The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners, Vetted

Make dingy floors dazzle with a cleaner specially formulated to give hardwood the care it needs to look great and last.

Best Overall

The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner Option: Method Squirt + Mop Wood Floor Cleaner

Method Squirt + Mop Hardwood Floor Cleaner

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Runner-Up

The Best Hardwood Cleaner Option: Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Hardwood Cleaner Option: Better Life Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner 

Better Life Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner 

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Hardwood flooring gets acclaim for its natural beauty, but it requires varying degrees of attention to maintain its good looks. In large part, the maintenance requirements for hardwood depends on its finish. Floors with penetrating finishes and wax top coats can be a chore because they easily absorb water and require solvent-based cleansers.

Other hardwood floors have polyurethane, urethane, or other finishes that form a waterproof barrier for protection. If your floors, like many, are surface sealed, read on to learn what to look for in an effective wood cleaner. Plus, don’t miss our list of the best hardwood floor cleaners available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Method Squirt + Mop Hardwood Floor Cleaner
  2. RUNNER-UP: Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Better Life Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner
  4. BEST PET-FRIENDLY: Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner
  5. BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner
  6. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Pledge Clean It Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner
  7. BEST FOR SPOT CLEANING: Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood/Laminate Floor Cleaner
  8. BEST FOR STAIN REMOVAL: Zep Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner
A bucket of cleaning supplies, including the best hardwood floor cleaner option, sits on a set of hardwood stairs
Photo: istockphoto.com

Before You Buy a Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Before buying a hardwood floor cleaner, there are some important considerations to take into account. Different flooring types require different cleaning solutions, and a product designed to clean hardwood floors may not be suitable for laminate flooring, vinyl flooring, or tiles. If your home consists of varied flooring types, a hardwood floor cleaner may not be the most effective or appropriate cleaning solution.

It’s also worth noting that even within hardwood, there are variations. The type of wood, finish, and degree of soiling can influence the wood cleaner’s effectiveness. Therefore, what works wonders on one hardwood floor might not have the same impact on another. A well-informed choice can save your floor from potential damage and maintain its natural beauty for years to come.

How We Chose the Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners

We researched the most sought-after hardwood floor cleaners in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, application type, ingredients, scent, compatibility with multiple surfaces, and other special features included by select brands.

While searching for the best cleaner for wood floors on the market, it appeared that the water and plant-based formulas were the most popular among users for their ease of use as well as peace of mind. While not as popular, chemical-based cleaners with surfactants are viable options for deep cleaning and a streak-free polished finish. No matter the type, each of the above picks cleans floors effectively and comes in a variety of spray or squirt bottles plus refill bottles to satisfy your personal cleaning solutions and preferences.

Though some unscented options are listed above, many picks come with popular scents like lemon, almond, and citrus mint giving your space a clean-smelling feel. While some are meant for hardwood floors only, select picks also accommodate leather, plastic, metal, vinyl, sealed cork, wood cabinets, and furniture as well as ceramic, vinyl, bamboo, marble, tile, and laminate floors.

Our Top Picks

The best products for wood floor cleaning are available in many types for your personal cleaning solutions. Grab your mop and read on to discover our top picks in their respective categories.

Best Overall

Method Squirt + Mop Hardwood Floor Cleaner

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Clean your hardwood floors affordably with this plant-based, biodegradable formula. Considered on this list as the best hardwood cleaner, Method Squirt + Mop wood floor cleaner can also be used on laminate flooring if needed. To use, simply squeeze a small amount from the squirt bottle’s ergonomically designed shower nozzle and mop it up—no rinsing required. Note that this option does come with a fresh almond scent and is 100 percent cruelty-free.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Squirt bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • The plant-based formula is sustainable and eco-friendly
  • This cleaner is suitable for both hardwood and laminate
  • The ergonomically designed nozzle lends to optimal ease of use

Cons

  • Some users reported that this product leaves residue behind

Get the Method hardwood floor cleaner at Target or Amazon.

