How to Disinfect Hardwood Floors, According to Cleaning Experts

By Jeneva Aaron Updated December 20, 2020

How to make your hardwood floors free of bacteria

How to Disinfect Hardwood Floors, According to Cleaning Experts

Have you ever wondered if you could see all the bacteria and germs on your hardwood floors, what would the sight be like? If you’re shuddering at the thought of it, then it’s time to disinfect your hardwood floors.

Unfortunately, these bacteria enter your house with you. At times, it’s your pets that are bringing in harmful bacteria from the outside. While cleaning your home regularly can help keep the microbe count minimal, it doesn’t guarantee a germ-free environment.

For that, you must disinfect the floors every week. Let’s discuss an easy way to clean your hardwood floors, ridding them of disease-causing microbes.

Table of Contents

What You’ll Need

Here are the supplies you need to clean and disinfect the floors.

While cleaning the hardwood floors, keep the kids and pets away from the room. Several cleaners, such as bleach, give off harmful fumes (1) that may cause breathing issues(2).

If you have allergy-sufferers in the family, it’s better to use a homemade cleaner rather than bleach, Lysol, or any other commercial floor cleaner.

1.Vacuum the Floor

First off, clean the floor thoroughly. Use a vacuum suitable for hardwood floors to remove dust, debris, and pet hair from the floors.

2.Make Vinegar and Water Solution

Make a solution of white vinegar and water for cleaning your hardwood floors. Mix half a cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Always dilute vinegar before use as concentrated vinegar may fade the finish of the floor surface.

Vinegar is one of the best homemade disinfectants, considering it can kill bacteria and fungi. Moreover, it’s cheap and present in almost every pantry.

Most importantly, it’s not toxic to humans. Thus, even if you have kids in the house, you can use a vinegar solution to disinfect wood floors without worry.

3.Mop the Area

Now, dip a mop into the water and vinegar solution. Before cleaning the floor with this damp mop, wring out the excess water thoroughly. Doing so will ensure that water puddles don’t form on the floor.

Get into the corners as this is where the bacteria are most abundant. As required, wet the mop again and dispose of gathered dust into the bucket.

4.Dry the Floors

Now that you have a clean floor, it’s time to dry it. A wet floor attracts mold and mildew, so don’t delay the drying process. Use a soft towel to soak up excess moisture from the floors.

Leave the floors to dry for 24 hours before placing the carpets or furniture back on it. You may also turn on the fans to quicken drying.

5.Steam Cleaning

Some people avoid using steam cleaners on porous wood floors because the steam can penetrate the top layers, loosening the adhesive material underneath. However, if you use a steam cleaner properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about damaging the floors.

The trick to using a steam cleaner for killing germs and bacteria is not to use a cleaning solution. Instead of a harsh chemical like bleach(3), merely use water to steam clean the floors.

How to Protect Hardwood Floors from Pathogens?

Pathogens, or disease-causing microorganisms, are present all around you, and it’s up to you to prevent them from entering the house.

When entering the house, leave the shoes outside. Do not walk on hardwood floors with your shoes. The soil outside is rich in pathogenic fungi that get stuck to your shoes when you step on the ground.

If you walk on the hardwood floors with the same shoes, you bring along the harmful fungus you’re under soles picked up from the ground.

Keep a doormat or rug at the entrance of the house. Vacuum the rug daily or every two days to ensure that it’s never filled with dust or pet hair. If it gets too dirt, disinfect it using a store-bought cleaner or vinegar-water solution. Sprinkle baking soda on it to remove the foul vinegar smell.

As adorable as pets can be, they’re often the reason for bacterial entry inside your home. Wipe your pets’ paws off before they enter the home. Also, bathe your furry friend regularly to remove any bacteria that may be stuck in their fur.

Tips and Warnings

Here are a few tips and warnings to keep in mind when disinfecting your hardwood floors.

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  • Instead of making a vinegar and water solution, you can also use household bleach to disinfect the floors.
  • When working with bleach, cover your hands and face to keep the fumes out. Also, don’t let the bleach come in contact with your clothes, or it will discolor them.
  • Most importantly, bleach may fade your floor’s finish over time, so do not use it regularly. Instead, use a milder cleaner like diluted vinegar.
  • If you’re using a store-bought hardwood floor cleaner, read the instructions properly. Only use the recommended amount as an excess of harsh cleaners can damage wood floors.
  • Before using a cleaner on the entire floor, apply it to an inconspicuous area to do a patch test. If the cleaner discolors the floor, pick another one.
  • To remove the vinegary smell from your floors, add a few drops of essential oil to the water and vinegar solution.
  • Do not put the carpet on a wet floor. It will soak up moisture from the floor, becoming a habitat for mold and mildew.

Final Words

Wrapping it up, I must emphasize the importance of disinfecting your hardwood floors regularly. Since germs are invisible, you can never possibly know how many of them are thriving inside your house. Why take the risk, though?

Before they can reproduce or infect your family, you should kill bacteria and germs using the method I’ve mentioned. Now, it’s time for you to disinfect your hardwood floors and tell me:

Drop your suggestions, feedback, and answers in the comments below.

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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