Sweep or Vacuum, Which is Better for Hardwood Floors?

Which is better for your hardwood floors, sweeping or vacuuming? That is the question that puzzles many homeowners who have hardwood floors. As much as different people have their own way of cleaning the floors, one cannot help but wonder which method is the most efficient and effective.

Cleaning hardwood floors is not a herculean task because it can be done without the assistance of a professional. Whether you choose to sweep or vacuum, you should be aware of and employ the most efficient method.

Sweep or Vacuum, Which is Better for Hardwood Floors

As a result, if you are constantly debating whether to sweep or vacuum your hardwood floors, you have come to the right place. This article provides you with an in-depth insight into the most effective and efficient method of cleaning your hardwood floors.

In this post we will cover:

  1. Sweep or Vacuum, Which is better for Hardwood Floors?
  2. How often should I vacuum my wood flooring?
  3. Are vacuums good for hardwood floors?
  4. What makes the best hardwood-floor vacuum?
  5. How should you prevent scratches in your hardwood flooring?

Sweep or Vacuum, Which is better for Hardwood Floors?

When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, the most significant thing is to watch out for the risk of scratching that can cause permanent damage. In this regard, there are two major ways of cleaning hardwood floors, which are sweeping and vacuuming.

There has always been a debate about which is the better way to clean hardwood floors, between the two. This is how we have broken it down:


A broom and a dustpan are tools that can be found in any household. Sweeping is one of the most common methods that people use to keep their floors and homes clean.

However, when it comes to hardwood floors, sweeping is one of the great options since the flooring is not at risk of getting scratched by the broom’s soft bristles.

There are several advantages to sweeping hardwood floors, and they include the absence of noise since the broom can be used at any time of day or night without any disturbances.

Secondly, there is no need for finding compatible attachments for cleaning and you can start using the broom anytime you want.

Thirdly, there is no need to worry about bag or belt requirements with the broom while using it. Fifthly, the broom is an economical option as no maintenance is required and sweeping is an easy task.

Sixthly, the broom can access places such as gaps between stoves and countertops where not every model of vacuum cleaner can reach.

Lastly, the broom does not leave scrape marks or scratches on hardwood floors. It operates without the use of electricity.


Contrary to popular belief, vacuuming does not damage hardwood floors, and sweeping is not the best option. However, with the ever-evolving technology, vacuum cleaners have made cleaning hardwood floors easier.

The vacuums have special brush attachments with soft bristles which are gentle on your wooden floor. There are many benefits to vacuuming, and they include the fact that the task becomes less labor-intensive.

Secondly, vacuuming hardwood floors is much harder than sweeping, and there is no need to continuously empty the dustpan by bending down.

Thirdly, a vacuum cleaner has several attachments for different cleaning tasks in the home, such as floors, corners, and small nooks. The machine is capable of serving all your cleaning needs.

Fourthly, there are fewer chances of dust being kicked up in the air since the dust will be trapped in the vacuum. The latest models are equipped with HEPA filtering technology, which is more effective at cleaning dirt and grime.

When you deep clean your hardwood floors with a vacuum cleaner, it increases the lifespan of your flooring.

The Best Option

Vacuuming is better than sweeping because a vacuum cleaner will pull dust and dirt even out of crevices and suck them into a self-contained canister or dirtbag. By this action, the machine creates less airborne dust and leaves less dirt on your hardwood floors.

When you sweep, the broom will just move dust and dirt around your floor surface and into the dustpan. However, this is not the best way to eliminate dust and dirt from your hardwood floors. If you sweep, some dust will become airborne and bits of dirt will fall into corners and crevices.

If you mop after sweeping, the moisture will bind the leftover dirt and form mud. Therefore, vacuuming is the best option when it comes to cleaning your hardwood floors. However, vacuuming does not mean just using any vacuum cleaner.

Many vacuum models consist of a beater bar engineered to pound on carpets to stir up debris and dust. On some vacuums, you can remove the beater bar or turn it off.

The beater bar feature is not favorable for hardwood floors, and the best vacuum to use on them is either a canister vacuum or a stick vacuum designed for bare floors since they do not have the beater bar.

How often should I vacuum my wood flooring?

Ideally, you should use your vacuum cleaner as often as you would use a broom. That is every couple of days or more if you own pets or have small children in your household.

Then follow up with a damp mop to clean stains that could not be sucked up by the vacuum once a week or more depending on your cleaning needs.

The frequency with which to clean your wood flooring depends on how much an area is used and the amount of foot traffic it gets. In many instances, low-traffic areas only need to be cleaned once a week to avoid grime and dust build-up on the floors.

High traffic areas such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen need to be vacuumed twice a week along with regular sweeping and mopping. Generally, hardwood floors should be vacuumed once a week or more depending on other factors in your household.


Whether you choose to sweep or vacuum your hardwood floors depends on you, since both methods are great in their own way, based on your cleaning needs. However, the most effective and efficient way of cleaning hardwood floors is by vacuuming them.

