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What you will learn:

  • The different types of mops available
  • The best way to clean hardwood floors without damaging them
  • How to keep hardwood floors cleaner for longer

So you’ve got hardwood floors and want to know the best way to clean them without damaging them?

You’ve come to the right place.

Hardwood floors are an excellent flooring option in just about any home. They're a fantastic investment for homeowners and landlords because:

  • They’re timeless
  • They suit almost any decor
  • They're durable and sturdy

Unlike some types of flooring, such as budget-friendly carpet and laminate that requires glues and adhesives, hardwood flooring is hypoallergenic and doesn’t emit any petrochemical emissions.

Best of all, they’re easy to clean with the right tools.

Do hardwood floors need mopping?

Should you even mop hardwood floors?

If you’re maintaining them by sweeping and vacuuming, shouldn’t that be enough?

Short answer, no. You still need to mop your hardwood floors. This doesn’t mean you need to saturate them, we’ll explain why later, but you need to clean them with water and high-quality tools, and we’ll explain why.

Hardwood flooring is more porous than other types of flooring and can accumulate dirt and debris in the tiny crevices and cracks that are invisible to the naked eye.

Any movement from foot traffic and furniture can create abrasive friction over leftover debris, damaging the surface of your hardwood floors.

So, although you may be sweeping or vacuuming regularly, the remaining particles you are likely to miss can cause wear and tear on the hardwood’s finish, degrading its appearance and durability.

It’s not only dirt and debris that can accumulate, either. An unmopped hardwood floor is a harbor for dust and germs.

To keep your family safe from allergies and bacteria, mopping your hardwood floors is critical. But there are different types of mops available on the market that are more suitable for hardwood floors, so let’s dive in and discuss them.

And if you also happen to have laminate flooring that needs cleaning, be sure to check out our guide on how to deep clean laminate floors.

The worst tools for cleaning hardwood floors

Before you dive in to the types of mops for hardwood floors, let’s go over two of the worst tools for cleaning hardwood floors.


maroon colored shoes and a yellow colored broom on hardwood flooring

Brooms have been around for centuries, are used all over the world, and can be found in just about every home. But just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean they’re effective.

When it comes to maintaining hardwood floors, they’re the least effective and least thorough method available.

There are two things that make brooms ineffective at maintaining hardwood floors:

    • They leave fine particles of dust, dirt and sand behind.
    • They flick dust into the air only to have it settle back down later.

Though they are effective for collecting larger debris, such as large pieces of broken glass, or cleaning up dry spills.


Person vacuuming up white powder from hardwood floors

We’ve all owned a vacuum cleaner before.

The most popular styles are the upright, canister, and stick vacuums, all of which usually have a beater bar—that rotating bristle brush.

But the best vacuum for hard surface floors shouldn’t have a beater bar as this will damage your hardwood floor. And even though there are vacuums that are designed for hardwood floors, they’re not the best method of cleaning hardwood.

There are several problems with using a vacuum to clean hardwood floors:

    • A decent vacuum cleaner is expensive.
    • Most vacuum cleaners are heavy and bulky, making it difficult to maneuver.
    • The vacuum head is usually quite narrow, so it takes more energy to clean larger areas.
    • The head of a vacuum cleaner can scratch and damage hardwood floors.
    • Vacuum cleaners require power, and often the cord is not very long.

"I have 2400 square feet of hand scraped hardwood floors and have tried various microfiber mops. The cheaper mops do not seem to pick up the dirt that collects in the valleys of the hand scraped floors. This mop is much thicker and does an excellent job. I highly recommend this mop." - Penney Ahlstrom, Verified Customer

Types of mops for hardwood floors

There are five types of mops that are most commonly used for mopping hardwood floors. In this section, we’ll highlight each one and show you the best mop type to use on hardwood floors and why.

The six most common types of mops are:

    • Sponge Mops
    • String Wet Mops
    • Swiffer Mops
    • Spin Mops
    • Cotton-Blend Dust Mops
    • Mopas de microfibra

Sponge Mops

A blue sponge mop leaning against a wall and a blue bucket on a hardwood floor

You may have seen and maybe even used a sponge mop before.

Made from either cellulose, rubber, or plastic foam, these squishy sponges are connected to a plastic or metal handle. The handle typically doesn’t extend, so you have to do a lot of bending to use it.

