Everything You Need to Know About How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Everything You Need to Know About How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Did you know that over 52% of homeowners have wood flooring? If you're one of them, you'd better know the correct care methods for wood floors.

Pre-finished wood floors are beautiful and a popular choice for many homeowners. But they need regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and lasting as long as possible. Luckily, it's easy to learn everything you need to know about how to clean your pre-finished hardwood floors!

We've put together an easy guide that covers the basics of how to clean pre-finished hardwood floors, from simple daily cleaning tips to more intensive deep cleanses. Take the guesswork out of keeping your floors pristine with this helpful guide! 

Maintaining Wood Floors

Clean your pre-finished hardwood floors daily to preserve their beauty and longevity. Here are some tips for daily maintenance:

Sweep or Vacuum Regularly

Use a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment to remove dust, dirt, and pet hair. Make sure to clean under furniture and in corners where dust accumulates. It would be best to sweep or vacuum your floors every day or at least a few times per week.

Use Appropriate Cleaners

Use a damp (not soaking wet) microfiber mop and a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner when mopping. Avoid using harsh chemicals, vinegar, or steam cleaners that can damage the finish of your wood floor. Clean your floors as needed, but not more than once a week.

Dry the Floor

After mopping, dry the floor with a clean microfiber cloth to prevent water from seeping into the wood and causing damage.

If you don't dry the floor after mopping, the excess water can seep into the wood, causing it to swell and warp. This can lead to cracks in the finish of your pre-finished hardwood floors and can even cause permanent damage. The moisture from the spilled water can also encourage mold and mildew growth which can be difficult to remove.

Deep Cleaning

Deep-cleaning pre-finished hardwood flooring involves a thorough process. It removes dirt, grime, and residue that may have built up over time. Here are the steps to deep-clean your pre-finished hardwood floors:

  1. Clear the Area: Remove all furniture, rugs, and other items from the floor to ensure you can clean the entire surface.
  2. Sweep or Vacuum: Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor with a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment. This will remove loose dirt, dust, and debris.
  3. Choose the Right Cleaner: Use a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner for pre-finished floors. Avoid harsh chemicals, vinegar, or oil-based cleansers, as they can damage the finish.
  4. Damp Mop: Dampen a microfiber mop with the cleaning solution to wring out any excess liquid. Excessive water can seep into the wood and cause damage. Mop the floor following the wood grain, working in small sections to ensure an even and thorough cleaning.
  5. Rinse the Mop: Rinse the mop in a separate bucket of clean water to avoid spreading dirt and grime across the floor.
  6. Dry the Floor: After mopping, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe the floor and remove any remaining moisture. This will prevent water damage and leave your floor looking clean and polished.
  7. Inspect the Floor: Check for any remaining stains or dirt and spot-clean as necessary using a damp cloth and hardwood floor cleaner.
  8. Restore Furniture and Rugs: Replace furniture and rugs once the floor is completely dry. Use protective padding under heavy items to prevent scratches and dents.
Remember to deep-clean your pre-finished hardwood floors every few months or as needed. It depends on the level of foot traffic and wear and tear. Regular deep cleaning will help maintain the beauty and longevity of your floors.

Tackling Challenging Stains

Sometimes you may encounter tough stains on your pre-finished hardwood floors. Here are some practical solutions for common stains:

Pet Stains

For urine stains, blot the area immediately with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Then, use a hardwood floor cleaner to clean the area as best as you can. For feces, remove the solid waste and clean the area with a hardwood floor cleaner.

Food Stains

Blot the area immediately with a clean cloth to absorb the liquid for spills like wine, juice, or sauce. Use a damp microfiber cloth and a hardwood floor cleaner to clean the stain. If necessary, use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Water Stains

Remove light water stains by rubbing the area with a damp cloth and a small amount of hardwood floor cleaner. Dry the area well afterward with a clean, dry cloth.

Other Tough Spills

Remove as much of the substance as possible using a plastic scraper or a credit card for spills like paint, nail polish, or ink. Then, use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean the area.

You may need to consult a professional flooring expert. They can assess the damage and recommend appropriate treatment for severe water stains.

When dealing with challenging stains, always test your chosen cleaning solution. Test it on an inconspicuous area of the floor first to make sure it won't cause damage to the finish. Additionally, act fast when spills occur to cut the risk of permanent staining.

Preventing Further Damage

You can take steps to prevent scratches, wear and tear, and stains on your hardwood flooring. To protect your pre-finished hardwood floors from wear and tear, follow these tips:

Use Protective Padding

Place felt pads or rubber protectors under the legs of heavy furniture to prevent scratches and dents. Replace these pads as they wear out to ensure continued protection.

Avoid Sharp Objects

Keep your floors free from sharp objects like pet claws, high-heeled shoes, and tools that can scratch the surface. Trim your pet's nails regularly and avoid wearing high heels or cleats on the floor.

Use Area Rugs

Place area rugs in high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways to cut wear and tear. Make sure to choose rugs with natural, non-slip backing to prevent damage to your wood floor.

Control Humidity

Maintaining a consistent indoor humidity level (between 30% and 50%) can help prevent your wood floor from expanding, contracting, or warping over time. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to maintain proper humidity levels.

What to Avoid When Maintaining Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors cannot withstand abrasive substances, steam cleaners, waxes, or polishes. Avoid using soap-based detergents and vinegar solutions as well.

Harsh Chemicals

The use of harsh chemicals should be avoided when cleaning pre-finished hardwood floors. These chemicals can damage the finish and reduce the lifespan of the floors. Furthermore, they may leave a residue on the wood that can be difficult to remove, resulting in dull and discolored flooring.


Vinegar is an acidic solution that can strip away the protective finish of your pre-finished hardwood floors. Furthermore, it may leave a cloudy or white residue on the flooring, which can be difficult to remove.

Steam Cleaners

You should avoid using steam cleaners on pre-finished hardwood floors. Steam cleaners' intense heat and moisture can warp or damage the flooring and cause discoloration.

Incorrect Cleaning Tools

Don't use abrasive scrubbers or brushes on pre-finished hardwood floors. They will wear away the protective finish and damage the flooring. These scrubbers can leave behind scratches and scuffs that are difficult to remove.

Avoid using steam mops when cleaning pre-finished hardwood floors. The heat and moisture from steam mops can cause the flooring to warp. It can also discolor and damage the protective finish.

Finally, don't use vacuum cleaners with a beater bar on pre-finished hardwood floors. They can scratch or scuff the surface of the wood.

Neglecting Regular Maintenance

Sweep or vacuum your pre-finished hardwood floors every day to remove dirt and debris. Dirt and dust left on the floor can become embedded in the finish, leading to scratches and scuffs. We recommend vacuuming with a soft brush attachment for best results.

Mop your floors with a damp cloth or mild detergent every 1-2 weeks. You'll get a deep clean and maintain the beauty of your pre-finished hardwood floors.

How to Clean Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors in Wisconsin

By following these tips on how to clean pre-finished hardwood floors, you can keep them looking beautiful for years to come. Regular maintenance, prompt stain removal, and preventive measures will ensure your investment's lasting beauty and durability. 

Are you ready to install beautiful hardwood flooring in your home? We're here to help! Schedule a design consultation with Y's Way Flooring. 

We're a premier flooring company in Watertown, Lake Mills, and Oconomowoc, WI. Let our professional designers and installers help you achieve the perfect look for your home. Act now to receive a free flooring estimate and maximize your satisfaction with our expert guidance!