How To Clean Cloudy Hardwood Floors

I actually cried tears of joy this week, when I FINALLY was about to get rid of the cloudy hardwood floors that had been plaguing me for months..  Real tears.  And I couldn’t stop talking about it.  My husband and children literally heard all about it, over and over for at least three days. And I’m still so happy I can hardly stand it. I just stop and stare at my floors!  If you are reading this because you can’t get rid of that darn cloudy haze, I totally understand!  I honestly cannot wait to share how I finally did it, because I agonized over it for months.  I found the solution to how to clean cloudy hardwood floors, and I’m SO happy!

How to Get Rid of the Cloudy Haze on Your Hardwood Floors

How did I get cloudy hardwood floors?

I’ve never used cleaning products on my hardwood floors–I’ve always been very gentle and cautious with them.  But last winter when I broke my leg and then had foot surgery, I hired house cleaners to clean my home while I wasn’t able to.  I didn’t specify to them what to use on my floors (totally my fault), and whatever product they used created the most horrible cloudy, hazy, white film that covered all of my hardwood floors.

Hazy or cloudy hardwood floors can occur from a couple of things—one of them being from products you use on your floor. Those products build up over time, and leave a terrible film on top of your floor.  This is why I’ve never used cleaners, and I was actually shocked when my normally shiny floor were so awful.

How to Get Rid of the Cloudy Haze on Your Hardwood Floors

It didn’t matter what I mopped it with, or even how often, as soon as I was finished, and the floors dried, the film would still be there.  We would start walking on it, and even with clean bare feet, smudges would immediately appear on the surface of the floor, making it look so dirty and awful. I’ve always mopped a frequent amount, but this literally had to be done every single day, and if I had time to do it twice a day, I did.  It was making me CRAZY.

Cleaning hardwood floors with Windex?  Doesn’t work!

After searching and searching online for any answer I could find, and the more desperate I got, the more I was willing to try. Ammonia, Windex, vinegar, microfiber cloths…you name it, I tried it. (And you shouldn’t ever put ammonia on your floor without serious consideration, because it can really damage your floor…that’s how desperate I was. Don’t do it, unless you’ve read all about it first!)

Absolutely nothing worked, and I honestly thought I was going to have to refinish my floors, or hire a floor company to come in and try to fix it.

How to Get Rid of the Cloudy Haze on Your Hardwood Floors

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How to clean cloudy hardwood floors!

Finally, one day I was reading online about cleaning items, and came across a sentence talking about Norwex cloths. I remembered the one I already had, and used for cleaning my windows and light shades.  It hadn’t even crossed my mind to use it on my floor, but I thought, why not?  It certainly couldn’t hurt, and it really was amazing at cleaning my windows, and getting them sparkly clean with no residue.  So, I gave it a try.

I got on my hands and knees, used a very damp rag on the each plank, then used the Norwex cloth, buffing carefully, with a lot elbow grease.  It did take quite awhile to do the whole floor, a couple of hours, but the success was immediate. The light was streaming across my floors, and I could visibly see the patches of area I had just scrubbed, compared to where it hadn’t been done.  Such a night and day difference. I had high hopes at that point, but I still wasn’t 100% sure that it worked.

How to Clean Cloudy Hardwood Floors

When I finished the entire floor, I rubbed my foot against the wood to see what would happen. Normally it would leave a smudge, but this time it didn’t! HOORAY!!  I literally cried.  And called my husband. And told my kids as soon as they came in the door. They weren’t nearly as excited as I was, but I just could not stop talking about it.

If you’re struggling with cloudy, hazy hardwood floors, this is definitely worth a try!

NORWEX SAVED THE DAY!!! You can find the cloths here…

I’m a happy, happy girl.

Regularly I clean my floors with Bruce Hardwood Floor Cleaner, and I LOVE it.  It’s actually made for and recommended by my floor manufacturer, Armstrong, so I know it’s safe.  It was also recommended to me by the company that installed my floors.  It doesn’t leave any residue, and it’s helped to maintain my clean floors.  This is the mop I use, but I’ve heard good things about the Bruce Cleaning Kit (Mop System) as well.  After sweeping really well, I just spray my floor with the cleaner, and use the microfiber mop to mop it up. Super quick and easy!!

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How to Clean Cloudy Hardwood Floors

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28 Comments

  1. This is amazing! I have been having the same issue, so thanks for sharing. Now that you got the cloudy layer removed, what do you use to clean your floors?

