The Best Way to Clean Every Type of Floor

Updated: Mar. 15, 2024

Check out our mega list of methods and products for the best way to clean floors—including vinyl, hardwood and bamboo.

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There is one universal truth for every type of flooring: It needs to be cleaned! Of course, different types of hard flooring have different care and cleaning instructions, and it’s important to use the right methods to not only make your flooring look its best but also to avoid damaging the finish.

So, like cleaning various kitchen surfaces, the best way to clean floors heavily depends on your specific flooring material. Whether you have low-maintenance vinyl or something a little more finicky like marble, we’ve got the top cleaning methods and five-star products to make your floor shine.

How To Clean Every Type Of Floor GraphicTaste of Home, Getty Images (8)

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

Keep dust and debris off hardwood floors by sweeping or vacuuming daily if possible. When vacuuming, be sure to set your vacuum on the hard floor setting—this turns off the brush roll to avoid scratching the wood. Mop with a damp microfiber mop (microfiber uses less water than other mops). Be careful about how much water you use when mopping. Excessive water on hardwood can cause swelling and can damage the stain if left to sit.

The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner: Method Hardwood Floor Cleaner

How to Clean Laminate Floors

Ridding laminate floors of winter salt and summer dirt is no joke. With laminate, it’s essential to use a laminate-specific floor cleaner and a damp microfiber mop. Never use a steam cleaner or a dripping wet mop, which can easily damage laminate. Use a damp cloth to blot up spills immediately (standing liquid causes laminate to bubble and swell).

For stubborn stains like oil, paint or markers; use a white cloth with a small dab of acetone nail polish remover.

The Best Laminate Floor Cleaner: Bona Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner Spray

How to Clean Vinyl Floors

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is fast becoming one of the top flooring choices for designers and builders and for good reason. It’s durable, easy to clean and can withstand a lot more moisture than laminate or hardwood. Sweep or vacuum (on the hard surface setting) regularly to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating. Clean as needed with a damp or wet mop, and a nonabrasive floor cleaner.

Never use soap, wax or oil-based detergents, which can dull the finish and leave a greasy film.

The Best Vinyl Floor Cleaner: Rejuvenate Luxury Vinyl Floor Cleaner

How to Clean Tile Floors

Tile floors like porcelain or ceramic tile can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap (or a tile-specific cleaner). A steam mop is also a good choice because it cleans and sanitizes tile simultaneously without leaving behind streaks. And because steam cleaners use only water, they won’t damage the grout. Speaking of, avoid cleaning products that contain acids or ammonia which can discolor grout.

The Best Tile Floor Cleaner: Bissell Scrubbing and Sanitizing Steam Mop

How to Clean Marble Floors

Clean marble floors first with a dry dusting pad, then use a microfiber mop and marble floor cleaner. Marble is a porous stone, so choosing the right cleaner is vital. Avoid products containing vinegar, ammonia or citrus, which can cause etching (dull discoloration caused by a chemical reaction). Don’t use anything abrasive on marble like scrubbing brushes or scouring pads. Use a pH-neutral cleaner for best results.

The Best Marble Floor Cleaner: Black Diamond Marble and Tile Floor Cleaner

How to Clean Linoleum Floors

Linoleum flooring is made of wood pulp and cork, so it’s important not to use hot water, a steam mop or an excessive amount of water when cleaning. This can damage the floor and the glue used to install it. Dry mop or sweep the linoleum floors first, then mop. Use a quick-drying microfiber mop with an attached spray bottle for best results instead of a mop and bucket. You can use a linoleum floor cleaner or a mixture of water, one cup of vinegar and a couple drops of dish soap.

The Best Linoleum Floor Cleaner: Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate

How to Clean Bamboo Floors

Bamboo flooring is similar to hardwood in its care and cleaning needs. Dust or vacuum (using the hard flooring setting) daily to avoid scratches and damage from dirt and debris buildup. Dust along the grain of the wood for best results. Mop with a microfiber mop. Lightly mist your floor with a gentle floor cleaner and mop along the grain. Never use vinegar or a steam mop on bamboo floors.

The Best Bamboo Floor Cleaner: Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner

How to Clean Stone Floors

For natural stone flooring like granite, travertine or limestone; mop with a specialized stone floor cleaner and warm water. Never use vinegar or ammonia products which can degrade the sealant and leave your floors vulnerable to damage and staining. Don’t soak your mop with too much water because moisture can get caught in the natural crevices of the stone and cause mildew.

The Best Stone Floor Cleaner: Granite Gold Stone And Tile Floor Cleaner

FAQs About the Best Way to Clean Floors

How to keep floors clean longer

Protect floors with rugs around the house and mats at the front door. Rugs protect floors and help collect dust and debris from settling on the hard floor. It’s also a good idea to enforce a no-shoes policy in your home. Asking family members and guests to take off their shoes upon entering will limit the amount of dirt that is tracked in.

How to keep floors clean with pets

Keep pets properly groomed to keep shedding at a minimum, and regular nail trimmings will avoid scratches on your floor. You can’t stop all the fur from shedding, so plan on dusting and sweeping more frequently when you have pets. Use mats in high-traffic pet areas like under their food bowls and near the front and back doors.

How often should you clean floors?

If you can, sweeping or vacuuming floors daily will keep your floors looking their best. Plan on mopping at least once a week. High-use rooms like the kitchen might require mopping more frequently. Deep clean floors once a month—this is when you can tackle tasks like scrubbing grout, repairing scratches and applying polish as needed.