How can I make my Hardwood Floors Smell Good (Fresh)?

What is causing my hardwood floor to smell bad?

The following could be the reasons your floor still smells after washing it:

Contaminated water

Water can look clean from the appearance when it’s not the case.

Badly stored water can have odor due to dirt contamination.

Hard water may also contains mineral elements such Sulfur and others that react with the dirt on surface to produce rotten egg smell.

Dirty mop

Most of us neglect a mop after using it having forgotten that we shall need to use it again.

Storing a dirty damp mop will make it smelly and restoring its fresh smell may not be easy.

When used on the floor, your house will smell like rotten eggs right after washing.

PS. We discuss common questions people have about steam cleaning their wood floors here..

Dirty Carpet

A dirty carpet that has not been washed for a long time can be a nightmare in the house.

Carpets traps dirt, dust, food debris and pet mess.

Such a carpet can make a house smell old and bad.

Bad cleaning products/technique

Some detergents and products can change the smell in your house especially when wrongly used.

Poor cleaning habits can also lead to build up of dirt and grime on the floor.

Reading instructions from the manufactures is important before use of any product for cleaning.

Pet mess

Even the most trained pets can accidentally mess the house.

Urine, poop, vomit and odor are some of the problems pet owners go through.

Pet urine smell on the floor can take many weeks without disappearing.

The best way of dealing with a pet mess is to clean it out immediately.

How do I make my hardwood floors to smell fresh?

Most people will try to use air fresheners whenever they encounter a foul smell in the house.

Other than being a short term measure, such methods can be harmful to your health in the long run.

Some commercial air fresheners contain toxic organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to humans, pets and plants.

Identify where strong odor is coming from on your floor or carpet. If you are keen enough, you can locate some spots that are producing the smell.

Such areas may need more attention while cleaning. This will also help you apply an appropriate method of cleaning.

1. Getting rid of pet urine smell

There are various products on the market for cleaning pet mess but you cannot be sure of their chemical composition and their effect on the wood finish.

Hardwood floors don’t go well with liquids, they can warp when exposed.

Therefore, carefully use water based solutions and liquid cleaners. Here are the best methods:

For fresh urine:

  • Wipe up the puddle using an absorbent cloth. Ensure you completely remove any wetness by using several cloths.
  • Use a chemical cleaner recommended for pet urine. Before using test with a small unseen area of your floor.

For a stain and odor use 3% hydrogen peroxide with water and paper towels:

  • Soak a paper towel in hydrogen peroxide and cover the area
  • Use a plastic wrap to cover the paper towel and allow a day or overnight before removing the towel. Seal the edges of the plastic wrap using a tape for effective results.
  • You can also directly pour the peroxide on the area then blot with paper towels.

For a strong odor use hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and baking soda:

  • Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with a sprinkle of baking soda and a little dish soap to foam a paste.
  • Apply the paste over the area and let it dry for few hours before you vacuum or sweep it.

Mixture of water and vinegar

  • Mix water and vinegar in equal proportions and apply the solution on the affected area.
  • Wipe with an absorbent cloth and all the smell will disappear after some time.
  • The smell of vinegar is strong but usually goes the following day.

2. Getting rid of smelly Carpet

Carpets and area rugs helps in protecting your hardwood floor from scratches and stains.

Carpet usually encounter dirt and stains that can make it smell bad.

One way of ensuring that your flooring is smelling fresh is by cleaning it regularly.

Here is how to remove smelling spots from your carpet:

  • Examine and locate where the lingering odor is coming from. It could be a pet urine, soup or dirty water.
  • Dampen a mop with solution of water and white vinegar and rub over the spots and leave it for some hours before you vacuum.
  • You can as well sprinkle baking soda on the smelling spots and vacuum after an overnight.

3. Deep cleaning your hardwood flooring

Dirt and grime can accumulate overtime and make your floor to smell awful. Dust mopping alone won’t make your floor clean.

Deep cleaning your hardwood flooring using a commercial or homemade wood floor cleaners can make it smell fresh.

Bona or Murphy’s soap are commonly used commercial wood cleaning products.

A homemade mixture of vinegar and warm water has also been proven effective in dealing with dirt and odor.

Here is what to do:

  • Begin by cleaning dirt, dust and debris such as food particles and pet hair using a dust mop or vacuum with floor bush attachment.
  • Choose your best cleaning solution and test with a small area after reading the instructions.
  • Dip and saturate a sponge or rag into the solution and wring it out to become dry damp. Wooden floors don’t go well with wetness.
  • Mop the entire floor without leaving excess solution on the floor.
  • Rinse your mob with clean water and wring out excess water to make it damp and mop the floor again to remove the cleaner.
  • Ensure you dry out any excess water on the surface with a dry towel to avoid endangering the wood.

Now your floor is clean and smelling good, you should think of how to prevent dirt and damages on your shiny hardwood floors:

  1. Train your pet on bathroom and kennel manners. Properly groom her to smell good.
  2. Clean regularly using by dusting and deep cleaning once in a while.
  3. Immediately mop out spills before they penetrate the wood or dry out on the surface to form a stain.
  4. Always use the right products and techniques for cleaning.
  5. Protect the floor from scratches by placing floor protectors under furniture.
  6. Place doormats outside and inside the house to avoid carrying dust and debris inside.


Hardwood floors are durable, warm and beautiful.

They can also increase the value of your home.

You should therefore take good care of them to maintain their aesthetic value.

Leave a Comment