How to Vacuum Wood Floors without Damaging Them?

You want to keep your wood floors looking clean and sparkling, don’t you? Keeping your wood floors clean is one way of giving them the TLC they rarely need to be refinished. So what do you do? Do you grab a broom and sweep every speck of dust on them? Only to later grab the same broom and sweep some more because no matter what you do, there’s always some dust or dirt left lying around.

You can always grab a vacuum cleaner and get all those dust and dirt particles soiling your floor.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it. Taking an upright to a wooden floor isn’t one of those things that come naturally for most people. But once you vacuum wood floors and see how well they turn out, it’s the only way you’ll be cleaning your floors.

Toss the dry mop back in the broom closet and grab your vacuum cleaner because you’re about to learn how to vacuum wood floors.

Common Misconceptions about Vacuuming Wood Floors

Most people point to several reasons for not vacuuming their wood floors. Most of these reasons have to do with the fear that vacuum cleaners have hard brush attachments that can leave scratches on the flooring.

If it’s not the hard vacuum bristles leaving scratches all over their pristine wood floors, they’ll tell you:

  • Brooms don’t make noise. They can clean their floors day or night without worrying about waking anyone
  • Brooms don’t need bags or belts making them less cumbersome
  • Brooms don’t take up a lot of space
  • Brooms don’t use electricity nor do they require much in the way of maintenance

The reasons to sweep wood floors rather than vacuum them are as varied as the different people you ask. But, these reasons don’t hold up to scrutiny. Let’s deconstruct some of them before looking into why it’s better to vacuum wood floors and how to vacuum them.

Myth #1: Vacuum Have Hard Brushes

Sure, vacuums come with pretty tough brushes to get to the dust particles trapped in carpet and other types of floorings. These brushes will leave scratches and scrape marks on wood floors after a while. But there are softer brush attachments for canister vacuum cleaners that make them ideal for cleaning wood floors.

Myth #2: Brooms Are More Convenient and Easy to Maintain

Sure, brooms don’t require a lot in the way of maintenance, and you won’t be plugging them into an electrical outlet.

You do have to put in a lot of work before they clean up an area. You’ll work your wrists sore sweeping wooden floors in your home with a broom. Not to mention all the bending you’ll be trying to get to those hard to reach places.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who use their wrists often. The medical condition, a painful one, is the result of a damaged median nerve caused by excessive compressions during activities like sweeping, playing tennis, and even typing on a computer.

Vacuuming takes less time than sweeping and kinder on your wrists and back.   

Myth #3: Vacuum Cleaners Make Are a Racket

Vacuum cleaners are getting quieter by the day. Arguing that brooms are better because they make less noise is no longer a valid argument. And for that matter, vacuum cleaners are becoming smaller making any argument of them being bulky contraptions moot.

Debunking those myths reveal some of the benefits you’ll get from vacuuming your wood floors. You also enjoy the benefit of having less dust in the air that might affect allergic people. Also, dust and dirt won’t be finding it easy to sneak into those hard to reach places, meaning you’ll have a much cleaner home.

Now that you know the advantages of vacuuming over sweeping, here’s how you get the most out of your vacuum cleaner while keeping your wood floors damage free.

How to Vacuum Wood Floors

Wood floor vacuuming with vacuum cleaner

Not just any vacuum will do. You’ll have to get the right vacuum cleaner for wood floors lest you end up with a bigger mess than before. First things first, let’s take a look at how the right vacuum floor before embarking on a vacuuming operation.

Choosing the Right Vacuum Cleaner for Your Floors

If you’re only going to clean wood floors, vacuum experts claim you might be able to get away with a stick vacuum. Stick vacuums are ideal for quick vacuuming jobs and are nimble enough to get into tight corners larger vacuum cleaners can’t reach. But due to their design, they can only do what upright vacuums can. So, if you’re going to be cleaning more than just wood floors, you might want to get the powerful upright vacuums.

