How to Clean Your Prefinished Hardwood Floors, Naturally

Prefinished hardwood floors are gorgeous and require more than the regular carpet cleaning treatment.

Eva Hagan - Author

Mar. 7 2024, Published 4:52 p.m. ET

A photo of dark prefinished hardwood floors
Source: iStock

When installing hardwood floors, it’s important to know the difference between prefinished and unfinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood floors are sanded and stained at the factory, so that by the time they get to your house, they only need to be cut and nailed. Unfinished floors arrive as raw hardwood and are cut and installed before being sanded and stained.

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Although they look virtually the same after being installed, it’s important to know the difference when it comes to cleaning. Here’s a guide on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors.

Someone installing prefinished hardwood floors in a home.
Source: iStock
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How to clean prefinished hardwood floors:

According to Sheoga flooring, regularly sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping your prefinished hardwood floors can be key to keeping their luster and shine.

Having a cleaning schedule, along with protective measures to prevent scratching and damage can make all the difference in the look of your floors. Here are some tips and tricks to follow.

Dust your prefinished hardwood floors weekly.

A person wipes dust off of hardwood floors using a yellow rag.
Source: iStock

Making it a weekly habit to remove loose dust and dirt from the floors can help prevent things getting stuck in the cracks of the flooring and more difficult to remove later on. While dusting, it’s important to choose a brush or broom with softer bristles to make sure you are not scratching the floors in the process, per Microfiber WholeSale.

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Try to vacuum your prefinished hardwood floors once a week.

A person wearing gray socks uses a small vacuum on hardwood floors.
Source: iStock

According to Love To Know, using a vacuum on your floors about once a week can prevent loose dirt from hanging around and getting stuck in cracks. Some wood floods have larger cracks than others and without frequent cleaning, debris can become lodged into the wood. Love To Know specifically recommends using a vacuum with a hose attachment to reach all the small spaces, and to avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar because it could scratch the floor.

You can mop your prefinished hardwood floors once a week maximum, or when you need to treat spills or stains.

A person uses a blue mop on hardwood floors in front of a red couch and blue chair.
Source: iStock

Mopping your floors is slightly more thorough than dusting and sweeping, and can be used to remove stains and spills. According to Eco Flooring USA, before damp mopping your floors, make sure you have swept up any dry debris or dirt.

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Then, make a cleaning solution of water mixed with a bit of vinegar to dip the mop in. Clean the floor by moving the mop in the direction of the wood grain. After you have finished mopping, dry your floors using towels to prevent water damage.

Experts who spoke with Family Handyman recommend using the smallest amount of liquid possible when mopping, to prevent staining or warping the wood. Additionally, don't mop your floors too often — once a week maximum is plenty for high-traffic areas, and once or twice a month is more than enough for rooms that are less frequently used.

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Any spills and stains should be cleaned immediately, either with a mop or towel and cleaning solution. If spills are not cleaned up properly, they can damage the floors, and lead to stains and discoloration, per Eco Flooring USA.

Polish your hardwood floors no more than once a month.

A roller moves across light hardwood floors to polish the surface.
Source: iStock

Polishing is more extensive and can be done up to once a month to keep your floors looking brand new. According to Microfiber Wholesale, start by clearing the floor by removing all furniture, rugs, etc. Then, starting from the corners, evenly apply polish all over the floor using a soft cloth or mop. After the polish has dried completely, you can put the furniture back.

Although maintaining a regular cleaning schedule is important for keeping your prefinished hardwoods looking fresh, using protection methods could help them last longer. This includes using rugs to prevent scratches, opting for natural cleaners, and picking up your furniture instead of sliding can make all the difference in the look and longevity of your floors, per Eco Flooring USA.

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