using a mircrofiber mop to clean prefinished hardwood floors

How To Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors Like a Pro

Hi and welcome to how to clean prefinished hardwood floors like a pro. And trust me, you’re talking to someone who has spent hours on end keeping wood floors clean. Wood floors are normally the last to get cleaned in a room, but that doesn’t mean they are least important. Whether you’re a proud homeowner aiming to keep your space pristine or a cleaning enthusiast looking for some handy tips, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore the art of cleaning prefinished hardwood floors in a straightforward and approachable way. So, let’s kick off this journey and make sure your prefinished hardwood floors keep looking fantastic for years to come.

What You’ll Learn 

  • What prefinished floors are & the benefits
  • How to know if you have prefinished wood floors
  • Step by step process on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors
  • Things to avoid while cleaning your hardwood floors

What Is Prefinished Hardwood Flooring & What Are The Benefits?

Pre-finished floors, also known as manufactured finished floors, are a special kind of flooring that comes already coated with a protective layer. The protective layer is put on at the factory, so you don’t have to add it after the floors are put in the home.

On the other hand, on-site finished hardwood floors are installed raw and then finished with coatings like polyurethane on-site, requiring drying time before they can be used. The choice between the two often depends on convenience and customization preferences.

If you’re not certain whether your hardwood floors are factory finished or finished on-site, check to see if the edges of the hardwood planks are beveled. If they are beveled, you hardwood floors are most likely are factory finished (prefinished).

What Are Beveled Edges? 

Do you know how the edges of puzzle pieces are sometimes slightly slanted or angled? Well, that’s kind of what beveling is for prefinished floors.

It’s when the edges of the floorboards have a gentle slope or angle. This creates a small groove or depression between each board.

If you notice dust collecting inside the flooring depressions (bevels), you may have prefinished hardwood floors.

Key Features & Benefits of Pre-Finished Floors:

  • Factory-Finished: Pre-finished floors are coated in a controlled factory, ensuring durable layers of finish. No need for on-site finishing.
  • Convenient Installation: The protective coating is already applied, saving installation time.
  • Odor-Free: Pre-finished floors don’t bring lingering smells. Factory-based finishing eliminates this concern.
  • Durable Protection: Prefinished floors have a tough coating, guarding against scratches and other damage.
  • Instant Use: Once installed, pre-finished floors are good to go. No waiting for drying times.
  • Diverse Selection: Pre-finished floors offer various wood types, colors, and styles to suit your home.
  • Clean Installation: Factory finishing reduces mess during installation, sparing you from on-site sanding and dust.

Now that you know whether you have prefinished wood floors,or not, lets learn how to clean your prefinished hardwood floors like a pro.

Steps to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

What You’ll Need 

  • Soft-Bristle Broom: Gentle fibers effectively capture dust, dirt, and debris without scratching floors. Also useful for sweeping cracks and crevices.
  • Microfiber Mop: Soft and absorbent material lifts dust and debris gently from hardwood floors by capturing fine particles for a cleaner, shinier result without excess moisture. Multiple mop heads are ideal for continuous cleaning.
  • Bucket: Convenient container for mixing and holding cleaning solution. Helps wring out mops and prevent excessive water from harming the floor.
  • Mild Hardwood Floor Cleaner: Preserves floor finish and appearance. Ensures effective cleaning without compromising wood’s integrity.
  • Clean, Soft Cloths: Used to wipe up excess water and debris, as well as hand buffing specific areas.
  • Vacuum (optional)-All Vacuums are not made for hard floor vacuuming. If yours is, you may use it to help pre-clean floors before mopping. Make sure to disengage brush roll to avoid damaging floors.

How to Dry Mop Prefinished Hardwood Floors

  1. Clear the area of any furniture, rugs, or objects that might hinder your sweeping or dusting process.
  2. Sweep or dust from the perimeter of the room by using a broom or dust mop, working your way toward the center. This prevents pushing dirt back onto the cleaned area.
  3. Reach under furniture to remove dust and dirt that might have been collected in these hidden areas.
  4. Pay special attention to bevels, corners, edges, and any crevices where dust might accumulate. You can use a smaller broom or a vacuum attachment to clean these areas.
  5. Vacuuming (Optional): If you have a vacuum that’s made to vacuum non-carpet surfaces, you can use it to further remove fine particles and debris. Crevice tools are especially good for getting in corners cracks, and bevels. 
  6. Make sure the vacuums brush roll is disengaged to prevent scratching the floor.

How to Wet Mop Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Read the manufacturer’s recommendations for your prefinished hardwood floors to ensure you are using an approved cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals.

  1. Prepare the cleaning solution In a bucket. Mix the mild hardwood floor cleaner with warm water, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Be sure to use the recommended dilution ratio to prevent over-wetting the floors.
  3. Dampen the microfiber mop by submerging the microfiber mop pad in the cleaning solution.
  4. Wring it out thoroughly. The mop pad should be damp, not dripping wet.
  5. Begin mopping in a corner of the room, working your way towards the exit. This prevents you from stepping on freshly cleaned areas.
  6. Work in small sections, moving the mop in the direction of the wood grain. Avoid using excessive pressure or scrubbing, as this can potentially damage the finish.
  7. Change your microfiber mop pad as it becomes soiled or simply rinse out the one you’re using, wring it out, and continue mopping. 
  8. Mop any extra water that may have been put down while cleaning, quickly
  9. Repeat the process until the floor is clean to your liking

Add Finishing Touches & Dry

  1. Allow the floor to air dry once you’ve finished mopping and drying the entire floor.
  2. Allow it to air dry for an additional period to ensure any residual moisture evaporates.
  3. Carefully replace the furniture in its original position.
  4. Consider using furniture pads or felt protectors under the legs to prevent scratching.

