How to Clean and Renew Hardwood Floors

Dog laying on hardwood floors under a table.
  • 1-40 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-300
What You'll Need
Wet-dry shop vac
Wood putty
Putty knife
Pry bar
Wax remover
Rough buffing pad
Smooth buffing pad
Wood floor stain
Clean cloths

Hardwood floors are an excellent choice if you prefer a more natural feel in your home. The wood easily creates a warm and cozy atmosphere which enhances the appeal of your home. To maintain its beauty, it is important that you regularly clean your wood floor. This also helps to keep the floor in good condition for longer.

However, with time the floor may lose its luster and show signs of age. Rather than replace your floor, you may opt to renew it. This will give it a new lease on the life of your floor. It also spares you the costs of a replacement. Use the simple guide below to clean and renew your hardwood floor:

Step 1 - Clear the Room

Move all furniture out of the room to allow you to work on your floor comfortably. Place the furniture in another room for temporary storage. Use a pry bar to remove all the baseboards from the floor as well. This will give you clear access to the entire floor.

Step 2 - Clean and Dewax

room with hardwood floor and large windows

Vacuum the floor to remove dust and loose debris. Apply a wax remover over the floor and allow it to work on the floor for the required time. Use a wet-dry shop vac to remove the cleaner from the floor. Clear any traces of wax from the floor with a rough buffing pad. Run the wet-dry vacuum again to ensure the floor is completely clean.

Step 3 - Repairs

It is a good idea to inspect the floor for any signs of damage. Small holes and cracks can be filled with wood putty. Be sure to obtain a color that matches your floor. Allow the putty to dry completely for the stipulated time. Sand the area with a piece of 100-grit sandpaper. Apply a stain that blends with the rest of your floor. For scratches, use a piece of 100-grit sandpaper to clear the scratches followed by application of stain. If you spot any nails that have loosened, drive them back into the floor with a hammer.

Step 4 - Buff

Use a smooth buffing pad over the entire floor. The buffing will get rid of tiny scratches and leave your floor with a smooth appearance. Vacuum the floor again to get rid of all traces of dust and fine debris. It leaves the floor surface clean in preparation for stain application.

Step 5 - Apply Stain

bathroom with dark vanity and hardwood floor

Dip a brush into the can of stain and apply over the floor. Be sure to apply in the same direction as the wood grain with long, even strokes. Use clean cloths to blend the stain as you work over the floor. Allow a couple of hours for the stain to dry before you apply a second coat. Let it dry well.

Step 6 - Seal

Use a brush to seal your floor with polyurethane. Apply in the same manner as the stain. Allow two days for the polyurethane to cure completely. Dust the floor with a microfiber cloth. Reinstall the furniture you’d removed initially as well as the baseboards.