Vacuuming is a good option for regular cleaning of wood flooring since it eliminates 100 percent of all the dirt, dust, and debris on your floors. The vacuum suctions everything on its path and nothing gets the chance of escaping in the air or falling back on the floor again.

However, the risk is using the wrong type of vacuum cleaner on your hardwood floors. The wrong cleaning tool can scratch or damage your floor, so it is best to opt for a canister vacuum or stick vacuum designed for bare floors.


Are vacuums good for hardwood floors?

Vacuums are great for hardwood floors since they are convenient and more versatile to use. There are various vacuum models which work excellently on wood flooring.

For instance, upright vacuums work excellently on hardwood flooring if their brush roll has soft bristles or if the brush roll can be turned off.

Canister vacuums consist of various attachments which make them capable of cleaning any surface, including hardwood flooring. Stick vacuums are great for quick cleanups.

What makes the best hardwood-floor vacuum?

Hardwood floors can be cleaned by any vacuum cleaner since the simplest task of a vacuum is cleaning. There is nothing special required to eliminate hair, dust, or crumbs from wood flooring. However, there are some vacuum cleaners that do a better job than others.

Therefore, for you to avoid damaging your wood flooring or scattering debris on it, look for a vacuum cleaner model that allows you to switch off its brush roll or has a soft-bristled brushroll, or one which does not have a brush roll at all.

A stiff-bristled brush roll is counterproductive on hardwood floors because it scatters some types of the debris before it can be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. In the worst-case scenario, a brush that is too harsh can scratch your flooring.

Vacuums that allow you to switch the brush roll off have an on-and-off button that enables you to shut down the roller when cleaning hardwood floors. Some vacuum models have heads that have been designed without a brush roll, while a few have a soft fabric brush roll.

How should you prevent scratches in your hardwood flooring?

First and foremost, all hardwood gets scratched and it is just a matter of time before a scratch appears on your wood flooring. Grit and dirt are the number one culprits behind the scratches. As a result, do everything you can to keep dirt and grit off of your wood flooring.

However, there are ways of preventing or minimizing scratches on your wood flooring, and they include the following:

Taking off your shoes: removing your shoes can have a significant impact on your wood flooring. It will prevent you from bringing in all the dirt that you have stepped on with your shoes.

Adding felt pads to furniture: felt pads are essential for chairs that move the most in your household. The pads can make a big difference when it comes to preserving your floors.

Add entry mats at your door: the areas by your door will wear down fast due to water, salt, or snow. To prevent this, put doormats at every entryway of your home on the inside and outside to preserve your hardwood floors.

Avoid chairs with rollers: chairs with rollers scratch up floors since grit and dirt tend to get caught in them. Therefore, it is best to get mats to put under them if you have them, or avoid them completely as they will destroy your wood flooring.

If you must use these types of chairs, consider purchasing office chair caster wheels, which are ideal for hardwood floors.

Avoid stilettoes, spiky shoes, and cleats: these types of shoes can dig into hardwood floors and cause them to scratch. Also, avoid sliding or drugging furniture across your wood floors and they will have the same scratching impact.

Regularly clean the floors: ensure that you regularly clean your hardwood floors to get rid of dirt and grit that may cause scratches on your flooring.

What are the common mistakes that people make while cleaning hardwood flooring?

Using vinegar, water, or soap: avoid cleaning your wood flooring with water and soap since it can cause water damage, swelling, and floorboard separation. Hard water may leave stains and shorten the lifespan of your wood flooring.

Vinegar, on the other hand, is an acid that can damage the finish of your flooring over time. Therefore, it is best to avoid using these three things on your hardwood floors altogether.

Using oil or wax-based cleaners: the cleaners do not mix well with the finish of hardwood floors. The excessive use of such cleaners can damage the finish, causing it to require extra buffing.

It is always good to check whether the cleaner you are using is safe for your wood flooring. If you are not sure, check for the floor installer or manufacturer’s best cleaning product.

Using a carpet vacuum: Using a carpet vacuum on hardwood floors is dangerous because the vacuums have stronger beater bars or bristles that can cause damage to your floors.

Not cleaning spills immediately: spills should be cleaned as soon as they occur because leaving food or coffee stains on the floors for too long will require you to put in extra effort when cleaning them later. Some food spills can leave damaging stains on the wood flooring.

Using conventional steam and mop cleaners: conventional mops are designed to absorb water. Therefore, if they are used on hardwood floors more than required, they will cause water damage.

Steamer cleaners leave behind moisture, and the heat from them can damage the finish on your wood flooring. Therefore, these cleaning methods should not be used on wood flooring.

Not cleaning enough: hardwood floors require constant care, and allowing dirt to accumulate on them can be costly in the long run. Therefore, it is good to establish a cleaning routine for monthly, weekly, or daily cleaning.

Sweep or Vacuum, Which is Better for Hardwood Floors