Prefinished hardwood floors are flooring surfaces that are delivered to a residential or business address, ready for installation, due to having been sanded, stained, and sealed by the manufacturer.
Because the finishing process itself can be time-consuming, these flooring surfaces represent a more convenient option compared to their unfinished counterparts.
Cleaning prefinished hardwood floors regularly is an important part of their maintenance as doing so will prevent them from getting scratched or stained, enabling them to maintain their natural appeal while also enhancing their longevity.
How to clean prefinished hardwood flooring
1. Use a broom, brush, or vacuum cleaner to remove dust, debris, or pet fur.
Brushing and sweeping your prefinished wooden floors daily is highly recommended as doing so will prevent the accumulation of debris and dust which may not only stain them but scratch their surfaces.
Soft-bristled brushes and brooms are best as hard bristles may scratch the finish.
If you decide to use a vacuum cleaner, you will also need to ensure that you switch to a softer brush.
Vacuuming robots are also another excellent option for cleaning your prefinished wooden floors since they come with soft bristles which are ideal for loosening dirt particles.
During cleaning, special attention should be paid to the corners as dirt may frequently accumulate in them.
2. Use a microfiber or cloth mop for dust mopping
For more intensive cleaning you should also dust mop your floors once a week. Microfiber mops are the best options because the splitting of their fibers enables them to carry a positive charge. This makes it easy for them to attract dust particles that have a negative charge.
Cotton mops are also an excellent option for dust mopping your floors as well.
3. Wet mop once a month
Again, microfiber mops are ideal in this case due to the ability of their fibers to reach into minute spaces, making them more efficient than standard mops.
There is also the fact that they use 10-20 times less fluid than standard mops which is a key benefit since it is important to use a minimal amount of solvent when cleaning your prefinished wooden floors.
It is important to make use of solvents recommended by the manufacturer and you will need to discuss the issue with them when purchasing as it may differ depending on the brand in question. Certain cleaning solvents provided by reputable brands may also be suitable as well.
The best cleaner for prefinished hardwood floors
Two cleaning products which we highly recommend have been manufactured by Bona, a brand which possesses 100 years experience of providing floor cleaning solutions.
In addition to being highly effective, they are also fast drying and environmentally friendly. They are:
1. The Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner
A product that combines efficiency and convenience, the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner can be sprayed right away and then wiped with your microfiber or cloth mop of choice and will cleanse your floor instantly without leaving behind any buildup, residue, or streaks.
It is low VOC and is also water-based, and as a result, is ideal for use in homes occupied by young children and pets. It is also Greenguard Gold certified and is eco-friendly, as well.
The Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner is also especially versatile and is ideal for unwaxed, unoiled or polyurethane finished floors.
2. The Bona Free & Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner
In addition to providing the impressive cleaning efficiency the brand is known for, the Bona Free & Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner is also hypoallergenic (it will eliminate 93.3% of allergens from your hardwood floors).
It is not only certified by Greenguard Gold but is also certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. As a result, it is ideal for your home if you have young children, are asthmatic, or have sensitive skin.
Like the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner, it is also water-based and can be used instantly. Only small amounts are required and you will simply need to spray the cleaner and wipe it up at once with your mop or cloth.
How to care for a prefinished hardwood floor
1. Clean your floors regularly
As noted above it is important to clean your floors frequently and to also pay attention to the following household cleaning items you use:
- Cleaning solvents
- Vacuum cleaners
Using the right kind of products and tools will enable you to maintain the aesthetic quality of your flooring.
2. Protect your floors
Several factors can cause some sort of damage to your floors, and steps must be taken to safeguard against them. These include:
- Your pets’ claws: Always keep your pets’ claws carefully trimmed to prevent them from scratching the surface of your flooring.
- Liquids: Any liquid which spills on your floors must be cleaned instantly to prevent it from soaking into your wooden floor. You should also shut windows during a downpour to prevent rain from being blown in and forming puddles on the floor.
- Avoid wearing footwear indoors: Always have all footwear left at the door to prevent them from wearing out the surface and possibly causing abrasions due to pebbles or sand stuck beneath them.
- Furniture: Use felt furniture pads to prevent your chairs, cabinets, and tables from marring the smoothness of your wooden floors.
- Sunlight: Light can fade the color of your flooring making it look worn and used. Hanging up drapes and limiting the amount of sunlight that enters a room will preserve the coloring of your prefinished wooden surfaces for longer.
- Rugs and mats: Make use of rugs liberally to protect your floors particularly in high traffic areas. You should also make use of rubber mats in places where spills and leakages are likely to occur such as kitchens.
1. What other substances should I avoid using on my prefinished hardwood floors?
Apart from water which is unsuitable for your prefinished hardwood floors, due to the organic nature of wood, you should also avoid using the following on your flooring surfaces:
- Oils: Oils leave residues behind which will detract from the appearance of your flooring surfaces. It is also important to avoid using furniture polish which can make your prefinished floors slippery.
- Acidic or alkaline solvents: Vinegar and lemon juice belong in the former category and while certain experts recommend them for cleaning floors, it is worth noting that they can actually damage the finish of your prefinished hardwood surfaces.
Those in the latter category such as ammonia will actually make your floors look duller rather than shiny and pristine.
2. How can I fix scratches on my prefinished hardwood floors?
Simply get a stain that is the same color as the pigment used for your floor and apply it with a small sponge. Sponges will work better than brushes in this case since it is important to apply just the right amount of stain without leaving any residue.
Certain experts prefer the use of makeup sponges since they are small and ideal for applying minimal amounts of the pigment.
Ensure you apply the stain in a smooth sweeping motion to the scratch and work the rest of it into the surrounding area as well.
3. Can I use wax to remove scratches on my prefinished hardwood floors?
No, you cannot. Although this option may be an excellent choice for cabinetry it is not for prefinished hardwood floors. This is because it will become smeared owing to traffic.
1. Can you steam clean prefinished hardwood floors?
Steam cleaning prefinished hardwood floors is not an option that is often recommended by manufacturers and in some cases, doing so may void the warranty of your flooring.
Despite its gaseous form and elevated temperatures, steam is still water which is harmful to prefinished wooden floors. As a matter of fact, this state will enable it to enter into minute cracks and scratches it would otherwise be unable to access in its liquid form.
Hence, using steam to clean your floors may result in swelling and mold which will, in turn, hasten the deterioration of the material itself and possibly result in your needing to replace your flooring.
However, certain providers which specialize in providing steam cleaners do state that it is possible to dry steam your prefinished hardwood floors since the vapor will evaporate instantly.
They recommend checking that the floor seal is intact before dry steaming and preventing the cleaner from remaining on any particular position for too long as doing so may cause damage to that particular spot.
2. Can you mop prefinished hardwood floors?
Yes, it is possible to mop prefinished hardwood floors. However, only dust mopping is permitted or mopping with a light application of cleaning solvent recommended by the manufacturer or purchased from a leading brand. You will need to wipe the solvent promptly.
Experts advise against using materials that contain ammonia, bleach, detergent or vinegar, which can be especially harsh and damage your flooring surfaces.
3. Can you sand down prefinished hardwood floors?
Yes, you can. Their status as hardwoods makes this possible. Quite frequently prefinished hardwood floors come with bevels and it is possible to sand them down as well.
However, you should be aware that doing so will reduce the number of times you will be able to subsequently sand them down in the future.
One example of when you may decide to opt for this procedure may be in the event of remodeling your home to create a uniform stain between two adjoining surfaces.
It is worth noting that a considerable quantity of dust will be generated during sanding and so you will need to cover any openings such as doors or windows with sheeting which can be held in place with masking tape.