A Guide to Cleaning Prefinished Hardwood Floors

how to clean prefinished hardwood floors


Prefinished hardwood floors are a popular choice for homeowners due to their timeless elegance, durability, and ease of maintenance. Properly maintaining these floors is crucial to preserve their beauty and longevity. Regular cleaning not only enhances the appearance but also prevents damage. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors effectively.

Why Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Prefinished hardwood floors are factory-finished with multiple layers of protective coating, making them more resilient to wear and tear than traditional hardwood floors. This finish adds a layer of protection against moisture, stains, and scratches, making them a smart choice for busy households. However, to keep them looking their best, you need to follow the right cleaning methods.

Daily Maintenance

1. Sweeping or Vacuuming: Regular dust and dirt accumulation can result in fine scratches over time. To prevent this, sweep or vacuum your prefinished hardwood floors daily. Use a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment to avoid any potential damage.

2. Microfiber Mop: Invest in a microfiber mop for a quick and efficient daily clean. It’s gentle on the finish and effectively traps dust and pet hair without scratching the surface.

Weekly Cleaning

1. Damp Mopping: On a weekly basis, a slightly damp mop is your best ally. However, ensure that the mop is not soaking wet as excess water can penetrate the seams and cause warping or discoloration. Use a mixture of warm water and a manufacturer-recommended hardwood floor cleaner. Apply this sparingly to the mop and mop your floor in the direction of the grain. Wipe any excess moisture immediately.

2. Avoid Steam Cleaners: Steaming can damage the finish and allow moisture to seep into the wood, potentially causing warping and swelling. It’s best to steer clear of steam cleaners.

Stain Removal

1. Address Spills Immediately: Accidents happen, and spills are a common occurrence in households. When a spill occurs, blot it up immediately with a clean, soft cloth. Avoid rubbing the area, as it can worsen the damage.

2. Stubborn Stains: For tougher stains like red wine or pet accidents, a manufacturer-approved hardwood floor cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water (in a 1:10 ratio) can be used. Gently scrub the affected area with a soft cloth and rinse with clean water afterward. Wipe any excess moisture.

3. Be Cautious with Chemicals: Avoid using abrasive or chemical cleaners, as they can strip the finish or discolor the wood. Always opt for products specifically designed for prefinished hardwood floors.

Protection and Preventive Measures

1. Area Rugs and Mats: Place rugs and mats at entryways and high-traffic areas to reduce the amount of dirt and grit that gets onto the floor. Make sure the mats have non-slip backings to prevent them from shifting and potentially causing scratches.

2. Felt Pads: Attach felt pads to the bottom of furniture legs to prevent them from scratching the floor when moved. Be sure to check and replace them periodically as they wear out.

3. Avoid High Heels and Sharp Objects: High heels and sharp objects can cause significant damage to prefinished hardwood floors. Encourage residents and guests to remove high heels or sharp objects before walking on the floor.

4. Maintain Humidity Levels: Wood is sensitive to changes in humidity. To prevent gapping or warping, maintain a consistent indoor humidity level of 30-50% by using a humidifier in dry conditions and dehumidifier in humid conditions.


What cleaner to use on prefinished hardwood floors?

While you shouldn’t mop with water, we do recommend polishing your floors with a wax-free solution from a leading brand, such as Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. Avoid spraying the solution directly onto your floors.

Is prefinished hardwood real hardwood?

Even though solid prefinished flooring is real hardwood, because of all the many factory sprayed-on coats of polyurethane and/or stain, it is our opinion that prefinished flooring looks plastic-y and factory-made, with a less noticeable grain pattern, and thus less warm.


Prefinished hardwood floors are a beautiful and durable flooring option for any home, but they do require proper care and maintenance to retain their pristine appearance. By following the cleaning and maintenance guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure the longevity and beauty of your prefinished hardwood floors. Regular sweeping, weekly damp mopping, and prompt stain removal are key to keeping your floors looking their best. Additionally, implementing protective measures such as area rugs, felt pads, and maintaining consistent humidity levels will help preserve the integrity of your hardwood floors for years to come. With the right care, your prefinished hardwood floors can continue to be a stunning and valuable investment in your home.

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