How to clean unfinished wood floors? The beauty and rustic feeling that unfinished wood gives to our homes have caught the eyes of many homeowners in the United States.
But despite how tedious and challenging it is to clean this type of material, you may be one of the people who would do anything to achieve the home of your dreams.
Unfinished wooden floors are sensitive to most cleaning methods. A mere mistake can do a lot of permanent damage to your floor surfaces.
Thus, having this type of material at home requires a proper periodic maintenance routine whether you want to leave them unfinished or not in the future.
Maintaining your unfinished wooden floors may seem complicated and daunting at first glance.
But you can put all your worries away because we gathered up all the essential cleaning steps in this ultimate guide.
What Are Unfinished Wood Floors?
Before we dive into the essential cleaning steps, we first need to understand what unfinished wood floors are and how they differ from treated surfaces.
By knowing their primary differences, we would determine the best techniques to keep them long-lasting.
A simple way to describe unfinished wooden floors is by categorizing them as a raw material.
They consist of planks that come from bare timber and also do not undergo a finishing process.
Thus, this type of surface is more susceptible to tears and wears because of the absence of a varnish layer.
On the other hand, pre-finished floorings contain sprayed-on stains and polyurethane coatings, making them look more factory-made.
Contrarily, unfinished surfaces have more noticeable grain patterns and overall aesthetic.
How To Clean Unfinished Wood Floors: Steps
Unfinished wood floorings never go out of style. Because of this, many homeowners are now choosing this material for their homes.
But despite the natural and warm look it gives, maintaining it often comes with a price.
Unlike pre-finished floors, this material requires more attention and care while cleaning. There are also several typical maintenance techniques that you should refrain from doing.
Here, we will discuss everything you need to know to help you get your money’s worth.
What Not to Do?
A typical cleaning mistake on your unfinished floorings will give you a massive headache.
Not only will it become a foolish loss, but it will also cause significant distress.
Hence, knowing what you can and cannot do on your untreated wood floors will help you preserve them for a more extended period.
Below are the most popular cleaning mistakes for unfinished wood:
Mistake #1: Mopping with Water
The first thing that comes to mind when we clean is to use water. But cleaning your untreated floors with this method could cause a significant problem.
It can cause warping and permanent damages and wears when water starts soaking into your hardwood. So, make sure to wipe your surfaces clean immediately upon spillages.
Mistake #2: Using Hard-Bristled Brushes
Since untreated floorings do not have a protective varnish layer on their surfaces, scrubbing this material using hard-bristled and wet brushes may result in significant wear and tears.
Mistake #3: Using Products for Treated Floors
Lastly, using products designed for treated wooden floors is among the most popular cleaning mistakes for unfinished wood floorings.
But using these items may permanently stain your wooden surfaces.
How to Clean Unfinished Wood: What to Do?
Since we now know the most frequent cleaning mistakes for unfinished wooden floorings, let us take a look at this step-by-step guide to keep your surfaces long-lasting.
Here is how you can clean your untreated wood floors at home:
Step 1: Clean Dirt Away
The very first step to cleaning your unfinished wood floorings is removing all the dust, dirt, and debris away.
Although this step may seem simple, it will undoubtedly do wonders and save you a lot of time and effort.
Not only is this method the easiest to do, but it will also help you preserve the aesthetic you want for your home.
Dust and debris from your slippers and feet may migrate onto your wooden surfaces and cause permanent stains and scratches.
So, investing in an excellent cleaning tool will be beneficial.
Below are some of the most recommended equipment at home:
Vacuum cleaners are not only great for cleaning your couches and carpets, but they can also remove all the dirt from your wooden floors.
However, not all vacuum cleaners can do the job because some may have hard wheels and heads that can cause scratches. So, make sure your equipment has a hard floor setting.
Also, ensure that your vacuum cleaner’s wheels and head do have hidden sand or gravel.
Soft-Bristled Brooms and Brushes
In case your vacuum cleaner does not have a dedicated hard floor setting, you do not need to purchase a new one to clean the debris from your wood floors.
Instead, you can use a soft-bristled broom or brush. The only downside of using this equipment is that it requires more effort and patience.
Microfiber Mops and Cloth
Aside from vacuum cleaners and brooms, you can also invest in a handy microfiber mop or cloth.
This tool is similar to soft-bristled brushes and requires a lot of patience and mindfulness.
Step 2: Remove Hard Stains
After removing all the dirt and debris, you can now remove hard stains from your flooring.
But a crucial rule of thumb for this step is to use as little amounts of water as possible. If not, it may cause some discolor or warps on your wood.
Using Trisodium Phosphate
There are two ways to remove hard stains on unfinished wood. The first method involves using trisodium phosphate, a popular floor stain remover.
For this method, sprinkle a thin layer of this crystallized powder onto the stained area, and then scrub gently using a soft-bristled brush.
Once the stain is gone, pour a small amount of warm water onto it and wipe it down immediately using a microfiber cloth.
Using Mineral Spirits
You can also remove stains on your unfinished wooden floors with a strong chemical known as mineral spirits.
Generally, this petroleum-based substance is used for removing paint from paintbrushes, but it has also proven to be effective in cleaning this type of flooring.
For this method, sprinkle a few amounts of this chemical over the stain and gently scrub it using a lint-free or microfiber cloth. Make sure to remove any liquid left on the surface.
Despite its power in cleaning tough stains on unfinished wood, mineral spirits are highly toxic to humans. Make sure to wear a mask for protection and keep your windows open if you plan on doing this method.
If you do not want to use harsh chemicals on your unfinished wooden floors, then you can make your very own DIY vinegar solution at home.
Not only is this product readily available in your kitchen, but it is also affordable and toxic-free.
Suppose you have second thoughts about using this household ingredient for your floorings because of its pungent odor.
In that case, you can minimize its smell by diluting 1/2 cup of vinegar for every gallon of water.
You can also add 15 drops of your preferred essential oil into the mixture. Some of the best oils include lemon, lavender, and pine.
Once you have prepared your vinegar solution, dip a microfiber mop into it and mop your floors. Afterward, mop the surfaces clean with water to remove all the debris and the odor.
If your floor stains persist even after applying the chemicals above, you can try sanding the area with a piece of fine-grained sandpaper for a few minutes.
But make sure not to get too deep because this method may cause tears in the area. Once the stain goes away, use a vacuum cleaner or a soft-bristled broom to remove all the dust and debris.
Step 3: Dry the Surfaces Completely
Once all the stains are gone from your unfinished wood floors, the last step you need to do is to ensure that the surfaces are dry.
Make sure to mop them clean and keep your guests, family members, and pets away from the area to ensure your flooring’s quality.
Unfinished wood floors can give any home a rustic and warm feeling. But having this type of flooring requires special attention and care, especially when it comes to preserving its natural tone.
It is highly susceptible to permanent damages and tears from debris and water, so investing in a regular cleaning routine is essential for every homeowner.
Although there are several tedious steps needed in maintaining your unfinished wooden floors, their beauty makes everything all worthwhile.
Hopefully, this guide helped you get the home of your dreams.
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