How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors to a Spotless Shine

Keep hardwood floors so pristine that they'll make every carpet owner jealous.

Published April 17, 2023
woman dancing and cleaning shiny wood floors

After spending hundreds of dollars on hardwood floors and countless hours protecting it from pet scratches, water stains, and more, the last thing you want is to be the one that ruins it. Prefinished hardwood does take some extra upkeep, but careful cleaning goes a long way to helping it age beautifully. Learn how to clean prefinished hardwood floors properly so that your modern house will be as loved as the Victorian estates we can't stop mooning over.

How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Prefinished hardwood floors aren't much different from unfinished wood floors in the way you clean them. For daily maintenance, you'll want to do a few things.

Regularly Sweep

When it comes to cleaning, the first step is eliminating the stuff that accumulates. The less dirt, pet hair, grass clippings, and food crumbs that get embedded into the corners and crevasses between your planks, the easier it'll be to keep them looking perfect. To start, sweep your floors every day or every other day using a soft broom.

sweeping wooden floor

Clear Out Corners and Cracks With a Vacuum

About once a week, use a hand vacuum, shop vacuum, or hose attachment on your carpet vac to suck up any loose debris that's gotten wedged into the edges of your wood floors. This is especially important for places you don't see because you're more likely to forget to sweep them out.

Need to Know

Don't use a vacuum that has a rotating beater bar because this can lead to scratches you'll have to fix later.

woman cleaning wood floors with vacuum

How to Deep Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors

So long as you're doing your daily maintenance of cleaning up spills and sweeping up debris, then you'll only need to deep clean your prefinished hardwood floors every month or so. Although some people like to use natural DIY cleaners to spruce up their flooring, there's some debate over its efficacy. So, it's best to use a prefinished hardwood-specific cleaner.

Materials You'll Need

When deep cleaning, all you'll need is:

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Wood mop
  • Hardwood floor cleaner


To deep clean your prefinished hardwood floors using a professional cleaner, follow these steps:

  1. Sweep the floor.
  2. Pour a small amount of cleaner on the hardwood.
  3. Work in the cleaner using a wood mop, working outwards and to the edges.
  4. Leave it for about 30 minutes to dry.
Helpful Hack

Since bleach, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar are all harmful to differing degrees to hardwood floors, you should only use a prefinished hardwood floor cleaner to remove stains.

How to Bring the Luster Back to Your Prefinished Hardwood Floors

Over time, cleaners can build up on wood floors, creating a layer of wax that makes them look cloudy. In order to bring back that shine, you have to wipe away that waxy layer with a little elbow grease. Using a microfiber cloth and some warm water, you can physically rub the wax away. Just make sure to wipe up the water as you go, and you'll have shiny floors in no time.

Woman wiping wood floors with microfiber cloth

Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floors for the First Time

If you've never had the luxury of a house with hardwood, then you might not know the things you should and shouldn't do when cleaning them. Thankfully, hardwood has been the preferred flooring for hundreds of years, meaning there's not a mistake you could make that someone else hasn't already learned from.

When cleaning hardwood floors, make sure to follow these helpful tips:

  • Dry cleaning is just as important as wet cleaning. Make sure you sweep and vacuum regularly.
  • Don't use vinegar as a cleaning solution because it'll break down the varnish over time and leave your floors looking dull.
  • Use oil very sparingly to nourish your floors. Too much oil will make them super slippery, and it'll take hours to get everything up.
  • Never use bleach or ammonia on your floors, even if you have a pet pee spill or other bodily fluids come into contact with them. They can permanently discolor your flooring.

Make Sure Your Hardwood Floors Last a Lifetime

In 100-year-old houses, one of the biggest appeals is the original flooring. And these floors are almost always made out of wood. To have prefinished hardwood floors that last a lifetime, you need to learn how to clean them properly. And every good cleaning routine starts with the same first step - regular maintenance.

How to Clean Prefinished Hardwood Floors to a Spotless Shine