9 Best Mops for Hardwood Floors & How to Avoid Damage

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best mops for hardwood floors

Installing hardwood flooring is one of the best things you can do for your home.

The flooring itself can get expensive, but it is still the only flooring that adds resale value to your home.

The main problem, though, is that unlike laminate planks or LVP, hardwood has a higher care routine.

Mopping is generally frowned upon and it can be difficult to keep the floors clean.

The good news is that you can mop your hardwood floors.

You just need the right mop, and an understanding of how to properly mop hardwood floors.

This article will examine the best mops for hardwood floors and give you all the information you need for a proper buying decision. We will also cover how to properly use your mop on your new hardwood floors.

The Best Hardwood Flooring Mops

Mopping hardwood floors is possible, and these 7 mops will help you do it the right way.

  1. BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop. Our top pick for hardwood flooring.
  2. Swiffer Sweeper Cleaner Dry and Wet Mop Starter Kit. The runner up for ease of use and availability.
  3. BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop. Power to clean without damage.
  4. O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop. A new twist on an old classic.
  5. iRobot Braava 380t Advanced Robot Mop. The best, affordable mopping robot for hardwood flooring.
  6. PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner. A versatile tool for cleaning more than just floors.
  7. Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Floor Cleaning Kit. Everything you need to keep your hardwood clean.

Scroll down to see full reviews and more mops.

Should You Mop Hardwood Floors?

It is no secret that water and wood don’t mix. Treated lumber absorbs water and can swell, crack or bow. Because of this, even hardwood planks treated and coated with waterproofing sealants recommend you do not mop them.

However, as anyone who has ever walked on a floor knows, messes, accidents and stains happen. You need a mop to remove the grime and grit that a sweep cannot get.

The trick is to not use a lot of water, a lot of steam and do mop in very small sections at a time. Below the reviews we have included step-by-step instructions on how to properly mop your hardwood floors.

The important thing to know for now, is that it is possible. Patience, knowledge and the right mop for the job are required.

Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in a Mop for Hardwood

what to look for in a mop for hardwood

How do you know if you have the right mop for your hardwood floors? The following consideration points will help you narrow down your choices and pick the right one for your specific floors.

Mop Head

There are a lot of different mop head types. Today, the market is moving towards microfiber pads. Either disposable or washable, microfiber pads can sweep and mop at the same time. They gather dirt, hair and grime while mopping with either a wet or damp mop process.

String mops have gone the way of the high school janitor, but that doesn’t mean they are gone for good. There are a few models that use the string mop head and make great use of it.

You also have scrubbing or electronic heads. These use cleaning pads and/or brushes that vibrate or rotate to scrub floors and mop at the same time. Some electric models will also offer steam capabilities for added sterilization.

Power Supply

When it comes to modern mops you have three options for power sources. There are corded models, battery operated models and manual power models. Manual, as you can guess, means you do all the work.

For powered models, you simply need to move the mop where it needs to go (unless it is a robot mop, of course). Corded models offer more features, longer runtimes and generally more power.

Battery powered options can go more places, remove the cord and tangles, but may not last long enough on a single charge to mop your entire floor.

Water Control

One of the most important aspects for mopping hardwood floors is the ability to control the amount of water used on the floor. You cannot saturate a hardwood floor. Wet mops are generally frowned upon as they can cause long-term damage to your new floor.

However, if your mop has water volume control, a squeeze trigger or other options to give you control over how much water is actually used, you should be fine.

Cleaning Solution

Cleaning with mixes and solutions may or may not be a good thing. It will depend on the type of sealant your hardwood floor has.

Clear sealants sit on top of the wood planks and are generally waterproof or at least water resistant. For this type, you should use water-based cleaners, such as water and vinegar, or water and dish soap mixes.

For the other sealants, known as absorbent sealers, you can’t use water at all. These sealers coat the wood and soak into the planks. On top is a thin layer of protective wax that will break down with water. For these types of planks, you should use a detergent-based cleaner.

Sterilization Methods

Sterilizing your floor can kill up to 99% of bacteria and germs a regular mop can leave behind. The most effective method is UV light sterilization. However, this process is extremely slow and very expensive.

