How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors (DIY Guide)

Adam Chronister Floors June 2, 2023

Prefinished hardwood floors add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any home, but they also require proper care and maintenance to maintain their beauty.

In this DIY guide, we will walk you through the essential tools, materials, and step-by-step process for cleaning your prefinished hardwood floors effectively.

With these easy-to-follow instructions and expert tips for maintaining your floor's flawless finish, you can ensure that your investment looks beautiful for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Use the right tools: Soft-bristled brooms or vacuum cleaners with natural bristle attachments, a microfiber mop or cloth, pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner, and water are necessary for cleaning prefinished hardwood floors effectively.
  • Follow proper cleaning techniques: Clear debris and loose dirt before sweeping or vacuuming; mop using a pH-neutral cleaner diluted with minimal water to avoid warping; allow the floor to dry completely before stepping on it.
  • Take preventative measures: Use doormats to keep dirt out of the house and furniture pads under all pieces in contact with your floors. Avoid harsh chemicals that can strip the finish of your flooring. Regular maintenance is also crucial for keeping prefinished hardwood floors looking great for years to come.

Tools And Materials Required For DIY Cleaning Of Prefinished Hardwood Floors

To clean prefinished hardwood floors, you will need a soft-bristled broom or vacuum cleaner with hardwood floor attachment, microfiber mop or cloth, pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner, and water.

Soft-bristled Broom Or Vacuum Cleaner With Hardwood Floor Attachment

Using the right tools is essential for achieving a thorough and effective cleaning of your prefinished hardwood floors. A soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment are excellent options to consider.

For example, soft-bristled brooms are gentle enough to effectively sweep away dust and debris without scratching the surface of your floors. Similarly, vacuum cleaners with natural bristle attachments glide smoothly across the wood without damaging the finish.

Microfiber Mop Or Cloth

A microfiber mop or cloth is an essential tool for cleaning prefinished hardwood floors. Microfiber cloths are made of tiny fibers that can effectively trap and remove dirt, dust, and debris without leaving behind any scratches or streaks on the flooring surface.

Microfiber Mop Or Cloth

Additionally, microfiber mops have flat heads that enable them to reach tight spaces easily.

When using a microfiber mop or cloth to clean your prefinished hardwood floors, ensure that it is damp but not wet. Excess water from damp mopping can damage the finish of the floor and cause warping over time.

Also, be sure to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully when cleaning your flooring with a microfiber mop or cloth to avoid causing any damage.

PH-neutral Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Using a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner is crucial for maintaining the quality and longevity of prefinished hardwood floors. These types of cleaners are specially formulated to avoid damaging or dulling the finish on wood floors, which can happen with harsher cleaning products. A high pH cleaner is advised if you have an especially oily or greasy stain that is difficult to take out.

Not only do these cleaners protect the finish of the flooring, but they also effectively remove dirt and grime without leaving behind streaks or residue. Simply dilute with water according to instructions and use with a microfiber mop or cloth for best results.


Water is an essential component of the DIY cleaning process for prefinished hardwood floors. Make sure to use only a small amount of water when mopping the floor and avoid soaking it as excess moisture can damage the wood.

It's important to opt for a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner that requires minimal water while still effectively removing dirt and grime. Regularly spraying a fine mist of water on your microfiber mop or cloth before wiping down your flooring helps ensure it stays streak-free, shiny, and clean without causing any warping or other damages.

Using too much water during cleaning can cause discoloration and permanent stains on prefinished flooring.

Step-by-Step Guide For DIY Cleaning Of Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Step-by-Step Guide For DIY Cleaning Of Prefinished Hardwood Floors

To ensure your prefinished hardwood floors stay looking their best, follow this simple step-by-step guide for DIY cleaning using the appropriate tools and products.

Clear The Floor Of Debris And Loose Dirt

Before you start mopping or vacuuming your prefinished hardwood floors, it is crucial to clear the floor of any debris and loose dirt. This will prevent scratches and damage to the surface during cleaning.

Start by using a soft-bristled broom or vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment to sweep away any large particles such as crumbs, pet hair, or dust bunnies.

Once you have removed the larger debris from your prefinished flooring, use a microfiber mop or cloth to spot clean any remaining spots on the floor before moving on to more extensive cleaning methods.

Microfiber is an excellent material for this purpose because it effectively captures dirt without leaving streaks on your floors like traditional materials might.

Vacuum Or Sweep The Floor

After clearing the floor of debris, it's time to dust off the remaining dirt and particles. You can either use a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment.

