How to Properly Use a Hardwood Floor Vacuum

Hardwood floors were always a dream of mine. They are so sophisticated and sleek that I had to have them. I did not realize the extra care they needed until I saw the toll daily use took on them.

It is hard to even vacuum hardwood floors without worrying I might mess up and do more damage than good. So I did a little research and found out the best ways to keep my dream flooring looking new with my weekly vacuuming routine.

Beater Bar

The biggest issue with my vacuum was the beater bar. It uses a combination of sweeping and vibrating that is useful for carpets but harsh on hardwood floors. The vacuum head must be felt or brush in order to be safe but even so the beater bar is too much.

When vacuuming you need to be gentle. You also need to be frequent. I have come to realize that the finish on my floors is so sensitive to dirt that I need to spot clean more than once a week to protect it from the minuscule scratches that gradually eat away at it.

The Wheels

Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Image courtesy of Vacuum Companion.

The wheels on your vacuum can be an issue too. You need to have rubber ones instead of plastic because they are easier on the floors. I check mine before every use to make sure they are in good working order.

If the wheels hesitate or lock up instead of gliding with you they will leave a huge scratch in your floor. I invested in a new vacuum since mine actually had padding instead of wheels and that was even worse. Every pass of the vacuum damaged it.

Special Settings

The new vacuum I got had a few settings that made it even more convenient to use than my old one:

  • A toggle switch for the roller brush: This way I am sucking up dirt instead of spreading it
  • A suction control switch: Because the lowest suction that works is what you need for optimal cleanliness as well as protection
  • Bare Floor Setting: So that I can use this vacuum on other floors of my house if I need to


When cleaning hardwood floors, attachments are better than any setting. I used to underestimate that wand slung behind the handle; then I read about the difference a more concentrated suction could have on problem areas.

Like pet hair. It sticks to corners, or it blows away when the vacuum head gets to close. The wand attachment picks up that frustrating mess on the first try.

I start off by picking up the stubborn and large debris like the pet hair, and thick lint or dust. The wand is great for getting behind my bookcases and the entertainment center. After that stuff is cleared away I vacuum the main part of the room and I only have to do it once.

No more chasing after rogue bits of debris.

Consider a Canister

If your vacuum is as outdated as mine was you should invest in a new one. It is worth the thousands of dollars you save by not having to re finish your floors.

When you are looking for a new one, considering getting a canister vacuum cleaner instead of the upright models since canister vacuums are considered by many as the best vacuum for hardwood floors. Its flexibility and hoses make it convenient for reaching under furniture and climbing stairs. It also weighs a lot less than an upright model.

Good Luck!

A few simple adjustments can extend the life of your floors. Your vacuum should have the power to deal with tough jobs like pet dander and lint. If it can do that without overwhelming the hardwood finish then the rest will come easy.