...because home doesn't happen overnight.

clean floor 1

I hope you don’t mind if I stick with the organizing / cleaning theme for one more post. Another housekeeping-related question that pops up in my inbox frequently (even more so than the globe light question) is “How do you clean your floors?” I try to clean them thoroughly every week but sometimes it’s more like every other week. Here’s what I do…

clean floor 2

1 – First I vacuum up loose dirt, dust and debris. I use a Shark Navigator that I bought 2+ years ago when our horrible ten-year-old vacuum finally died. At the time, I was *this close* to splurging on a Dyson. Then I found the Shark. It was affordable and had stellar reviews so I gave it a try. I LOVE this vacuum. It does what it’s supposed to do and is versatile & super easy to maneuver. I use it with the brush turned off on the wood floors. I also use it on all the rugs in our home. For shorter pile rugs, I turn the brush on. For the shag and jute rugs, I turn the brush off. The attachments are great for upholstery and reaching dust bunnies up high, in corners and under furniture. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly vacuum that works well on hard and soft surfaces, I can’t say enough good things about this one.

2 – After all the crumbs and dust bunnies are cleared, I use a Bona spray mop to condition the wood and give it that clean floor sheen. A hand trigger makes mopping quick & painless. For our medium toned floors, I prefer the shaggier dusting pad. It does a better job of attracting dust and cat hair than the lower pile cleaning pad. I just throw the dusting pad in the wash (no fabric softener!) and let it air dry. The cartridge is refillable. I keep a large jug of Bona cleaner on hand for refills. It’s odorless, non-toxic and doesn’t leave any residue. Our floors have a satin-like finish (as opposed to a high gloss finish) and this cleaner is perfect for them. *BONUS* – I also use the Bona cleaner in a spray bottle to dust the lower wood cabinets in the kitchen. So many uses!

3 – I use a smaller Eureka handheld vacuum for quick cleanups in between the more thorough cleanings. I’ve only owned this vacuum a month (it was a Christmas gift and had been on my wish list forever) but I’m really happy with it so far. It’s great for the inevitable crumb messes after every meal and for Cheetah’s fur balls. Before, I was dragging out the upright a few times a day. It did the job well but the handheld is much more convenient. We don’t have stairs but I’ve heard it’s great for that application, too.

So there’s everything you’ve (n)ever wanted to know about my floor cleaning routine. We take our shoes off at the door which helps keep dirt to a minimum. And I’ve noticed a HUGE difference since the new driveway was installed. One more thing to keep in mind…my floors always look cleaner in photographs ;) If you were visiting right now you would notice stray popcorn pieces under the stools at the kitchen island. That area is my nemesis.

Any floor cleaning products you swear by?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

42 Comments

23.January.2015

I have that Eureka vac too and I love it for cleaning out my minivan. It is way more powerful than cordless dust-buster types and the rotating brush helps get a lot more dirt out of the carpet. Best little vac ever!

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We have a very basic Shark vacuum and we love it. It is an affordable and good quality brand. The Shark takes care of the dog hair and dirt and the dog takes care of the food droppings. It is a deal we have…we let her shed everywhere and she cleans under the table and around the kitchen for us ☺️

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23.January.2015

Great post! We recently got a neato vacuum robot and it is the BEST.THING.EVER. We are a 2 person household with a big dog, so there is always dust bunnies etc. We have been running the neato every other day, and things are so much cleaner then when I did weekly or biweekly floor cleaning. So if you can afford the couple hundred dollars, the neato totally makes life better.

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23.January.2015

We needed vac recommendations a couple years ago and it was really hard to choose. Most told me to go with a Dyson, but we didn’t want to spend that much. We ended up with a Kenmore canister vacuum that is small enough to slide under the bed. (In a 1930s house with no closet space, size was an important issue!) I think I will try the Bona cleaner next. Murphy’s works meh for me and the orange cleaner is not working at all. What kind of wood floor do you have?

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replied on January 25th, 2015

It’s birch and it’s an engineered hardwood because we’re on a slab.

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replied on January 28th, 2015

I just posted our method below where I swear by Murphy’s Oil Soap. Just wondering, what doesn’t work for you about it?

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replied on January 28th, 2015

I’ve used Murphy’s Oil in the past, mostly at our previous home and once in our current home. But after reading that vegetable oil soap is actually harmful to wood floors (just google it), I stopped using it. I’m so grateful for a few readers who brought it to my attention! That’s when I started using Bona.

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24.January.2015

I also own a Kenmore canister vacuum and can’t be more pleased with it. We bought it when we had a tri-level home and I didn’t want to be lugging something large and heavy up the stairs. It is amazing in hardwood floors. It’s entering its 9th year of service for our family now. Yay! Did washing our wood floors, my trusted mop is made by Norwex, a European company. With silver fibers imbedded into the mop head, it kills 99% of all bacteria and germs, so I can wash the floors with just water. I recommend it highly.

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24.January.2015

I swear by the old fashioned “big wooly” dry dust mop from http://www.sla-dust.com for my floors. I have epoxy-finished cement floors everywhere except the bedrooms. I can do a once-over of the whole house, swiveling under furniture, etc. in less time than it takes to drag the vacuum from one outlet to the next. I use a steam mop for weekly and a vacuum for the carpets but that old dust mop is great.

