How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors: Top 6 Different Ways

Unfinished wood floors are commonly seen in many households because they allow your home to retain a natural state. By keeping unfinished wood flooring, you can make your house look very impressive as they create a warm atmosphere. However, you should know the maintenance policies for unfinished wood floors. If you want the floors to last a lifetime without losing their impressive appearance, you must know how to clean unfinished wood floors. Keep reading this article to learn more.

6 Different Ways to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors 

Unfinished wood floors can’t tolerate harsh chemicals. As they are an excellent and natural option for your house, they require a proper cleaning process than other flooring types. To clean your unfinished wood floors, you must apply effective methods that don’t damage your floors. Read the following section below to learn about the different techniques to clean your unfinished wood floors.

Use Vinegar and Hot Water

Vinegar is a common household ingredient that works as an excellent cleaning solution. Using vinegar is a safe method for all types of unfinished wood floors. Since we all commonly use vinegar as our regular kitchen item, this is a perfect cleaning method for those looking for an affordable option to clean their unfinished wood floors. Another benefit of using the solution of vinegar and water is it is safe for young children and your lovable pets. 

Take a cup of water in a bucket and add some hot water to that bucket. Before cleaning your floors with the solution, wear hand gloves and goggles. Dip a mop into the solution and wring it in a circular motion. After cleaning, let the floor dry. Don’t mix vinegar with bleach or ammonia. Though vinegar is safe for cleaning wood floors, never increase the amount because its acidic reaction can damage the wood. The solution loosens the dirt and debris very effectively. 

Clean Up Stains with TSP

Another common household cleaner you can use for cleaning your unfinished wood floors is TSP household cleaner. This method can ideally remove the stubborn stains caused by mold, grease, or mildew from the floors. To apply this method, you will need hot water, dish soap, a scrubber brush, and TSP detergent. Before starting the cleaning process, wear hand gloves to protect your hand skin from burning. 

Mix ¼th cup of TSP per gallon of water and dish soap in a bucket. Stir the mixture to make the TSP fully dissolved. After that, dip a scrub brush into the solution and scrub away the stains from the floor. Wipe up excessive moisture after cleaning. Pour clean water on the floor once you finish rinsing the treated area. This method is also safe for all kinds of unfinished wood floors. 

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Apply Murphy’s Oil Soap

If you want an all-purpose cleaner, consider buying Murphy’s Oil Soap on your unfinished wood floors. It is a safe method that effectively removes dirt and debris from the floors. Murphy’s Oil Soap is your go-to option for those who like a non-toxic gentle cleaner. 

Add four capsules of Murphy’s Oil Soap into a bucket filled with a gallon of water. Next, add a small amount of vinegar into the bucket to make it a powerful solution. You can use this solution for deep cleaning and disinfecting the floor. 

Use Dishwasher with Water

Like vinegar, the dishwasher is another cleaning stuff that is commonly found in every house. The combination of dishwasher and water effectively removes dust, dirt, debris, or grease from the floors. 

Mix one or two tablespoons of the dishwasher with a gallon of water. Dip a scrubber brush into the solution and remove the stubborn stains. After scrubbing, rinse the floor with clean water. Let the treated area dry. It is also a safe and ideal method for unfinished wooden floors.

Try Mineral Spirits

Another standard cleaning solution that works effectively on unfinished wood floors is mineral spirit. You will find mineral spirits in hardware stores or grocery shops. They usually come in a spray bottle. A drawback of using mineral spirits is they produce a powerful and overpowering smell. 

Mineral spirits lift dust and debris from the floor very quickly. Before trying this method:

  1. Make sure your home is well-ventilated.
  2. Keep children and pets out of the working area. You should also take other safety measures like wearing gloves and eye protection.
  3. Pour a small number of mineral spirits onto a cloth or the floor and rub the solution into the affected or stained areas.
  4. Leave it to sit for a few minutes.
  5. Wipe away the solution with a clean cloth. 

Don’t use too many minerals spirits. To avoid any damage, apply a small amount in a stained area to test the effectiveness and increase the quantity if everything seems alright. 

Related: How To Remove Mineral Oil From Wood [Definitive Guideline]

Remove Gunk or Gum with Ice

Some sticky substances like gum or glue can damage your unfinished wood floors. Ice is an interesting solution to remove any sticky substance from the flooring. Ice doesn’t damage wood surfaces. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag, place them on the floor’s sticky area, and wait for 10-15 minutes. Then, scrape away the remaining residue using a spatula or a knife. You can also remove candle wax from your floors by using this method.

How to Prepare The Unfinished Floor for Cleaning 

Before cleaning your unfinished wooden floors, you should prepare them well in the following ways-

Step 1: Prepare the Room

Ventilate the working area or your room as nicely as possible. Proper ventilation by turning the fans on or keeping the windows and doors open will help remove dirt, dust, or other elements that can damage the floor. If you work in a large area, remove the furniture from your room to see a clear view of your flooring and ensure no dirt or dust is left on your floor. 

Step 2: Taking Safety Measures 

In the second step, you should take safety measures like wearing hand gloves and goggles while cleaning the solution. You can also use a safety mask to avoid the risk of breathing difficulty caused by any fumes of the mineral spirits. 