The alternative is to use heat. Steam can kill germs just as well as UV light and is quicker as well as less expensive to utilize. However, if, like above, your hardwood has a wax coating, you can’t use steam without causing damage to the sealant and planks.

Price and Warranty

The price is also going to play a large part in your decision making process. You don’t want to pay too much, obviously. At the same time, though, you want to ensure you get a mop with the abilities and features you need to properly care for your new floors.

Finding the right balance between features and price will mean deciding what you do and do not need from your mop. The less features you require, the less expensive the mops will be.

Don’t neglect the warranty, though. If your mop has a warranty (some don’t), make sure you know what is covered and for how long. It is also important to know what is required on your part to make a claim.

You may be required to pay for shipping to a return center, or pay for the parts of the repair. Each warranty is different. Read the small print before you press the Buy Now button.

9 Best Mops for Hardwood Floors

Below, we review, rate and compare the 9 best mops for hardwood floors. Scroll through the list and find the mop that matches your needs, expectations and budget.

1. BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop

I know what you are thinking. “Heat and water are bad for hardwood floors, how can a steam mop be the top pick?” While this is mostly true, we have to stop and consider the brilliance of this steam mop from Bissell.

The PowerFresh mop is a steam mop. It does use water and heat to clean and sterilize your floors. It also allows you to control the heat and steam levels. Because of this, you can make it safe for hardwood floors.

If you have absorbent sealer (the kind with the wax top coat) you cannot use this on your hardwood floors. For the clear sealant planks, though, have at it. As long as you use this on the lowest setting and no more than once a month, your floors will look great without damage.

Once you add water, it only takes 30 seconds to be ready to mop. With a 23-foot power cord, you can clean an entire room from a single outlet, too. No more having to hunt for outlets and mopping over areas you already cleaned.

If you like the smell of clean, the PowerFresh has you covered there, too. With fragrance discs, you add pleasant smells to your air while you mop leaving the whole room looking and smelling fresh.

Sterilizes 99% of germs and bacteriaShould only be used on clear sealant hardwood
Long power cord 
Steam and heat level selection 
Fragrance discs (optional) for fresh smells 

2. Swiffer Sweeper Cleaner Dry and Wet Mop Starter Kit

Swiffer is a name we all know by now. With their army of cleaning products it is no surprise they have a stick mop for hardwood floors. This starter kit includes everything you need to clean all of your hard flooring, including hardwood.

You get the sweeper mop that started it all, along with 10 cleaning cloths. With the 7 dry cloths you can dust mop or damp mop any floor you like. The microfiber pads collect hair, dirt, dust and debris from your hardwood, even form the small cracks and grooves.

The wet pads aren’t exactly ideal for hardwood as they tend to be extremely wet. However, you can wring them out before attaching to the sweeper. As long as you don’t leave puddles behind, and you dry as you go, the wet pads will work wonders.

The pads are disposable, meaning you will need to pay for replacements often. However, they last a long time and you can clean an entire kitchen and more with a single pad. For the most part, you will want to use the dry cloths for the most part. Mopping with the wet pads once a month or so.

Simple to use wet or dryWet pads must be wrung out
Inexpensive cleaning solution for hardwoodDisposable pads add costs
Replacements are readily available 
Kit includes everything needed for your floors 

3. BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop

Bissell returns to our list with another powered model. This one doesn’t have steam, but it does offer you the chance to buff, polish and mop your hardwood, leaving a shine behind like the day they were installed.

The Spinwave mop uses two rotating pads to mop and clean your floors. It comes with two types of pad covers. There are scrubbing pads that work to loosen and remove tough stains and stuck-on messes. However, you want to avoid using these on your hardwood, if possible.

The other pads are standard microfiber cleaning pads, ideal for your hardwood floors. The 28 ounce water tank is plenty for cleaning hardwood since you won’t need as much water to mop.

The Spinwave also features a squeeze trigger for dispensing the water to the floor. You control how much water is used and where. The spinning pads will spread the water out and use it to clean your floors.

With a swivel cleaning head you can maneuver around furniture legs or get under cabinet edges a lot easier. It also comes with a sample of the Bissell cleaning solution, but for hardwood floors, you can save money and use plain tap water.

