How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors and Make them Shine

Prefinished hardwood floors are a popular choice for those looking to enhance the beauty and value of their home. However, in order to keep them looking their best, it is important to know how to clean and shine prefinished hardwood floors.

When it comes to cleaning prefinished hardwood floors, the number one priority should be to avoid using too much water. Moisture can easily seep into the seams and cracks between the boards, causing the wood to warp and become discolored.

A damp mop or cloth should be used to wipe the surface of the floor and then wiped dry. Special cleaning solutions or waxes should not be used on prefinished hardwood floors as they can cause serious damage.

Routine Cleaning

Routine cleaning is an essential part of how to clean prefinished hardwood floors. This routine can keep any home looking and feeling clean and fresh. One of the most important parts of routine cleaning is dusting and mopping.

Weekly Dusting

Dust is a combination of small particles, including pollen, fibers, and pet dander, that can cause allergies or other health issues. To effectively dust your home, use a microfiber cloth or feather duster. Start at the top of your home and work your way down, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Be sure to dust any ceiling fans, air vents, and light fixtures. Additionally, you can use a vacuum to help remove dust from furniture, carpets, and curtains. To prefinished hardwood floors, use a damp mop and gentle cleaner to remove dirt and dust.

Monthly Wet Mopping

To keep your home sparkling, monthly wet mopping is a must. When mopping prefinished hardwood floors, it is important to use a damp mop and the recommended cleaner. To begin, make sure your mop is damp, not wet. Too much water can cause your floor to swell, warp, or discolor.

Additionally, make sure to use the cleaner that is recommended by the manufacturer for the type of wood you have. Too much soap can leave a residue and make your floors look dull.

You should use a microfiber mop head. Microfiber is best for picking up dirt and debris without leaving behind any lint. When mopping, be sure to move in the direction of the wood grain to prevent damage.

Cleaning Techniques for Different Stains

Cleaning techniques for different stains can range from removing food and beverage stains to dealing with pet stains and odors, to eliminating grease and oil stains, tackling ink and marker stains, and even removing wax and gum. These techniques are crucial in how to clean prefinished hardwood floors perfectly.

Removing Food and Beverage Stains

When it comes to removing food and beverage stains from prefinished hardwood floors, there are a few techniques to keep in mind.

To start, it is important to never rub the stained area with a cloth as this can cause the stain to spread. Instead, use a damp cloth to gently dab in the area and blot the stain. If the stain remains, a more powerful cleaning agent may be necessary.

Depending on the type of food or beverage stain, a cleaning mixture of white vinegar and water can be used. This mixture should be applied with a soft cloth and wiped in a circular motion. If the stain persists, a mild detergent can be used in combination with a damp cloth.

Dealing with Pet Stains and Odors

Dealing with pet stains and odors is an unfortunate part of owning a pet. Pet accidents can cause discoloration of wood floors and unpleasant odors. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to properly clean and remove pet stains from prefinished hardwood floors.

First, act quickly to clean up any mess and remove the stain. Any urine or vomit should be wiped up with a paper towel or cloth. Next, use a cleaning solution of mild detergent and warm water to thoroughly clean the area.

Be sure to use a damp mop or cloth so the water does not saturate the wood. Finally, use a pet odor neutralizer that is safe for wood floors.

Eliminating Grease and Oil Stains

When it comes to eliminating grease and oil stains from prefinished hardwood floors, the best way to go about it is to use a cleaning solution and a damp cloth.

First, dampen the cloth with the cleaning solution and then gently rub the stain. It is important to be as gentle as possible so as to not damage the finish on the hardwood floors. After the stain has been rubbed out, the area should be wiped down with a dry cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Additionally, it may be necessary to apply a protective sealant to the area to help protect the hardwood floors from future staining. With the right cleaning techniques, it is possible to keep prefinished hardwood floors looking their best.

Tackling Ink and Marker Stains

Whether it’s a stray marker or a permanent ink pen, ink and marker stains on prefinished hardwood floors can create a troublesome situation. Here are some tips for how to clean prefinished hardwood floors and remove ink and marker stains.

It is important to understand the type of finish on the flooring to ensure the cleaning method used won’t damage it. The first step in tackling ink and marker stains is to use a cloth and warm, soapy water to try to blot the stain away.

If that doesn’t work, there are a few other options. Choose from rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or nail polish remover, but test each one on a small, hidden area of the floor to make sure it won’t damage the finish.