Step 3: Remove Dirt or Debris

Now, it’s time to remove any large pieces of dirt or debris from your room with a large broom that helps to move over the flooring smoothly. Move around the furniture of your room and sweep underneath to ensure there is no dust left on the surface of the flooring. If you have a vacuum cleaner, you can also use that to remove stubborn particles that are difficult to clean up by hand. It is excellent equipment for removing fine dust from the floor. This equipment will help you to make the cleaning process very smooth. You will get a very good-conditioned and scratch-free floor after this stage. 

Step 4: Test the Cleaning Solution 

Finally, you have to test the cleaning solution you will use on your wood floors. To avoid any damage to the surface, you should try the cleaning solution by applying it on a tiny area of the floor that is not even visible properly. If the solution doesn’t suit the floor, wipe it away immediately, and move to another cleaning solution. Ensure you perfectly rinse off the examined area to avoid any further damage. 

Read: How To Speed Up Drying Of Pressure-Treated Wood? A Pro Guide

How to Maintain Unfinished Wood Floors 

Remove the Rugs

Rugs are the worst enemies of wooden floors as they cause color differences in the same place. So, you should take them out by cleaning them regularly. When you move your furniture or reorganize your house, you can get them outside. You shouldn’t avoid the importance of moving the rugs around to avoid different floor shading.

Use Floor Protector Pads

Floor protector pads can be excellent protection against unpleasant scratches or marks of furniture on wood floors. 

Place Rugs at the Entrances

Consider placing rugs at your house’s entrances, which will help keep the dirt and dust and allow them to soak the moisture.

Don’t Wear Shoes in Your House

It would be great if you avoided wearing shoes in your house. Wearing shoes inside the house for a long time leaves unpleasant marks on the floor. Avoiding this small action can bring a big difference in the outlook of your flooring.

Control the Humidity Level in Your House 

If you leave gaps between the boards, the hardwood floors of your house may shrink over time. So you have to control your home’s humidity level to minimize the risk of shrinking.

Trim Your Pet’s Nails

 Many don’t notice that your pets also cause unpleasant scratches to the floors by walking, running, or jumping around. Needless to say, they are our precious friends, but we have to protect our wooden floors by trimming their nails regularly to avoid scratches they leave on the floors. 

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Things to Remember to maintain Unfinished Wood Floors

Don’t Use Abrasive Elements to Clean the Wood Floor 

You must be very gentle while cleaning your unfinished wood floors, as they are not covered with layers that provide good protection. So you must avoid using any abrasive elements to clean the wood floors. Any sharp cleaning object damages the surface and leaves unwanted scratches or marks.  

Use a Damp Cloth 

You are recommended to use a damp cloth to clean large wood floors. Do not use soap and water on the finished floor. Make sure you are not providing excessive moisture to the floor. 

Avoid Wet-mopping 

A moist microfibre mop will be a better choice. Take a spray bottle of water and spray it on the wood floor. Then, wipe the floors with the moist microfibre mop to avoid any issues with humidity level. However, using microfiber mops to clean your wooden floors regularly will leave a lot of water on the floor. So you should avoid wet-mopping as much as possible.

Do not Soak the Entire Wood Floor 

If you notice any hard stains on the floor, use a wet mop on that area. Soaking the entire wood floor in the water is highly recommended because you should keep the wood floor from moisture as much as possible to keep it usable for a long time. 

Choose the Best Wood Care Products

You will find many good floor cleaners for cleaning untreated floors on the market. Different wood flooring requires different cleaning items. You should choose the most suitable one to protect your floors and get the best cleaning result. Don’t be confused with choosing between cleaning products for unfinished wood floors and finished wood floors. Never use a cleaning product suitable for finishing floors on your unfinished wood floors. 

Use Mats or Rugs

Get some sturdy mats or rugs to protect your unfinished old floors from different elements. Good quality rugs or mats work as preventive care for your indoors and outdoors. You can place them at the entrance of your house. Don’t forget to clean them regularly to prevent dust and dirt from entering your home. 

Sand the Stained Areas 

Sanding is a popular method to remove stains or scratches from wooden surfaces. If you notice hard stains on a wooden surface, you should immediately sand the area. However, too much sanding frequently may cause damage to the stained area. 

Avoid Spills 

As a homeowner, while deciding to install unfinished wood floors in your house, you should avoid spills as much as possible by cleaning them up immediately after noticing them. Use a soft cloth to clean them and save your flooring from permanent soiling.

Vacuum the Wood Floor 

You should clean that wooden floor at least once a week with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt. Many particles on that wooden floor are responsible for leaving scratches on the floor and making the surface dull over time. Regular vacuuming will help you to eliminate this issue.

Dust off the Floor before Moving the Furniture  

Suppose you want to reorganize your house or decorate your furniture. In that case, you have to move furniture from one corner to another corner of your home, which may cause problems with the wooden floor. So, we suggest you clean wooden floors before you move the furniture to prevent any scratches, marks, or dents caused by the sand trapped under the furniture or other appliances. When placing furniture in a particular place, you can use a carpet under it to protect the floor.

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The Bottom Line

Unfinished wood floors have some specific requirements for lasting long and looking good. They look more natural and raw. You can keep them like the way they look on your house, or you can apply a finish later according to your choice. By taking care of the wooden floors, you can use them for a lifetime. So you must remember how to clean unfinished wood floors to ensure they are in the best condition over the years. Unfinished wooden floors are long-term investments worth it, as you can make them last for a lifetime by carefully maintaining them. 

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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