Runner-Up

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

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When you’ve got a lot of floor space to clean, you can load Bona into the fluid cartridge of your spray mop and be on your way. This wax- and oil-free cleaner contains floor-friendly ingredients like water, citric acid, and hydrogen peroxide, all of which work against dust, dirt, and grime. After mopping, there’s no need to rinse any remaining cleaner; it will dry without leaving residue.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Refill bottle
  • Scented: No

Pros

  • Formulated without formaldehyde, ammonia, petroleum, phosphates, phthalates, parabens, added dyes, or added scents
  • This refill bottle comes in a large quantity for greater value
  • The formula dries quickly and doesn’t require rinsing

Cons

  • This product is only suitable for hardwood floors

Get the Bona hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon or Target.

Best Bang for the Buck

Better Life Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner 

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For those in need of a budget-friendly option, this two-pack of Better Life Dirt-Destroying floor cleaner is 100 percent plant-based for homes with children and pets. Within each 32-ounce bottle is a citrus mint cleaning solution that works on hardwoods, bamboo, marble, laminate, vinyl, and tile. Better Life’s cruelty-free formula also contains no dyes, synthetic fragrances, parabens, and other unnecessary chemicals. Simply apply to the floor through the squirt nozzle and then mop.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Squirt bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • Each purchase comes with 2 bottles for excellent value
  • Suitable for multiple flooring types, including hardwood, bamboo, marble, laminate, vinyl, and tile
  • The formula is cruelty-free and was not tested on animals

Cons

  • Some users report a sticky residue left behind

Get the Better Life hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon.

Best Pet-Friendly

Murphy Oil Soap Concentrated Wood Cleaner

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With pets running around the house, it can be hard to keep your wood floors clean. When you are fighting paw prints from outings and dirt from playing, the Murphy Oil Soap concentrated wood cleaner has been trusted for over 100 years and may be just the ticket. Made with plant-based ingredients, this cleaner has a natural citronella fragrance and can be used on wood cabinets and furniture as well as hardwood, laminate, ceramic, and vinyl floors.

As this is a concentrated formula, you will need to dilute ¼ cup in a gallon of water before use. For those that use a spray mop, less product will be required depending upon the size of your mop’s water tank.

Product Specs

  • Type: Floor cleaner concentrate
  • Application type: Refill bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • The formula is made up of 98 percent naturally occurring ingredients
  • Suitable for wood cabinets, furniture, hardwood, laminate, ceramic, and vinyl floors
  • Made by a trusted brand that has been established for over 100 years

Cons

  • This product requires dilution before it can be used

Get the Murphy Oil Soap hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon (3-pack) or Target.

Best Eco-Friendly

Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner

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Made for those who prefer not to use chemicals to clean their flooring, the Bona PowerPlus hardwood floor cleaner is a good choice. This water-based, oxygenated, and unscented formula penetrates wood to bring back its smooth, shiny luster and leaves no residue behind. For added reliability, this wood floor cleaner is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice certified. Simply apply to the floor and mop—no rinsing needed.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Refill bottle
  • Scented: No

Pros

  • The oxygenated formula provides a deep clean that leaves no residue behind
  • This product is EPA Safer Choice certified
  • The unscented formula is ideal for users with allergies or sensitivities

Cons

  • This product is only suitable for hardwood

Get the Bona PowerPlus hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Heavy-Duty

Pledge Clean It Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner

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While a “gentle wood floor cleaner” may make you think this option is mild when cleaning, this heavy-duty formula tackles dirt, grime, and stains with ease. As Pledge is one of the most trusted cleaning brands on the market, the Pledge wood floor cleaner measures up to the task with multiple cleaning agents, including a powerful surfactant for a residue- and streak-free finish. Leaving behind a fresh, lemon scent, this cleaner requires no dilution before use and can be poured directly on the floor and mopped—no rinsing required.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Squirt bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • This product contains a powerful cleaning agent for tough messes
  • The formula provides a residue- and streak-free finish
  • Gentle on floors despite its ability to clean effectively

Cons

  • Not suitable for worn, unfinished, waxed, or oiled wood floors

Get the Pledge hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon.