Dual cleaning heads for half the workScrubbing pads are too rough for hardwood
Uses cleaning solution or plain waterCan get heavy on extended use
Control water amount 
Swivel head for easier maneuverability 

4. O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop

O-Cedar takes the traditional string mop and turns it on it’s head. This innovative take on a standard mop leaves little doubt that the string mop is still a great addition to any floor cleaning regimen.

The mop head is a string mop, but the strings are folded over to provide double the cleaning area. The mop bucket also includes a specialized wringing method. A foot pedal is used to spin the mop head inside the bucket making it as wet or dry as you need.

For hardwood floors, you will want to spin the mop about 8 to 10 times to create a more damp mopping. For other floor types you can spin it less to add water to the floors, if needed.

The best part is that O-Cedar thought of everything. The bucket is also designed to prevent splash and spray from escaping while wringing out the mop head.

One problem with a lot of mops is that their handles are fixed. Shorter users may find the handle too long to mop comfortably. Taller users may find themselves bending over too far and becoming uncomfortable.

The EasyWring features an extendable handle that can extend out to a full 51 inches for comfort regardless of user. 

Control how wet the mop isFoot pedal can get hard to press after a while
Uses water or cleaning solutionsBucket gets heavy when full
Hands-free wringing 
Safe for hardwood floors 
Extendable handle 

5. iRobot Braava 380t Advanced Robot Mop

Robots have been helping us clean our floors since the mid-90s when the first Roomba was released. Now iRobot takes on mopping duties as well. The dedicated Braava 380t is one of the most advanced mopping robots on the market and is now affordable enough for almost every budget.

With the 380t model, you don’t have to worry about where the robot goes. It uses Northstar navigation to know where it is and where it has been. The robot will make a clear path around your hardwood floors without ever getting on your carpets.

Unlike a lot of other robots it will not return to the charging dock when it finishes or when the battery begins to die out. This is because it doesn’t have a charging dock. You have to pick the robot up and place it on the charger manually.

However, with a 120 minute runtime and a 2 hour recharging cycle, you can still go run your errands without worrying about your floors being clean. Regardless of your schedule, you can have your hardwood floors mopped at any time with a press of a button.

Once you fill the reservoir tank with water and attach a cleaning pad, you just have to press the start button and off the robot goes. Of course there are iRobot specific microfiber cleaning pads, but this robot will also use almost any type of cleaning cloth.

You can even use it for a dust mop or damp mop by spraying the floor in front of it with water or a cleaning solution so you can control how much water is actually applied to your floor.

Unlike other robot mops, this one doesn’t spray the floor. Instead, it drips water form the tank onto the cleaning pad. This helps prevent over-saturation of the floor, which is ideal for hardwood.

With full control, hands-free operation and a quick charge battery, you will wonder how you ever mopped without a robot before.

Won’t over saturate the floorDoesn’t automatically recharge
Use virtually any cleaning padHigher maintenance than stick mops
Long runtime for even the largest floors 
Hands-free operation 

6. PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner

PurSteam brings us another steam mop. However, this one is much more than just a mop. The 10-in-1 design allows you to clean so much more than just floors. You can tackle almost anything in your home, including your wardrobe.

With this model, you get a floor cleaner that allows you to clean any flooring surface, including hardwood. It gives you control over the steam levels so you won’t damage your hardwood finish.

You also get the handheld unit, by removing the floor cleaner stick, the handheld unit can go almost anywhere, including stairs, railings or behind the toilet. It also features a flex hose and several nozzles that let you clean glass, clothing or furniture.

On hardwood floors you will want to avoid any cleaning solutions and use only the steam. Set to the lowest setting your hardwood floors will be cleaned, mopped and sterilized in a single pass.

Perhaps the best feature, though, is the warranty. With a 2-year warranty and a free, no-questions asked replacement policy, you really have nothing to lose. No matter how you clean with the PurSteam model, you will find it suits all your needs.

Great warranty and replacement policy20-foot cord may be too small for some uses
Control steam levelCan be difficult to use on all floors
No cleaning solutions needed 
Machine washable pads 

7. Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Floor Cleaning Kit

Rubbermaid gives you a new twist on an old classic. The stick mop with microfiber pads is well known (and used) in many homes. However, this model gives you full control over the amount of water used, a no-scratch scrubber and no need for cords or batteries.

