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DIY: Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking Brand New

Hardwood floors are a great choice for homeowners for a laundry list of reasons! Knowing how to clean and maintain hardwood floors is important, but there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. We’ve found several DIY cleaning solutions that you can use to mix up your own hardwood floor cleaners. Take note: saturating the floor with liquid may cause spotting or warping on the wood!

Before you start

Sweep or vacuum the surface to remove as much dirt as possible. Vacuuming is preferable to sweeping because it does a thorough job of collecting the dust and dirt that gets trapped between the boards. Remember to use a vacuum with a bare floor attachment as opposed to the carpet beater bar which can cause damage to the wood.

Notes to keep in mind

  • Use a damp mop only, which means all excess liquid is squeezed out. Lightly spray one section at a time or lightly spray the mop head.
  • To remove as much dirt as possible, scrub in the direction of the grain.
  • Wipe dry with a soft cloth after washing.

The Solutions

 When using the following recipes*, mix 4L of warm water with your choice of ingredients below:

Solution #1

  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon castile soap (Olive oil-based soap)doit-yourself

Solution #2

  • 1 cup white household vinegar

Solution #3

  • ¼ cup borax
  • ½ teaspoon mild liquid dish detergent

Solution #4

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oil (lavender, tea tree oil, pine or eucalyptus add antiseptic qualities)

Solution #5

  • 1/8 cup mild liquid dish detergent
  • ½ cup of vinegar

Solution #6

  • 1 tablespoon mild liquid dish detergent
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup brewed black tea

Note: Each solution will gently clean your hardwood. Just choose the best option for you based on what’s on hand in your household!

Wax Testing & Removal

When your hardwood floors have a wax-based polish, they tend to turn white under water beads. The best way to test your floors for wax is to flick water into a corner of the floor with your wet fingers where there is minimal traffic and wait to see if the floors turn white. The best way to remove wax is by spraying the surface with mineral spirits and gently scrubbing with a household sponge that has a nylon side.  Wipe dry with a soft cloth once wax is dissolved.

Removing Scuff Marks

In high traffic areas, it is inevitable your floors will have unsightly scuff marks. Thankfully, removing scuff marks is relatively easy.  At all times, avoid using abrasives, bleach or ammonia on your hardwood floors. On light scuff marks, consider using a WD-40 type product, as it will remove the scuff mark and give your wood a little shine. Remember, when cleaning, use gentle, even pressure and always work with, not against the grain of the wood. Wipe away any excess liquid and thoroughly clean the product as it can leave the floor slippery.  Other methods include using mineral spirits, toothpaste, baking soda or even rubber-soled shoes. Whichever method you decide to use, always remember to be gentle and wipe down with a soft, clean cloth.


To make cleanup easy, consider placing rugs or mats in high traffic areas to minimize scratches and scuff marks. If you notice squeaky floors, silence them by sprinkling talcum powder. For those tighter spots, you can use powdered graphite that’s squeezed from a tube. It costs you nothing and will save you money from hiring a carpenter to make repairs.

For an even quicker and easy DIY scratch repair, use a crayon the same colour as your flooring and rub it into the space to fill it with wax. Seal it in place by heating it with a hair dryer to soften the wax and allow it to cool for a few seconds. Then, buff with a soft, clean cloth.


Need new floors? Consult our database of flooring retailers and installation experts to get started on your next home improvement project!

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*Source for recipes: Tipnut – Creative DIY Tips

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