However, be careful when using a vacuum cleaner as some models may cause scratches on your prefinished hardwood floors. Opt for vacuum cleaners with natural bristle attachments instead of plastic ones.

For sweeping, make sure to cover all areas evenly and gently without exerting too much force that could scratch the surface of your flooring.

Mop The Floor With The Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Once you've swept or vacuumed your prefinished hardwood floor, it's time to mop away any remaining dirt and grime. It's essential to use the right cleaner to avoid damage, so make sure to choose a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner that won't leave streaks or residue.

Remember not to oversaturate the mop or leave standing water on your prefinished hardwood floors, which can cause warping or other damage over time. For best results, work in small sections and rinse out your mop regularly as you go along.

Allow The Floor To Dry Completely

Once the prefinished hardwood floor has been cleaned with the appropriate cleaning solution and mop, it is important to allow it to air dry completely before stepping on it or placing furniture back onto it.

This will prevent any moisture from damaging the wood or leaving unsightly watermarks. It's best to wait at least an hour for the floor to dry naturally.

In cases where time is of the essence, using a clean microfiber cloth to gently buff away any remaining moisture can speed up the drying process without causing damage. Remember that standing water can be especially harmful to prefinished hardwood floors, so take care not to leave pools of water behind when drying.

Keywords: Prefinished wooden floor care, DIY hardwood floor cleaning, Maintaining prefinished wood floors

Tips For Maintaining Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Use doormats to prevent outside dirt from entering the house, protect floors with furniture pads, avoid harsh chemicals and schedule regular professional maintenance for long-lasting prefinished hardwood flooring.

Use Doormats To Keep Dirt Out Of The House

One effective way to maintain the cleanliness of prefinished hardwood floors is by using doormats. Placing a doormat at each entryway helps prevent dirt and debris from being tracked into your home.

Use Doormats To Keep Dirt Out Of The House

This simple step can greatly reduce the amount of foot traffic dirt that accumulates on your flooring, reducing the need for frequent cleaning. It's also worth considering investing in a double-sided doormat with one side for wiping shoes and boots, and another for drying them off before entering the house.

Place Furniture Pads Under All Furniture To Prevent Scratches

One of the most common causes of scratches and scuffs on prefinished hardwood floors is furniture. Even with regular cleaning, dragging heavy pieces across the flooring can leave unsightly marks that are difficult to remove.

To avoid this problem, homeowners should consider placing furniture pads under all pieces in contact with their floors. These small, adhesive-backed protectors create a buffer between chairs, tables, and other furnishings and the floor surface.

Regular maintenance and cleaning can help keep prefinished hardwood floors looking their best for years to come. But simple precautions like using furniture pads are critical as well — especially if you want to prevent costly repairs or replacement down the line.

When selecting pads for your own home, look for options made from soft yet durable materials such as felt or rubberized foam.

Avoid Harsh Cleaning Agents And Chemicals

It is crucial to avoid using harsh cleaning agents and chemicals when cleaning prefinished hardwood floors. These can strip the floor's finish, leaving it vulnerable to damage from scratches, scuffs, and stains.

Instead of using such products, opt for a simple damp mop or  pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaners that are specifically formulated for use on prefinished flooring.

Regular maintenance is essential in preventing heavy soiling and minimizing the need for deep cleaning or stripping. By following simple tips like sweeping regularly, using doormats to prevent dirt from entering your home, and placing furniture pads under all furniture items to prevent scratches, you can keep prefinished hardwood floors looking great for years to come.

Regularly Schedule Professional Maintenance

Regularly scheduling professional maintenance for your prefinished hardwood floors is essential to keeping them looking their best and prolonging their lifespan. Professional floor cleaners have access to powerful equipment and cleaning solutions that are specifically designed for wood flooring, which can help remove stubborn dirt, grime, and stains that regular cleaning may not be able to tackle.

It is recommended that you schedule a professional cleaning of your prefinished hardwood floors once or twice a year depending on the amount of foot traffic in your home.

This will ensure that your floors stay clean, shiny, and free from damage caused by neglect or improper care. Keep in mind that while DIY cleaning methods are effective for routine upkeep of your hardwood floors; consulting an experienced specialist cannot be overstated when it comes down professional maintenance tasks like deep cleaning or restoration work.


In conclusion, clean prefinished hardwood flooring doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and materials, it can even be an easy DIY project.

Remember to always sweep or vacuum first to remove loose dirt and debris before mopping. Use a pH-neutral cleaner and a damp microfiber mop to keep prefinished hardwood floors clean.

Regular maintenance like using doormats and furniture pads can also prevent scratches and other damage over time.