Hardwood floors are known for both their beauty and their durability.  But to keep them looking beautiful you need to keep them clean.  And cleaning done wrong can impact their durability.  The cleaning products you use around other parts of your house can severely damage hardwood floors.  To help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, we’ve put together a list of five cleaning products to avoid using on hardwood flooring.


Vinegar is a great all purpose cleaner that’s much easier on the environment and living beings than many other chemically manufactured cleaners.  But it shouldn’t be used on hardwood floors!  Although often recommended as a cleaning solution, this weak acid is actually strong enough to damage hardwood floors.  If you feel the need to use vinegar on your floor, make sure it’s well diluted.


Ammonia is another popular household cleaner that should never be used on hardwood flooring.  It will actually start to break down the structure of the wood.  It can also lead to bleaching and discolouration.  Although not advised, if you absolutely feel the need to use ammonia on your hardwood flooring, make sure it’s properly diluted with water.

Excessive Water

Excessive water and hardwood flooring should not mix.  Unless you have newer waterproof hardwood planks, even small amounts of water can cause warping, cupping and lifting of the floorboards.  And while a damp mop is often recommended for surface cleaning a hardwood floor, damp is the operative word.  You don’t want to be dripping and pooling water all over your floor.


Again, small amounts of diluted oil might be used on a hardwood floor.  It’s been known to add some shininess.  However, too much oil will quickly lead to slipperiness and also show footprints and other marks.  It’s also not very easy to remove when too much has been used.  If using oil on your hardwood floor, use it very sparingly.

Window Cleaner

Window cleaners are often made with ammonia.  And as mentioned above, ammonia will eventually start breaking down the structure of the wood.  While there are many cleaners that can serve multiple purposes, window cleaner is one that should never be used on hardwood floors.