How to Vacuum Hardwood Floors (The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need)

Hardwood floors are extremely durable and easy to clean and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons you chose them for your home. Whilst it’s easy to use a broom, nothing lifts dust and particles off the floor quite like a vacuum.

How to Vacuum Hardwood Floors

In this post I’ll be walking you through some of the best tips I have learned from professionals and personal experience for maintaining scratch-free, clean hardwood floors by vacuuming.

The absolute best way to vacuum hardwood floors is to choose a vacuum with a soft roller and vacuum in the direction the floor was laid. If your wood floors are laid in a staggered pattern going horizontally or vertically, follow that direction.

If you have a chevron, herringbone or basket weave pattern, vacuum in a vertical direction then do it again in a horizontal direction.

The reason why it is best to vacuum in the direction the floor was laid is so that it’s easier to catch the dust particles that can get caught between the cracks of the floor that naturally happen as wood expands.

The same rule applies for engineered wood and laminate flooring, although you’ll get less gaps with laminate. Here are some golden tips to follow to make sure you always get the most amount of dirt and dust off your floors.

The Best Tips For Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

TIP #1 Choose The Right Vacuum

You want to start by choosing a good vacuum with powerful suction to pick up all types of dirt and even pet hair. To be truly honest, any decent vacuum can do that but some are better than others.

Not everyone can go off and buy a new vacuum. So use these tips as best as you can to optimise your current vacuum for your floors.

If you are in the market for a new vacuum. You want to look for one that allows you switch or turn off the rotating brush roll. The spinning brushes are known to scratch the polyurethane coating on your wood floors. The best vacuum is one with an interchangeable soft fabric brush roll. Alternatively, you can get a high-quality vacuum with a spinning brush roll that can turn off or one with a hard floor head attachment.

Soft rollers are the best for picking up the finest dust off hard floors and they work better than standard vacuum heads. They also get rid of the dust between the crevices of the floor.

If you still need help deciding on a good quality hardwood floor vacuum, here’s a really great video comparing popular ones on the market.

I personally use the Dyson v15 detect Slim absolute. After extensive research, I chose it because its a cordless stick vacuum and the attachments work on both wood floors and area rugs as well.

Whether it’s canister vacuums or upright vacuums. Get the most affordable vacuum you can get that has the right brush or head for the floors in your home.

TIP #2 Optimise your current Vacuum

how to vacuum wood floors

If you already have a good vacuum cleaner, here are a few ways you can optimise it to perform even better to work more efficiently for your wood floors

  • Switch to a hard floor setting
  • Always empty it to improve its suction power
  • Clean the rollers often so it picks up more dirt

TIP #3 Dust Before Vacuuming

Some might disagree but the first step before vacumming is dusting. Back when it was more popular to use brooms, the argument was that brooms raise a lot of dust. Therefore dusting before vacuuming was redundant because the dust on the floor simply ends back up on the surfaces.

With vacuuming, that is no longer the case, so wipe and dust all tables and shelves before vacuuming.

TIP #4 Start With The Corners And Edges

I know you want to just get on with vacuuming but this is a critical step you don’t want to miss. Before you begin, start by cleaning the corners with a detailing brush.

Depending on the kind of vacuum you own, you can simply switch the head a detailing brush and get into the corners and skirting boards. This is truly the right way to do it.

Otherwise you will miss the corners when vacumming especially in high traffic areas where a lot of dust and dirt might have collected in the corners and crevices.

{READ POST: Tested! 10 Ways To Remove Paint From Wood Floors}

TIP #5 Work Your Way To The Exit

The easiest way to vacuum is to work your way from the front to the exit. This way, you are not walking over the spots you just cleaned. Start from the spot furthest to the exit and work towards the exit.

TIP #6 Go Slowly

Now that we are finally vacuuming, the best choice is to start from the corner and when vacuuming go over the same line twice. Doing this will ensure that your vacuum picks up dirt it might have missed the first time.

TIP #7 Overlap your lines

Do you know how people get the slim V shaped vacuum lines on freshly vacuumed carpets? It’s by slightly overlapping the lines. Let me explain if you are not familiar with this style of vacuuming.

Start from the corner and go over the same line twice as explained earlier. When you get to the end of that line, move your vacuum ever so slightly to the right or left (depending on the direction you are moving). Slightly go over a fresh line so there there is a sort of overlap with an unvacuumed area. I hope that was clear?

Work in sections and use the panels on your wood floor as a guide.

TIP #8 Be Patient

Move slowly and give the machine time to do its job. When working with hard surfaces, you want to be extra patient so that you can pick up dirt that might have gotten into any crevices.

Also remember that you are getting rid of dirt you can and cannot see. Dedicate some time to it, or do it at a time when you feel less stressed so that you can move more slowly. Going slowly can really pick up all the dirt you miss by moving too fast.

TIP #9 Move In The Opposite Direction

If you really want your floors extra clean and you have the time, repeat in the opposite direction you just vacuumed. This way you are sure of getting even more dirt that you might have missed the first time.

If you are vacuuming a large space, this can be a lot of work so only do this if you have the time. Most times I am in a rush and even I can’t always commit to doing this.

TIP #10 Mop

Some people mop before vacuuming and that’s wrong. You could end up with a much dirtier floor because the mop will simply swirl the dirt around.

If you followed the tips I shared, you should have clean floors. Now finish up cleaning your beautiful wood floors by mopping it.

You can get the best results with a simple cleaning solution and a microfiber mop. A lot of people use the wrong cleaning products like vinegar on hard wood floors. Vinegar is great for the initial clean of freshly polished floors. It takes away the slip that could cause accidents. Besides that, vinegar has no place in the daily clean of your floors.

{RELATED: 5 Steps To Clean Unfinished Wood Floors In 15 Mins Or Less}

Use a store bought product for the type of wood floor you have. Better still use a simple solution of warm water and a tiny drop of dish soap along with a damp mop.

When mopping, remember not to use excess water. Too much water on your wood floors can ruin it over time. Use a damp and not a wet mop for your deep cleaning.

Additional Tips

Implement a no shoe policy

Some guests might get offended by this but a no shoe policy will save you a lot of time constantly vacuuming your high-traffic areas.

Vacuum with your body not your arms.

When you move with your vacuum instead of moving just your arms, it makes your arms hurt a lot less.

Use furniture felt tabs

This will prevent your furniture from scratching your wood floors.

FAQs On Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

How often should you vacuum hardwood?

The best amount of time to vacuum hardwood will vary from home to home. It depends on a lot of factors like if you have pets, kids and if the area you live gets dusty quickly.

As a general rule, my advice would be to vacuum your hardwood floors at least once a week. If your floors get messy quickly then you can do it every other day.

I also suggest getting a robotic vacuum which you can turn on at night before bed to save on constantly cleaning. Some robotic vacuums even come with mops and that makes it so convenient.

How do you vacuum hardwood floors without scratching them?

The best way to stop your vacuum from scratching your floors is to turn off or remove the beater bar attachments that come with most traditional vacuums.

If you plan on replacing your vacuum, get one with a soft roller brush. It’s the best thing for picking up micro dirt and particles from wooden floors.

Is it better to sweep or vacuum hardwood floors?

I grew up in Nigeria and I find sweeping with my broom very convenient. However, nothing cleans a hardwood floor like a good vacuum.

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Hey you, I’m Torera

Hey there! I am Torera, a home care and cleaning enthusiast with a mission to make cleaning as fun and easy as possible for women like you. As someone who had to learn everything from scratch, I have the mindset of a beginner and know exactly how to take you from A to Z. Let us ditch the overwhelm and create a space that is clean, cozy, and totally you!