Floor Scrubber: What Does and Doesn't Work on Hardwood

Choosing the right floor scrubber to use on your wood floors requires more deliberation that you'd think. It may not seem problematic to use a scouring pad on the floor just once, but a bad habit of using these harsh, albeit convenient scrubbing tools can eventually damage your flooring often in irreparable ways. Find out which floor scrubber works best on your flooring, and which tools to avoid.


A rule of thumb when examining a scrubber for its potential to damage your floor should involve two things: finish and "scratch-ability." Any tool that can scratch the floor or even remove its finish should be avoided at all costs.

Homeowners often lean toward using a stronger scrubber like a hard-wire brush or wire-mesh scrubber to remove stains. With the exception of No. 000 steel wool, according to Better Homes And Gardens, these kinds of tools feature a harsh material that wears away the finish and leaves scratches, both of which compromise the floor's durability and lifespan.

Another type of scrubber to avoid is the string mop. These mops won't damage the finish like a hard-wire brush, but they tend to leave too much moisture behind when you use one. Unless you can consistently wring the mop out or dry the floors with a separate, dry item, this effect can weaken and warp hardwood if the moisture seeps into the grain.


When choosing a safe floor scrubber, keep this mantra in mind: Soft tools rule! When choosing from among the many options available on the market, remember that manufacturers are constantly responding to demand for gentler tools, such as microfiber mops or even just your everyday dish cloth.

In addition to using the right scrubbers on your floor, it's critical to employ an equally safe, natural cleaner like Murphy® Oil Soap, and to clean your wood floors regularly. With proper care and maintenance, you'll be able to enjoy their beauty for years to come.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.