Cleaning Unfinished Wood Floors – 3 Easy Methods + How to Make Wood Floors Shine and Other Maintenance Tips
Learn how to clean an unfinished wood floor the right way to help keep your flooring looking its best.
More and more people are choosing unfinished wood flooring for their homes. Unfinished wood flooring is beautiful, environmentally friendly and gives your home a warm feeling.
However, unfinished wood floors are more sensitive to damage than finished wood flooring and may stain more easily, absorb liquid and is susceptible to bacteria and mold.
This means that those unfinished wood should be carefully cleaned to maintain their beauty and your family’s health.
In this article we will discuss how you can care for your unfinished flooring in order to maintain it and keep it looking its best.
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What is Unfinished Wood Flooring?
The main difference between unfinished and finished wood flooring is that unlike finished wood flooring, unfinished wood is not sealed, stained or laminated and has been striped of all it’s natural oils.
In addition, unfinished wood floors are most commonly made from soft wood such as pine, fur, and cedar, although you can also get unfinished hardwood flooring as well.
While unfinished wood floors (untreated wood floors) are more susceptible to damage than finished wood flooring, they are also far less expensive, making them an attractive choice for those under a budget.
Unfinished wood flooring also come in a wide variety of natural colors that makes it simple to match with your current décor.
What to Consider Before Cleaning an Unfinished Wood Floor
There are several things you need to take into consideration before cleaning your unfinished wood floors.
- When sweeping this type of floor, you never want to use a broom with plastic bristles as this type of bristle can easily scratch the floor. It is always best to use a new broom with straw bristles or a dust mop to remove any loose dust and dirt from the floor.
- Unfinished wood easily absorbs odors. For this reason you don’t ever want to use any cleaner with a strong chemical smell since that smell will be absorbed by the wood and make your home smell less than fresh. In addition, those chemical cleaners can discolor your wood’s natural color and leave it looking faded and old.
- Unfinished wood also absorbs moisture, which can result in the wood swelling and bulging. Excess moisture will also allow mold and mildew to grow in the wood, creating a health risk for you and your family and may result in the flooring having to be replaced.
- Getting an unfinished wood floor to look it’s best is a multi-step process that includes, removing loose dirt, removing stains, cleaning the floor and drying the floor.
How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors – A Step-by-Step Guide
Following these steps in cleaning your floor will leave your unfinished wood looking it absolute best.
Step 1 – Remove Loose Dirt and Debris
Since loose dust and dirt can scratch your beautiful wood floor you are going to want to keep your floor as dust free as possible.
The best way to do this is to sweep your floor with a clean straw broom and use a dustpan to pick up the dust. You can follow this by going over the floor with a clean dust mop to ensure that you get any dust and dirt that the broom leaves behind.
Tip: If you use a spray bottle to slightly dampen the dust mop with water you can get any remaining loose dust to stick to the dust mop, leaving your floor more dust free.
Step 2 – Removing Stains from Your Flooring
Stains especially those black stains from the soles of shoes can leave ugly marks on your wood floor.
The most effective way to remove those stains from unfinished wood is with Trisodium Phosphate. To remove stains use a small brush or toothbrush and work in small circles to remove the stain. Trisodium Phosphate is completely safe for unfinished wood.
You can also sand your floor to remove unsightly stains, but make sure you clean up all the dust that sanding causes.
Step 3 – Cleaning Your Unfinished Wood Floors
When cleaning unfinished floors you can’t use just any floor cleaning solution. You need to use a floor cleaner that is mild and safe for your flooring.
There are three methods for cleaning your unfinished wood flooring. Remember, when cleaning this type of floor with water you need to use a damp mop or cloth rather than a wet one.
#1. Vinegar and Water
Use one cup of vinegar per gallon of hot water and then using a mop or a sponge wash your floor using a circular motion and cleaning a small area at a time. Then, dry it immediately with a clean micro fiber cloth.
Tip: Use very hot water and white vinegar making sure that the vinegar is mixed into the water well before cleaning. Too Much vinegar will leave your flooring smelling of the vinegar.
#2. Murphy’s Oil Soap and Water
Murphy’s Oil soap is gentle oil based cleaner that will help restores some oil in your unfinished wood flooring.
However, using too much of this soap will leave your floor feeling oily and slick, so make sure you use only about one tablespoon per gallon of hot water.
Tip: Using a clean micro fiber cloth and drying and buffing your floor after cleaning each section will give you the best results.
#3. Mineral Spirits
When cleaning your floor with mineral spirits you don’t need water, but you do need to keep the area well ventilated. It is best to use mineral spirits in a spray bottle and work in a small area, then dry the area before moving on to the next area.
Tip: You may also want to wear a mask when working with mineral spirits to prevent inhaling the fumes. Mineral spirits may be odorless, but it can cause difficulties when breathed in.
How to Protect Unfinished Wood Flooring
There are several things you can do to protect your unfinished wood floors and keep them looking their best. Here are some things you can do to protect your floors.
- Avoid dragging furniture or sharp objects across your floor.
- Use doormats to prevent excess dust and dirt from getting on your floor.
- Sweep your floor regularly to keep dust and dirt from accumulating.
- Take off your shoes before walking on your unfinished wood to prevent scuff marks.
How to Make Unfinished Floors Shine
It is possible to make your unfinished wood floor shine. You can do this either when cleaning or after cleaning your floor by adding an extra step to the floor cleaning process.
Simply mix ¼ cup of olive oil with a cup of vinegar and 5 cups of really hot water. Mix well and then damp mop your floor using circular motions, dry and buff your floor.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean an Unfinished Wood Floor
Unfinished wood floors look great and are more affordable than finished wood floors, but they are easily susceptible to damage. Being able to care for and clean your unfinished wood floor properly will keep your floors looking their best for years to come.
Did you find the tips on how to clean an unfinished wood floor helpful? Leave your comment below.