How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors

Unfinished wood floors add a rustic and charming appearance to homes. However, when it comes to how to clean unfinished wood floors, it gets a little tricky. 

Some cleaners on the market will cause permanent damage to your floors. We definitely don’t want that! In this article, we will go over how to clean unfinished wood floors safely and effectively. 

How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors

If your everyday cleaning isn’t cutting it and you need something a little deeper, you may need to pull out some materials 

1. Using a Natural Method for Cleaning

If you don’t want to use chemicals or go buy anything to clean up your unfinished wood floor, you can use vinegar to do a deeper clean of your unfinished wood floors. 

Mop, rag and a bucket

Materials

To use this natural method, you will need a few materials to get the job done:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Clean Mop

Method

To clean your floors with vinegar, execute the following steps:

  1. Create a vinegar solution using half a cup of vinegar to every gallon of water
  2. Pour the solution in your bucket
  3. Dip your mop into the bucket and squeeze it out
  4. Mop the floor and stains following the grain of the wood
  5. Dry the floor with a towel

It is very important to dry the floor with a towel—water and unfinished wood definitely aren’t friends. Leaving any water leftover on your wood can cause damage. 

Some people hate the smell of vinegar. If this is you, or someone in your family, you can get an odorless vinegar or you can use essential oil to help with the smell. 

2. Alternative Method

If you only have a small area to clean, getting out a bucket and a mop can sound like a little bit too much for spot cleaning. 

If this is the case, you can use a spray bottle to spray the solution on. Then, you can use a microfiber towel to scrub the area and clean it. 

How to Perform Everyday Cleaning for Unfinished Wood Floors

Wood floors are growing in popularity. The market for wood flooring is anticipated to be at 16.2 billion square feet by 2024

Unfinished wood floors can add some great charm to your home. If kept clean routinely, the floors will survive longer and look better. 

Person walking in a wooden floor

1. Use a Vacuum 

A vacuum is a simple way to clean wood floors. A good vacuum for unfinished wood floors will be specifically marked as a hard floor vacuum cleaner. 

These have the suction lower to the floor, whereas carpet vacuums tend to be a bit higher off the ground to be able to go over the carpet.

You will want a vacuum that has powerful suction—this will allow it to pick up all the debris and dust that are in the grooves of the wood. Vacuuming should be done at least once a week. If you have shedding pets, you may need to do it daily!  

2. Use a Soft-Bristled Brush Broom

If you don’t own a vacuum that does the job completely, you can use a soft-bristled brush broom to gently sweep the floors. 

There are brooms that have stiffer bristles, and using this can potentially damage the floor. So it’s important to make sure you get a soft broom for this job, or even a mop 

Of course, you’ll need a dustpan as well in order to get it off your floor! Sweeping with your broom, or vacuuming, should be done at least weekly to keep your floors looking nice. 

3. Use a Dry Microfiber Cloth 

Dry is the key here. Make sure the cloth is completely dry before using it. If it’s just a little dirt, you can wipe it up easily with this microfiber cloth. It will pick up the dirt from the floor and can be shaken out in the trash. Do this as needed. 

If you use a microfiber cloth on your floors at least once a month, along with a regular vacuuming and sweeping routine, you will avoid needing to use chemicals on your unfinished wood floors, such as your Azek decking

How to Clean Stains from Unfinished Wood Floors

Having unfinished wood floors in your home looks beautiful…until there’s a large stain that seems to have soaked into the wood. Don’t panic! We can help you clean that stain right up. 

Cleaning stains can be frustrating—but don’t think about replacing that wood floor just yet. While they may have some maintenance, they are also a healthier choice, proven to improve indoor air quality. You have a couple of cleaning options here that will remove the stain once and for all. 

1. Using Trisodium Phosphate to Clean Stains

If there’s an unsightly stain, you can use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to clean it right up. The great thing about TSP is that it has no fragrance, no bleach, no additives, and it is actually reasonably priced. It cleans anything ranging from mold to stains on your wood floor. 

TSP is a strong cleaner and is toxic—you will want to wear gloves and eye protection while working with it. 

Materials

You will need a few materials to use TSP to clean a stain off your wood floor:

  • TSP
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Hot water
  • Microfiber cloth or soft-bristled scrubbing brush
  • Clean, dry towel or rag
Clean unfinished wood floors of a home

Method

This should also be on the package of TSP, but you should use ¼ cup of TSP per 2 gallons water to make your solution. Make sure this is hot water. Then, you will need to mix the powder in the water by stirring or shaking. 

Once you have your cleaner ready and your gloves and eye protection on, follow these steps to get that stain off your floor:

  1. Dip the microfiber cloth or scrubbing brush in your cleaning mixture
  2. Scrub your floors—it is best to go with the wood grain while scrubbing
  3. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone
  4. Rinse immediately afterward with water
  5. Use your clean, dry towel or rag to dry the floor

Again, it’s important to dry your floor promptly when you are done! 

2. Using Mineral Spirits to Clean Stains

Mineral spirits is a deep cleaner that can make a good option for unfinished floors. For this method, you will also need to be safe. Create some ventilation in your room, and wear those gloves and eye protection. It would also be good to wear a mask. 

Materials

This method has the least amount of materials needed and is a simple cleaning method. To clean with mineral spirits, all you need is:

  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits

Method

To execute cleaning with mineral spirits, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are wearing your protective gear
  2. Using your rag, apply mineral spirits to the rag
  3. Work with the wood grain and scrub the stain
  4. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone
  5. Dry up any remaining mineral spirit with your other rag

When you are done, your floor will be looking as good as new! 

3. Using a Sanding Method to Clean Stains

Sometimes, if nothing else works, you may need to sand the stain down. The good thing about sanding unfinished floors is that you don’t have to retreat it! 

For this method, if it’s a small stain, you can use sandpaper. If it’s a larger stain, you may need to bring in a sander. When using a sander, make sure that you do not stay in one spot for too long—this can cause the floors to look uneven.

Some professionals offer this service as well if you aren’t comfortable using a mechanical sander. 

Clean unfinished wood floors

What Not to Do to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors

Cleaning your floors is important, but there are some mistakes that people make quite often that can cause damage to your floors. 

We don’t want you to make the same mistake! We’ll talk about the top three mistakes people make when cleaning unfinished wood floors that you can avoid. 

Do Not Use Wet Cleaning Methods Without Drying

Some of the methods require water—but it is extremely important to dry your floors entirely. Never leave water, especially sitting water, on your unfinished wood floors. 

Do Not Use Products Not Specifically Marked for Unfinished Wood Floors

A lot of products on the market are made to clean finished and treated wood floors. Make sure the cleaner you are using specifically states it’s made for unfinished wood floors, and not for cleaning concrete floors

Otherwise, it could be too harsh for your floors and cause permanent damage. If you are determined to use it, test it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure there is no reaction. 

Do Not Use a Hard-Bristled Brush

Using a hard-bristled brush and a lot of force will scratch the unfinished wood, especially softer wood types. 

Always make sure to use a soft brush for any type of scrubbing you are doing. Even then, we recommend that you use a lighter touch with any bristles. 

Conclusion

While unfinished hardwood floors can truly add a lot of rustic charm to your home, maintaining and cleaning them can be tricky. 

However, after reading this article, you have all the information you need to succeed and keep those unfinished hardwood floors looking as good as new! 

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