Is It Better To Sweep or Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

You want to keep your beautiful hardwood floors clean so you grab your broom and sweep. And sweep. And sweep some more, because no matter how much you sweep your floor, there always seems to be some dust and dirt that escapes your broom. So you reach for your…

…vacuum cleaner?

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. If done right, a vacuuming will get your hardwood floor cleaner than sweeping or using a dry mop.

Why Vacuuming Is Better Than Sweeping

Brooms and dust mops work by moving dust and debris around on the surface of your floor and into a dustpan. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also not the most effective way to remove dirt and dust from your floors.

When you sweep some dust becomes airborne, while other bits of dirt fall into crevices and corners. If you mop after you sweep, the moisture can bind to the leftover dirt and essentially form mud. If you’ve ever mopped any sort of floor with a wet mop and noticed that the water looked muddy or cloudy after a few swipes, this is why.

A vacuum, on the other hand, pulls dust up out of the crevices and sucks it into a self-contained canister, creating less airborne dust and leaving less dust on the floor in general.

But Wait! You can’t just use any vacuum.

Vacuums That Are Safe For Hardwood

Just as you wouldn’t use a bucket of water and a sopping wet mop on wood floors, you can’t just recruit your standard vacuum cleaner for cleaning duty either.

Most have a beater bar that is designed to literally pound the carpets and stir up dust and debris. If you use one with a beater bar on your hardwood floor, you risk damaging the finish and removing its’ luster.

Related: 2 Types Of Vacuums That Are Safe For Hardwood

On some you can turn off the beater brush or remove it altogether. A better alternative is to use a stick vac designed for use on bare floors or a canister vacuum, since they usually don’t have a beater bar. Stick vacs have become popular for this reason–they do a better job than a broom or damp, Swiffer-style mops on bare floors.

You do want to make sure that your vacuum has a good amount of suction. Many vacs designed for use on wood flooring have amazing suction, and may even be marketed for use on both carpets and bare floors, but bear in mind that great suction isn’t as effective on carpets without some sort of agitation.

How Often You Should Vacuum Hardwood?

Ideally, you’ll use it as often as you would a broom, which is every couple days, or more if you have pets.

Then, once a week (or more if it needs it), follow up with a damp mop to clean any stains that your vacuum wasn’t able to suck up. Do this, and you’ll keep your wood floor looking new for decades with minimum effort.

Page Last Updated On Dec 26, 2018 by Scott Jenkins