How to Get Rid of Smears & Smudges on Hardwood Floors

Written by constance barker
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How to Get Rid of Smears & Smudges on Hardwood Floors
Remove smudges from hardwood floors with pH neutral cleaners. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

The radiant shine from your hardwood floors may become smudged and smeared from normal foot traffic. Dirty shoes tracking across flooring lead to the diminishing shine. Durable hardwood floors cannot withstand wet mopping as their porous surface absorbs liquid, swelling the floor boards and resulting in buckling. Damp cleaning and correct wood cleaners remove unsightly smears without ruining or damaging your hardwood floors.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dust mop
  • Dust pan
  • pH neutral cleaner or hardwood floor cleaner
  • Soft cloth mop

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  1. 1

    Remove rugs from hardwood floors. Dust mop the entire floor, working the mop around furniture edges or chair legs. Sweep dirt into a pile and remove with a dust pan.

  2. 2

    Spray a pH neutral cleaner or a hardwood cleaning product over smudges and smears on the hardwood flooring. A pH neutral cleaner, containing equal parts alkalinity and acid, works better for hardwood floors than products with too much of either component. The pH or wood-specific cleaner loosens the marks without using water.

  3. 3

    Rub the floor with a soft cloth or use a dry cloth mop for easier removal. Use heavy pressure on the cloth, cleaning the smudges from the flooring. Remove all smears and smudges with the same process.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean the entire floor with the hardwood spray or pH neutral cleaner to remove dirt and leave a radiant shine to the surface. Spray in sections and wipe clean as you move across the room.
  • For sticky smudges, blot the area first with a damp, not wet, cloth and finish using the above procedure.
  • Place rugs at room entrances so family or guests may wipe their feet before stepping on the hardwood floors.
  • Do not clean your hardwood floors with excessive water as you risk warping the wood boards.

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