Hardwood floors offer timeless elegance and last for decades. If you have just installed prefinished hardwood floors or have been enjoying one for quite some time, you should know how to clean them to maintain their beauty and longevity. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors.

Table of Contents: 

 

Why Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Prefinished hardwood floors come finished from the factory with multiple layers of urethane coating. Here’s why you should clean them:

  • Enhances appearance: Dust, dirt, and grime can accumulate on hardwood floors over time. Regular cleaning helps the floor look its best. 
  • Increases durability: Prefinished hardwood floors resist stains and scratches exceptionally well. However, cleaning up dust and spills can make the floor last much longer.
  • Improves indoor air quality: Regular cleaning helps remove allergens, pet dander, dust mites, and other debris from the floor.
  • Maintain value: Prefinished hardwood floors offer an excellent ROI. Clean them regularly to maintain their value.
  • Prevent mold: Moisture causes mold formation in prefinished hardwood floors. Clean spills immediately to prevent it.
  • Safer: Clean spills immediately from prefinished hardwood floors to avoid slipping and falling.

Dust Prefinished Hardwood Floors (Daily Routine)

Dust is everywhere, and when you let it build up on your beautiful hardwood floor, its appearance will take a hit. The hairs of your furry friend can also hinder the timeless look of the floor. Dust prefinished hardwood flooring daily or at least every two days to keep them looking their best. 

We recommend using a microfiber dust mop to sweep the floor. A regular broom also does the job, but there’s a high chance for it to scratch the protective coating.

Vacuum Prefinished Hardwood Floors (Weekly Routine) 

A microfiber dust mop can remove most dust and dirt from the floor. However, if there’s something it didn’t pick up, a vacuum cleaner can remove it for you. It can also remove dirt from corners and other difficult-to-reach spots. We recommend vacuuming prefinished hardwood floors once every week and do not use the beater bar, only suction. 

Always start vacuuming in the farthest corner from the doorway to avoid stepping on freshly cleaned areas. Pick up large items like coins by hand to avoid damaging the vacuum.

Mop Prefinished Hardwood Floors (Monthly Routine) 

Monthly mopping helps get rid of stuck dirt, grime, and debris from the hardwood floor. You can use a regular hardwood floor cleaner or a specific one the manufacturer recommends. Here’s how to mop prefinished hardwood flooring:

  • Remove items: Remove furniture and rugs to clean the entire floor. 
  • Dust or vacuum: Dust with a microfiber dust mop or vacuum to remove loose dust. 
  • Use the right mop and cleaner: A microfiber dust mop picks up stuck dirt exceptionally well. As for cleaners, choose a hardwood floor cleaner and avoid harsh chemicals, as they can damage the finish. 
  • Damp mop: Avoid soaking hardwood floors with water, as excess moisture can damage it permanently. 
  • Use the right technique: Mop the floor along the wood grain. Start in the farthest corner from the doorway, moving backward and mopping side-to-side. If you want to turn the mop, just twist the handle — you shouldn’t change your position.
  • Rinse the mop: When mopping, keep a separate bucket of clean water to rinse the mop. 
  • Wipe the floor: After mopping, wipe the floor with a clean microfiber cloth to remove any excess moisture.
  • Put back the items: Wait 10 to 15 minutes to let any moisture dry, and then put your furniture and rugs back into place

How To Remove Tough Stains From Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Removing stains from prefinished hardwood floors is relatively easy because of the protective polyurethane coating. However, you shouldn’t aggressively scrub the floor because you can damage the wood grain. 

Here’s how you can remove stains from prefinished hardwood floors:

Oil Stains

The quicker you act, the easier it is to remove oil stains. If the spill is fresh, follow these steps to remove it:

  • Use a microfiber cloth to blot up the oil. Don’t rub, or you can push the oil further into the wood. 
  • Cover the stain with baking soda or talcum powder and let it sit for an hour.
  • Vacuum the powder. 
  • Mix hardwood floor cleaner or regular dishwashing detergent with water. 
  • Use a microfiber cloth to spread the soap on the stain. 
  • Wipe the soap with a damp microfiber cloth.    
  • Dry the area with a clean microfiber cloth and turn on the fan to speed up drying. Remember, water can stain wood. So, remove as much of it as possible.

