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How to Clean Hardwood Gym Floors

Hardwood Gym Floor Cleaning: Introduction

Maintaining the cleanliness and quality of your wood gym floors ensures their longevity and provides a safe playing surface for athletes. A well-designed cleaning program keeps the gym floor looking its best and extends the finish's life. By following proper cleaning procedures and incorporating regular maintenance, you can keep your hardwood gym floors in optimal condition throughout the year.


A comprehensive daily cleaning routine is crucial to prevent dirt and debris from scratching the surface. In addition, following these dust mopping and cleaning guidelines will prevent floors from becoming slippery, helping maintain a safe environment for athletes. In this article, we will outline the best procedure to use when maintaining gym floors and provide some alternative procedures that may be useful, depending on your situation.

Preventing Dirt and Damage is the First Step

Preventing dirt and damage is the first step in maintaining wood gym floors.

Regarding the care and maintenance of wood gym floors, preventing dirt and damage should be the first step in your cleaning program. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

1. Invest in Walk-Off Entry Matting: Placing walk-off entry matting at the gym's entrance is essential. Ensure the matting is long enough for each shoe to contact the mat twice. Ideally, having enough room for three steps on the carpet is even better. Studies estimate that up to 85% of the dirt entering a building can be captured by entry matting. Consider utilizing Hillyard's Gator Clean-In-Place Entry Matting to protect your gym floors effectively. Your cleaning program should include frequent vacuuming of entry matting. Daily vacuuming is usually enough, but additional vacuuming may be needed for high-traffic areas.

2. Strict No Street Shoes Policy: Implement a strict policy prohibiting street shoes on the playing surface. Street shoes can bring in abrasive grit that can scratch and damage the floor and certain shoe soles can leave hard to remove black scuff marks. Use signage to remind building occupants that only gym shoes should be on the gym floor. Enforcing this policy will go a long way in preventing unnecessary dirt and damage.


Dust Mop, Dust Mop, Dust Mop

One important cleaning step that should not be overlooked is dust mopping. Dust mopping helps to remove abrasive dirt and dust particles from the floor, preventing them from scratching the gym floor finish and maintaining a clean and safe playing surface.

As a general rule, dust mopping with a treated cotton dust mop should be performed after every two hours of use. For resilient flooring and other hardwood floors, daily dust mopping is recommended. After dust mopping, brush or vacuum dust mops before treatment and storage.

Dust mops should be designated for gym use only. By keeping gym floor dust mops separate from other dust mops in the facility, you eliminate the risk of bringing abrasive soils from other parts of the building into the gym.

How to Treat Cotton Dust Mops with Super Hil-Tone

  1. For freshly laundered or new dust mops, use two ounces of Super Hil-Tone dust mop treatment per linear foot.
  2. For previously treated dust mops, apply one-half to one ounce of dust mop treatment per linear foot after the dust mop has been brushed or vacuumed.
  3. After applying the dust mop treatment, hang the mop overnight with the wicks down so the dressing can penetrate evenly throughout the wicks.

Damp Mop or Scrub the Floor Weekly

Damp mop or use an automatic scrubber to scrub the gym floor weekly. Always thoroughly dust mop the floor before weekly wet cleaning. Whatever wet cleaning method you use, avoid over-wetting the floor or leaving standing water.

Automatic Scrubbers

Automatic scrubbers are an efficient and effective way to clean the floor if you meet specific criteria. To ensure your safe use of an automatic scrubber:

  • Be sure that using an automatic scrubber does not void expressed, written, or implied warranties for the floor.
  • Make sure the floor surface has no gaps where moisture could seep below the flooring.
  • Make sure that the weight of the automatic scrubber does not exceed the flooring weight limit. For most walk-behind scrubbers, this would not be an issue. Some ride-on scrubbers may exceed the floor's weight limits, possibly causing indentations. Note that suspended flooring areas may not withstand as much load and might crack or break.

  • Use the least aggressive pad for scrubbing to maintain the appearance of the finish. White polish pads are highly recommended for most uses. For heavy soil situations, a red scrubber pad might be necessary.

