The Right Cleaners for Solid Hardwood Flooring

  • 01 of 05


    Contemporary living room
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    Wood flooring: replace, sand, or cover up?

    All of the above options will cost you, either in terms of money or pain and suffering. The costs of replacement are fairly obvious―up to $12,000 for an average-sized house―but even sanding will cost you in terms of labor and clean up.

    A good, thorough cleaning of your wood floor may do the trick instead. Because water is the enemy of wood flooring, wood floors tend to get broom-cleaned and damp mopped more than properly cleaned.

    One important thing to note about wood floor cleaners is that the vast majority of them are vegetable oil-based. This means that they are biodegradable and non-toxic, an important factor if you have toddlers.

    This is not the case with every wood floor cleaner, and we will point out the exceptions to this rule.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Murphy Oil Soap—the Obvious Choice, But Is It the Best?

    Woman wiping the floor
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    Murphy Oil Soap: you've seen it and maybe passed it by on your grocery store shelves. It's often recommended by flooring manufacturers, and from experience, we can recommend it as the first wood floor cleaning product you may want to try.

    Murphy Oil Soap does an adequate, though not great, job of stripping away waxy build-up. After cleaning with Murphy Oil Soap, your floors won't exactly sparkle―but you can be certain that they are clean.

    Some flooring professionals note that Murphy Oil Soap itself leaves a waxy build-up: after all, it is a vegetable soap, and many of the plant oils remain on the floor even after rinsing.


    • Cheap
    • Found at any grocery store
    • Won't harm your wood


    • Rank, musty smell
    • Oily consistency
    • May leave build-up
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Method Wood Floor Cleaner

    Woman mopping a wooden floor
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    Method Wood Floor Cleaner, in contrast to the old-timer Murphy Oil Soap, is brand-new on the market. You've seen Method products before. They are distinctive because of the whimsical packaging.

    That's fine with shampoo and hand soap, but not so good with wood floor cleaner. We can easily see Method Wood Floor Cleaner, with its tiny base, tipping over and glopping all over the floor. But that's just me. If you're less inclined to spills, you'll probably be fine.

    Like Murphy Oil Soap, Method Wood Floor Cleaner is non-toxic and biodegradable. Consumers uniformly report that Method Wood Floor Cleaner's almond scent is the best of any on the market.


    • Biodegradable
    • Nice smell
    • Adequately cleans the floor


    • Precarious bottle
    • Not inexpensive
    • Won't completely transform your floors
    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Bona Wood Floor Cleaner

    Young woman mopping with green cleaning products
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    Bona Wood Floor Cleaner isn't the kind of product you'll find at your local grocery. But it is the type of floor cleaner that flooring installers will recommend to you after installation. In other words, that oft-mentioned phrase "the choice of professionals" is true in this case.


    • Highly recommended by pros
    • Non-toxic
    • Will not dull wood


    • Difficult to obtain
    • Expensive
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner

    Woman Wiping Floor with Rag
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    Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner is often found next to Murphy Oil Soap in the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store. But there is one major difference you should be aware of. Unlike other products mentioned in our overview (including Murphy), Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner is laden with chemicals and therefore is toxic and not biodegradable.

    Some consumers report that Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner can be a bit harsh on their floors. Consumers are divided as to the lemon scent. While fresh-smelling, to some noses it has a noticeable tang to it.


    • Cheapest wood floor cleaner of the bunch
    • Good at stripping off build-up


    • Not biodegradable or non-toxic
    • Can be harsh