Best Hardwood Floor Mops

Best Mops for Hardwood Floors

No matter how often you sweep or vacuum, your hardwood floor will lose its luster and shine under a film of life’s residue. You don’t want to scratch those shiny surfaces, nor can you scrub it with harsh materials or chemicals. A gentle touch is needed, and for that, you need tools appropriate for the cleaning task.

Soaking your hardwood under standing water is never recommended, and even the occasional puddle or leftover damp spots can cause issues for some wood flooring types. To clean your hardwoods, you want a mop that dampens the surface enough to clean it, but also removes moisture so no damage can occur.

Where can you find such a specialized tool? This isn’t something you randomly select from the mop aisle at a bargain store. Here are our recommendations for great mops for hardwood floors, along with features to consider and answers to commonly asked questions about cleaning hardwood flooring.

8 Best Mops for Hardwood Flooring

Best Overall: Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940

bissell powerfresh steam mop 1940
  • Mop Category: Steam
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A
  • Drying Effectiveness: B+
  • Ease of Use: A
  • Empty weight: 6.0 lbs.

This Bissell cleaner consistently ranks as the best across multiple review platforms, and for great reasons, like its multiple uses across all bare floor surfaces. It cleans with steam instead of any cleaning solution, which means a film residue won’t be left behind ruining the luster on your hardwoods. For the really tough crusty spots, you activate a dropdown cleaner to help with extra scrubbing power.

The water canister on this machine is a full 16 ounces (that’s only a pound of weight) so you can clean longer without refills. The steam heat is adjustable for low, medium and high power, giving you control of the level of deep cleaning based on your need. You can choose to add a scent to the water (made by Febreze) if you’d like to give your floors a fresh clean smell, too.

Some customers have complained of receiving a lemon and having difficulty getting it replaced or fixed under warranty. However, this product has been deemed successful for a long time, and the vast majority of users remain very happy with their results. A standard recommendation is to use distilled water instead of tap in the machine to avoid mineral build ups.

It’s important to note that Bissell recommends this unit for sealed hardwoods. That’s because steam can penetrate just like liquid in cooler forms.

The only thing picking up water is the cleaning pad on the machine head, which means you stand the chance of wetting the wood at seams and gouges. For this reason, this product is not a good choice for you if you have old, damaged floors.

Best for Old Wood: Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Spray Mop Premium

bona stone tile laminate spray mop premium
  • Mop Category: Spray
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A-
  • Drying Effectiveness: A-
  • Ease of Use: A
  • Empty weight: 4.7 lbs.

Bona systems are great because their mop heads are designed to offer maximum cleaning coverage (including tile floors) for the brand solution they use. This premium edition is the latest model and comes with cleaning solution that treats old hardwood with care along with other bare floor surfaces. It doesn’t leave a residue behind because the microfiber pad removes the solution.

A trigger spray release is conveniently located at the top of the handle within reach of your fingertips. The mist it releases gives you broad coverage to exploit ever pass you make. The reservoir of cleaning solution is easy to refill, and yes, you could use other products in it, but why would you?

Like all spray systems, this Bona model cleans based on a combo of the solution and the head, which means you might have to make multiple passes on particularly dirty areas. If the mop head becomes too damp, you won’t be picking up as much of the solution and some air drying may be required. This mop, though, can take care of both large areas and small touch ups quickly and with ease.

While the solution that comes with the mop kit is the all-in-one product, Bona also makes one specifically for hardwoods. We’ve used that with great success on solid oak in three houses. It provides a nice shine without feeling sticky afterwards.

Best for High Traffic: Bissell Spinwave Powered Hardwood Mop and Cleaner 2039A

bissell spinwave powered hardwood mop and cleaner
  • Mop Category: Steam
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A
  • Drying Effectiveness: B+
  • Ease of Use: A-
  • Empty weight: 9.5 lbs.

If your sealed hardwoods tend to get sticky or crusty, you need more cleaning power than steam alone, and that’s where this Bissell comes in. Its pads are circular, interlocking the rotating heads that add muscle to the steam heat process. It is a multipurpose tool to clean any sealed bare floor surface.

With a reservoir that holds 28 ounces of water, the filled weight of this unit is 11 pounds, but you won’t notice because the mop is easy to move, even in tight or confined spaces. If grease is a problem on your wood floors, a proprietary multi-surface cleaning solution can be added to the tank. An on-demand sprayer with trigger activation adds more water or solution where needed.

A trend in complaints is about the drying capability of the mop pads. People note that they may sop up liquid, but they have to be wrung out or replaced often. Even with that, they still leave water behind.