The manual mop uses a spray trigger that isn’t electric to control the flow of water or cleaning solution from the water bottle. You also get two bottles with this kit, so you can mix and match cleaning solutions, or just use plain water.

The microfiber pads, which you get four of by the way, are machine washable and will last at least a 100 cycles through the wash.

The tip of the cleaning head also features a little scrubbing pad. This is a soft scrub design that won’t scratch floors or finishes. However, if your hardwood floor has a wax finish, you don’t want to scrub too hard or too long.

The kit here gives you everything you need to get started, including 4 cleaning pads, the stick mop with scrubber tip and two cleaning solution bottles. Along with the kit, you have complete control over the cleaning, without need for power outlets or recharging batteries. It is a tough deal to beat.

Non-electric spray controlHandle doesn’t extend
no-scratch scrubberMay cause streaking if it gets too wet
Comfort grip for better control 
Two bottles for mixing your own cleaning solutions 

8. Turbo Microfiber Mop Floor Cleaning System

Similar to the Swiffer kit on this list, the Turbo Microfiber kit is a stick mop for cleaning all hard flooring types. This kit uses microfiber pads that are washable instead of disposable. While it does save you money up front, the replacement pads will need to be purchased one day.

However, each pad (and you get 4 with the kit) can go through the wash up to 100 times. The downside is that you aren’t going to easily find just replacements. Many users find they have to buy the entire kit again.

With this system there aren’t any wet pads so your mopping will be a dust mop or a damp mop. While you can soak the pads in a cleaning solution, it isn’t recommended, especially for hardwood floors.

The extending handle is made from aluminum and the cleaning head features rubber padded edges so you don’t have to worry about damaging furniture or under the cabinets. One thing to watch for, though, is the grips on the handle.

While comfortable, they do produce a weak spot. Some users (though not many) found that the handle can bend at the grip, and even break, over time.

Aside from the availability and possible weak spot in the handle, this kit is a solution for any hardwood floor owner. With complete control and reusable pads, there isn’t a spot on your floors that won’t be cleaned properly.

Washable pads to save moneyHandle has been known to bend or break
Extendable handle up to 60 inchesNo ability to wet mop
Rubber padded cleaning head protects furniture 
Works on all hard flooring 

9. MR.SIGA Professional Microfiber Mop for Hardwood

SIGA offers yet another take on the Swiffer design and this one may strike your fancy. With hardwood floors in mind, the MR. SIGA Professional mop gives you the opportunity to do more than just dust or mop your floors.

The kit comes with the stick mop with innovative cloth clip design. You don’t have to poke your finger through holes anymore. Now you place the mop head on and clip the pad in place. What makes this stand out, though, are the washable mopping pads.

The microfiber side lets you dust mop, damp mop or wet mop as you see fit. You can use water or any cleaning solution you like, though there isn’t a sprayer attachment. However, what you will be interested in is the waxing side of the pads.

For hardwood floors that need the wax paste coating reapplied, this mop will allow you to do just that, without having to get on your hands and knees.

Even better, it comes with a handheld dirt scrubber. This plastic tool lets you use the tip to scrape up stuck on messes off your floor, or the grooved “teeth” on the side to get hair and debris off of the cleaning pads without ever having to touch them.

While the handle and cleaning head construction aren’t the highest-quality, they will last you quite a while. Replacement cleaning pads are readily available, too.

Wax standing upNot the most durable construction
Reversible pads are also washableReplacement pads are fairly expensive
Dust, dry, damp or wet mop 
Dirt removal tool not found anywhere else 

How to Properly Mop Hardwood Floors

how to properly mop hardwood floors

Mopping hardwood floors isn’t difficult, it is just tedious and time consuming. To mop correctly you need to plan for the event and gather all of your cleaning tools. Depending on the size of your floor, the entire process can take between 30 minutes and a few hours.

The first thing to do is to gather your equipment. This means your broom, dust mop, wet mop, dust pans, cleaning solution (either in your mopping bucket or in the water tank on your mop) and some towels.

The first step after this is to sweep your floors. Many people choose to vacuum, which speeds up the process. However, if you don’t have a vacuum made for hard flooring, a broom and dustpan or a dust mop will work just as well.

