Can You Vacuum Hardwood Floors?


If you have beautiful hardwood floors in your home, chances are when it comes to cleaning them you’re a bit worried about using your trusty vacuum cleaner to do the job.

You don’t want your floors to get scuffed or otherwise damaged by vacuum cleaner heads or the unit’s scratchy wheels. 

Do hardwood floors get damaged easily? Hardwood floors, although durable, are softer than other flooring materials, such as stone and tile. They can be scratched and discolored pretty easily.

Does this mean you should forget about using your vacuum cleaner on a hardwood floor? Read on to find out everything you need to know before you use your trusty vacuum cleaner to clean your floors. 


Are You Using The Wrong Kind Of Vacuum Cleaner? 

Are You Using The Wrong Kind Of Vacuum Cleaner? 

Not all vacuum cleaners are made the same, nor do they all share the same features. As you know, there are a variety of vacuum cleaners on the market, such as upright, canister, and handheld vacuums.

They all work a little differently to give your floors a thorough clean, but some of them can be a little too harsh for use on hardwood floors.

For example, the wrong kind of vacuum cleaner to use on your hardwood floors is a powerful upright vacuum. It’s designed to agitate dirt from inside carpets with the use of a brush.

The problem is that you can’t use a bristle brush on hardwood floors as it will scratch them. However, you can find upright vacuum cleaner models that have softer brushes or that enable you to turn off their brush roll.

These are more accommodating to your hardwood floors. 

A good alternative to an upright vacuum cleaner is a lightweight stick vacuum. This doesn’t have stiff brushes, so it’s gentler on hardwood floors, plus it usually comes with attachments you can use specifically on bare floors to further make it safe to use.

When choosing a vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors, you should ensure it has powerful suction as this will remove dirt and dust from crevices between the planks of wood. 

Other Types Of Vacuum Cleaners You Can Use On Hardwood Floors 

Other Types Of Vacuum Cleaners You Can Use On Hardwood Floors 
  • Canister vacuum cleaner. This can work with a variety of attachments to clean your home, which makes it versatile. Although some models can be a bit heavy, they have wheels. You just have to check that they won’t cause scratches. The bare-floor head that’s fitted on a canister vacuum is light enough for hardwood floors. 
  • Handheld vacuum cleaner. This is light and easy to move around, plus it doesn’t have wheels so you won’t risk scratching your hardwood floors. It’s perfect for those quick cleans when you want to remove specific spills and messes. 
  • Robot vacuum cleaner. This takes the stress out of vacuuming for good! A robot vacuum cleaner is cordless and has intelligent technology on board to clean your floors properly, such as floor mopping. A robot vacuum won’t scratch your hardwood floor because most models come fitted with soft brushes and rubbery wheels. 

What Are Some Good Alternatives To Vacuum Cleaning? 

What Are Some Good Alternatives To Vacuum Cleaning? 

If you’re still worried about using a vacuum cleaner on your hardwood floors because they’re so susceptible to damage, you can use a broom instead.

This will catch dirt and dust as you move it across the floor, but of course, you will have to collect the debris with a dustpan and brush at the end of your cleaning session.

An even better way to clean your hardwood floors is to use a microfiber dust mop. This will help you to remove dust, dirt, and other particles from the home.

The microfiber mop head is soft so it won’t scratch your floors, and it works well to collect dirt without spreading it around your floors in the way that sometimes brooms can.

After sweeping or dust mopping your floors, you can follow up with some wet mopping. This helps to remove any stubborn dirt and stains on the floor. You can mop your hardwood floors with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

A soft mop with a microfiber head is, again, ideal for keeping your hardwood floors clean but in good condition.  

When mopping your floors, dip the mop in a bucket that contains a mixture of water and vinegar. Use the mop in an “S” motion, as this further collects dirt and dust without moving it around your floors.

When you mop your hardwood floors, you have to be careful to wring out the mop so that you don’t leave puddles on the floor. 

Best Vacuum Cleaners For Hardwood Floors 

Best Vacuum Cleaners For Hardwood Floors 

Need some inspiration for what vacuum cleaner models you should purchase to clean your hardwood floors without scuffing them?

Here are some of the best vacuum cleaner models that have features to leave your hardwood floors looking sparkly clean without causing them any damage.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352

This vacuum cleaner is a strong and powerful one that you can use on all surfaces, so it’s easy to use and versatile. Just switch the brush roll-off or on, so you can choose the most convenient setting for your hardwood floors.

Although it’s an upright vacuum cleaner, it’s designed to be lightweight, it has a detachable pod so you can clean above-floor areas of the home, such as your furniture, and it has a swivel steering feature so you can move around furniture with ease to give your hardwood floors a deeper clean.

Dyson V8 Fluffy Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

This vacuum cleaner is an ideal model for cleaning your bare floors. It works well to pick up all types of debris. It has a carbon fiber cleaning head that removes dust as well as hair from hardwood floors.

It runs on batteries that give you up to 40 minutes of suction power. This model is lightweight and it’s bagless so you don’t have to worry about replacing bags, which makes it more convenient to own.

Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum Cleaner

This Bissell vacuum cleaner boasts multi-cyclonic technology that provides powerful suction. It’s got a hard-floor turbine foot that is tough on debris and dirt, but super gentle on your floors at the same time.

It’s built with a multi-surface feature so you can remove dirt from rugs, carpets, and bare floors, so it’s versatile for use throughout the home. As a bonus, it’s also compact and lightweight. This makes it easy to use as well as store after your cleaning session. 

Black + Decker Power series Pro 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum

A cordless vacuum makes it easy for you to clean your hardwood floors without having to be near a power outlet. This vacuum cleaner has a removable hose and canister, so you can clean your hardwood floors, as well as many other surfaces, such as ceilings and stairs.

One of its best features is that it adjusts its suction power automatically when you need to clean your bare floors or your thick carpets. It gives you up to 60 minutes of runtime. 

Related Questions 

What are the most scratch-resistant hardwood floors? 

The strongest types of hardwood floors include those containing white oak, hard maple, and hickory wood. These are less susceptible to scuffs and scratches when compared to softer woods such as black walnut, cherry, and pine.

How else can you prevent scratches in your hardwood floor?

How else can you prevent scratches in your hardwood floor?

Besides using a gentle vacuum cleaner, there are things you can do to protect your hardwood floors from scratches. These include avoiding chairs with rollers, removing your shoes, and using area rugs.

Can you steam mop your hardwood floors?

You can steam clean your sealed hardwood floors as these are strong enough to handle the heat and moisture, but you shouldn’t use a steam cleaner on an unsealed hardwood floor as this can be damaging.  


Can you vacuum hardwood floors? You must purchase the correct vacuum cleaner to clean them without damaging them. While you can vacuum clean your hardwood floors, you can’t just use any old vacuum cleaner.

Choose one from the models we’ve featured. In this article, we’ve also looked at how to clean your floors with a broom and mop instead, if you want to avoid vacuum cleaners altogether.

Hardwood floors can feel tricky to clean with vacuum cleaners, but after reading this article you now know which ones to choose and what features to look for so that you can buy the best one for your hardwood floors to keep them looking good.