    1. Just water! After sweeping/dust mopping, I use a damp mop, with no extra water (that can damage your floors over time). Very occasionally I’ll add a little vinegar to my mop water.

  2. I absolutely love my Norwex! I used to use a special oil cleaner on some of my hardwood, but not all my hardwood floors could stand the oil cleaner. Since I’ve been using Norwex, it has been awesome, floors look great! We had some problems with our Duraceramic peeling, and because we use Norwex (=super friendly and no chemicals), the company reimbursed us for a brand new floor!

  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the hazy wood floor problem too. Once you’ve finished your floor how did you maintain the cleaning of the floor? I have a floor steamer, do you think it’ll harm the floor once I’ve cleared the haze?

    1. I’ve stayed away from steamers. One of the causes of haziness is extra moisture, so I use as little as possible. I just use a damp microfiber cloth mop–and then the Norwex cloth when needed. Good luck!

  4. Thank you so very much for this tip. I finally scrubbed my floors today for the probably 10th time trying to get a build up of haze off. I used a microfiber cloth (we don’t get your brand here) I cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water. I am so pleased. I will need to wash them one more time since the bulid up is about 18 years old. I was on the verge of paying $$$$ to refinish the floor and for less than $20 they look so great.

    1. Yes, I just used the cloth. I used a wet rag to go over the floor, then scrubbed it with the cloth. I use a regular mop now, but still have to go back on my hands and knees with the cloth every few weeks. It’s the only thing I’ve gotten to work!!

  5. Which Norwex cloth did you use? The window cloth or their envirocloth? I have both AND hazy floors so I am excited to get down and dirty!!!

      1. And you’re right – the kids and my husband were not as excited as i was about it! I can’t stop showing everyone! Thank you so much for the tip!

  6. I somehow got a cloudy white layer developing on my brand new engineered wood flooring. I tried everything (various brands of cleaner including Bona, white vinegar etc), but the only thing that worked was mayonnaise with a bit of olive oil in it. Couldn’t believe it!

    1. What?!?! That is crazy! How did you even think of that? What did you use to clean up the mayonnaise?

  7. Ok so I used Murphy’s oil soap on my floors one time, Abbas it took massive amounts of scrubbing and vinegar to get it off. And my floors were shiny again!

    The very next time I mopped them I used only water, and they immediately looked filmy again!! I am confused and so frustrated! If I rub really hard with a cloth they’ll get shiny again, but I can’t spend that much time on my floors each time I mop. Any advice?

    1. Caitlin, I feel your pain. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great answer for you. The Norwex cloth I used works really well, but for some reason it doesn’t last forever. I now do that once a week to every other week, then use a Norwex mop with water the rest of the time. It’s the best thing I’ve been able to figure out. If I come across anything else, I’ll definitely update this post!!

      1. Thank you for this post! Struggling with the same milky smudges. It’s SO frustrating. Have you tried using distilled water? Some swear by it, as hard water can also leave a film.

        1. It really is so frustrating, I’m sorry you’re in the same boat! I haven’t tried distilled water, but it’s funny you mention it, because it’s actually on my to buy and try this week!!

          1. Hi! I tried the distilled water, and it helped but didn’t solve the problem. BUT, I had to respond here, because I found something that has worked really well. I made Clean Mama’s using the distilled water, and it worked SO WELL! I sprayed a light mist and wiped until dry with a BONA microfiber mop. No buildup!! Here is the link: https://cleanmama.com/diy-cleaners-window-mirror-cleaning-spray/

  8. I am having the same exact problem with my wood floors and can totally identify with everything you said in your post. I am at my wit’s end trying to figure out how to fix my floor. What is it about the norwex cloth that is different than just trying to wipe the floor with a microfiber cloth?

    1. I have the window cleaning cloth by Norwex—and it’s different than microfiber. Whatever it’s made of is why is works so well on windows, and also on the floor–taking off that layer of grime. I will say that I have to do this on a regular basis to keep it up. Not every week, but more like every 2-4 weeks. It’s still overall better than it was, but it’s a regular maintenance that I do to keep it looking nice. GOOD LUCK!!!

    1. There is such a thing as a Norwex mop, and I own it. However, it’s made of a different kind of material than the norwex cloth, and while it cleans well, it doesn’t do the same thing. So I actually use the cloth on my hands and knees, and then use the Norwex mop for maintenance in between. So far, the Norwex cloth is the only thing that has keeps the haze off of my floors. But yours might be different!

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