As with any other hardwood steam cleaning unit, your wood needs to be sealed before using this machine. The buffing action could damage thin seals, too, with time. Buy extra pads so you can change them often as you clean and dry your floor.

Best for Reusables: Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System S5003D

shark genius hard floor cleaning system s5003d
  • Mop Category: Steam
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A
  • Drying Effectiveness: A-
  • Ease of Use: A
  • Empty weight: 5.78 lbs.

It’s hard to put this Shark in a best for slot because it’s reliable and effective for so many cleaning situations. It delivers steam at three levels to allow you to match the cleaning power to the dirt. A steam blaster adds even more cleaning power.

Like any steam mop cleaner, this isn’t appropriate for hardwoods that aren’t sealed. What sets it apart from other steam machines, though, is the double-sided pad. Use one for the steam application and suck up dirt, then dry with the other side if you choose.

The pad system allows you to change the pad without touching it. One touch attaches it and another releases it, right into your washer if you like. These microfiber pads also have channels to help direct your steam where you need it and pick up dirt like magnets.

The water tank is 12 ounces, which some customers may find limiting in area to cover. For small spaces with multiple kinds of bare floor surfaces, though, it is ideal. If your sealed flooring brand recommends mild soap and water or water alone, this Shark makes it easy to clean.

Best for Keeping Things Simple: MR. SIGA Professional Microfiber Mop

mr siga professional microfiber mop
  • Mop Category: Manual
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: B+
  • Drying Effectiveness: A
  • Ease of Use: B+
  • Empty weight: 2.82 lbs.

In the world of reusables, we can’t overlook the plain microfiber mop that’s manual. It comes with multiple washable pads in different widths, including one designed for high dirt situations. A 360-degree swivel head changes direction easily and helps you get to those confined spaces.

The MR. SIGA brand comes with a clip-down system to holds pads in place. Those pads can be used for cleaning or for other purposes, like floor waxing. One type is also two-sided to extend your cleaning power, and all are readily available online and in stores at a reasonable replacement price.

The telescoping arm fits behind and under furniture. At less than three pounds, it’s easy to maneuver, carry to different house levels and store. Augment this with a spray bottle of your cleaner of choice and you’ll be ready to make your hardwoods shine.

Some customers complain that the pads don’t pick up small crumbs, but that’s the purpose of sweeping or hardwood vacuuming first. Others would like the pads to be thicker, and some say they’re too thick for the clamps. If going back to basics is your thing, buy this Mr. SIGA and decide for yourself.

Best for Bucket Use: O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop & Bucket

o cedar easywring microfiber spin mop bucket
  • Mop Category: Manual
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A-
  • Drying Effectiveness: B
  • Ease of Use: B+
  • Empty weight: 5.35 lbs.

Weight can be deceiving as in the case of this O-Cedar cleaning system. The bulk of it is in the bucket on wheels, while the part you’re pushing on the floor is a simple telescoping handle and loosely triangular microfiber mop. The mop head’s long fiber design can fit into any weird shaped space or corner you have and is washable and reusable.

The bucket’s wringing system is activated with a foot pedal and with practice, you can gauge how much pressure to put on it to leave the mop as wet as you’d like. A splash guard is said to keep water or solution inside the bucket when you wring it. You can use any cleaning solution you want as it’s compatible with everything.

There have been complaints about the mop handle breaking within the first few uses. Others note that the construction seems cheap. The mop head is smaller than many expected.

If only a bucket and mop will do for your hardwood & engineered wood cleaning needs, this affordable system is worth a try. Keep in mind that for hardwoods, the floor should be sealed before using any wet mopping system. Make sure you dry the surface afterwards to avoid film and damage.

Best for the Busy: iRobot Braava 380t

irobot braava 380t
  • Mop Category: Robot Steam
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: B
  • Drying Effectiveness: B
  • Ease of Use: A-
  • Empty weight: 8.1 lbs.

It should be no surprise that in this day of auto-everything, there’s a robot floor mop, too. The field of competitors is small, and while there are shortcomings to this model, it is the best of the breed for the time being. While this may be a fun and novel item now, only about two-thirds of customers are satisfied with the product.

This iRobot uses either reusable washable microfiber pads or disposables like those used on Swiffers. These apply either water or a mild cleaning solution from a reservoir on to your hardwood as it dusts and picks up dirt and hair. You would need to be present while it’s cleaning to change the mopping pad in dirty rooms where debris will accumulate quickly on that pad.

Programming allows the system to make straight passes for sweeping or back and forth patterned motions for mopping. After it maps the room, its navigation system tells it where it’s cleaned and what still needs to be done. It fits under furniture and around corners.

