How to Disinfect Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors offer elegance and beauty to any home. Care must be taken, however, when cleaning hardwood floors. Although general cleaning can be done with just plain water to remove dust and dirt, wood floors should also be disinfected regularly to remove bacteria and fungus. Standard disinfectants such as bleach and Lysol are not safe for use on wood floors. It is important to use the appropriate products to disinfect wood floors to preserve their beauty and prolong their lifespan.

Woman cleaning up fallen leaves on floor, smiling
credit: Jen Siska/Lifesize/Getty Images

Step 1

Vacuum the wood floors with a soft brush vacuum attachment to remove loose dust and dirt. Be sure to get in corners and along the trim while vacuuming.

Step 2

Fill a bucket with one gallon of warm water. Add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to the water.

Step 3

Dip a soft cloth or mop into the cleaning solution and wring it out well. It is important to never use excessive amounts of water on wood floors.

Step 4

Wipe the wood floors with the soft cloth and vinegar solution. Rub in a circular motion while cleaning. Rinse and wring out the cloth frequently to avoid spreading bacteria. If the cleaning solution begins to look real dirty, discard and make a new batch.

Step 5

Dry the wood floors immediately following cleaning. Use a clean, soft cloth to thoroughly soak up any moisture from the floor.

Step 6

Use a steam cleaner as an alternative method for disinfecting wood floors. If you do not own a steam cleaner, they are available for rent at most rental stores. Follow the manufacturer's specific instructions for operation. Do not use any cleaning products with the steam cleaner. The heat and steam alone will thoroughly disinfect the hardwood floors. Work in sections when using the steam cleaner. Wipe the steam and moisture from the floor using a soft cloth immediately following cleaning.