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How do you Disinfect Hardwood Floors?

Did you know that a floor contains plenty of germs and bacteria that are dangerous?

Pet mess, spillages and soil from outside are the major source of household germs and bacteria into homes. Such pathogenic microorganisms can reside on floors and surfaces.

The only way of getting rid of them is by sanitizing such areas promptly.

Routine cleaning a wooden floor mainly helps in removing, dust grime, and loose soil from the surface but does not keep such unsighted microorganism at bay.

Therefore the need to find other safer ways of sanitizing your wooden floor.

Microorganisms that live on the surface of the floor can be destroyed by using antimicrobial agents.

While there are many types of such products, most of them may not be suitable on a wood floor due to their harsh ingredients or toxic nature. Example is bleach and Lysol.

how to sanitize wood floors

Household bleach is an example of an effective agent for disinfecting hard surface floors but cannot be used on a wood floor.

Bleach has detrimental effects on wood floor and should not be used. Lysol is another commonly used anti-microbial cleaning agent in homes but not suitable for hardwood floors as well.

Lysol manufacturers recommend leaving it to stay wet on the surface for at least 3 minutes for effective killing of viruses and bacteria.

It is dangerous to leave anything wet on the wood floor surface. Liquids and water based solutions easily destroys the floor boards or wood planks.

Therefore, how do you disinfect a hardwood floor? Disinfecting your wood floor on a regular basis helps in destroying bacteria, germs and fungus. This creates a safe environment for the household occupants.

To protect the elegance and beauty of your hardwood floor, you will need to use appropriate disinfectants that does not utilize harsh chemical ingredients so as to keep your floor safe.

There are two commonly used methods for disinfecting sealed wood floors naturally. Steam cleaning or use of white vinegar solution.

These methods utilizes natural ingredients and hence no worry about harsh chemicals. Since the methods are water based, you will have to be extra careful.

Water and wood floor should not mix or interact for any longer moment.

Disinfect using White Vinegar and Water Mixture

Distilled white vinegar is natural and non-toxic cleaning agent that is suitable for disinfecting hardwood floors.

Its acidic nature makes it effective for killing pathogens. To use vinegar on hardwood floor:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth duster or vacuum to remove dust and loose debris from the floor. A microfiber cloth is suitable for trapping and collecting dust and fine debris that can act as a sand paper on your floor.
  2. Mix ½ cup of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of water in a bucket. Do not apply vinegar directly without diluting with water.
  3. Dip a mop into the solution and wring out completely. This is avoid chances of water puddles on the surface.
  4. Damp mop every part of your floor including corners. Rinse and wring out frequently to dispose off bacteria and collected soil.
  5. Dry the hardwood floor surface using a dry soft towel to remove any moisture film or standing water.

Distilled white vinegar solution is the best DIY cleaner for hardwood floors that removes dirt and grime as well as killing bacteria and fungus.

It is cheap and readily available. Being nontoxic, it is safe for pets and humans unlike most chemical cleaners that contain harsh and toxic ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

Incorrect use of vinegar and water on hardwood floors worries most flooring experts. That is the main reason they discourage against using it. To avoid floor damage use the right concentration, only ½ a cup per gallon of water.

Wring your mop as much as you can to prevent any water from standing on the wood floor surface.

Too much water on wood floor makes it swell and warp. When water spills accidentally, always be ready to mop it out.

Before using any water based solution or liquid on a hardwood floor, ensure it is properly sealed.

Although water will still penetrate through the seams and minor opening if left standing for long.

Disinfect by Steam Cleaning

You can use a hardwood steam cleaner to sanitize your floors. The high temperature of steam naturally kills bacteria and household germs.

The method purely uses water and therefore regarded as natural. Do not add any cleaner or solution in your steamer, simply use water.

Most wood floor manufacturers discourage home owners from using steam. Incorrect use of steam can greatly damage your wood floor.

Before you steam a wood floor surface, ensure that your floor is properly sealed.

Set your device to produce dry steam that has little amount of water for faster drying.

Protecting Wood Floor from Bacteria and Germs

Most bacteria and germs enter our homes through soil carried under the shoes or pet paws. Removing your shoes before entering the house is important.

It also prevents the sand and soil from creating scuff marks on the surface.

Creating area rugs in high traffic areas such as door entrance, kids and pets play areas helps in protecting your valuable hardwood floors.

Always place a door mat at both sides of the entrance.

Wiping your pet’s paws on the mat at the entrance also minimizes chances of bacteria on your floor. You should also groom your pet well by bathing her regularly.

Immediately remove pet mess such as poop from the floor if it accidentally happens and clean the area.


Before using any product on your wood, ensure you have read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

Also, perform a test on a small hidden area of your floor. Some cleaning procedures may void your floor warranty thus be sure to confirm first.


Hardwood floors can remain beautiful for decades if properly cared for.

This is mainly through regular cleaning and use of safe products and methods.

Water based cleaners should be used carefully to avoid standing water that can damage your wood floor.

Sanitize your floors safely to eliminate harmful pathogens.

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