Use Care When Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

Using a broom on hardwood floors can produce a cloud of airborne allergens including dust and pet dander. Wouldn’t using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter be a better way to clean hardwood flooring?

Some vacuums can be used on hardwood flooring, but you’ve got to choose the right one and use it in the right way.

Vacuum Beater Bars are the Enemy

The beater bar, sometimes called the bristle bar, is the rotating brush on the bottom of your vacuum. It digs into carpet nap to fluff it up and remove hair while allowing the vacuuming power to suck up embedded dirt and debris. It’s the friend of carpeting, giving it that “just vacuumed” look you like so much.

However, it is the enemy of hard flooring. The beater bar rotates thousands of times per minute. On hard floors like solid hardwood flooring, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring and tile, the bristles can rapidly wear down the finish of the flooring. The results will be a duller floor and one that doesn’t last very long.

Read our reviews of the best dyson vacuum for pets and the best cordless Dyson vacuum

Ban the Bar

If you’re going to vacuum your hardwood floors, or any hard flooring, choose a lightweight vacuum that doesn’t have a beater bar. Or, choose a vacuum with a Hard Floors mode that disengages the bristle bar. You’ve got to remember to switch modes when using it on hard flooring though!

Vacuum with TLC

If you do vacuum, choose a cleaner with rubber wheels. They will be gentler on the flooring than hard plastic wheels that can scratch the surface if the vacuum slides sideways – and it will.

DO NOT choose a vacuum without wheels unless the nose of it – the part that comes in contact with the flooring – is padded. Otherwise, you’ll be scratching away your floor’s finish with every pass.

Alternatives to Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

A slightly-damp mop remains the best way to get the dirt and dust off of hardwood flooring, laminate, vinyl, tile and natural stone flooring. Wring out the mop thoroughly. You might also consider drying the flooring with a towel after mopping or putting a fan on it to evaporate excess water, especially when cleaning hardwood.

The damp mop will collect dust, dirt, hair and other debris better than a dry mop or broom, and you’ll save your floors from the harsh effects that a vacuum cleaner may cause.

Read our review of the best upright vacuum for 2018

Learn More About How To Care For Your Floors

  • decoist – Ever wondered how difficult it might be to care and clean cork flooring? It’s actually extremely easy and you can get care and cleaning information at

Do you have hardwood flooring throughout your home? If so, share your cleaning technique!

3 thoughts on “Use Care When Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

  • September 24, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I use the Bissell Wave to clean my hardwood floors. It vacuums and cleans at the same time leaving floors with a shine that is not slippery. Same machine works on carpets.

    • February 24, 2021 at 8:30 pm

      Just purchased the bissell crosswave. Cleans Great, but the rubber wheels leave marks on my wood floors. Is there anything that can be done to illuminate this? They will come off if I rub them with a cloth, that really do not want to have to go throughout my entire home with a cloth after I have just used my new machine to do the same thing!

  • April 28, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Find out the manufacturer for your flooring and call them. Shaw for example carries their own spray the cleans and shines.


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