While it’s easy to set it and forget it, the iRobot does not yet have the ability to determine if it’s on particularly dirty spots that need extra cleaning attention. It runs for 350 square feet in mopping mode, which might not be adequate for large rooms. Still, if you have no time to clean and need something to take care of business, this could be the answer for you.

Best for Limited Budgets: Swiffer WetJet Hardwood Floor Spray Mop

swiffer wetjet hardwood floor spray mop
  • Mop Category: Spray
  • Cleaning Effectiveness: A-
  • Drying Effectiveness: A-
  • Ease of Use: B+
  • Empty weight: 3.68 lbs.

There’s a reason Swiffer has been the most popular disposable cleaning system over the past few years. It does what it promises and allows you to get rid of the result in the trash with ease. Th refillable reservoir accommodates whatever water or solution you need for your hardwood surface (though it ships with an all-purpose cleaner).

This battery-operated spray pressurizing system operates with a handle trigger to release the spray. You’ll then be moving the pad head back and forth to scrub or dry the spot. On areas that are extra crusty, this can take a little time, patience and/or elbow grease.

The pads are of the press-on variety, and you’ll need to peel them off when you’re done. Replacements are readily available, even in warehouse stores in bulk quantity. Swiffer says this system works well with mud and volumes of dirt, and successfully replaces a mop and bucket for these extreme applications.

Customers say that for the money, you get what you should expect. It’s great for small applications or quick pick-ups. Reviewers note the cleaning pads aren’t the best design and have substituted other brands with marked success.

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The Complete Hardwood Floor Mops Buyer’s Guide

How Mops Clean Your Hardwood Floor

Any floor accumulates dust and dirt, and in a perfect world, that would be it. Dust them periodically and the gleam reappears. However, it’s impossible to limit the debris on our hardwoods to simple dust, not when living life is involved.

Think about how much more collects on your floor and you’ll understand the need for major cleaning power. Cooking produces a fog of food particles in steam and smoke, and that settles on your flat surfaces even with a strong range hood. Shoes track in outside grime, pets slobber, and humans spill things.

Cleaning your hardwood of these types of messes isn’t a simple wash and done process. You need to consider cleaner solutions, the materials you’re using on the hardwood surface, and what you do or do not want to leave behind.

Solutions for Solutions

This article won’t be comparing cleaning solutions, but we can’t avoid the discussion completely either. Not all cleaning solutions are good for hardwood surfaces, and by good, we mean something that won’t damage the finish or leave behind a film that hides its luster. If you’re fond of homemade answers for cleaning products, think twice before using something you concoct out of pantry stock on your hardwoods.

Commercial cleaning solutions specifically designed for hardwoods are multipurpose. They clean the debris clinging to the surface through chemical reactions breaking the bonds that bind it to the finish. If allergies to chemicals or sensitivities to scents are issues in your household, look for naturally-derived nontoxic products easily accessible on store shelves and online.

Some solutions also treat the floor to protect the wood when scratches penetrate the finish, though hardwood manufacturers note this isn’t a substitute for special finish rejuvenation treatment. When the floor dries, you don’t want a residue remaining, which is a function of both the cleaner and the mop.

Mop Material

Mop materials fall into three categories. Reusable cloth mop heads, most often made of microfiber these days, clean through a scrubbing process (including elbow grease) and dry the floor of excess liquid. Disposable material does the same, but the head is not reusable.

Machine mops are often steam cleaners, so they heat water that permeates the dirt and loosens it for the pads to pick up. The actual head touching the surface varies in material and design. The downside is that in most cases, the pad is not adequate to remove all liquid from the floor, which makes drying effectiveness a general issue.

Of the first two categories, cloth heads are reusable, the kind you’d throw in the washer and dryer. They last for multiple uses and under some use conditions, for years. Disposables might need to be changed more than once, depending on how long you’re cleaning and how bad the dirt situation is.

Machine Design

Machine means any kind of application and drying system, not necessarily mechanical or powered. For example, there are both reusable cloth heads and disposable fiber heads, and both are on the end of a long handle.

You provide the go-power by pushing and pulling the handle, and on some, a reservoir carries cleaning solution you spray on your floor. We’re calling the spray models spray and the other sticks manual, but all of these rely on human-powered propulsion.

