Imagine your hardwood floors looked as beautiful as they were the day they were installed.

You deserve floors that can last the everyday wear and tear, which means you need a cleaning routine that you can trust will keep your floors shining for generations to come.

We’re teaching you everything you need to know about how to clean prefinished hardwood floors so they always stay a source of pride and beauty in your home!


What Are Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

When it comes to flooring options, prefinished hardwood floors have become more and more popular among homeowners in recent years.

But what exactly are prefinished hardwood floors, and what sets them apart from their unfinished counterparts?

Prefinished hardwood floors are hardwood flooring materials that have been pre-coated with a protective finish at the factory before installation. These sealed wood floors use a protective finish that typically consists of several sealant layers, like polyurethane, aluminum oxide, or similar coatings.

The important thing to note is that these coatings are applied in a controlled environment, meaning it has a higher chance that the finish is consistent and durable across the entire surface of the wood.


image of a man buffing hardwood floors


The Benefits of Prefinished Flooring

So what makes prefinished hardwood floors such a well-loved option for homeowners?

It’s durable. The factory-applied finish is designed to withstand heavy foot traffic, scratches, and everyday wear and tear. This durability can significantly extend the life of your hardwood floors, ensuring they look beautiful for years to come.

It’s easy to install. Prefinished hardwood floors are a breeze to install compared to their unfinished counterparts. Since the finish is applied at the factory, your floor installation team doesn’t have to do any sanding, staining, or finishing once it enters your home.

It reduces mess and fumes. Anyone who has experienced installing unfinished hardwood floors can attest to the dust and strong odors that accompany the sanding and finishing process! With prefinished hardwood floors, you can sidestep these inconveniences, with floors that arrive ready to be installed so you can enjoy a cleaner and more comfortable installation experience.

It adds a personalized, upscale feel to your home. You have many options for wood species, colors, and finishes for your prefinished hardwood floors, so you can choose the perfect style to complement the rest of your home.

Plus, their consistent finish and overall polished appearance can elevate the look and feel of your home– increasing your home’s value if you were to ever sell.

But arguably the most important? They’re timeless, both in their style and in their durability compared to other flooring options. We can tell the difference between new and old carpet, or even new and old laminate flooring, from a mile away.

Prefinished hardwood flooring offers a timeless look that doesn’t go out of style and withstands the test of time.


image of clean hardwood flooring in a new home


The Difference Between Prefinished and Unfinished Hardwood

But how do prefinished hardwood floors differ from their unfinished counterparts? It all boils down to the installation process, finishing options, and the time and effort required. Let’s break it down.

Installation process: Prefinished hardwood floors are installed as ready-to-use planks, meaning you can walk on them immediately after installation. 

Unfinished hardwood needs sanding, staining, and finishing on-site, a process that can sometimes take many days to complete and involves drying times between coats.

Customization options: Unfinished hardwood floors have lots of customization opportunities. You can choose the stain color, and finish type, and even create unique designs or patterns.

Some prefinished floors, on the other hand, come with predetermined finishes and limited customization options.

Cost and maintenance: While prefinished hardwood may have a slightly higher upfront cost due to the factory-applied finish, it can save you money in the long run by avoiding the longer installation time sometimes associated with on-site finishing.

Maintenance-wise, both options require regular cleaning and occasional refinishing, but prefinished floors tend to be slightly more resistant to wear and tear.


How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of prefinished hardwood floors and the differences between prefinished and unfinished options, let’s dive into how to how to care for hardwood floors through cleaning:

Of course, regular maintenance is key to preserving their longevity and ensuring they continue to enhance the aesthetics of your home; let’s get into some best practices for keeping your prefinished hardwood floors in pristine condition!


Dusting and Vacuuming

Dust and dirt particles can act like abrasive agents when they’re left on your floor for too long, causing scratches and dullness on the surface. To avoid this:

Use soft bristles. Opt for a microfiber mop or a soft, dry cloth when you’re dusting. Avoid using stiff-bristle brooms, as they can scratch the finish.

Vacuum gently. If you prefer vacuuming, make sure your vacuum cleaner has a hardwood floor setting or a brush attachment designed for hard surfaces to prevent the beater bar from scratching the floor.

Clean at least once per week. Aim to dust or vacuum your prefinished hardwood floors at least once a week (or slightly more frequently in high-traffic areas!).


image of a white room during the day with clean hardwood floors and a dog laying on top


Cleaning and Shining

After doing the bare minimum cleaning for your hardwood floors, cleaning and shining is the next level, helping them look like they did the day they were installed. Here’s how to clean and shine prefinished hardwood floors:

Use only water or manufacturer-certified cleaner. The best floor cleaner for hardwood floors? The one recommended by your manufacturer!

Slightly damp mop. Moisten a microfiber mop or cloth with the cleaning solution, ensuring it’s only slightly damp, not soaking wet, as excess water can seep into the seams and cause damage. Do not steam clean your prefinished hardwood floors!

Wipe in the direction of the grain to prevent streaks.

Dry thoroughly. After cleaning, use a dry microfiber cloth to remove any excess moisture and ensure your floors are completely dry to prevent water damage and streaking.


Polishing and Protecting

The third layer of cleaning and maintaining your beautiful prefinished hardwood floor is through polishing, which restores its shine and adds an extra layer of protection. Here’s how to deep clean prefinished hardwood floors through polishing and protecting your floors:

Choose the right polish. Only use the polish suggested by your manufacturer!

Prepare the surface. Before polishing, make sure your floors don’t have any dirt or debris. Dust and clean before polishing.

Apply evenly. Use a clean, dry cloth to apply the polish evenly and work in small sections.

Buff gently. After you apply the polish, buff the floor lightly with a clean, dry cloth to get a smooth, glossy finish.

Also, consider using rugs and floor protectors in high-traffic areas to reduce wear and tear on your prefinished hardwood floors.


Cleaning Grooves

Cleaning the grooves in prefinished hardwood floors can be a bit challenging because of how tedious they can be. Here’s how to clean grooves in prefinished hardwood floors:

Use soft tools and products. To clean those particularly hard-to-reach grooves, use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner or a handheld brush with soft bristles. Need an extra hack? Try using a microfiber cloth wrapped around a thin, flat tool, like a credit card, to reach into the grooves.

Clean gently. Use the same approved cleaner as you did the flat part of your floor if needed– but use it occasionally to make sure there isn’t too much moisture that seeps into the gaps.


How to Care for Hardwood Floors

But proper care goes beyond regular cleaning. Having these cleaning practices in place can significantly extend the longevity and beauty of your prefinished hardwood floors.


Dealing with stains and spills

The name of the game with stains and spills is prompt cleanup. Spills happen, and the important part is that you clean them up properly to prevent any staining or water damage.

Use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot the spill, working from the outside in. Avoid rubbing, as it can push the liquid further into the wood.


Repairing scratches and dents

And despite even your best efforts, scratches and dents on your hardwood floors can occur over time. Consider hardwood floor touch-up kits (always ask your manufacturer before purchasing) or get professional assistance to help you manage your hardwood floor care.

We hope you learned a little something about how to clean prefinished hardwood floors (and keep them looking beautiful for years!). Looking for help with installation, refinishing, navigating stains and repairs, or something else? Contact us today!


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