Why Does My Hardwood Floor Look Cloudy? – Solving Floor Problems

After undergoing a number of cleaning and maintaining processes, your classy retro hardwood floors get a cloudy look out of nothing? You start panicking and wondering, “Why does my hardwood floor look cloudy?.” 

Do not panic! It’s not that terrible to spend an amount of money fixing or replacing new floors! Believe us; you can easily tackle this issue with the help of some common daily life items!

After trying and testing a lot of methods, we have come up with this comprehensive post! Let’s read on to find out the cause behind the cloudiness and then move on to the solutions to this problem!

Why Does My Hardwood Floor Look Cloudy?

Cloudy Hardwood Floors <Image by Philip Belben (CC BY-NC 2.0)>

The causes of this issue possibly come from many factors such as poor finishing job, unsuitable cleaning products, excessive cleaning or waxing, wrong cleaning order, moisture buildup, and salt deposit. 

Continue reading for our explanation on each cause! 

Poor Finishing Job:

The first place you should look at is what first meets the eye: hardwood finish. If there is something wrong with this translucent layer, it will be the first and most obvious sign you can spot out.

In order for a floor finish to become cloudy, there must be air or some sort of filth trapped under it. Specifically, the air and filth obscure between the actual wood planks and their finish, making it blurry.

This can also be due to the assembling phase, where manufacturers choose to coat the wood planks before they have the chance to dry completely.

If this is the case for your floor, you will end up seeing the cloudy patch immediately as you receive your floor rather than down the line. We will discuss the issue of moisture buildup in another section of this article.

Incompatible Cleaning Product:

In fact, using the wrong cleaning product is one of the main reasons why your floor is cloudy after only a few months. The more often you clean your floor, the earlier the symptom will start to appear. (If you are using specialized solutions for hardwood floors, just skip this paragraph!)

Although there is a sea of cleaner products available on the market, we cannot possibly remember or name them. Yet, keep this in mind before choosing a cleaner for your floors:  Avoid oil-based floor soap at all costs!

This is due to polyurethane being the main component of your floor protective coat, which will react negatively with oils and cause the floor to lose its shine.

Moreover, your hardwood floors can not tolerate most commercial furniture polishes, which sounds counterintuitive until you realize how much oil is in such products. Please consult with professional woodworkers before you try new products on your floor!

Excessive Waxing:

On the note of avoiding oil-based products, floor waxers are also on the list of no-gos. As the secondary components of the wax are usually oils or oil derivatives, overwaxing a hardwood floor will also cause the polyurethane lacquer and the oil to react with one another.

Although waxing can give your hardwood surface the luster it once had, it will not completely solve the problem. If you overdo waxing, you will even risk it worsening the condition of your floor!

Excessive Cleaning:

Right now, you might be thinking, “If I can’t wax the floor, I will just mop more often and utilize the floor’s natural glow,” but that’s a big misconception!

Professional floor installers suggest that you should not mop too regularly to prevent moisture from building up under the floor’s lacquer and fogging up the surface.

Wrong Cleaning Order:

The kitchen is most likely to collect dirt and grimes due to the nature of cooking and serving food. While you are preparing ingredients, a piece of root or bone might fall onto the floor. When your dishes are reaching the dining table, a drop or two might leave a nasty stain. Thus, this is why most mothers will advise you to avoid cleaning the kitchen before any room.

If you happen to start where you cook and serve, you will end up with a foggy floor because of the amount of oil spillage and debris you carry around in your mop!

Moisture Buildup:

Your hardwood floor already has a layer of non-absorbent coat to protect it from water, so you will never have to worry about spilling drinks or leaving puddles, right? Well, not really, since the coat may wear out and let some moisture exist underneath it after some time.

Moisture under lacquer will make the floor become dull and even swell up, so be sure not to use a wet mop or leave water staying on the floor for too long! Moisture can also cause mold to grow, so most water-based cloudiness will come with ugly green patches.

Salt Deposit:

Salt or any other minerals are present in the water you use for cleaning or even the soap you love so much. They might react to the floor’s topcoat in ideal conditions and create residue, making the floor seem not so translucent.

How Do I Stop My Hardwood Floors From Looking Cloudy? 

