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How to Clean Unsealed Wood Floors?

how to clean unfinished wood floors

For those of you that like a rustic look and a natural vibe for the interior of your home, the flooring market has something great. Wood floors are extremely popular for all of you wanting to retain earthy tones inside your home.

There are many different colors, patterns to choose from. But, as with any floor type, you need to take good care of it. This is the only way that your floors will stay looking new in the future. This is why we are talking about how to clean unsealed wood floors.

Why unsealed? Well, many homeowners opt not to seal their wood floors, since they do not want their flooring to look shiny, polished and man-made. Unsealed wood looks like you just sort of found it there, so it is not so polished.

But, since there is no protective layer over it, there are some steps you need to take while cleaning to ensure the longevity of your wood flooring. Taking a canister vacuum to clean may be enough until the floors are really dirty, but then you will need some other tools as well.

Vacuuming Unsealed Wood Floors

cleaning unfinished wood floors
Vacuuming Unsealed Wood Floors

As for sweeping and vacuuming, this should be done every few days. In high-traffic areas, you can even pick up dirt every day. We know that this is not realistic for those of you that work a lot, but investing in a robot vacuum for hardwood floors may be a good idea. This little robot will sweep and vacuum all the wood in your home while you are at work. It leaves you with one less chore when you get back from work tired and drained.

But, if you do not want a robot in your home, and you enjoy doing the vacuuming yourself, you would benefit from a vacuum for hardwood floors. Unsealed wood flooring should be vacuumed with a bare flooring tool or a crevice tool for tight spaces. In any case, avoid brushes and any brush action. It is usually unnecessary and it can also damage your floors. You can even use an upright vacuum if this is the tool you have. Just keep in mind these tools and that your floors need to be handled moderately gently.

Sometimes, if you do not want to bring out an entire vacuum, you can use a sweeping mop. Just choose a mop cover that is not abrasive, and you are good to go.

Cleaners for Unsealed Wood Floors

how to clean unfinished wooden floors
Cleaners for Unsealed Wood Floors

After you have picked up all the dirt, hair and food crumbs from your floor, you are ready for wet cleaning. This is not something that you should be doing every day. Since your floors are unsealed, it is not good to wet them every day. Unsealed wood will absorb any excess water that gets on it and it will get damaged over time. This is why wet cleaning is reserved for very dirty floors. So how should you do it?

When it comes to cleaners you can use, there are several options. You can make a natural mixture to clean with and it will work perfectly fine on unsealed wood. Here are some mixtures:

  • a gallon of water and 2 spoons of white vinegar
  • squeeze a half of lemon into a gallon of water
  • mix a gallon of water with a spoon of baking soda

If you want to try something else, you can go with mineral spirits. You can use cyclo-propane or paraffin, but a better option is odorless mineral spirits. Not only will they clean the unsealed wood well, but they can remove scuff marks as well.

Now that you know of some cleaner options, here is what you need to do. Make the mixture you have chosen and a mop. It is imperative that you dry the mop well before putting it on the floor. If you soak the unsealed wood with water, you will not get the desired result. It will just absorb it and you will get a damaged floor. So, avoid using a lot of water. You will get a better result with a good cleaner mixture and a good mop, than pouring a gallon of water onto the floor.

Recommended to read: 7 Best Robot Mops On the Market

Protecting Unsealed Wood Floors

how to clean unfinished wood floor
Protecting Unsealed Wood Floors

Vacuuming the floors regularly will ensure that there are no small rocks, dirt or other things that can scrape and damage the floors. Another great tool to have is a corded stick vacuum. This type of vacuum is usually more lightweight than the other types we mentioned. You can go with a cordless option as well, but the corded one allows you not to think about run time or suction power.

Another thing to do is be mindful of how you move your furniture. Always put something beneath it so you would not scrape the floor. Also, furniture legs can do some damage as well. Unsealed wood is not as sensitive as some other flooring types (laminate for example), but still, you want to minimize scuffs and scrapes.

Waxing Unsealed Wood Floors

Besides the whole cleaning process we mentioned, you can also end it with waxing. However, you should do this only if you do not plan to seal your floors eventually. Wax is difficult to get off and it has to be taken off in order to seal the floor. If you do plan to seal your floors, you can just condition them with oil. Olive oil, jojoba or linseed will do the job. You can put the oil into the water and spread it with a mop. Then dry the floors and you will see how a natural shine appears.

Here is a short video showing how to clean the unsealed wood table. You can repeat this process on your floors and get the same great results:

YouTube video


Final Thoughts

Unsealed wood gives you that vibe that no other type of flooring does. But it comes with certain requirements. As long as you take care of it and keep the water far from it, your wood floors will last longer and look amazing.

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