Wood floors ought to last for many years and stay splendid with proper care and maintenance. However, this longevity and beauty entirely depends on the type of surface finish.
Finishing is the process of protecting a wooden surface against exposure to environmental factors such as moisture, humidity, and wear and tear.
Unfinished wood surfaces lack a protective seal and are highly exposed and therefore hard to maintain. When exposed to water or moisture, the wood easily grays, warp, or buckles.
Finished hardwood floors, on the other hand, are easy to clean and maintain due to a protective seal on the surface.
Wood floor finishing is mainly done after installing the floor boards or wood planks. It is usually an involved process where a sealant substance is added on the surface to protect the underneath wood. Urethane sealants are commonly used in modern wood flooring.
To save on time and even cost, manufacturers often decide to do the whole process of finishing the wood before it is installed.
Such flooring is called prefinished, and it will not require any finishing treatment after installation. It comes in various colors and design and shapes you can choose from.
To maintain the sheen and make them remain intact for all years, prefinished hardwood floors should be cleaned on a regular basis using the right cleaners and be protected from scratching as well.
But they still need to be cleaned thoroughly. So, we're left wondering: How do you deep clean prefinished hardwood floors?
How to Deep Clean Prefinished Wood Floors
1. Use a microfiber material to clean dust, pet hair and debris
Dry mopping with a microfiber mop or cloth on a regular basis keeps your floor clean without causing any damage. Microfiber materials are soft, easily attract and collect dust and debris, and completely remove pet hair form a hardwood floors.
Failure to clean on a regular basis makes tracked in soil scratch the finish. If you're realizing this now, it's already too late. Fixing scratches in hardwood floors is a difficult task.
Dirt and grime can also dull the finish and will also give you a tough time when you are deep cleaning your prefinished wood floor.
Sweeping can also be done using a soft bristle broom that is gentle on the surface.
Avoid using traditional brooms with hard bristles, which can create scuff marks on the surface and make dust and hair fly everywhere in the house.
Vacuuming could also be a good option but only once in a while. A vacuum with a soft brush hard floor attachment is ideal.
Those with a beater bar will cause scratches and minor damage to the floor. Robotic vacuums are also the best due to their convenience of use.
2. Deep cleaning with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer
Most commercial cleaners have a dulling effect on hardwood floors. Others contain harsh chemical ingredients that are not safe.
The wood manufacturer will always recommend the best cleaner for a prefinished hardwood floors which is gentle on the finish and effective in dealing with dirt.
Deep cleaning once in a while or on monthly basis helps in disinfecting the wood floor surface by killing household germs and bacteria. This will also remove sticky dirt and in the process you will also be dealing with stains and lighter scratches.
When mopping with a recommended cleaner, remember to completely wring out the solution to avoid leaving the cleaner or water standing on the surface.
After mopping, dry the surface using a dry towel or rinse the cleaner as advised. Water easily destroys wood floors by penetrating through the wood seams, causing warping of the wood.
Steam mops designed for hardwood can also be used for deep cleaning. Steam naturally sanitizes floor surfaces while simultaneously clearing dirt and grime. The high temperature of steam will kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs during mopping.
Steam mops can damage your prefinished wood floor if incorrectly used. You should be very cautious when you opt for this method.
While using one, you should set the machine to produce only dry steam which can dry faster without endangering the wood.
Do not keep the steamer at one point on surface for long — keep it moving. A lot of heat or moisture will be dispensed at that particular point and cause damage.
Consider using a microfiber cleaning pad with the steamer to create a barrier that reduces the chances of too much water getting on floor.
Care and Maintenance of a Prefinished Wood Floor
Apart from cleaning, how do you ensure that your prefinished wood floor stays beautiful before you consider refinishing?
With proper care and maintenance, the finish can stay shiny and intact for years to come. However, due to normal wear and tear, you may want to refinish.
Refinishing is usually done after 5 to 10 years. This is to reinstate a new look of a wood floor.
The old protective later is sanded and removed and a new one is applied. Wood floor polishing with the right product is the best alternative to refinishing in terms of cost and time.
Here are further tips:
- Use only recommended cleaning products will make your floor maintain its sheen and remain intact for many years.
- Regularly clean your floors, possibly on a daily basis based on the volume of traffic in your house. Use a microfiber dust mop or a soft bristle broom.
- When deep cleaning, do not leave any water standing on your floor. Damp mop and dry with a dry towel.
- Avoid spills and stains from drying out on your floor. Removing them immediately is easier and safer for the floor's finish.
- Place door mats at the entrance of your house to avoid tracked-in soil and moisture from outside.
- Avoid dragging heavy objects on the surface to prevent scuff marks on the floor. Place protective pads under the legs of your furniture.
- Use rugs in areas with high traffic such as areas where kids play or study.
- Pet owners should groom their furry friends by bathing, cutting long claws, and brushing to avoid hair from piling on the floor.
- Do not use any product you have no knowledge about on your floors. It can either harm you or have detrimental effects on your floors.
- Before trying out any new idea, always test it on a small hidden area of the surface before you go full blast on entire floor.
Hardwood flooring is a pricey investment in many modern homes.
Apart from creating an elegant appearance in your house, wood is natural and safe.
To add to that, it can last as long as you wish.
What is important is proper care and maintenance with the right products and techniques.