Steam Cleaning:

How to Clean Cloudy Hardwood Floors

Steam cleaning is the form of intensive deep cleanse using powerful flows of hot steam. The method is exceptionally functional at getting rid of tough dirt, long-standing stains, and of course, white haze. It should only be implemented for 100% sealed floors to prevent moisture from seeping underneath the coat, so you should definitely consult a pro first.

Specifically, the method of steam cleaning is done through a device called the steam mop. Instead of using any soap or cleaning solutions to beat the grimes off surfaces, the mop only needs to use high-pressure steam to do the job. Be sure to supply it with a source of soft water, or you will encounter salt deposits.


This method is good for removing any kind of stains, but most people will swear by it, especially when dealing with salt deposits. You should prepare some white vinegar, a bucket, and a bit of soft, warm water for this method. Here is how you should go about the job with those ingredients:

  • Pour at least a gallon of warm water into your bucket. It is also good to check if your bucket is okay with handling the heat beforehand. In particular, the heat will make sure the toughest stains will part their way with your hardwood floors.
  • Pour two cups of vinegar into a can and mix it slowly to ensure that the two liquids are harmonious. If you do not have white vinegar ready in your kitchen, other light acids like apple cider vinegar will do the same magic.
  • Dip your mop into the bucket mixture, and start working on your floor in a circular motion. 
  • After you have covered the floor with warm diluted vinegar, do not forget to wipe the floor again with clean water one last time!
  • Give your floor time (at least an hour) to completely air dry, or you will have to deal with white haze under your furniture all over again!


Ammonia is a powerful product, and you can probably guess with just a whiff of it. It eliminates stains and grimes incredibly well, but not a lot of people want to use it due to the pungent stench it produces. All you have to do is slap on a mask, open your windows, and mix ammonia with water so it won’t be as dense.

Once you have settled on using this solution to clear up your hardwood floor’s cloudiness, you should start by mixing a cup of ammonia into a bucket of water. Afterward, dip your mop in and work as usual. Be sure to give your floor another wipe with soft clean water after you’re done with the process, or the ammonia will leave residue on the floor.

Be mindful not to mix bleach with ammonia! The reaction between these two substances will cause toxic fumes. Similarly, you should not use bleach on hardwood floors either.

Lukewarm Water:

In the case of light salt deposits, you can simply use warm water to rinse the minerals away. Once again, avoid being hasty and let your floor dry completely to prevent white haze from spreading and mold from growing.

Vacuum Cleaning:

Vacuuming your floor also serves to remove debris on and under the lacquer of your floor. Yet, do not forget to mop the floor before you start the machine. Otherwise, mud will dissolve in the water you use! These patches of mud will be carried away more easily!


One way of improving the coat that you already have is to give it a good polish. In particular, applying a polishing solution or lacquer restorer will flip your topcoat from its worn state to looking new. Just simply grab a bottle of those products in any hardware store and head home to start the process!

Replace The Finish:

If the haze remains, let’s switch the finish! If you cannot salvage it any further, taking away the original layer and slapping another one will benefit you much more. Please consult with your floor manufacturer on this issue, as the process can be very messy and convoluted!

After replacing the coat, be sure to learn from your past mistakes and take care of this one better!

How Do I Prevent My Floor From Fogging Up Again? 

Plan A Cleaning Route Around Your House:

Try to refrain from cleaning the kitchen first, for the reason we have mentioned. It’s good to plan a proper route before you start the process because hardwood floors need to air dry completely to avoid the occurrence of cloudiness.

Choose The Right Cleaning Product:

We have discussed quite a lot about cleaning products in this article. Specialized solutions for hardwood floors are your best friends, so aiming for those on your trip to the store will give you peace of mind! Other than that, consulting local professionals and looking into relevant care products is crucial as well.

Deal With Water Buildup:

Do not leave puddles to dry on their own! This is the main reason for hardwood floors clouding up, so you would want to avoid this at all costs. When you mop the floor, be sure to use damp mops instead of wet ones, and wring the excess liquid out before you make your strokes.

Check The Finish Frequently:

Check the finish regularly and do not ignore any unusual signs; the issue might be solved quicker if you detect it early. 

Final Note

Why does my hardwood floor look cloudy? – There are some reasons behind this case, as we’ve listed down above. By understanding all potential causes, you will be able to prevent them from happening. 

Hardwood floors are not hard to deal with; they just require different caring methods. Lastly, do not forget to follow our tips for the best hardwood floors maintenance! 

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