The sponge isn’t very absorbent and doesn’t lift or trap dirt and debris effectively. So what ultimately ends up happening is that the sponge moves everything around rather than trapping and absorbing it, spreading germs and bacteria.

The sponge mop is not recommended for hardwood floors because:

    • It doesn’t absorb moisture effectively and can leave the floor quite damp, which can cause further issues like wood rot and mold.
    • The handle is usually unsuitable for taller people, as it doesn’t extend long enough for a comfortable experience.
    • The width of the sponge is typically narrow and therefore takes longer to cover larger areas.
    • The sponge material is prone to harboring bacteria and promoting mold growth, essentially adding more germs to the floor, rather than cleaning it.

String Wet Mops

String mop with a wooden handle on hardwood floors

The string wet mop is the oldest style of mop that exists.

Maybe you remember your mother or grandmother using one of these at home. They’re typically made from cotton rope strands with or without looped ends.

The fibers are generally absorbent but must be wrung out regularly throughout mopping, otherwise, they stop absorbing particles and start spreading them instead.

Just as the sponge mops may do, germs and allergens don’t get properly washed away, creating a haven for bacteria to thrive.

Although the string wet mop is the OG of mops and is still used widely today, there are several problems with using one on hardwood floors:

    • Requires a mop bucket and wringer, and must be rinsed out constantly throughout mopping. You may even need to change the water a few times to ensure the floor is cleaned properly.
    • If not wrung out completely, it can saturate the hardwood and leave behind excess moisture, which can cause wood rot and mold.
    • The handle is usually made from wood or plastic and does not extend.
    • The head is small, so it takes longer to mop larger areas.
    • The fabric is not antibacterial and can grow mold if not dried out between uses.

"This is the most AWESOME product... and I don't even use the word awesome for anything. I can't believe it's taken me 60 years to find this. It is incredibly sturdy, doesn't flip pushing or pulling, can handle some incredible elbow grease from the human operating it, and is adjustable for short person like myself. The mop head is very substantial, attaches amazingly securely, doesn't slip or budge in the least, extends out from the mop base so you can clean right up against woodwork and appliances and never have to worry about scratching or marring anything." - Lisa, Verified Customer

Swiffer Mops

swiffer-style mop head with disposable pad on hardwood floor

The newest kid on the block, and possibly the most problematic, is the Swiffer Mop. This guy became popular in recent years because of its convenience.

The Swiffer Mop is typically made from plastic components. You attach a single-use pad to the base and dispose of it once you’re done. These pads can usually only do a small area before it becomes noticeably dirty, stopping it from doing a decent job.

It usually has a container of floor cleaner attached to the handle and a trigger button at the top that releases the liquid in front of the Swiffer Mop.

This convenient contraption sounds like the perfect floor cleaning device. But there a quite a few reasons why a Swiffer Mop is not recommended for hardwood floors, or most floors, for that matter.

    • The handle is short, and it doesn’t extend. So it quickly becomes backbreaking work to Swiffer your floors.
    • If the containers are not refillable, as many are not, you need to purchase the same brand of floor cleaner in the specific container every time, even if you’re not a fan of the smell or ingredients.
    • The pads are typically made from a poly blend that does not attract dust, is not very absorbent, and does a poor job of deep cleaning.
    • The pads are disposable and non-biodegradable, and the poly blend is basically just a plastic-blend, so once disposed of it eventually breaks up into millions of tiny pieces, creating microplastics.
    • This mop is also an ongoing cost, as the pads need replacing constantly. 

Spin Mops

spin mop leaning on top of a beige colored spin bucket

Another newer style of mop is the Spin Mop. What makes this mop unique is that, instead of the traditional wringing out or squeezing the mop head, you place it inside the bucket’s basket, and using the foot pedal, spin the basket to flick excess liquid from the mop.

The mop head is usually made from microfiber, but it’s not always high quality. Though, it is a much easier way to remove water from the mop. But it’s not the best mop for hardwood floors, and here’s why:

    • The mop head is small, so larger surfaces will take longer to clean.
    • A low density microfiber mop head can leave behind dust and dirt particles and excess water, so it’s important to know the quality before you buy.
    • The mop and bucket both have moving parts, which means they’re more prone to breaking.
    • The bucket is bulk, and can cause scuffs and scratches on hardwood floors.
    • The handle is typically shorter and not telescopic.
    • The mop water needs replacing regularly to properly clean the floors,
    • You can’t dust mop with a spin mop—it only works wet.