Also, avoid vacuum cleaners with plastic wheels that tend to scratch the floor. Instead, go for models with rubber wheels.

How To Vacuum Wood Floors

1. Use a Vacuum with Soft Bristles or Microfiber Pads

Whichever vacuum cleaner you end up getting, get one with soft bristles or microfiber pads. These are delicate enough to avoid leaving scrapes or markings on wood floors. They are also strong enough to get to all the dirt and dust trapped in nooks and corners. Also, you must make sure the vacuum cleaner for cleaning wood floors comes with a beater bar you can turn off to protect the floor. The ideal vacuum should also have cyclonic suction control so that you can adjust it to fit the needs of the surface being cleaned.

2. Vacuuming Along the Grain

Now that you have the right vacuum cleaner for the job, it’s time to start cleaning. Like with mopping wooden floors, it’s best to vacuum along the grain. That way, you suck up as much dirt as possible, and at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the wood. When you go against the grain of the wood, even though the beater bar isn’t scrubbing against it, the microfibers or brushes tend to cause a lot of friction that compromises wood floors. That’s the reason why canister vacuums are preferred because they don’t have rotating brushes.

That’s everything you need to know to vacuum wood floors without leaving a scratch safely. There are a few more things you want to keep in mind to keep your floors sparkling clean.

3. Place Welcome Rugs at the Doorway

Rugs not only add character to your home, but they also keep dirt and dust from getting on your floors. People coming into the house won’t be tracking dirt inside meaning there are fewer particles to scratch your wooden floors. You can also place rugs under heavy furniture to keep them from scratching the floors.

In the kitchen, keep rugs near the sink to prevent water from getting to the floor and causing rot.

4. Make a Habit of Regularly Vacuuming

Another great way to keep your floors healthy is vacuuming them regularly. Wood floors can last for years, but only when you stick to a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual cleaning routine. You already have the right vacuum cleaner, so that can’t shouldn’t be too much of an ask.

That said whenever you get spills, clean them up immediately. Always make sure you use a soft cloth or a fuzzy tennis ball to buff spills off the floor. Never use an abrasive material or hot water to clean wooden floors.

Taking Care of Wood Floors After Vacuuming

1. Have a No Shoes in the House Rule

High heel shoes, sports shoes, and boots will scuff the floor over time, making it easier for dirt to get trapped and harder to clean. Sooner or later, you’ll be looking to replace your floor, and wooden floors are expensive to renovate or repair.

2. Choose the Right Cleaners for Your Floor

Be careful with the cleaners you use on wood floors. You’re not just cleaning wood. You’re cleaning the finishing on the wood. If you use abrasive cleaning solutions, you remove the polyurethane or wax finish that gives the floor its shiny appeal. Also, avoid using wax or oil-based cleaners which will remove the finish on wooden floors. Read the label on commercial cleaners to make sure they are safe for use on wood floors. You can also check with local installers if you’re unsure about any cleaning product.

3. Treating Scratches and Scuffs

In the unfortunate event, the floor gets nicked don’t wait until the scuffs get big enough to call in a professional. A magic eraser will easily remove marks on the floor, and with a little polyurethane, the scuffed part will be looking as good as new in no time. There are online fillers you can get on the internet in any color to get your floors looking as good as new.

For deeper scuffs, a little baking soda applied gently with a damp cloth goes a long way in making the marks go away. Rinse the baking soda off with a wet paper towel and buff it dry. But when the floor looks worn out, it’s time to call in a professional and have them refinish it.

4. Screen Your Floor

If you have polyurethane finished floors, screening or buffing keeps them looking younger for longer. Screening is a process that removes the existing polyurethane for a new and fresh coat. The process takes a couple of days during which people can’t step on the floor. Make a point of screening your floors at least once every month.

These few tips will help keep your wood floor nice and healthy after vacuuming. Make sure you pay special attention to how you vacuum and what you do after vacuuming to keep wooden floors looking healthy and shiny.

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