How To Clean Unfinished Wood Floors And Make Them Shine

By Cezar

Hardwood floors have stood the test of time as a classic and timeless choice for any interior space. The allure of hardwood lies in its ability to infuse warmth and elegance, instantly elevating the aesthetic appeal of any room it graces. One of the remarkable aspects of hardwood flooring is its versatility; it transcends fleeting trends, maintaining its appeal regardless of the ever-changing design landscape. Moreover, the durability of hardwood is unmatched, capable of lasting for decades, or even generations, if properly cared for.

However, when it comes to the care and maintenance of hardwood flooring, most people are familiar with the routine. But what happens when you encounter unfinished wood flooring? Unfinished wood refers to wood that hasn’t undergone the finishing process, leaving it in its natural state. There are various scenarios where you might come across unfinished wood floors: perhaps you’ve recently removed carpeting or linoleum during a renovation and discovered hardwood hidden beneath; maybe you’ve acquired an older property with unfinished hardwood floors, showcasing a rustic charm; or you might be renovating or repurposing a neglected space in your home, such as an attic or storage area, where unfinished wood is exposed.

In any instance where you encounter unfinished wood flooring, it is crucial to understand that cleaning and maintaining it require different approaches compared to finished floors. Failure to employ the appropriate techniques can easily result in damage to the delicate wood fibers and undermine the longevity of your investment.

How To Protect Unfinished Floors?

To effectively clean unfinished wood floors, it is crucial to employ specialized cleaning solutions while minimizing moisture and promptly drying any excess.

Here are some essential tips to safeguard your unfinished floors and maintain their pristine condition:

  1. Gentle Cleaning Solutions: When cleaning unfinished floors, opt for cleaning solutions explicitly designed for this purpose. Avoid using generic household cleaners or those containing strong chemicals, as they may cause discoloration or damage to the wood. Instead, choose mild and pH-neutral cleansers specifically formulated for unfinished wood surfaces.
  2. Dilution and Spot Testing: Prior to applying any cleaning solution to your floors, dilute it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, it is wise to perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and prevent any adverse reactions or unwanted effects.
  3. Soft Bristle Broom or Vacuuming: Regularly remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface of your unfinished floors. Utilize a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment to avoid scratching or damaging the delicate wood fibers.
  4. Damp Mopping Technique: For routine cleaning, employ a damp mop technique. Dip a well-wrung mop into a bucket of diluted cleaning solution, ensuring it is not excessively wet. Gently mop the floor, being cautious not to oversaturate the wood. Remember, excess moisture can lead to warping, swelling, or cupping of the boards.
  5. Prompt Drying: After cleaning your unfinished floors, promptly dry them using a clean, absorbent cloth or mop. Ensure that no standing water remains on the surface. Adequate ventilation and airflow within the room can expedite the drying process and reduce the risk of moisture-related damage.
  6. Protective Mats and Rugs: Strategically place mats or rugs in high-traffic areas to provide an additional layer of protection for your unfinished floors. These mats will help trap dirt and moisture before it reaches the surface, reducing the potential for damage.
  7. Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading and discoloration of unfinished wood floors. Protect your floors by using curtains, blinds, or UV-blocking window films to minimize the amount of sunlight reaching the surface. Alternatively, consider rearranging furniture periodically to prevent uneven fading.
  8. Finishing for Long-Term Protection: While adopting the above precautions can help safeguard your unfinished floors, the most effective and permanent solution is to finish them. Finishing creates a protective barrier that shields the wood from moisture, stains, and everyday wear and tear. Consult a professional or follow manufacturer guidelines to select the appropriate finish for your specific type of wood flooring.

By implementing these measures and considering the long-term solution of finishing, you can ensure the lasting beauty and durability of your unfinished floors. Remember, attentive care and maintenance will preserve their natural charm for years to come.

Effective Techniques for Cleaning Unfinished Wood Floors

Maintaining the cleanliness of your wooden floors is essential for their longevity and aesthetic appeal. When it comes to cleaning unfinished wood floors, a thorough assessment of the required work is necessary. While regular cleaning is relatively straightforward, deep cleaning calls for more specialized techniques. In this guide, we will first cover the basics of regular cleaning and then delve into the topic of deep cleaning.

To begin, the initial step in any cleaning routine is to eliminate loose dust and debris. It is crucial to use a broom with soft bristles or a dry mop to prevent scratching or scuffing the floor. Avoid using abrasive brooms, as they can cause damage. By ensuring the removal of all dirt at this stage, you will prevent any interference with the subsequent cleaning process.

For regular cleaning, the best method is damp mopping. Prepare a solution by combining one cup of vinegar with two gallons of water. Immerse your mop in the mixture, allowing most of the water to drain back into the bucket. Proceed to clean the floor using long strokes that follow the grain of the wood, as this technique prevents streaking as the floor dries. If you accidentally use excessive solution and the floor becomes overly wet, promptly remove the excess liquid using your mop or a cloth.

It is recommended to perform this basic cleaning procedure once or twice a month to maintain the cleanliness of your unfinished wood floor.

While the vinegar and water solution mentioned earlier is a simple and effective option, there are other cleaning products available on the market. If you decide to use an alternative product, ensure that it is certified for use with raw wood.

Cleaning Unfinished Wood FloorsDeep Cleaning Procedure for Unfinished Wood Floors

Regular cleaning often falls short in removing stubborn stains or ingrained grime that persist despite your best efforts. In such cases, a thorough deep cleaning is necessary to restore the pristine condition of your unfinished wood floor. Follow these step-by-step instructions to effectively deep clean your floor:

  1. Clean the Entire Floor: Begin by giving your floor a comprehensive cleaning to remove loose dirt and debris. Use a broom or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to ensure you capture all the particles. This initial pass will also help you identify areas with particularly stubborn stains.
  2. Perform a Second Cleaning Pass: After the initial cleaning, proceed with a second pass using a more robust cleaner suited for deep cleaning, such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to prepare the cleaner and apply it thoroughly across the floor. This step helps to eliminate deeply ingrained grime and tough stains.
  3. Target Stubborn Stains: Once the floor has dried completely, focus on treating the persistent stains section by section. Use a specialized product like mineral spirits, specifically formulated for wood surfaces, to effectively remove stains. Apply the product directly to the stained area and gently scrub using a soft cloth or a non-abrasive brush. Take care to work on one section at a time, ensuring thorough stain removal.
  4. Rinse and Dry: After treating the stubborn stains, rinse the floor with clean water to remove any residue left by the cleaning agents. Ensure proper ventilation in the area while rinsing. Allow the floor to dry completely before stepping on it or placing any furniture back in its position.

By following these steps, you can revitalize your unfinished wood floor and restore its natural beauty. Remember to prioritize caution during the cleaning process to protect the integrity of the wood surface and avoid any potential damage.


Unfinished wood flooring holds a unique charm, allowing the natural characteristics of the wood to shine through. By understanding the distinct care requirements, you can enjoy the timeless elegance of unfinished hardwood for years to come. With gentle cleaning methods, prompt attention to spills, protective measures, regular maintenance, and professional guidance when needed, you can preserve the allure and durability of your unfinished wood floors while avoiding unintended damage.