Hardwood Floor Mop Best For Mop Category
Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940 Best Overall Steam
Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Spray Mop Premium Best for Old Wood Spray
Bissell Spinwave Powered Hardwood Mop and Cleaner 2039A Best for High Traffic Steam
Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System S5003D Best for Reusables Steam
MR. SIGA Professional Microfiber Mop Best for Keeping Things Simple Manual
O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop & Bucket Best for Bucket Use Manual
iRobot Braava 380t Best for the Busy Robot steam
Swiffer WetJet Hardwood Floor Spray Mop Best for Limited Budgets Spray

At the other end of the spectrum, automated systems can do everything from sense the dirt level to mix the cleaning solution, applying and drying, all while moving back and forth with the ease of a fingertip’s pressure on the handle. These are powered machines that often use steam as the cleaning delivery agent, so we categorize them as steam. If you have large areas to cover and you want to clean often, this is the type of machine for you to consider.

Any of these options can be abrasive if not used properly. Reusable heads wear out and disposables aren’t as sturdy. Automated machines might be the worst offenders depending on the type of brushes or head on the system.

Drying Methods

Hardwood manufacturers and floor installers warn that any excess water on the wood surface can lead to problems. Cupping, a situation where the standing liquid seeps into the wood and changes its shape, is the worst end of the spectrum, but mold and discoloration are also problems that can develop. For this reason, drying the floor is an important step in your cleaning process.

If you use a reusable or disposable mop head, you’re cleaning and drying at the same time. It might be more accurate to describe this as spreading the cleaning solution until it evaporates, since the more cleaner you apply, the wetter the head gets and the less it dries the surface. For this reason, you’ll want to monitor the effectiveness of those drying strokes to make sure you aren’t leaving a lot of liquid behind.

Automated systems apply the steam and suck up the released dirt and debris. They don’t actually dry the hardwood, but they leave less liquid behind, at least in theory. In any situation, it’s a good idea to carry a rag to wipe up any spots the mop head or drier misses.

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FAQs about Mops for Hardwood Floors

Not all hardwood floor mops are created equal, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what kind you need until you try a model or two. But who has that time or that budget, not to mention the patience? Here are some questions to ask as you’re making your mop selection.

What’s my goal, cleaning alone or cleaning and polishing?

If your hardwood floors are dirty on a regular basis and the surface finish still shines under normal (clean) conditions, cleaning alone might be all you care about. Anything that helps you lift the muck will be adequate. Drying is a bonus, too.

Older wood or worn floors might need extra help, though. While the solution is part of that, you also want a head that’s structured to add a soft buffing to the process. In this case, you might need two mopsone to clean and the other to polish.

Do I have to vacuum first?

Sweep or vacuum with an adjustable height vac – that choice is yours. If you mop without taking this important step, you push around larger pieces of debris without removing them. Mops loosen dirt on hardwoods and wipe it away but can’t pick up larger items.

Is the hardwood solid or laminate?

Solid hardwoods (and engineered hardwood) are known for their durability, with the weakest points being the seams between planks. That’s where dirt likes to become trapped and where liquids can seep in too. You want a mop head sturdy enough to deal with the cracks that inevitably will change as the wood expands and contracts.

Laminate, on the other hand, comes in varying layer thickness. The hardwood is more veneer (top layer or layers) than throughout, and while seams are an issue, it’s more the thickness you want to worry about. In this case, you want something that’s not abrasive to the surface or you will wear away the finish over time.

What finish is on my hardwood?

Durability and density vary in hardwood finishes. Some are thick sealed layers impermeable to any liquid, while others are a light shellac designed to provide shine and luster but little protection. If you’ve had your floors refinished, you want to consider the product that’s been used in your mop decision.

We’ll note this frequently. Use what the manufacturer recommends if you have new or refinished hardwood. If you don’t know what’s on the wood, use a process (mop and cleaning solution taken together) that leaves it with no evident residue but a shine behind.

How scratched or damaged is the finish?

Notice we say how and not if. Even the newly installed hardwood will eventually develop a nick or two. The more damaged the floor, the more you’ll need to baby it along in the cleaning process.

Damaged finishes absorb the cleaning solution, and if your mop is not effective in removing the excess, that can lead to build up. In some situations, that build up is dense enough to do its own damage or to deter refinishing options. Treat your hardwood as you would fine wood furniture, matching the cleaning material and your verve in the cleaning process to the tenderness the floor may require.

How old is the wood?

I have both old hardwood (circa 1960) and new hardwood (circa last year) in my home. The old is worn and discolored in some places, and deeply gouged in others. The new is as yet pristine (crossed fingers).

I can use the same mop and cleaning combo in both areas, but with vastly different results. On the new hardwood, it polishes nicely on a single pass. In the old section, though, it can take multiple passes to achieve the same effect.