Once the floor is clean of dirt, hair and debris it is time to mop. Instead of going full-bore, you need to clean in small sections at a time. Start at the furthest spot from your exit to the room and mop out a 2 or 3-foot section. Take your time and mop well and get the floor clean.

Once this small square of floor is clean you need to get a clean, lint-free towel or chamois and dry the section. You can do this by hand or use a dust mop with a clean, dry mopping pad attached.

Once the floor is completely dry, move to the next 2-foot section and repeat the process. You will continue to mop, dry and move until the entire floor is done.

Once the last section is dry, you can put away your cleaning supplies and know that you have mopped your hardwood floor without causing damage to the planks or the finish.

Other Cleaning Methods for Wood Floors

Cleaning a hardwood floor doesn’t have to just be a broom and mop. There are plenty of quick methods to keeping your floors clean.

  • You can use a sponge to get quick messes or spills just as they happen.
  • Instead of sweeping, some people use a Shop-Vac to vacuum up everything.
  • If the flooring is near a doorway, you can also use a vacuum with exhaust/blowing capabilities to blow dirt and debris outside.
  • Dust mops and damp mops, usually stick style mops, can be used to quickly sweep and mop at the same time (just make sure the floor doesn’t stay wet long).
  • Some people even put on clean socks and spray the floor lightly with a cleanser, using their feet to sweep and mop as they slide around the floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

best mops for hardwood floor faqs

Below, we answer some of the more common and frequently asked questions about mopping and hardwood floors in general.

Q. Will mopping hardwood void my warranty?

  1. The answer to this will depend on the manufacturer of your flooring. You should read the warranty to find out what is covered and what is not covered. Usually, warranties cover defects in the planks for the first 90 days, to give you a chance to install the floor.

After that the rest of the warranty (5-years, lifetime, etc.) covers the wear layer of the planks, to cover things like peeling, tears and such things. Unless your warranty forbids mopping, you will be fine doing so on occasion.

Q. How do I know if I have a clear sealant or an absorbent sealant on my hardwood floors?

  1. If your purchase paperwork doesn’t tell you the type of sealer on the planks, you will have to test it yourself. The best way is to use an extra plank left over from the install. If none are available, find a piece of an installed plank that is tucked in a corner or under a piece of furniture.

Use a sharp knife to carefully scrape the surface of the plank. You don’t want to dig into the plank, just scrape small flakes off the top layer. If the flakes are clear, you have a clear sealant, which can use water-based cleaners.

If the flakes are not clear, you have a wax paste coating over an absorbent sealant. For these types of planks you want to use detergent-based cleaners.

Q. Do I have to wax my hardwood floor? What is the best wax to use?

  1. The only time you will want to use a wax paste on your hardwood floors is if this is the type of finish your planks came with. You will want to use a commercial wax paste, like SC Johnson’s Wax Paste. The waxing should only be done about once a year, depending on the wear and traffic on the floor.

Q. My hardwood floor is labeled as waterproof, can’t I wet mop this floor?

  1. Wood, cork and laminate floors will never be 100% waterproof, no matter what it says. Wood and pulp in these planks absorb water and it will cause damage.

If your flooring says it is waterproof (not water resistant) this will refer to the type of sealant used on the plank surface. Once the floor is completely installed, the sealant will form a waterproof barrier.

However, over time, this barrier will break down. The more water, traffic and wear you put on the floors, the faster it will wear away. Steam, wet mopping and harsh chemicals will break down this protection even faster, and should be avoided.

Q. How often should I mop my hardwood floor?

  1. Using the mopping process outlined in this article, you can mop once a month, or less. Many people find that a detailed mop every 6 months is sufficient. It will depend on how much you use the floor (high traffic areas) and what kind of messes make it to the floor.

Top 9 Mops for Hardwood Flooring – Conclusion

Finding the right mop for hardwood floors can be a challenge. There are a lot of models on the market with a lot of features, claims and promises. Choosing the right one for you and your floors is tricky.

This article focused on showing you what you need to look for when shopping for a mop and showcased the 9 best mops for hardwood floors.

If you are still unsure, take another look at the BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop. This model (our top pick) cleans and sterilizes your floors. It also allows you to control the amount of steam and water used, making it ideal for all hardwood floor finishes.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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