Best for Spot Cleaning

Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood/Laminate Floor Cleaner

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For spot cleaning, consider a spray-bottle formulation like this favorite from Black Diamond Stoneworks. Made with water and biodegradable surfactants, this eco-friendly and hypoallergenic cleaner helps clean food and drink spills, dirt, dust, and foot- or fingerprints with spray-and-wipe simplicity.

Also, thanks to an additive, the cleaner works to prevent new debris from sticking to the floor surface, reducing cleanup efforts in the future.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Spray bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • Suitable for food and drink spills, dirt, dust, and foot- or fingerprints
  • Prevents materials from sticking to the floor after cleaning
  • The spray bottle makes this product easier to apply for spot cleaning

Cons

  • Some users have reported streaks and residue after cleaning

Get the Black Diamond Stoneworks hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon.

Best for Stain Removal

Zep Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner

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To clean heavily dirt-laden and discolored floors, Zep hardwood and laminate floor cleaner is a worthy option. Made with water, surfactants, and methanol, the Zep formula packs an extra-strong punch on spots, stains, and scuff marks. Simply sweep or vacuum the floor, spray down the stained area, wipe or mop, and then dry wipe or mop the wet surface. Whatever liquid is left will dry quickly, so there’s no reason to rinse.

One important thing to note is that this product is an eye irritant, and users should avoid prolonged skin contact with the formula. It should only be used in well-ventilated spaces for optimal safety.

Product Specs

  • Type: Premixed
  • Application type: Spray bottle
  • Scented: Yes

Pros

  • This powerful extra-strength cleaner is perfect for spots, stains, and scuff marks
  • The formula dries quickly so you can resume your usual activities
  • The product has a light, fresh scent

Cons

  • The formula contains ingredients that can cause eye and skin irritation

Get the Zep hardwood floor cleaner at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Or, DIY Your Own Hardwood Floor Cleaner

While many great hardwood floor cleaners are available on the market, making your own hardwood floor cleaner can be both economical and environmentally friendly. With just a few simple household ingredients, you can create an effective and gentle cleaner for your floor.

Start by creating a diluted soap-and-water solution. Choose a gentle pH-neutral liquid soap to ensure that it is not too harsh on your floors. Mix a few drops of the soap into a gallon of warm water, creating a very mild cleaning solution. This will be sufficient to clean the floors without risking any damage. Consider adding a few drops of essential oils to your mixture to add a pleasant scent.

Remember, before using any homemade cleaner, it’s best to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor your floor.

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict 

When it comes to cleaning and polishing hardwood floors, products like Mop & Glo Professional Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner and Orange Glo Hardwood Floor 4-in-1 are popular. However, these products fall short of our sustainability guidelines. We don’t recommend them in our top picks due to concerns about their environmental impact, harmful chemical ingredients, and potential health hazards.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Before selecting the best cleaner for wood floors in your home, consider the type, application method, and whether you prefer a scented or unscented option. Read on for some more information and shopping considerations to consider when navigating the wide and varied range of hardwood floor cleaners.

Ingredients

Whether your wood floor cleaner contains cleaning detergents called “surfactants” or are water- and plant-based, knowing what is in today’s cleaning products helps you determine which is best for your flooring.

Look for cleaners that include noncorrosive ingredients—water, weak acids (such as citric acid), or weak bases (such as sodium bicarbonate), otherwise known as surfactants. Avoid products containing strong acids or bases, such as nitric acid or sodium hydroxide, as these can strip the finish of surface-sealed floors. Also avoid hardwood floor cleaners containing oil, which can leave a sticky residue.

While chemical-based options are popular, natural hardwood floor cleaners are water- and plant-based, making them safe for homes with children and pets.

Concentration

You’ll generally find hardwood floor cleaners in one of two formulations:

  • Premixed hardwood floor cleaners can be applied to the floor straight out of the bottle because they contain all the necessary ingredients premixed. They minimize overall time and effort, which makes them great for everyday or last-minute cleaning jobs.
  • Floor cleaner concentrate products contain a potent cleaning fluid that must be diluted in water prior to use. While they take more time to prepare, they let you adjust the potency (and pungency) by adding more or less water.