Even when older wood is refinished, it won’t be as sturdy or durable when it comes to cleaning. You might need to take more time and effort with it, so plan for an easier cleaning mop too. In all cases, use the cleaning that matches the hardwood’s needs.

What cleaner does my manufacturer recommend?

If your hardwood flooring is new, your brand manufacturer will have an opinion about what works best. Often this is a proprietary spray or mop application product. Don’t shy away from using those, and make sure you’re using them correctly.

Sometimes, though, we don’t like the product, chemicals, or results these cleaners bring into our homes. Likewise, a specialized mop that ends up being a costly investment might not be practical for day-to-day cleaning. If you can find a mop with the same features, you can avoid the pricey option altogether.

Does the warranty for my flooring require a specific product?

This gets tedious because it involves reading the fine print of your warranty to learn if you are only supposed to use XXX but not expose the surface to YYY. Ask your product rep or salesperson what the manufacturer requires. You might end up hearing a recommendation that pleases you but check your fine print anyway.

Are chemicals or scents an issue in my household?

Some mop manufacturers have proprietary cleaning solutions in disposable bottles that fit into their stick or automated systems. If that stuff smells in a way that’s disagreeable to you, that mop system isn’t for you. Test how strong the scent is to your nose before investing in a limited product system.

If your household includes babies or floor-bound pets, make sure that the chemicals you pick are baby- or pet-safe in terms of residue left behind. Babies stick hands in their mouths while crawling. Pets lick, well, everything. You get the picture.

How frequently will I clean my hardwood floors?

While all of us would like to believe we’ll keep our hardwoods clean, life intervenes and moves the cleaning task down the priority list. Or we have special needs on certain surfaces, like in playrooms, kitchens or bathrooms. A mop system that’s easy to use will make meeting those special needs a breeze rather than a dreaded chore.

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Our Selection Criteria for Hardwood Floor Mops

If you’re cleaning a lot of area and you need to clean it often, you’re going to want the process that takes the least toll on your body while maximizing the results. Small spaces, on the other hand, or spaces that gather more dust than trampled dirt don’t need the same effort. Automated systems meet the first need, while a simple stick can solve the second, and yes, there are many choices in between.

Hardwood Floor Mop Best For Mop Category Cleaning Effectiveness Drying Effectiveness Ease of Use Weight
Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940 Best Overall Steam A B+ A 6.0 lbs.
Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Spray Mop Premium Best for Old Wood Spray A- A- A 4.7 lbs.
Bissell Spinwave Powered Hardwood Mop and Cleaner 2039A Best for High Traffic Steam A B+ A- 9.5 lbs.
Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System S5003D Best for Reusables Steam A A- A 5.78 lbs.
MR. SIGA Professional Microfiber Mop Best for Keeping Things Simple Manual B+ A B+ 2.82 lbs.
O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop & Bucket Best for Bucket Use Manual A- B B+ 5.35 lbs.
iRobot Braava 380t Best for the Busy Robot steam B B A- 8.1 lbs.
Swiffer WetJet Hardwood Floor Spray Mop Best for Limited Budgets Spray A- A- B+ 3.68 lbs.

Mop Category

We’ve classified mops into three categories – manual, spray and steam. Under any of these, the cleaner may be part of the contraption, or it might be a separate application process. Materials for the mop head also vary.

Cleaning Effectiveness

Not all mops will clean your hardwoods with equal effectiveness. Some are best for general all-over cleaning and others master heavy traffic or spot cleaning well. This is a combination of material and machine, so in addition to our assigned grade in this criterion, check our comments for more detailed information.

Drying Effectiveness

Some mops have a method for drying the surface once you clean, which is as important as the cleaning pass in the first place. While you perform the cleaning or scrubbing passes, you may also be drying the surface. Again, this is a function of both materials and machine design.

Ease of Use

If your cleaning system is easy to use, you’re more likely to grab it for quick cleanups as well as staying ahead of the big jobs. For this reason, we rate ease of use to provide you with that encouragement. Sometimes simpler is better, though not always as our reviewers’ comparison shows.

Weight

You don’t want cumbersome gear. If you have to heave a machine around, you won’t be as willing to take it out for the small messes and you’ll be exhausted doing large floors. We list empty weight; liquid cleaner adds a pound per 16 ounces.

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Yvonne Kohano

About Yvonne Kohano

Yvonne Kohano never met a remodeling project she didn’t like – almost. Ditto on tools to keep things looking great. She is a fiction author of romantic suspense and psychological thrillers, book/business coach for creatives, and nerdy student of human behavior and the natural world.

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