Can You Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

If you’ve thought about using a vacuum cleaner on hardwood but hesitated because you weren’t sure if it may damage them, you did the right thing.

Vacuum cleaners can damage your hardwood floors, but only if you’re using the ‘wrong’ kind. Believe it or not, there are some that clean finished wood flooring better than carpet, and some that are good for both.

First let’s figure out if your current vacuum will scratch your floor, and if it will I’ll show you how to pick one that’s safe to use.

How Vacuums Damage Hardwood Flooring

You can’t just use your powerful upright on hardwood. It may have strong suction, but it’s designed to pound your carpets and stir up the dirt and debris that has settled at the base of the carpet fibers. This agitation is usually done by a beater brush, which usually has stiff nylon bristles.

If you can’t imagine taking a stiff bristled brush to your floor, you probably don’t want to use that standard upright on them, either. The rough bristles and aggressive agitation of the beater brush can scuff and scrape your floors, and so can the wheels of the upright.

Even if your upright has the option to turn off the beater bar, do not use it on hardwood. Simply rolling your heavy upright around risks scratching it with the wheels.

What Type Of Vacuum Is Safe For Hardwood?

So if an upright is out of the question, what kind can you use?

You have a few options. Smaller, lighter canister vacs are one. They aren’t as heavy and don’t have a rotating beater bar. They’re still kind of awkward to use every day, which is probably what you’re looking to do if want to replace your broom and dustpan.

A side by side comparison of an upright and a caninster vacuum.

Another option is a light stick vac, ideally one that’s designed to be used on hardwood and carpets, unless you don’t have carpets. These don’t have stiff brushes on the head (or they have one attachment for bare flooring and another for carpets) so they won’t scuff and scrape your floor. Many of these are cordless, which means they’re quick and easy to pull out for quick clean ups, such as after meals or a glittery arts-and-crafts session.

How To Keep Your Floors Looking New For Decades

Daily vacuuming of your hardwood floors will keep them cleaner than daily sweeping. This is because brooms just push dirt around, letting it settle into nooks and crannies, while vacuuming sucks it up. Vacuums, especially those with a good exhaust air filter, remove more dust from the air in general because it’s all contained within the canister and filter.

If you want to make sure your floors are super clean, follow up once a week (or more, if needed) with a damp mop. This adds a little moisture back into your floors and helps them stay nice and shiny. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you’re using a decent damp mop with a cleaning solution that is meant for finished wood flooring, but you can worry about that after you’ve picked out the perfect vacuum cleaner for hardwood flooring.

Page Last Updated On Dec 21, 2018 by Scott Jenkins