Cleaning hardwood floors differs from cleaning other floor surfaces that can be found in homes. Most of the rotating brushes designed for cleaning carpets are not suitable for cleaning hardwood surfaces, since they can damage the wood finish or even wood itself.
When choosing vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors, it is important to know if the vacuum cleaner is going to be used ONLY for hardwood floors or vacuum cleaner must be capable of cleaning various surfaces, including hardwood floors.
Also, vacuums come in various sizes and styles and one has to choose according to personal preferences and needs.
Hardwood Cleaning Brush
Universal vacuum cleaners often have rotating brush suitable for cleaning carpets and other similar surfaces. However, such brush with its bristles can scratch and damage hardwood finish.
Cleaning brush for hardwood is much softer and can be used not only on wooden floors, but also on furniture and other similarly sensitive surfaces. Universal vacuum cleaners often have easily accessible off/on switch for rotating brush tool, so if you are not sure about its strength and bristle stiffness, it is better to avoid using it over wooden floors. Better safe than sorry.
Due to multiple options and tools, universal vacuum cleaners are often much more expensive than vacuum cleaners designed only for cleaning hardwood floors.
In order to increase suction and thus cleaning effect, hardwood vacuum cleaners often have stripe or padding made from soft, but durable rubber around their cleaning head/nozzle. Such material is very gentle toward wood finish and minimizes the danger of scratches and other physical damage.
Steam Vacuum Cleaners and Hardwood Floors
Vacuum cleaner using steam are very popular where additional cleaning is required, however, steam can damage hardwood finish and wood itself. If wood finish and/or sealant is compromised in any way, water vapor (moisture!) will cause significant amount of damage to the floor over time, including buckling, warping, change in color etc. Even so-called 'safe' hardwood floor steam cleaners should be generally avoided - water and wood, under wood finish and sealant is a bad idea.
Certain artificial materials that look like hardwood can be cleaned using such vacuums - if you have such surfaces, in order to prevent any damage to the floors, clean them using steam vacuums as recommended by their manufacturers.
Shampoo Vacuum Cleaners and Hardwood Floors
In certain situations, shampoo vacuum cleaners can be used on hardwood floors - finish must be in nearly perfect condition to prevent moisture entering the wood, although modern shampoo vacuums use minimum amount of water and other liquids for cleaning. And cleaning surface after one or two sweeps is almost dry.
For cleaning hardwood floors using shampoo vacuums, it is recommended to use special cleaning agents that actually help preserve wood finish and provide additional protection in the form of thin wax layer on wood finish surface.
As said before, wood and water in liquid or any other form (steam, for example) are not good combination - be very careful when cleaning hardwood floors using liquids of any kind.
Choosing the Best Hardwood Vacuum
When choosing the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floor, it is also very important to consider few more things:
- corded or cordless - corded vacuums are much stronger and their operation time is practically limitless. However, modern lithium ion batteries provide 15-30 minutes of operation at full power and such cordless vacuums can also cover large areas, without the need of physical cord. Since hardwood floors are rarely cleaned using rotating brush (again, use of such brushes should be avoided if they are not designed for hardwood floors), batteries of cordless vacuums used on hardwood floors last even longer.
- cylinder or upright vacuum cleaner - upright vacuum cleaner is often easier to maneuver than cylinder vacuum cleaner. However, long cleaning hose required by cylinder vacuums is lighter than upright vacuums and can reach areas often inaccessible to uprights. On the other hand, certain models of uprights can have 'optional' cleaning hose.
- dirt bin or dirt bag models. Dirt bins are usually used on cyclonic vacuum cleaners and provide storage for dirt without impacting suction power. Dirt bags, disposable or reusable, when full or almost full can decrease suction power. However, when full, disposable bags are simply thrown away in the garbage and replaced with a new one.
- air filtration - HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of particles 0.3 micrometer in size and are often combined with cyclonic or mechanical filters and sometimes even with charcoal filters. Such filtering is highly recommended for people having various allergies, asthma and other similar health issues.
Of course, there are also other things to consider when choosing best hardwood vacuum for your home that are specific only to - you. Our vacuum cleaner reviews and recommendations contain number of vacuum cleaners suitable for cleaning hardwood and similar floors.