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24.January.2015

Do you use the dusting pad to pick up whatever the vacuum doesn’t get or do you use it with the Bona cleaner to mop? We just moved into a house with hardwoods throughout and I’m clueless. These tips are so helpful!

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replied on January 25th, 2015

I use the dusting pads on the Bona spray mop. It comes with a pad that has a lower / tighter pile and I’ve found that it doesn’t work as well at collecting debris – at least for me and my floors. And I always vacuum before mopping with the Bona or else I end up with dried dust patches. It took me a while to figure that out!

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24.January.2015

i have a dog that sheds like crazy so i have to “swiffer” everyday. so instead of buying the swiffer sheets i basically cut up old sweatshirts in the same size of the sheets and use that instead. i than swiffer the floor and then vacuum up the dust that it collects using my handheld eureka vac, the same one you have. i end up washing the “swiffer” sheets every other week.

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24.January.2015

We have similar floors and I hate to say it, but they get so dusty… and dirty! I try to keep up with running the Bona duster over it every day or so, but I was wondering if you take out the vacuum every time or if there’s something you would use for touch ups? Thank you for the vacuum recommendation, I’ve been looking for one that works well on hardwood floors!

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replied on January 25th, 2015

If I run the Bona duster over them without vacuuming first, I end up with dried dust caked on the floors. Vacuuming first is a must for me! (It took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong.) In between mopping with Bona, I run the vacuum (brush off) frequently to cut down on dust…maybe twice a week. That’s in conjunction with spot sweeping up all the little messes (with the handheld) that come with kids / cat. Hope that helps!

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replied on January 25th, 2015

That helps a lot, thank you! I was driving myself crazy, running over the floors with the dust mop all the time and wondering why it didn’t work well. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who has had that problem. Now off to buy a good vacuum!

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24.January.2015

Very useful! I recently got my hardwoods refinished in a darker stain and satin finish – now that I actually care about them I need to be more diligent about mopping. Thanks for the recommendations! :)

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25.January.2015

for washing all floors (hardwood, ceramic, pergo, lin tiles, I use Mrs. Meyer’s household cleaner. A few capfulls added to half a bucket of hot water, a wring mop and my floors shine and smell so clean. Great product, safe for use where there are children and pets. We were finally able to buy this product here in Ontario, Canada at Target – but now that they are leaving us (sad sigh), I’ll have to stock up on this wonderful product when we visit the US!

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25.January.2015

I have the same vacuum and it is absolutely fantastic. My parents gave it too me because they were worried it was too harsh on their (more expensive) rugs, but for me it is the bomb. I also use the Bona floor cleaner and I agree, it works great. It’s nice that it gives just enough moisture to clean and moisturize. As a note I have pretty old oak floors poly’d in place, and I use the Bona about once a month. It doesn’t leave a residue and I haven’t found it attracts more dirt.

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26.January.2015

Thanks so much for this little series! I like hearing about the nitty gritty of your cleaning routines. Any chance you will continue the series a bit to cover how you clean upholstery? We’re at a crosspoint right now — purchase something so we can do it ourselves, or continue to pay professionals to come in every once in a while (professional cleaning is more expensive, but I assume more effective… we really can’t afford to store another machine in our small place unless it’s going to do the job well). Would love to hear what you’re doing!

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replied on January 27th, 2015

I have leather wipes for the sofa and dining chair pads. I use the Shark attachments for the gray chair in the living room, the zigzag poufs, my office stool and the side chair in our bedroom. The chair in the boys’ room is slipcovered so I throw those in the wash and let them air dry. I’ve had to take the zigzag poufs outside a few times to spot clean them with a little OxiClean and water from the hose. I let them air dry outside. We’ve been pretty lucky so far. The most difficult stain I’ve had to remove was black face paint (thank you Halloween) from the gray chair in the living room. It came out with dish soap, water and a little elbow grease.

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replied on January 28th, 2015

Thanks so much for responding! That’s very helpful.

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26.January.2015

Your floors are so beautiful. Now that you have lived with them for years, is there anything you would change about them?

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26.January.2015

I just wanted to confirm my love of the SHARK Navigator….I recently purchased one after many years of using a RAINBOW…..The SHARK ROCKS!

Laura

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26.January.2015

Interesting point on the shaggier dust mop. I use a Haan floor steamer for quick clean-ups. I love that it is fast drying and non toxic, but it doesn’t handle rabbit shedding that effectively.

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26.January.2015

I’ve got a similar floor cleaning routine. Because I got them both on sale, I use a Dyson upright to vacuum both hardwoods and carpets and a Dyson hand vac to get in tight spaces and on the stairs. I then use bellawood spray with their mop to clean the hardwoods.

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26.January.2015

Thanks for the break down; I love to see what people are using and will keep my eye on the Shark, and the Bona mop.