Wax and Gum

When it comes to wax and gum, it is important to take extreme caution when attempting to remove them from prefinished hardwood floors. Wax and gum can leave a residue that is difficult to remove. If possible, it is best to try to remove the wax and gum as soon as possible.

To do this, use a blow dryer to heat the wax or gum until it becomes soft. Then, use a plastic putty knife or credit card to gently scrape the wax or gum off the floor. Once the wax or gum has been removed, use a floor cleaner to clean the area and restore the shine to the floor.

Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning products on the prefinished hardwood floors.

Tips for Cleaning Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished hardwood floors require special care to maintain their appearance. Cleaning them quickly after spills occur is important to prevent staining. Residual stains may need to be addressed by using a mild cleaning solution. Here are some tips on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors.

Clean the Spills Quickly

It is essential to clean spills quickly when maintaining prefinished hardwood floors. The longer the liquid is left on the wood, the greater the chance of staining or discoloring it. Any spills, including water, liquid cleaning products, and other liquid substances, should be addressed immediately.

Using a soft, absorbent cloth or cleaning pad, blot the liquid from the floor as thoroughly and quickly as possible. If needed, use a mild cleaning solution for more stubborn liquids such as grease or oil.

Avoid using cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, as these can damage the wood’s finish. Furthermore, it is important to avoid excessive moisture when cleaning, as too much moisture can cause warping and discoloration.

Address the Residual Stains

Now that you know the best way to quickly clean up spills on prefinished hardwood floors, it is important to also address any residual stains. These stains may be caused by oils, wax, or other substances that need to be removed to prevent damage to the floor.

One useful technique is to mix a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water, and then use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stain.

The acidity of the vinegar helps to dissolve the oils and wax without damaging the finish of the floor. If the stain persists, a mild wood cleaner can be used to help remove the residue.

Follow the Directions of the Wood Grain

When it comes to cleaning prefinished hardwood floors, it is important to follow the direction of the wood grain. This is because the wood grain helps to draw dirt and dust particles away from the surface of the floor, making it easier to clean.

Using a vacuum cleaner or broom to sweep the floor in the direction of the grain will ensure that the dirt is removed effectively. Additionally, when mopping, it is important to mop in the direction of the grain.

Mopping in the opposite direction may cause the dirt to become embedded in the wood’s pores, making it more difficult to remove. Furthermore, when using a polisher, it is important to move it in the same direction as the grain.

Use Floor Protectors

One key preventative measure for keeping prefinished hardwood floors clean is to use floor protectors. Floor protectors are essential to keep furniture from scratching the hardwood and creating long-term damage.

Floor protectors also protect the wood from moisture and spills that can affect the finish and overall look of the floor. Furthermore, floor protectors also provide cushioning for furniture, which can prevent the wood from cracking or warping due to the weight of furniture.

Floor protectors come in a variety of styles and sizes, making it easy to find the right fit for any type of furniture. Additionally, many floor protectors are made of materials that help reduce noise and vibrations from furniture.

Avoiding Excessive Moisture and Spills

It is essential to take preventative measures when cleaning prefinished hardwood floors to avoid excessive moisture and spills. Moisture and spills increase the chances of staining, warping, and discoloring the hardwood.

To avoid this, it is recommended to ensure that the area is regularly vacuumed, swept, and mopped with a damp cloth. Other precautions such as using mats or rugs to absorb any spills and prevent moisture buildup should also be taken.

Additionally, furniture should have protective pads on the bottom of each piece to avoid scratching the hardwood. Allowing plenty of time for the hardwood to dry between mops is also important in order to reduce the chance of moisture damage.

Periodic Application of Wood Floor Polish

It is also important to remember that regular maintenance is essential for keeping prefinished hardwood floors looking their best. Periodic application of wood floor polish is recommended in order to protect the wood from damage and preserve the floor’s luster.

Wood floor polish can be applied with a mop or cloth, depending on the type and size of the room. Before applying the polish, it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the best cleaning products and techniques for the floor.

Additionally, it is important to make sure that the floor is dry before applying the polish. An excess of moisture can cause permanent damage to the wood.


In conclusion, cleaning and shining prefinished hardwood floors is a simple process that can be done with minimal effort. When cleaning, be sure to use the appropriate techniques for different types of stains and to use the right cleaning products to avoid damaging the finish.

Additionally, for longer lasting results, it is best to routinely clean and maintain the finish of the floors. With proper care, prefinished hardwood floors can remain in pristine condition for many years to come.