The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners, Tested by HGTV Editors

We mopped and sprayed our way through top-rated hardwood floor cleaners to help you choose the best solution for your home.

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June 02, 2021
By: HGTV

Our Top Picks for Hardwood Floor Cleaners

Hardwood floors are a classic, solid pick for good reason; they're durable, beautiful and timeless. To keep them looking their best, though, some upkeep is required, starting with cleaning. You can't use just any surface cleaner on hardwoods. Too much moisture causes them to warp and expand, while harsh chemicals can strip varnishes. You'll also want to avoid using vinegar as it's too acidic for hardwoods. Vacuuming is really the best way to clean hardwood floors, but when you notice sticky spots and stuck-on residue, it's time to bring out the mop. We tested a variety of cleaners that are gentle enough not to cause damage but tough enough to cut through dirt and grime.

Types of Hardwood Floor Cleaners

Depending on the type of mop you use to clean hardwood floors, choose from either a concentrated cleaner that can be diluted with water and added to a spray bottle or spray mop or choose a spray cleaner that's ready-to-use with a dust mop or steam mop. Concentrated cleaners give you more bang for your buck since they aren't diluted. They're typically more eco-friendly, too, since they require less packaging and last longer. While a concentrated solution may be more expensive up front, you won't have to replace it as frequently. Spray cleaners are cheaper and more convenient but run out quicker. Within these categories of cleaners are natural and chemical options. Families and pet-owners may prefer non-toxic solutions that are safe if accidentally ingested or inhaled, whereas commercial cleaners contain higher concentrations of chemicals and polishing agents. When used as directed, though, most floor cleaners are safe to use around kids and pets.

We tested and reviewed all types of hardwood floor cleaners taking into account streaking, scent, effectiveness, ease-of-use, user ratings and price. We also compared these store-bought cleaners to a homemade Castille soap-based solution as a baseline test and found that in all cases, the store-bought cleaners worked better or as well as the DIY solution. Below are our top picks for the best hardwood floor cleaners.

$7.97

Safe to use on unfinished, unwaxed floors and around kids and pets, Bona's Hardwood Floor Cleaner tackles everyday grime with ease. Our tester appreciated the scent-free formula and how the easy-to-use nozzle evenly distributed the cleaner over the floor. Using a dust mop with a microfiber pad, we removed footprints, mud, food spills and scuffs. Since it comes as a ready-to-use spray, no diluting is necessary, making for quick and easy cleanup.

Our Editor's Review: "I like that it doesn't have a strong scent and that it dries quickly. Plus, I like that it has low VOC emissions and is an EPA Safer Choice."

Buy It
$9.99

Economical, eco-friendly, kid- and pet-safe, and pleasantly scented, Aunt Fannie's Hardwood Floor Cleaner concentrate got top marks from our tester and in online reviews. The solution must be diluted with water before using which requires a little math but also allows you to go longer in between purchases. We like that this cleaner is vinegar-free, unlike the brand's other floor cleaner, since vinegar can dull hardwood floor's finish.

Our Editor's Review: "It doesn't smell chemical-y, so I feel good about using it in a home with three animals and a toddler where eating off the floor is … common."

Buy It
$14.15

Best for those with allergies or other sensitivities, Bona's Free & Simple spray cleaner doesn't have any scents, dyes or other harsh chemicals. It effectively removed dust, grime and scuffs without much effort when our tester used it with both a microfiber dust mop and steam mop. We liked how much surface area we could cover with just one spritz and didn't notice any remaining residue after cleaning. If you want a safe, unscented, convenient formula that also removes allergens, this is a great option.

Our Editor's Review: "I actually liked that it was scent-free. I usually like buying scented products, but it was nice just to have a simple spray with no odor. I also like that it's water-based and safe to use around kids."

Buy It
$4.47

For tough jobs and large surface areas, Pledge Gentle Wood Floor Cleaner gets the job done. A concentrated squirt-and-mop formula that doesn't require dilution quickly covers the floor and a little goes a long way, especially when used with a damp mop. Our tester noted how quickly the solution dried (almost instantly) allowing her to quickly move on to the next area. Plus, we didn't need to scrub back and forth multiple times to get up grime. If you want a fast-acting, lightly scented, easy-to-store cleaner, this is a solid pick.

Our Editor's Review: "I just sprayed the solution directly onto the floor and wiped it down. Any grim or dirt that was on the floor wiped up very easily."

Buy It
$5.48

Cleaners that are specially formulated for hardwoods are wonderful, but if you have other types of flooring in your home, using two different cleaners isn't easy or efficient. We love that this spray option takes care of messes on hardwood, laminate and tile. It effectively removed scuffs and dirt from our tester's floor and even added some shine. The application process is versatile as well as the solution can be applied by pouring, spraying or inserting into the brand's own mop. Additionally, the pH-balanced and low VOC formula makes it safe for everyday use.

Our Editor's Review: "I like that this one is multipurpose in that you can use it on other hard surfaces beyond just wood floors. My house is mostly hardwoods, so I could get by with one spray, but I could see this being a good option for someone with lots of different types of floors."

Buy It
$3.79

If you like Everspring's Lemon & Mint scented products, you'll love this wood cleaner. It leaves a light, refreshing scent that makes the whole house feel clean. In addition to the smell, our tester liked that this cleaner also polishes floors and other wood surfaces, making it a great multipurpose item. The spray nozzle is very easy to use and has both a stream or spray option. We noticed that our floors had more of a matte finish than a shine, though, so not the best choice if you prefer a high–gloss look.

Our Editor's Review: "This cleaner left no residue on my floors, and I love that it's non-toxic with a really nice scent. (That's hard to find!)"

Buy It

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