vinegar is the most recommended vinegar for cleaning hardwood floors, as it won't discolor the wood. Additionally, it contains 5-10% acetic acid which has powerful disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties. Consider using it to clean old hardwood floors without sanding too!

Baking Soda

Another natural cleaner you can use on hardwood floors is baking soda. This gentle abrasive is great for removing built-up dirt and grime, as well as for buffing out minor scratches. To make a cleaning paste, simply mix equal parts of baking soda with water in a bowl until it forms a thick paste. Dip your mop or cloth into the paste and spread it over the floor.

Once you're finished, use a damp cloth to wipe away the baking soda residue. For tougher scuffs, sprinkle some baking soda directly on them and scrub gently with a brush or sponge. This is arguably one of the best products to clean and shine wood floors.

clean and shine wood floors

Mild Dish Soap

If your hardwood floors are just lightly soiled, you can also use mild dish soap. It contains surfactants that are effective at removing dirt and grease without leaving any residue behind. Simply mix a teaspoon of mild dish soap with a bucket of warm water, and mop your floors as usual.

Wood Floor Cleaner

For heavily soiled floors, you may want to consider purchasing a dedicated hardwood cleaner. These products usually contain gentle surfactants that can handle even the toughest dirt and grime without damaging your floor's finish. Many also contain natural oils which help to restore and nourish the wood over time.

best way to clean and shine hardwood floors

The best cleaners such as Sporicidin® are non-corrosive and non-toxic. Therefore, they don't have any negative impacts on your floor's finish, and they won't release harmful fumes. You can use the orbital floor scrubber to gently mop the floor after applying your wood floor cleaner.

what to clean hardwood floors with to make them shine

Wax for a Natural Shine

Wax is great at bringing out the natural beauty of hardwood floors, as well as protecting them from scratches and dents.

To apply wax, simply grab a soft cloth and dip it into the wax. Spread the wax evenly across the floor in small circles, working your way from one end of the room to the other. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before buffing it out with a clean cloth. This will give your floors a glossy, protective finish. You can also do this after cleaning wood floors that are not sealed.

How To Clean Hardwood Floors So They Shine

Below is a step-by-step guide for the best way to clean hardwood floors and make them look bright and shiny.

What You Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Mop
  • Soft cloth
  • Floor Machine
  • Wax

Step One: Vacuum The Floor

how to clean shiny wood floors

Vacuuming your floors is a great way to start the cleaning process. It will help remove dust and debris that can get in the way of a good shine. Use an attachment with soft bristles on your vacuum cleaner, as this is gentler on the hardwood than other attachments.

Step Two: Mop The Floor

Use a damp mop to wipe away dirt and dust, but make sure not to saturate the wood with water. When mopping, don't forget the edges and corners, as these areas are often neglected. 

You can use a good floor machine such as the Task Pro 17" Floor Machine to give the floor a deeper clean. This machine is best for cleaning hardwood floors and will help remove any tough stains or blemishes that may be on the boards. It's also effective for cleaning Brazilian cherry hardwood floors.

 how to clean shiny wood floors

Step Three: Create A Cleaning Solution

Mix some vinegar and warm water in a bucket. The ratio should be 1/4 cup of vinegar to one gallon of water. This is an effective yet gentle way to clean your hardwood floors without damaging them.

Step Four: Apply Cleaner To The Floor

Using a soft cloth or mop, apply the cleaning solution evenly over the hardwood floor. Make sure to cover all areas and get into the corners and edges. Don't apply too much pressure, as this can damage the wood.

Step Five: Rinse With Water

Once you have applied the cleaner, rinse it off with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution from the floor so as not to leave any residue behind. Then, dry the floor with a soft cloth or a mop. You can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to help speed up the drying process. This is a step you shouldn’t forget when cleaning very dirty engineered hardwood floors.

how to clean wood floors and make them shine

Step Six: Apply Wax

Once your floor is clean and dry, it's time to apply wax. A good quality wax will not only add shine but also help protect the floor from dirt and dust. Apply the wax in thin layers, using a soft cloth or mop. Allow the wax to dry and then buff it with a clean cloth for an even glossier finish.


And there you have it! With these simple steps, you can easily clean your hardwood floors and make them shine. Just remember to use the right products and tools, and don't forget to give extra attention to edges and corners. With a little effort, you can have your hardwood floors looking bright and beautiful. Good luck!

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