Application Type

Hardwood floor cleaner is usually sold in one of three types of application methods, each with their own benefits:

  • Spray bottles feature a built-in trigger that dispenses a fine mist of cleaning solution onto the floor. You then either wipe down or mop the floor, which makes this packaging option good for spot cleaning or cleaning small areas.
  • Squirt bottles dispense a small pool of cleaner onto the floor, which can then be mopped. This option is versatile enough to use on small or large floor areas.
  • Refill bottles contain larger quantities, which you can pour into either a spray bottle or the fluid cartridge of a reusable spray mop. Avoid pouring cleaner from refill bottles directly onto the floor because it’s easy to accidentally dispense more than intended—potentially causing floors to absorb the fluid and swell. This is a worthy option for larger cleaning jobs of one or more floors.

Scented vs. Unscented 

For those who have children and pets that constantly dirty the floors and leave dirt behind, scented wood floor cleaning products can help to make your home smell fresh again. Most brands will include a light scent in their cleaners like lemon, floral, almond, or citrus. In the interest of variety and personal preference, some brands choose to make their hardwood floor cleaners unscented, but each option still provides ample cleaning power no matter the scent.

FAQs

Now that you’ve learned about some of the important factors to consider when choosing the best hardwood floor cleaner, questions may still remain. Additional information about choosing the best cleaner for your hardwood floors appears below.

Q. Is it better to sweep or vacuum hardwood floors?

It may be better to vacuum hardwood floors as opposed to sweeping as particles can get brushed up and lost in the sweeping process, leaving dirt and allergens behind. A vacuum made for hardwood floors may be your best bet as all of the allergens, dirt, and pet hair are removed more effectively.

Q. Is steam cleaning good for hardwood floors?

Unsealed hardwood floors may become damaged if exposed to extreme heat, so these types of hardwood should not be cleaned with a high-heat cleaning machine or steam mop. But, steam cleaning is completely acceptable if done on sealed hardwood floors.

Q. Can vinegar ruin hardwood floors?

As vinegar is an acidic, harsh substance, it can create damage to the finish of hardwood floors if used in a DIY floor cleaner with a mop or scrubbing brush.

Q. How do you clean hardwood floors without leaving a film?

One of the best practices for reducing film on your hardwood floors while cleaning is to make sure you vacuum or sweep it before you mop to reduce the dirt and particles on the floor. Then, use a household or store-bought hardwood floor cleaner and mop normally. To reduce film even further, choose a hardwood floor cleaner that is streak- and residue-free, such as the Pledge Clean It hardwood floor cleaner.

Q. How do you deep clean hardwood floors?

To properly deep clean your hardwood floors, follow these simple steps:

  • Dry mop, sweep, or vacuum your floors to remove dust.
  • Wet mop your floor with a single microfiber pad and light amounts of hardwood floor cleaner. Be sure to mop in the direction of your floor boards.
  • For tougher stains or problem areas, add a larger amount of cleaner and scrub with the microfiber pads.
  • If there is excess product left after wet mopping, dry mop or wipe with a cloth.

Q. Why are my hardwood floors cloudy?

Some of the most common causes of smoky, cloudy hardwood floors include product buildup from previous cleanings, trapped moisture, or even using the wrong floor cleaner.

Q. How often should I clean my hardwood floors?

Wet mop hardwood floors with appropriate cleaning solution every 1 to 2 months. Increase or decrease frequency depending on traffic and usage.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

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Manasa Reddigari has tackled topics ranging from computer software to home remodeling in her more-than-a-decade-long career as a writer and editor. During her stint as a scribe, she's been featured by leading outlets in the real estate, home improvement, and lifestyle niches such as Trulia, Stikwood, and Brit + Co. Her design philosophy is, if you can dream it, you can DIY it! Connect with her on her website, copyhabit.com, or LinkedIn to find out what she's been writing about lately.

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