How To Safely Clean Unfinished Wood Floors: 7 Ways

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Unfinished wood floors are a beautiful and natural option for your home, but they require more maintenance than other flooring types.

Unfinished floors don’t like harsh chemicals that may damage the wood, so it’s important to learn what materials and methods are best.

In order to clean your unfinished wood floors, you’ll need to use vinegar, water, and a mop. This cleaning solution is ideal because it’s natural and won’t damage your floors.

Read on to learn more about how to clean and protect your wood floors, and maintain their shine.

How Do You Clean Unfinished Wood Floors?

Here are 7 methods that you can consider when cleaning your unfinished wood floors:

1. Use Vinegar and Hot Water

First, you will want to make the cleaning solution. Add one cup of white vinegar to an empty clean bucket.

Next, add a gallon of warm or hot water to the bucket. You can make more or less cleaning solution as needed, as long as you stick to this ratio.

Make sure that you are wearing gloves and protective eyewear when cleaning your floors with this solution. Dip your mop into the cleaning solution, and then wring it out well.

Mop the floors in a circular motion, making sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. Let the floor dry completely before walking on it.

This method is safe for all types of unfinished wood floors. The vinegar is safe to use on unfinished wooden floors, but you should not mix vinegar with ammonia or bleach.

Related: Can You Mix Bleach and Baking Soda?.

Although you may want to use additional vinegar for deep cleaning, don’t increase the amount too much. Vinegar is acidic and can damage the wood over time.

This cleaning method is perfect for those who want an affordable and natural option for cleaning their unfinished wood floors. It is safe for pets, children, and those with allergies.

Vinegar and hot water is a great cleaning solution for unfinished wood floors because it’s affordable, natural, and safe for pets and children.

The hot water helps to loosen any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the floor, while the vinegar helps to disinfect and clean the floors.

2. Use Murphy’s Oil Soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap is an all-purpose cleaner that is safe to use on unfinished wood floors. It helps to lift dirt and debris from the floor while also disinfecting and sanitizing the wood.

It’s a gentle cleaner that is safe to use on all types of flooring, including all finished and unfinished hardwood floors.

It’s a safe option for those who want a non-toxic family-friendly solution.

Start by adding four capfuls or Murphy’s Oil Soap into a gallon bucket filled with warm water.

Next, add eight ounces of white vinegar to the bucket before moping the floors.

This is a great cleaning solution for those who want to use an all-purpose cleaner on their unfinished wood flooring.

Murphy’s Oil Soap and white vinegar make a powerful combo when it comes to deep cleaning your wooden floors!

The oil soap helps lift dirt from the floor, while the vinegar disinfects and sanitizes.

This solution may leave a slight film on your floors, but it can be easily wiped away with a damp cloth.

3. Remove Stains with TSP

TSP is a household cleaner that can be found at any hardware store. This is an ideal cleaning method for those who have stubborn or concentrated stains on their unfinished wood floors.

It’s safe to use on unfinished wood floors, and it is effective in removing many types of stains. It can remove concentrated stains caused by mildew, mold, and grease.

You will need a bucket filled with hot water, dish soap, TSP detergent (preferably the powdered kind), and an abrasive pad or scrubber brush. You must also wear gloves as this stuff can burn your skin. 

First, mix the TSP and dish soap together in a bucket filled with hot water. You will use 1/4th of a cup of TSP per gallon of water.

Make sure to vigorously stir the mixture so that the TSP is fully dissolved.

Next, dip your scrubber brush or pad into the solution and use it to gently scrub away any stains on your flooring.

Be sure to wipe up any excess moisture after you finish cleaning each area of the room.

Be careful to not leave any puddles of water on the floor, as they can damage or discolor your unfinished wood floors.

Rinse the treated area with clean water when you’re finished cleaning.

This method is safe for all types of unfinished hardwood and laminate floors.

4. Use Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are a common cleaning agent that works well for unsealed wood floors.

They can be used to lift dirt and debris from the floor, while also helping to disinfect it at the same time. It can help to lift out stains caused by mildew, dirt, and oil.

Mineral spirits can be found in most grocery or hardware stores, and it is safe to use on unfinished wood floors.

The only downside of using mineral spirits is that the smell can be very strong and overpowering.

Before you begin using the mineral spirits, make sure to ventilate your home as much as possible.

Turn on fans, open your windows, and doors, if possible. Try to keep other people out of the area you’re working in, especially children and pets.

Mineral spirits usually come in a can or a spray bottle.

Purchasing spirits in a spray bottle or transferring the solution to one is the easiest way to work with this product and ensures an even application.

This can make a big difference when reducing the fumes while cleaning.

Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection when using mineral spirits.

To begin, pour or spray a small amount of mineral spirits onto a cloth or directly onto the floor. Rub the solution into the stained area and let it sit for about five minutes.

Next, use a clean cloth to wipe away the solution and any dirt or debris that was lifted from the floor. Rinse the area with clean water and dry it off with a towel.

Be careful not to use too much of the mineral spirits, as this can damage your floors.

If you’re unsure about how much to use, start with a small amount and increase the quantity if needed.

Better to start with too little than too much!

This is an ideal method for those who want to remove deep or concentrated stains from their unfinished wood floors.

6. Use Dawn Dish Soap with Water

Mild soap such as Dawn dish soap can be used to clean unfinished wood floors.

The combination of soap and water is effective in removing dirt, grease, and other debris from the flooring.

The key here is to use a very small amount of soap in relation to water, and to make sure not to apply too much water to the floors overall.

This will help to prevent the floors from becoming too wet and damaged.

Dawn dish soap can also be used with a scrubber brush or pad to help remove any stubborn stains.

To clean your floors using Dawn dish soap, mix together one or two tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of water in a bucket.