Cotton-Blend Dust Mops

cotton blend dust mop leaning against a bucket of cleaning supplies

Using a conventional broom to sweep up dust and debris is ineffective, always leaving particles and dust behind. One of the best ways to collect dust, dirt, and debris is to use a cotton blend dust mop.

These mops have been around since the mid-20th century, and are still widely used residentially and commercially. The pad is usually made from a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers and is machine-washable. The handle is sometimes telescopic, depending on the brand, making it more ergonomical.

The mop fibers do a great job of collecting soil, making it easy and efficient to get the job done.

However, using a cotton blend dust mop has a few downsides.

    • They’re designed to be used dry, therefore they don’t wash the floor, which, as we’ve already mentioned, is essential for hardwood floors.
    • The fibers are not 100% accurate in collecting and holding onto dust and debris, so you may need to go over the area several times.
    • The cotton blend pads are not very durable and may only last a dozen or so times before they need replacing.

Mopas de microfibra

The last mop on our list of most commonly used mops is the Microfiber Mop. This is by far the most superior type of mop for any surface, particularly hardwood floors.

Microfiber typically has more density of fibers, or GSM (grams per square meter), than other mop types. This gives microfiber the ability to grip onto soils and particles more effectively.

High-quality microfiber can also be positively charged, which acts as a magnet, attracting and trapping negatively charged dust and debris.

It’s highly absorbent, and perfect for mopping up spills. And many microfiber mop pads are more durable and can be machine washed hundreds of times without losing their integrity.

There’s good reason why most cleaning and healthcare professionals choose to use microfiber to clean.

There are several kinds of microfiber mops on the market, but a microfiber flat mop will be the best mop to use on your hardwood floors. Here’s why:

    • It cleans better than other fabrics, lifting and trapping particles in its fibers.
    • It’s antibacterial, so you can give your hardwood floors a proper clean without needing to use chemicals.
    • The flat mop has a wide surface area for fast cleaning.
    • The handle is usually telescopic, so you can adjust the height to suit your needs.
    • Some of the flat mops available have a pivot head, making it easy to maneuver around corners.

"After much research, I purchased this mop system. When it arrived it was higher quality than expected, heavy duty and a snap to assemble. It is adjustable for your height/comfort, has an awesome Velcro system to attach the microfiber pads and I can not believe how well it cleans my ceramic tile and hardwood floors. I could not be happier with this product and highly recommend it." - T.Trueblood, Verified Customer

The best microfiber flat mop for hardwood floors

The best microfiber flat mop for hardwood floors is the Professional Microfiber Mop System.

This mop system is a complete solution for not just hardwood floors but all types of floors, such as tiles, concrete, laminate, and stone.

With a telescopic handle extending over six feet tall, this mop is suitable for people short and tall. The frame can pivot 360° for easy maneuvering, and the pivot function can be locked so you can mop walls and other tricky spots.

The handle and frame are both made from lightweight and durable aluminum material. No more dragging around a bulky and heavy vacuum cleaner or mop bucket.

The Professional Microfiber Mop System includes a microfiber dust mop pad and microfiber wet mop pad. The dust mop pad does an incredible job of picking up dust and debris from hardwood floors.

Microfiber mop pads contain more fibers than conventional fiber mops, which means that they have more capacity to hold onto dirt and liquids.

Another crucial feature that gives microfiber its cleaning power is the shape of the fibers. The shape makes it act like a squeegee, scraping up and collecting dirt.

The dust mop pad has two types of microfiber; a soft center pad to dust and clean debris from the floor, and a looped fringe to grab onto dust particles from corners.

So as you swivel the mop around and underneath surfaces, you’ll easily and quickly grab every speck of dust it comes in contact with.

To top it all off, the Microfiber Mop Pads work effectively with just water, so you can ditch the chemicals. The pads are also 100% machine-washable, and can be reused hundreds of times. To find out more about how to care for your microfiber to get the most out of them, read this article.

Three sizes mops available

We have three sizes available in our microfiber mops.

When mopping hardwood floors, knowing which tools to use to prevent damage and give them a clean they deserve is supreme. Keep your floors looking clean and incredible for many years to come.

Easiest Way To Mop Your Floors

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