How to Clean Matte Finish Hardwood Floors: A Complete Guide

If you want to learn how to clean matte finish hardwood floors then you have come to the right place. We have the best method lined up below, as well as some considerations you need to make before you jump into the cleaning process.

Generally speaking, you can clean a matte hardwood floor by vacuuming, tackling stains using a cloth and then mopping the entire floor before allowing it to air dry – making sure that no water is sat on the surface.

Let’s jump right into the guide so you can quickly learn the easiest way to get your matte hardwood floor looking new.

What Is A Matte Hardwood Floor?

A matte hardwood floor is simply a hardwood floor with a matte finish.

The matte finish can be described as a more ‘dull’ or natural-looking aesthetic that is suited for rustic houses. The matte finish will complement certain rooms and make others look worse, but it all comes down to personal preference.

The other options for hardwood floor finishes include satin, semi-gloss and full-gloss which are in order of increasing reflectiveness, which provides that ‘shiny’ and new look.

What To Consider Before You Start Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your matte hardwood floor, you need to consider a couple of things to make sure you don’t accidentally cause your floor unnecessary damage.

Gaps Between Floorboards

If you notice any gaps between the floorboards you will need to avoid these areas whilst mopping.

Gaps provide an easy way for water to get into the floorboards which can lead to a variety of problems such as mold, cupping and structural damage. Although gaps may show due to seasonal changes in humidity, it is still crucial to not allow moisture into them whenever possible.

Floor Finish

If your floor is not sealed, then you should consider skipping the mopping part of the cleaning instead of getting your floor sealed as soon as possible. You can read more about this in our article addressing mopping unsealed hardwood floors.

You can use our guide to tell if your floor is sealed or not, and once you have confirmed that it is sealed you can continue to the cleaning steps below.

Cleaning Matte Hardwood Floors: Step-by-Step

Once you’ve checked that your floor is properly sealed and contains no gaps between floorboards you can proceed with the steps below to clean it.

A tip before you start is to wear clean socks to make sure you aren’t bringing in any extra dirt onto the floor before you start.


The first part of any floor cleaning routine is to vacuum the area thoroughly. By vacuuming, you will remove the majority of dust and debris that is sat on the surface, and if there are any larger items you can simply remove these with a pair of plastic gloves

Tackle Stains

After vacuuming you may notice stains that appear difficult to clean up. These can be either food stains or areas where dirt has collected and formed a gunk layer on top of the wood.

To allow for successful mopping afterwards it is crucial to remove any tough stains beforehand. To do this simply follow the instructions laid out below:

  • For light, surface stains you can use a damp cloth with a couple of drops of dish soap to work the stain out. Simply rinse a clean cloth with warm water, wring out until damp and then apply a couple of drops of dish soap to it. Use this to rub the stain, rinsing the cloth regularly and then drying with a clean towel afterwards.
  • For deeper stains, we recommend using hydrogen peroxide. You can read our full guide to using hydrogen peroxide on hardwood here.


Once any tough stains have been removed the entire floor can be mopped. This can be done either with a floor cleaning solution or with a natural solution, the choice of which is entirely up to you.

It is important that you cover the entirety of the floor during mopping and rinse out the water regularly, otherwise you may find that your floor actually appears dirtier than before you started.

Floor Cleaning solution

Popular wood floor cleaning solutions such as Bona make great options to use for mopping your floor. Simply follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the label and you will be good to go!

Natural Solution

If you prefer a natural cleaning solution, then you can easily create one using 1/2 cup white vinegar with one gallon of water. You can spice this up with a few drops of your favorite essential oils and then you’re ready to go.

In our opinion, a branded floor cleaner will obtain better results, but you won’t be able to tell the difference in cases where your floor is not that dirty to begin with.

Allow To Dry

The last stage of the cleaning process is to allow your floor to dry.

This is crucial to the whole process because if done incorrectly it can leave streaky marks on the floor. The secret to the drying process is to leave as little moisture behind as possible after mopping. You also don’t want the evaporation to happen too quickly as this can also cause streaky marks as well, so avoid too many windows.

Regular Maintenance

Don’t forget that the easiest way to keep your floor clean is by following a cleaning schedule to maintain it properly.

You should aim to mop once every two or three weeks and vacuum at least twice per week. It is always easier to keep a floor clean consistently rather than attempting to clean it thoroughly once in a while.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning matte finish hardwood floors is not so different from regular hardwood floors, you just need to follow the same rules to make sure you don’t cause any unwanted damage.

If you have any other tips relating to cleaning matte finish hardwood floors then please get in touch.