Here are the steps to remove dried oil stains: 

  • Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to get rid of oil stains from wax-finish hardwood floors and mineral spirits from surface finish. 
  • Mix a tablespoon of TSP or mineral spirit (depending on the floor’s finish) with a gallon of water. 
  • Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution. 
  • Wipe the stain along the direction of the wood grain. 
  • Damp another microfiber cloth in water to remove TSP off the floor. 
  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove moisture from the floor. 
  • Repeat these steps if the stain persists. 
  • Apply a small amount of polish onto the floor and rub it in a circular motion.

Note: TSP emits strong fumes, so ensure to ventilate the room properly and wear safety gear.

Liquid Stains (Ink and Pet Urine)

Removing liquid stains from prefinished hardwood floors can be the most difficult. The quicker you act, the easier the stain will be to remove. If the liquid didn’t dry, follow these steps to remove it: 

  • Blot as much liquid as you can with a microfiber cloth. Avoid rubbing so you don’t push the liquid further inside. 
  • Apply baking soda or talcum powder over the stain and let it sit for an hour.
  • Vacuum the powder. 
  • Mix a tablespoon of mineral spirit with a gallon of water. 
  • Dip a microfiber cloth in the solution. 
  • Wipe the stain along the direction of the wood grain. 
  • Remove moisture from the floor with a dry microfiber cloth. 
  • Repeat these steps if the stain persists. 
  • Apply polish onto the floor and rub it in a circular motion.

Follow these steps to remove dried liquids:

  • Sand the stained surface with extra fine sandpaper. 
  • Dip a 00-grade steel wool in a mineral spirit and scrub the stained area. 
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to remove mineral spirit. 
  • Remove moisture with a dry microfiber cloth. 
  • Polish the floor.

Gum

If your kid sticks chewing gum on the floor or throws it down, advise them not to do it again and follow these steps to get it off your hardwood flooring: 

  • Fill a plastic bag with a couple of ice cubes. 
  • Put the bag of ice cubes on the gum buildup.
  • Once the gum becomes brittle, scrape it off with a plastic scraper or an old card. 
  • Apply a small amount of UPVC solvent to remove any remaining gum residue. 
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the area. 
  • Dry the area with a clean microfiber cloth and turn on the fan.

You can use the same technique to remove similar stains like candle wax.

 

Tips To Maintain Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Besides regular cleaning, here are some tips for maintaining prefinished hardwood floors: 

  • Place doormats at entryways to collect dirt and debris from shoes.
  • Install furniture pads to prevent scratches caused by moving furniture.
  • Avoid wearing high heels. 
  • Depending on your climate, use a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain consistent humidity levels to prevent the wood from warping. 
  • Regularly trim your pet’s nails.
  • Refinish the floor every 10 years to keep them looking good and protect them from further damage.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

  • Using excess water
  • Skipping regular sweeping and vacuuming
  • Using rough or abrasive materials to clean the floor
  • Using harsh chemical cleaners
  • Neglecting spills
  • Using steam cleaners

FAQs

Can I use vinegar to clean prefinished hardwood floors?

Yes, but using a hardwood floor cleaner is a better choice. Use mineral spirits to remove tough stains. 

 

Can I use a regular household cleaner on prefinished hardwood floors?

No. Use a hardwood floor cleaner to avoid damaging the flooring. 



How can I remove scratches from prefinished hardwood floors?

To remove minor scratches, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small cup.  Then, dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and rub it onto the surface. If the scratches are deep, sand and refinish the floor. 

 

The Final Word

Proper maintenance is crucial to maintaining the beauty and longevity of prefinished hardwood floors. Dust the floor daily, vacuum weekly, and wet mop monthly to keep the floor in good shape. 

If you need help with maintaining or repairing prefinished hardwood floors, get in touch with Family Interiors. Our pros offer free in-house estimates and can help you with everything related to flooring.