Additional Things To Avoid When Cleaning Hardwood Floors

  • Harsh Chemicals: Avoid harsh, common household cleaners on hardwood floors to prevent finish damage.
  • Oil Soaps: Opt for water-based, pH-balanced cleaners to prevent dulling residue.
  • Furniture Dragging: Lift furniture or use sliders to prevent deep scratches.
  • High Heels & Shoes: Choose soft-soled shoes indoors to prevent denting and scratching.
  • Standing Water: Promptly clean up spills to prevent wood damage and staining.
  • Steam Cleaners: Avoid steam cleaning as it can damage the wood finish.
  • Unprotected Pet Claws: Trim pet claws to prevent accidental scratches.
  • Wax & Polish Buildup: Don’t use these products unless recommended by the floor’s manufacturer.
  • Dirty Mop Heads: Ensure clean mop heads to prevent scratching.
  • Doormats: Use doormats at entryways to minimize dirt on hardwood floors.

In wrapping up our guide on how to clean prefinished hardwood floors, remember that this task, while essential, need not be a daunting one. Whether you’re a homeowner cherishing the elegance of your living space or a seasoned cleaning professional seeking to perfect your craft, the key lies in a delicate touch and regular care.

By following the steps and tips outlined here, you’ll not only keep your prefinished hardwood floors spotless but also ensure they remain a timeless centerpiece in your home or workspace. So, embrace the simple joy of maintaining your floors, and relish in the enduring beauty they bring to your everyday life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Swiffer Wet On Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Swiffer WetJet on prefinished wood floors can be safe if precautions are followed. Consider these points before use:

  • Moisture Control: Prefinished wood floors resist moisture but are still sensitive. Ensure the mop pad is damp, not dripping, to prevent water seepage into seams.
  • Appropriate Cleaner: Use a compatible hardwood floor cleaner. Check labels for suitability, even if it’s a Swiffer WetJet solution for wood floors.
  • Test Area First: Test in a hidden spot before full use to confirm no negative effects on the finish.

How Do I make My Prefinished Hardwood Floors Shine?

To make prefinished hardwood floors shine, follow these steps:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Sweep or vacuum to remove dust and dirt.
  2. Damp Mop: Use a damp mop with a hardwood floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Avoid Excess Water: Don’t oversaturate the floor, as excessive moisture can damage it.
  4. Microfiber Cloth: Polish with a microfiber cloth for a natural shine.
  5. Use Hardwood Floor Polish: Apply a hardwood floor polish as directed to enhance and maintain shine.
  6. Prevent Scratches: Use felt pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches.

Remember to check the manufacturer’s care guidelines for your specific prefinished hardwood floor to ensure proper maintenance and shine. Make sure to avoid overuse of polish. Excessive polish or shine products can lead to buildup. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and avoid overapplication for easy maintenance.

Is Bona Safe For Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Yes, Bona is generally safe for prefinished hardwood floors. Bona is a well-known brand that offers a range of hardwood floor cleaning products, including cleaners, polishes, and maintenance solutions. Many of their products are specifically formulated to be safe and effective for use on prefinished hardwood floors. 

Does Bona Leave a Haze On Wood Floors?

Bona hardwood floor cleaners are generally praised for their ability to leave wood floors haze-free when used correctly. However, factors that can cause haze or residue after using any cleaning product, include excess moisture from over-wetting the floor, incorrect dilution of concentrated products, pre-existing residue from other cleaners or polishes, and improper application without proper buffing or drying.

To prevent haze, it’s crucial to follow Bona’s usage instructions, avoid oversaturation, ensure correct dilution, and properly buff and dry the floor after cleaning.

Can You Use Murphy Oil Soap On Prefinished Hardwood Floors?

Generally yes, Murphy’s Oil Soap can be used to clean prefinished hardwood floors. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not to misuse the product. Oil soaps may leave a build-up over time, It’s better to use sparingly and stick to ph balanced water-based cleaners.  

While Murphy’s Oil Soap is often considered gentle and suitable for wood surfaces, including prefinished hardwood floors, individual results may vary based on the specific type of finish and wood used in your flooring.

Why Not Use Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner?

Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner is a well-known choice for cleaning hardwood floors, including prefinished varieties. However, there are valid reasons why someone might opt not to use it:

  • Personal Preference: Some individuals prefer different cleaning products due to factors like scent, ingredients, or cleaning methods.
  • Past Reactions: Occasional allergies or sensitivities to cleaning products, including Bona, might prompt people to seek alternatives.
  • Ingredient Preferences: Some users may prefer cleaners with specific natural or eco-friendly components.
  • Cost Considerations: While Bona is high-quality, its price point might lead some to explore more budget-friendly options.
  • Availability: Depending on location, Bona may not be easily accessible, leading individuals to look for other choices.
  • Trial & Error: Some homeowners experiment with various products to find the best fit for their flooring type or desired outcome.

Remember, Bona is a reputable brand with a track record of safe hardwood floor cleaning. When considering alternatives, ensure the product is suitable for cleaning hardwood floors and follow usage instructions, conducting a small test in a hidden area beforehand.

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