Dip your scrubber brush or pad into the solution and clean away any dirt, grease, or debris on your wooden floor.

Be sure to rinse the treated area with clean water when you’re finished cleaning and dry it off immediately after.

This method can be used on all types of unfinished wooden floors without damaging them.

It’s also a safe method, making it ideal for those with children and pets in the home.

7. Use Ice To Remove Gum and Gunk

Unfinished wood floor planks can be damaged by chewing gum and other sticky substances.

When this happens, it’s important to remove the substance as soon as possible before it becomes a permanent part of your flooring.

To do so, all you need is some ice and a plastic bag or thin towel (so the ice doesn’t damage surfaces in the home).

Put the ice in a plastic bag or between two thin towels, then place it on top of the chewing gum.

After about ten minutes, scrape away any remaining residue with a butter knife or spatula.

You can also use this method to remove candle wax from your floors if necessary as well.

You can also use dry ice to get the job done. Be careful not to burn yourself on this substance!

How To Prepare Your Unfinished Floor for Cleaning

Before you begin cleaning unfinished wood floors, there are a few things you should do to prepare them.

1. Ventilate and Prepare the Room

Ventilate the area as much as possible. Turn on fans, open windows, and doors, if possible.

Remove any objects that can be damaged by moisture or spills.

Remove as much furniture from the room as possible, especially if you’re working on a larger surface area.

This will help to provide an unobstructed view of your flooring and ensure that you don’t miss any areas where dirt may have accumulated over time.

2. Safely Prepare for Cleaning

Wear gloves and eye protection when using any cleaning solutions.

You may also want to use a mask or respirator to avoid breathing in any fumes, especially if you’re using mineral spirits.

If you’re using a cleaning solution that requires rinsing, have a bucket of clean water and a towel ready to go.

Make sure the area is fully dried when you’re finished to prevent any damage or warping.

Make sure that other people and pets are kept out of the room while you’re cleaning, as many of these solutions can be harmful if ingested.

3. Remove Large Chunks of Dirt

Sweep the floors to remove any large pieces of dirt, dust, or debris. Use a large broom that can quickly move over the flooring without getting caught.

If there is furniture in the room, take some time to move it around and sweep underneath. This will help to ensure that all of the dirt and dust is removed, not just from the surface of the flooring.

You may want to sweep or vacuum the furniture itself if it’s very dusty, covered in animal hair, or has other stubborn particles that are difficult to remove by hand.

4. Remove Fine Dust From the Floor

Use a dry mop or hard wooden floor vacuum to remove any fine particles of dust. This will help to ensure that the cleaning process goes smoothly, is scratch-free, and leaves your floors in good condition after you’re finished.

It also helps to prevent these fine particles from becoming airborne and settling on your flooring once you begin cleaning.

5. Test Your Cleaning Solution

You should also test any cleaning solutions on an inconspicuous area of your flooring before using them to make sure they won’t damage the surface.

Do this by applying a small amount of the solution to an area that’s not easily visible. Let it sit for about five minutes, then wipe it away with a clean cloth.

If the wood is still wet or looks damaged after wiping it away, don’t use that particular cleaning solution on your flooring.

Make sure to thoroughly rinse the test area to avoid any further damage.

How Do I Make My Unsealed Hardwood Floors Shine?

In addition to learning how to clean unfinished wood floors, you may want to learn how to shine them as well.

There are a few different methods you can use to achieve this, but we recommend using a sealant or wax.

Sealants will help to protect your floors from dirt, dust, and other debris while also providing a shine. Waxes will give your flooring a deep, rich finish that makes them look brand new.

We also recommend giving your unfinished wooden floors a good cleaning around the same time that you apply these products. This can be done using any of the methods outlined in this article.

How To Apply Wax or Sealant

If you’re applying wax, follow its instructions for application carefully before doing anything else.

This usually involves using a good applicator or pad to evenly apply the wax in small sections at a time.

After the wax has been applied, allow it to dry for about 15 minutes before buffing it with a soft cloth.

Be sure to do this in the direction of the wood grain to achieve the best results.

If you’re applying sealant, follow its instructions for application carefully as well. This usually involves using a good applicator or brush to evenly apply the sealant in small sections at a time.

After the sealant has been applied, allow it to dry for about 15 minutes before wiping away any excess with a clean cloth or towel.

Make sure you’re using an absorbent fabric as well – paper towels may scratch your unfinished wood floors.

Be sure to use long and even strokes when wiping away the sealant.

This will help to ensure that it’s applied evenly and doesn’t leave any streaks behind.

Once everything is dry, your floors should have a nice shine to them!

How Do You Protect Unfinished Hardwood Floors?

In addition to regularly cleaning and shining your unfinished wooden floors, you can also take some additional steps to help protect them from damage.

One way is to place runners or area rugs in high-traffic areas. This will help to protect the flooring from being scratched or damaged by furniture legs, pets, or people walking around.

Another way is to put felt pads on the bottom of furniture legs. These can be purchased at any home improvement store, and most are fairly inexpensive.

They also help to prevent your floors from getting scratched or damaged by making sure that they’re not directly touching them when you move heavy pieces around.

Finally, it’s a good idea to invest in wooden floor protectors for your furniture.

These are much like felt pads, but they’re made specifically to be placed under large appliances and other heavy pieces of furniture that would otherwise scratch or damage the surface of your wood floors.

These steps will help to protect unfinished wood floors easily and effectively.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the many methods that can be used to clean unfinished wooden floors. Be sure to test each one on an inconspicuous area of your flooring before using it on a larger section.

And always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any cleaning products.

Now that you know how to clean unfinished wood floors, you can rest assured that they will be preserved for as long as possible.

About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.