Can you Vacuum Hardwood Floors?
You can, and in many cases should, vacuum your hardwood floors. A hardwood floor vacuum, specifically designed for the task, is a great way of quickly handling dust and other airborne allergens. Choose your vacuum carefully and handle with care to preserve the surface of your wood flooring.
Last Updated: February 17, 2023, by: Jamie Sandford
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.
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.
Further Reading: How to Clean Hardwood Floors
About the Author: Jamie Sandford
Jamie Sandford is the Owner and Chief Editor of Home Flooring Pros (find out more). After 12 years’ experience in screen and stage set construction, followed by a further 15 years working in the home renovation/remodeling business, he now writes and curates online home improvement advice.
“Buying and installing home flooring should be a fairly straightforward process, but often it isn’t. After more than 15 years experience in home flooring and remodeling, I started Home Flooring Pros in 2013 to help homeowners navigate the often-over complicated process of choosing, buying and installing a home floor. The aim is to save you time and money by helping you to make better floor buying decisions.”