As someone who has a Dyson (pet vac no less) I can’t tell enough people not to waste their money on it! It’s the worst vacuum I’ve ever used. My mom got it after being desperate and living with two Bernese Mountain dogs and it was almost useless. It was passed to me when my vacuum broke and I just can’t bring myself to replace it since it cost so much money and still technically runs. It’s not just long pet hair, I have short and medium hair floating around my house and it’s still terrible. I wish it would just die already.

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27.January.2015

dana! my gosh I just discovered your blog and IG, and have been devouring your posts! you really have incredible advice and I love your aesthetic. I have two quick questions, one of which is completely unrelated to this post haha … I have the shark navigator dlx also, and love it! and am just wondering if you’ve replaced your filters yet, and if so, where did you find them? I’ve seen some on amazon, but they don’t seem like they’re the right size … my second question is regarding how you clean your range … I have tried every cleaner under the sun and cannot find anything that will cut the grease on the grates, or the cooked on messes on top of the range. I don’t want to scratch the surface, but I just cannot get the crud on top of the cooktop to budge. thank you so much for all the incredible inspiration! :)

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replied on January 28th, 2015

I haven’t replaced the filters in my Shark yet. (Thanks for reminding me!) But I do wash them regularly and they seem to be in great condition.

I’m very much a “clean as you go” person. I try to clean up the little messes before they turn into bigger ones. I wipe down the stovetop pretty much after every use so splatters and spills don’t sit for long. That being said, my husband isn’t the tidiest cook when he does cook ;) For the best clean, I use Bar Keepers Friend but I’ve also had success with hot water + baking soda for boiled over / grease messes. And I always use those green microfiber cloths. No scrubbing pads. Hope that helps!

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replied on January 29th, 2015

thanks so much, dana! I will definitely try the bar keepers friend and the microfiber cloths … and haha, maybe I should try the “clean as you go” method, instead of waiting until the little messes become bigger, and much harder, messes! and, if you ever do make a decision to get some replacement filters for the shark, please post your finds! :)

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replied on January 29th, 2015

I will!

27.January.2015

I also love these posts (I got a steam mop for my 24th birthday–am I weird?) We have bamboo floors and a Boston Terrier. My routine is sweep + vacuum, then swiffer, then I use the Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop. I *love* it. You just use distilled water, no special cleaner which makes it easy.

I def need to get a handheld vac though. That would save me so much time!

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28.January.2015

I use the Bona system on our floors too. First becuase i know you raved about it, but also because the refinishers used bona products when we had our floors sanded and refinished. Hmmm interesting that you use the white soft duster to mop with. I never thought to do that. I usually sweep with a traditional broom, then snag the stray dust and specks with the soft white dusting cloth, then I mop using the spray and microfiber cloth. I may have to give your technique a try to compare. Thanks for sharing:)

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28.January.2015

I am one of those people that has been wanting to ask about your floor cleaning routine for ever! So thanks to all who did ask, and thanks for answering, Dana. My routine is almost identical. I have had my doubts about Bona being effective in terms of actually deep cleaning the floors, not just smearing stuff around (it is hard to see how much dirt is left on the dark wood). I looked into steam mops, and according to my research they are NOT recommended on engineered wood (we have engineered wood just like you). The problem isn’t moisture per se, but that it is applied via high pressure which sends it deep into the wood fibers. So I think I will continue using Bona for now.

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28.January.2015

We have red oak floors, some recently refinished in a water-based satin and some more worn in a satin oil finish, and we swear by mopping with diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap after we vacuum. Before adopting our current method, we tried several brands of the swiffer/bona/other “squirt and mop” products and even after mopping I would notice they didn’t pick up all of the dirt. If I ever had to clean up a small spill on recently cleaned floors, my paper towel would be grimy even though the area had just been mopped. The Murphy’s Oil Soap smells wonderful, picks up all the grime easily, conditions the wood and the floors shine and have absolutely no residue and feel softer afterwards (meaning it’s nice to walk on them barefoot or with socks, if that makes sense).

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[…] you have to do some cleaning this weekend, here are good tips on cleaning wood floors (my routine is almost […]

25.February.2015

I also use a Shark Navigator! I am really happy with it! Thanks for the post! I learned a lot!

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29.May.2015

Thank you for sharing your ways of cleaning! I also do it in a similar way… but I really love using a steam mop for a thorough hardwood floor cleaning. I bought it last spring and I my life really changed since then! Thanks! :)

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12.August.2015

Your floors are so beautiful. Now that you have lived with them for years, is there anything you would change about them?

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I know this is an old post, but I’m thinking about purchasing the Shark Navigator vacuum and I wondered if you could clarify which model you have? The Amazon link shows two, one that’s a little more expensive with a gentle brush option–I’m wondering if it’s worth the extra cost? Thanks for the recommendations!!

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replied on November 10th, 2015

Here’s a direct link to the vacuum I have. When I wrote the post I don’t think the exact model was available (out of stock) but I have updated the post with the same model we use. Hope that helps!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007L5K6JW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B007L5K6JW&linkCode=as2&tag=houstwea-20&linkId=45FUSKXZ5NAVW7HQ

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replied on November 10th, 2015

It does, thank you!!

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05.January.2016

Thanks for sharing your cleaning ways! I found it really hard to maintain my wood floors. I found your post very helpful. Thanks for sharing

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