Unfinished wood floors offer a rustic and natural look, but they require special care to keep them looking their best.
Since the wood has no protective finishing, you’ll need to carefully avoid harsh chemicals and use as little moisture as possible when cleaning.
Here’s how to clean your unfinished floors without damaging the beauty of the wood.
Gently Remove Dirt and Dust
The key to keeping your hardwood floors clean is to remove dust and dirt regularly. A simple broom and dust pan will do the trick, but you can also use a vacuum if it has a hard floor setting.
Make sure that you use a vacuum that is safe to use on hardwood floors, as brushes can scratch the wood.
Aim to sweep or vacuum your floors at least once per week – twice is ideal. If you have pets, you may need to clean more often or daily.
Just like with carpeting, dust and dirt builds up quickly on wood flooring. It’s important to remove dirt as soon as possible to keep your floor looking its best.
Clean Up Spills Immediately
Spills are inevitable. How you react to the spill is what’s most important. As you know, liquids and woods don’t mix well – especially when the wood is unfinished. Cleaning up spills as soon as they happen can help prevent warping and permanent damage to your floors.
A small amount of Trisodium Phosphate can be used to clean up spills. Work the chemical into the wood using a small scrubbing brush, and move with the grain. Rinse clean with water, and use a clean rag to dry the floor.
Be sure to dry the wood completely. Leaving moisture behind can damage the floors.
Use Mineral Spirits – With Caution
Mineral spirits can be used – with caution – to clean your unfinished wood. Avoid using any cleaners that have harsh chemicals, like petroleum or ammonia. Some chemicals can discolor or even warp the wood, so only use natural cleaners (Murphy Oil Soap is one option) or mineral spirits.
Mineral spirits may not hurt your wood floors, but they can hurt you. Make sure that the room is well ventilated and wear a respirator for extra protection when cleaning with mineral spirits.
Spray the solution on the floor, and rub it in using a soft scrubbing pad. Use a clean, white rag to clean up any excess solution.
Alternatively, you can use Murphy Oil Soap to clean your unfinished floors. This gentle cleaner will remove dirt and grime without having to worry about toxic fumes.
Murphy’s soap should be diluted. Add 1 tablespoon to half a gallon of water to create your cleaning solution. Try not to over-saturate your mop when cleaning. You want just enough solution to remove dirt and grime.
Follow up by drying any moist sections of flooring with a clean rag.
Sand Out Deep Stains
Because your floors are unfinished, you have the option of sanding out deep stains. Simply use a sander to work the stained area, taking care not to spend too much time in one spot.
Once you’ve finished, clean up the dust and debris. Your floor should look as good as new.