How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors

If you have unfinished wood floors in your home, then you understand how important it is to make sure that they’re cleaned the right way. It goes without saying that cleaning unfinished hardwood floors the wrong way could absolutely destroy them, which is why it’s essential for homeowners to learn the proper way to get the job done. If you’ve recently moved into a home with untreated hardwood floors or you’re afraid that you might be cleaning your floors the wrong way, keep reading to learn the proper way to clean your floors to ensure that you’re able to keep them looking nice and bright for many years to come.

Are Your Floors Unfinished?

Before you start doing the research, it’s best to make sure that your floors are actually unfinished, instead of just looking like they are. This can simply be done by putting just a few drops of water onto the hardwood floors. If the water beads up on the boards, then there’s a pretty high chance that there is some sort of finish on the wood. If the drops of water actually soak into the wood boards, then you definitely have unfinished hardwood floors that need your attention.

Everyday Cleaning

When you have unfinished hardwood floors it’s essential to clean them on a pretty regular basis to prevent dirt and dust from scratching or staining the surface of your floors. Even if you have guests and the members of your family take their shoes off before they walk inside your home, you best believe that dirt will find its way to your floors. One of the best ways to clean your unfinished hardwood floors on a regular basis is by using a hardwood vacuum with a bare floor setting. While this is the best way to clean the floors without damaging them, take care to pay attention to the beater bar. If you’re unsure as to whether or not the beater bar is high enough, test it on a spot of your floor that doesn’t see too much traffic.

Of course, sweeping your floor with a broom every day is extremely helpful, as well. Just make sure to use a broom that has soft bristles, or use a static mop broom. Remember to always glide the dirt across your floor using light strokes, instead of actually pushing the dirt across your floor.

What Cleaners Should You Use?

When it’s time for you to mop your floor, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind, starting with the type of cleaner you should use. Before we talk about the type of cleaner you should use, it’s important for you to know that you should use all liquids sparingly while washing your floors. You should never soak your unfinished hardwood floors, as it could permanently damage them.

Luckily, you don’t have to go farther than your own kitchen pantry to find the right ingredients to clean your unfinished hardwood floors. Vinegar is one of the most effective and widely used cleaning products in the world. Not only is it extremely cheap to use, but it’s also an all-natural cleaning product that can be safely used in your home. Because vinegar is acidic, it must be diluted with water in order to use it on your unfinished hardwood floors. Most people use a solution that calls for one gallon of water for every ½ cup vinegar. Once you put the cleaning solution into a bucket, put a clean mop into the bucket, wring it out entirely, and then begin to mop your floor. Make sure to mop your floors in the direction of the floorboards if you’d like to avoid having streaks all over your floor. Also, make a new solution of water and vinegar if your water begins to look dirty or murky. One of the drawbacks of using vinegar is its harsh smell. This is why some people choose to use essential oils like lavender or lemongrass to dilute the smell. If you decide to add essential oils to your solution, keep in mind that approximately 15 drops should do the job.

Some people choose to use a mixture of water and Murphy’s Oil instead of using the vinegar. If you choose to use Murphy’s oil, make a solution of one tablespoon of soap to ½ gallon of warm water. Mop your floors as usual, but make sure to rinse your floors after to avoid a build up of residue. Also, instead of letting your floors air dry, use a clean cloth to hand dry your floor.

How to Deep Clean Your Unfinished Hardwood Floors

steam mop unsealed wood floors

You obviously know that you have to clean your floors regularly, but they also need a nice deep cleaning from time to time. Whether you do it every few months or when you get a stain on the floor, there are two chemicals that are unbelievably effective when it comes to deep cleaning unfinished hardwood floors, and those chemicals are mineral spirits and Trisodium Phosphate. Before using either one of these techniques, make sure to thoroughly sweep or mop your floors first.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits is a petroleum-based liquid that is often used to take paint off of brushes. Now, you may be thinking that it sounds like mineral spirits might be too harsh to use on your precious floors, but it can actually remove stains without harming your floors at all. Using a soft pad or lint-free cloth, rub the mineral spirits into your floor. Once you’re done, use a clean towel to wipe off any excess product.

Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium phosphate is a powder that can be found in just about any home improvement or hardware store. Using a scrub brush, rub the powder into the stain and rinse it with warm water. Make sure to prevent water damage by using a rag to absorb any of the excess liquid.

You see, there’s not much that goes into cleaning unfinished hardwood floors, and as long as you follow these simple instructions you should have no problems at all. Of course, you care about your floors and the condition that they’re in, but this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours of your time cleaning them or spend too much money on cleaning products that promise they won’t damage your floors. All you need is a little bit of vinegar, water, and some elbow grease, and your floors will keep their beautiful shine for many years to come.