Hardwood Floor How-To's

Basic Floor Care: How to Dust Hardwood Floors

Dust and hardwood floors don’t mix. Particle debris like dust can scratch and damage a floor’s protective finish.
Posted January 26, 2017

Dust and Hardwood don't mix

Particle debris like dust can scratch and damage a floor’s protective finish. To make matters worse, dust can be a health hazard for those with allergies. While there is no such thing as a 100% dust-free home, there are many things that can be done to minimize dust and keep our floors looking beautiful. Learning how to dust hardwood floors takes minimal time and effort, but the rewards are great.

Getting the Right Tools for the Job

An easy way to dust hardwood floors depends on the tools you have to get the job done. While there are many different devices and tools that can help dust your hardwood floor, the top three are vacuums, brooms and microfiber mops. Within each category there are many, many different types and variations, but here are some general considerations for each: 

  • Vacuums. Vacuums are a great multi-use appliance that can help when you want an easy way to dust hardwood floors. Their attachments can help you reach places that other traditional tools can’t, and some vacuums are designed to work on hardwood floors. When using a vacuum, be aware that most vacuums have a bare-floor setting that raises the beater bar to a safe level above your floors. Check to make sure the beater bar is as far away from your floors as possible!
  • Brooms. While brooms may seem like a primitive cleaning tool, there is as much variation in broom types and functions as there is in vacuums. There are brooms specially formulated for cleaning floors, but a concern about using brooms is that brooms only push debris around on the floor without an effective way to get rid of it.
  • Microfiber Mops/Dusters. Microfiber mops are made with synthetic materials specifically designed to attract and trap dust particles, making them an effective go-to product in the battle for keeping hardwood floors dust-free. Microfiber mops provide less strain on the body because of their lightweight nature, and some microfiber cleaning pads are washable, giving them an extra money-saving benefit.

The best way to clean hardwood floors may include one or all of the previously mentioned tools. Some people like to sweep/dry mop first and then vacuum. Others prefer to sweep, vacuum, then dry mop. Either way, finding the perfect technique for you will require at least one of the tools mentioned above.

Finding a Technique that Works

When it’s time to actually start dusting, some common-sense tips can help make this task relatively quick and painless. Experimentation is needed to find an easy way to clean hardwood floors that works best for your cleaning style and space.

  • Make sure your floor is the last to be dusted. In general, dusting should be done from the ceiling to the floor. That way, you’re not doing double work when dust from higher places falls onto your previously clean floor. 
  • Start farthest from the room entrance. Work your way towards room entrances—they are high-traffic areas and the general source for most dirt and debris in the room. 
  • Break up the room in sections. Divide the room up mentally for an efficient time dusting. Breaking up the room in a grid can help you keep track of the work you’ve done. Use long, deliberate movements to better maximize your energy and cleaning effectiveness.
  • Avoid lazy dusting habits. Go into the task 100%. Avoid dusting around furniture and other appliances—actually take the time to remove them. Even though this may make the job a bit more difficult. These hard to reach areas perfect places for dust to accumulate.

Defending Your Home Against Dust

The best way to clean hardwood flooring starts with a good defense. Consider these tips to help reduce the amount of dust in your home:

  •  Use rugs. Placing rugs at entryways and other traffic areas will help to keep debris in a general area. Having family and guests remove their shoes also eliminates another source of dirt and dust.
  • Clean often. Set up a maintenance schedule and stick with it. Many people dust their floors on a daily basis. When you clean more often, you reduce the chances of dust accumulation.
  • Change your filters. Changing vacuum filters and furnace filters will help keep these appliances working at an optimal level while decreasing the presence of dust in the air.
  • Deal with problem areas. Be on the lookout for places where dust loves to build up. Be sure to clean drapes/curtains, underneath appliances, ceilings, walls, and electronics to reduce the spread of dirt and dust in your home.

The key to keeping hardwood floors dust free is to have a realistic approach with the proper tools. While dusting hardwood floors might not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, it is a relatively inexpensive way to protect the investment of having great looking hardwood floors.