  • Do not use an automatic scrubber on a newly installed or newly sanded floor. Usually, one to three years of recoating is needed to build up sufficient finish to protect the wood floor well enough for automatic scrubbing.
  • Make sure the scrubber is in good working condition, and the squeegee effectively recovers the cleaning solution.

Alternative Method: The Hillyard Quick-Pass

If your situation does not allow using an automatic scrubber, the Hillyard Quick-Pass Tacking System is a method that will clean the gym floor without flooding the surface with excess moisture.


The Hillyard Quick-Pass Tacking System is an excellent cleaning tool for removing surface soils with little downtime and little drying required to place the floor back into service. The Quick-Pass system uses a pre-moistened towel wrapped around a weighted applicator. The operator drags the towel around the floor to quickly remove soil without leaving behind excessive moisture. Check out this video for a demonstration.

Choosing a Cleaning Solution for Gym Floor Cleaning

Different cleaning solutions can impart different properties to the floor. Here are two that Hillyard recommends.

  • Super Shine-All: Super Shine-All is a concentrated neutral pH formula that will not harm the floor finish. The protective sheen created by Super Shine-All helps preserve, protect, and provide improved traction for athletes.
  • Pre-Game: Pre-Game Tacking Solution is a special water-based formulation for scrubbing wood floors. It helps remove dust, dirt, and other contaminants. Pre-Game won't dull the gym finish and does not increase traction for athletes.

Bonus Topic: Mid-Season Gym Floor Revitalization

Did you know that Hillyard has a gym finish that you can use mid-season to revitalize your floor's appearance without a complete scrub and recoat? This revolutionary system lets you coat the floor today and play on it tomorrow. To learn more about how Recon works, see this article, Keeping Gym Floors Looking Great All Season.

Get Expert Advice from Hillyard

Maintaining hardwood gym floors can be challenging, requiring expert advice to ensure proper care and longevity. When it comes to seeking guidance on proper cleaning techniques and maintenance, turning to a trusted source like Hillyard is essential.

Hillyard is an industry-leading company with years of experience in the field of gym floor maintenance. They understand the unique needs of hardwood gym floors and can provide valuable advice to building facility managers. Whether determining the best cleaning products and equipment or offering guidance on daily and regular cleaning procedures, Hillyard is the go-to resource.

Seeking expert advice from a trusted source like Hillyard is vital for maintaining hardwood gym floors. Their expertise can ensure proper care and longevity of the flooring, providing a clean and safe playing surface for basketball players and other sports enthusiasts. Use the "I'm interested" form below; one of our representatives will contact you shortly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you mop a hardwood gym floor?

No, you should avoid mopping a hardwood gym floor with excess water or traditional mops. Excessive moisture can damage hardwood floors by causing warping, swelling, or discoloration. Instead, use a specialized hardwood floor cleaner designed to clean and protect wood surfaces.

How often should a gym floor be cleaned?

A gym floor should be cleaned regularly to maintain its appearance and durability. The frequency of cleaning can vary based on usage, but here are some general guidelines:

Daily: Dust mopping should be done daily to remove surface dust and debris that can scratch the floor.

Weekly: A more thorough cleaning, including scrubbing with an automatic scrubber and a hardwood floor cleaner, is typically recommended weekly, especially in high-traffic areas.

Monthly: Consider a deeper cleaning and inspection of the floor monthly. This might involve spot cleaning of stains and checking for any signs of wear or damage.

Annually: Depending on the climate and use, a more comprehensive maintenance routine, including abrasion and refinishing, might be necessary annually to keep the gym floor in top condition.

Should I use a disinfectant on a wood gym floor?

The following products should NEVER be used on wood sports floors. If a unique circumstance arises, please consult Hillyard Technical Service for specific guidance. Do NOT use disinfectants, citrus-based cleaners containing d-limonene, degreasers, floor polish, wax, gloss restorers, sweeping compounds, and over-the-counter cleaners.

DISCLAIMER:  Specifications are subject to change without notice. Examples and recommendations in this article may not apply to every situation. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and does not supersede any other documentation. Always follow the instructions as written on the product label.

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