Can You Vacuum Hardwood Floors?


If you’ve ever thought about using a vacuum cleaner on the hardwood but balked because you’re not sure if you’ll damage them, you’re on the right track. Hardwood floors are not as polished as many people think. Most hardwood floors have a polyurethane coating, which is durable and protects against wear and tear. Still, it’s important to minimize the risk of scratches and marks. In this article, we will discuss whether you can vacuum hardwood floors.

Is It Safe to Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

Yes, you can vacuum the hardwood floor. In fact, vacuuming is the best way to remove dirt, hair, and other debris. Still, it’s important to use a vacuum cleaner that won’t scratch or scratch the floor. Avoid heavy columns, swivel brushes, and wheels that may leave marks on the floor.

Why It’s (Usually) Safe to Vacuum Harwood Flooring

It’s safe to vacuum hardwood floors, but only if you don’t use a vacuum with a stiff bristle and rotating brush lever.

Vacuuming with a suitable vacuum is the fastest (and safest) way to remove grit, dirt, fine dust and other debris from your wood floors. The debris is abrasive and causes tiny scratches when people walk on it, so frequent vacuuming can actually protect the finish of the floor.

In general, hardwood floors should be vacuumed at least once a week. If you have pets, you may need to increase the frequency in high-traffic areas.

How Does Vacuum Damage Hardwood Floors

Although it is safe to vacuum hardwood floors, they can be damaged if not used properly.

You can’t use your powerful upright posture only on the hardwood. It may have strong suction, but it’s designed to pound the carpet, stirring up dirt and debris at the bottom of the carpet’s fibers. This agitation is usually done with a beater, usually with stiff nylon bristles.

If you can’t imagine putting a stiff bristle brush on the floor, you probably don’t want to use this standard vertically on the floor either. Hairy bristles and fierce stirring would have worn and scratched the floor, as would The wheels of Homo erectus.

Even if your Erectus has the option of turning off the beating rod, don’t use it on the hardwood. Simply rotating the weight upright can cause scratches on the wheel.

What Types of Vacuums Are Safe for Hardwood?

Vacuums Hardwood

Not all vacuum cleaners are safe on hardwood floors. Some are more prone to scratches or marks, so it’s important to avoid these models. The worst culprits are heavy-duty vertical vacuum cleaners with powerful brush rollers and hard nylon brushes. In addition to scratches caused by brushes, the columns’ wheels are also more likely to leave marks on the floor.

Instead, look for something that:

Floor head with non-rotating brush bar

Ideally, wheels should be padded or made of soft rubber. Of course, you’ll also need a vacuum cleaner with strong suction to remove dirt from between the cracks and the floor.

Cylindrical vacuum cleaners are usually the best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors. These vacuums usually do not have a rotating brush bar to prevent scratches. It also weighs less through the floor, though you still need to be careful not to leave wheel marks on the side of the car.

Some lightweight, bar-shaped vacuum cleaners are also an excellent choice for cleaning hardwood floors. Unfortunately, many of them have a rotating brush lever on the main floor that can’t be closed, making them unsuitable for hardwood. But some also come with extra hardwood flooring heads (or at least hard floor setups) to protect your floors.

Another option is a lamppost vacuum, ideally designed for hardwood and carpet use unless you don’t have carpet. They don’t have hard brushes on their heads (or they have one attachment for bare floors and another for carpets), so they don’t wear and scratch the floor. Many of them are wireless, which means they can be quickly and easily pulled out for a quick cleanup, such as after a meal or for a fancy craft session.

If you can only use a vertical vacuum, be sure to turn off the brush lever when cleaning the hardwood floor and set the floor head on its highest setting. This is not ideal and the brush will still make contact with the floor, but the risk of scratching is low.

Tips for Vacuuming Wood Flooring

Vacuuming Wood Flooring

Vacuum regularly.

There’s nothing like a good vacuum to remove dirt and fine debris from cracks and crevices in your wood floor. The best choice is a carbon tank vacuum cleaner because it has a long oval floor brush that can be swept into a small space. If your model is upright, be sure to turn off the rotating brush to prevent the bristles from scratching the floor.

Establish cleaning procedures.

The best way to maintain hardwood floors is to clean them regularly. Don’t wait for the dirt and other debris to become apparent.

Wet the floor at least twice a month. Vacuuming dust and grit every week won’t clean your floor. If you have a busy family, you may need to wet wash more often. Don’t let the water soak in hardwood floors, so use a wet mop, not a wet mop — especially for unsealed floors!

Take off your shoes.

Dirt and grit are abrasive and can scratch floors over time. Ask guests (and family) to take off their shoes at the door. This greatly reduces the amount of dust brought into the house and protects the hardwood finishes.

Clean up spills as soon as possible.

Spillage is inevitable, but if you let them dry on the floor, they will darken the surface and attract more dirt. This may damage the floor finishes. Blot as quickly as possible with an absorbent cloth, then remove any remaining liquid with a soft, damp cloth.


Vacuuming is the most effective way to remove dirt, grit, and other abrasive debris from hardwood floors. Vacuum cleaners are also more effective than brooms at collecting pet hair and fine dust.

But it’s important to avoid scraping the floor with the vacuum cleaner. Heavy-duty vertical vacuum cleaners with strong rotating brush bars should be avoided. Instead, use a cylindrical vacuum without a brush bar, or use a lightweight stick vacuum with a hardwood attachment.