Can You Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

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vacuum hardwood floors

You spot a pile of dirt on your hardwoods and reach for your vacuum. After all, it seems like the quickest, easiest, and most effective way to clean up the mess.

But before you start, you wonder, can you vacuum hardwood floors? Or, is there some reason a vacuum would damage your wood?

If you’re pro vacuum, here’s what you need to know about cleaning your hardwood floors.

Is it Okay to Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

Yes, it is perfectly okay to vacuum your hardwood floors. Many vacuums even have one setting for hard floors and another for carpet. Vacuums are great at picking up dirt, and many people find them much more convenient than a broom and dustpan.

However, if your vacuum is made for carpet only and has hard-bristled brushes on it, it may scratch up your floor.

What Kind of Vacuum Should You Use on Hardwood Floors?

If you’re wondering if a specific type of vacuum is better for cleaning hardwood floors, the answer is “yes.”

Vacuums are generally either for carpet or hardwood floors.

Carpet vacuums have hard-bristled brushes that help release dirt so that the vacuum can suck it up. Understandably, these brushes are not ideal for hardwood floors since they could potentially scratch them.

Hardwood floor vacuums either forgo the roller brush or have a roller brush with very soft bristles that won’t scratch up your wood flooring. These vacuums generally have superior suction as well.

If you’re worried about scratching up your floors and your current carpet vacuum doesn’t have a setting for hard floors, you’ll need to purchase a separate vacuum.

Here are three popular choices:

Of course, these aren’t the only options. And there are great vacuum choices at all budget levels.

How Often Should You Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

how often should you vacuum hardwood floors

You should vacuum your hardwood floors as needed. This means if you see a mess like a bunch of crumbs or a pile of mud that’s come off of someone’s shoes, vacuum it up.

When you don’t clean up these small messes, the dirt and crumbs can act sort of like sandpaper, causing minor scratches on your floors when walked over repeatedly.

In addition to spot cleaning, you should thoroughly vacuum your floors weekly. Mop your floors as needed.

What’s the Proper Way to Clean Hardwood Floors?

The best way to keep your hardwood floors in good shape for a long time is to care for them properly.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to properly clean your hardwood floors:

  • Spot clean messes as needed.
  • Once per week, thoroughly vacuum or sweep your floors.
  • At least twice per month, mop your floors with a damp microfiber mop and an appropriate cleaner.
It’s important that when cleaning your floors, you don’t oversaturate your mop. Doing this can result in water damage. 

Also, be sure to use a wood-safe cleaner. Other cleaners can cause a build-up on your flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq vacuum hardwood floor

Can you use robot vacuums to clean hardwood floors?

Yes, you can use robot vacuums like the Roomba to clean hardwood floors. However, you’ll want to choose a model with rubber wheels.

Robot-vacuums with plastic wheels may scratch up your floors if dirt, rocks, or other types of debris get stuck underneath them.

Is it better to vacuum or mop hardwood floors?

Vacuum and dry mops can both keep floors cleaned. For daily cleaning and dusting, running a dry mop over your floor can work fine. However, if there are piles of dirt or crumbs on your floor you’ll likely find a vacuum to be a much more effective way of cleaning up the mess.

Do vacuums scratch hardwood floors?

A carpet vacuum with plastic wheels and a low hard-bristled brush can scratch a hardwood floor. Luckily, there are vacuums made for hardwoods that will not leave scratches behind. These vacuums have rubber wheels, very soft-bristled brushes, or no brushes at all.


If you want to know if you can vacuum hardwood floors, the answer is ‘absolutely.’

If you’re worried about scratching up your floors, I recommend purchasing a hardwood floor vacuum. These vacuums offer excellent suction and are great at picking up dirt, crumbs, and everyday messes.

Best of all, you don’t need to fork over hundreds of dollars for one of these vacuums. You can find excellent hardwood floor vacuums at every price level.

Photo of author


Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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