Vacuuming Hardwood Floors the Right Way

best stick vacuum for hardwood floors
A soft parquet brush is very important in a vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors ©

Many people have a hardwood floor in their home and vacuum it daily. However, this is not always done correctly. And it is precisely with a vulnerable wooden floor that this can result in damage: think of scratches or stripes on your beautiful floors. In this guide I tell you how to properly vacuum a hardwood floor!

1. Use a suitable vacuum cleaner

The first most important step is to vacuum with a suitable vacuum cleaner. Using the wrong vacuum cleaner can not only result in a poor cleaning result, but also in damage to your floor.

This makes a vacuum cleaner suitable for hardwood floors

What makes a vacuum cleaner suitable for a hardwood floor? Let me summarize the main points:

  • Equipped with parquet brush: a parquet brush is a must for vacuuming hardwood floors. This protects the floor when you move the floor brush back and forth.
  • Rubber wheels: with rubber wheels, the risk of scratches is less than when the vacuum cleaner has hard plastic wheels.
  • Lightweight: with a heavy vacuum cleaner, the risk of damage is much greater than with a lightweight vacuum cleaner.
  • Good suction power on hard floors: Hardwood floors are ‘hard floors'. The vacuum cleaner must of course have good suction power for this.
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Which type of vacuum cleaner for a hard wooden floor?

If you are looking for a vacuum cleaner for wooden floors, there are different types to choose from. Every vacuum cleaner has its advantages and disadvantages. See below why a specific model can be interesting for wooden floors:

  • Stick vacuum cleaner: lightweight and no chance of scratches from wheels
  • Canister vacuum cleaner: often good suction performance on hard floors and easy to use. In addition, you do not have to carry it in its entirety and there is a greater dust capacity than many other vacuum cleaners. Check here the best canister vacuums for hardwood floors.
  • Robot vacuum cleaner: with this type of vacuum cleaner you no longer have to vacuum yourself and they are often equipped with a mopping function. Very interesting for vacuuming and mopping wooden floors! Check out the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors here.

2. Use the right accessories

You are not there yet with just the right vacuum cleaner. Because, if you vacuum with the wrong attachments, this can still result in scratches on the parquet floor. It is therefore very important to check in advance which accessories are on your vacuum cleaner. Especially when you vacuum multiple floor types and therefore sometimes change them.

Always use a soft parquet brush and dusting brush

Some vacuum cleaners come with a floor brush that you can easily switch from carpet to hardwood floors. However, this type of floor brush is a tricky choice: you quickly forget which mode it is in and can quickly slide the bottom of the floor brush across the floor.

As I just mentioned, vacuuming with a parquet brush is a must when vacuuming a hardwood floor. A parquet brush has soft hairs that not only prevent scratches on a wooden floor, but also ensure that there is a distance between the brush and the floor. As a result, the vacuum cleaner cannot create a vacuum on the floor.

A parquet brush has soft hairs that not only prevent scratches on a wooden floor, but also ensure that there is a distance between the brush and the floor

And do you vacuum furniture? These are of course just as vulnerable as a wooden floor. There are so-called furniture brushes especially for this: these are dusting brushes with soft hairs. Some vacuum cleaners have an integrated dusting brush near the handle that you can slide forward. There are also crevice vacuum cleaners with an extendable dusting brush.

Consider a vacuum cleaner with a mopping function

When you vacuum – no matter how good the filter is often – some particulate matter is always spread. This dust emission – especially with dark wooden floors – can be visible when the sun shines on the floor.

Nowadays, the vacuum cleaner with mopping function is very popular. Especially in homes with mainly wooden floors. Many vacuum cleaners with a mopping function make it possible to vacuum and mop in one movement. There are even robot vacuum with a mopping function.

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A stick vacuum cleaner with a mopping function. ©

At I tested several vacuum cleaners with a mopping function. Check out the best options right now below.

Keep in mind that this type of vacuum cleaner requires a lot of maintenance and that it is not always a smart choice for homes with carpets on the floor.

If you have pets, we highly recommend opting for a bagless vacuum cleaner, as it is more efficient in handling pet hair. To find the best bagless vacuum cleaner for pet hair, click here. Additionally, for carpets, consider exploring the top canister vacuums specially designed for efficient carpet cleaning. An additional tip for maintaining a clean household with pets is to opt for a robot vacuum for pet hair.

3. Check the floor

Before you get started with the vacuum cleaner, it is smart to check the floor for objects in advance. Small, sharp objects in particular can result in scratches and streaks on your floor. For example, when a floor brush encounters a stray Lego brick, it will push it forward on your floor. And no, of course we don't want that.

Some additional tips to prepare the wooden floor for vacuuming:

  • Make sure nothing is in the way (put chairs on the table, so that you can easily vacuum under them, for example)
  • Remove small objects from the floor, such as stools or flower vases

When you have multiple different surfaces in your house, such as wooden floors or carpet, it's important to consider the vacuum cleaner's accessories. Accessories often tailor the vacuum cleaner to specific surfaces.

4. Good vacuum cleaner maintenance

The maintenance of a vacuum cleaner is much more than just emptying the dust container and replacing filters. It is also very important to clean the accessories every now and then and, for example, to check the wheels of the vacuum cleaner for hair.

This is especially important when vacuuming a hardwood floor: if a wheel no longer turns properly, this can cause scratches. And a motorized floor brush that no longer rotates can also cause this.

roomba front caster wheel repalcement
Check the wheels: are they still spinning properly? ©

5. Vacuum regularly

The last tip is to vacuum your hardwood floor regularly! This is not only important for a healthy living environment, but also for your floor. When dirt accumulates on the floor, you can spread it with walking on the floor and step into the fibers of the wood.

Conclusion: this is the best way to vacuum hardwood floors

So, here are some tips to properly vacuum hardwood floors:

  • Get the right vacuum cleaner
  • Use a parquet brush
  • Check the floor for sharp objects
  • Remove small objects from the floor
  • Regularly clean the wheels and brushes of the vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum the hardwood floor regularly

That's how it should work! Good luck vacuuming your floor! Vacuum cleaners designed for hardwood floors often don't perform well on carpets, mainly due to the unsuitability of their floor heads.

Opting for a robot vacuum that is versatile across various types of flooring can also be highly beneficial. It's an ideal combination, as the robot vacuum takes care of automated cleaning in rooms, while a stick vacuum can be used for hard-to-reach areas.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

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