Unfinished hardwood floor has its own charm. It has that raw, classic, realistic appearance that brings a whole different look to your wood floor. However, all that charm comes with a bit of tedious work. Unfinished hardwood floor is the wood planks without varnish or treatment. It will be gritty, more vulnerable to water than a finished hardwood floor, would be easily stained, get scratches in no time, basically a few notches more prone to damage, compared to a finished hardwood floor. When it is so easily damaged, it’s a given that, unlike a finished hardwood floor, unfinished hardwood floors are a bit tough to clean. Such an unshielded, pretty exposed hardwood floor needs a thorough guide to keep it clean, and that is why we are here with our how to clean unfinished hardwood floor guide, a complete one.
How to Clean Unfinished Hardwood Floor Step by Step
Step #1 – Daily Dusting
When it is about floor cleaning, daily dusting is a mandatory thing. And when it’s hardwood, daily dusting twice a day is the best way to keep the hardwood floor clean and safe. Twice a day, dusting becomes all the more essential when it is prone-to-scratches and vulnerable-to-moisture unfinished hardwood floors. The better you are in not letting dirt pile up on the unfinished hardwood floor, the more chances of a clean, scratch-free, dirt-free, no-stain floor. We always recommend keeping a robot vacuum for maintaining the twice a day daily dusting of the hardwood floor. With a Robo, even if you are busy or feeling lazy, you do not skip the dusting norm. If not a robot vacuum, any vacuum cleaner that is designed for unfinished hardwood floors will thoroughly do the dusting.
Do not use vacuums that are for the finished hardwood. The two types are very different. Hence the machinery will be varied too. If no vacuum cleaner, we have our standard broom-dustpan combo or clean, dry microfiber cloth. Both will sweep the dust from the floor quite conveniently. Yes, it will be challenging and time-consuming, but an unfinished hardwood floor demands that level of hard work from its aficionados.
Step #2 – Immediate Removal of Spills
It’s impossible not to spill water, food, oil, beverages on the floor ever. For those who have kids and pets, the struggle is high. There will be wet stuck-on footprints, pet mess, urine, pet hair, foods everywhere, scattered, and none can stop them from creating that mess. They are the last to think about your precious unfinished hardwood floor and its vulnerability. So, you will always have to be well-prepared with your cleaning tools. The moment it falls on the floor, remove it at once. Make it an unspoken rule.
Unfinished hardwood floors soak moisture in no time and start swelling and warping in no time too. And the staining, that is something is the most frustrating. So, the more you delay cleaning the food and spills and soaking the moisture, you are accelerating the unfinished hardwood floor damage process. So, make sure not to roam around with foods and drinks randomly. Always stay around the kitchen area and dining table. And secondly, if something is on the unfinished hardwood, no matter how busy you are, make the clean up your priority.
Step #3 – Deep Cleaning
Now, let’s talk about deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is necessary to remove the stains, to disinfect the surface, and, lastly, bring the sheen back on the floor, which, in any case, is not there on unfinished hardwood floors. If it brings out the original color, it is more than enough. And to do that we will recommend three different products.
Deep Cleaning Product #1 – With Diluted Vinegar
We are starting with the natural ingredient, which is obviously vinegar. Here you will have to use water, so basically, you will attempt damp mopping, so be very careful. Wring the mop well, and at the end, make sure you have dried the surface. So, to deep clean the hardwood and disinfect it with vinegar, you will need half a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water. If other floors need double the quantity of vinegar, an unfinished hardwood will need only half a cup. If you want a fresh smell instead of the vinegar odor, add essential oil, a few drops, to the vinegar-water solution.
No dishwashing soap or any other similar stuff, please. You do not have the scope to remove residues again and again with water. It’s not safe for the unfinished wood planks. But if you want to remove the vinegar residue, though it is not required at all, mop the floor once again with clean water. And you know all about thorough wringing and drying.
Deep Cleaning Product #2 – With Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirit, white spirit, petroleum spirit, mineral turpentine; it could be known in a few different names but used worldwide to treat wooden furniture. And to deep clean the hardwood floor, this one is one effective product. It is a chemical-based cleaning product but doesn’t contain as many harsh chemicals as others. So, more than any other product, it is safe to use on unfinished wood floors. And when you are cleaning the surface with mineral spirits, you are using no water on the unfinished hardwood.
A massive plus, indeed. So, after thoroughly dusting the surface, spray mineral spirits on the raw wooden surface and rub it with a soft cloth. Or you can directly put the mineral spirit on the pad or cloth and then sweep the floor. We prefer spraying the mineral spirits first so that it is evenly spread on the surface, and then with proper rubbing, you are cleaning the wooden surface properly. After you finish the cleaning, wipe the surface with a dry cloth. It will clean the surface and dry it too.
Deep Cleaning Product #3 – With Trisodium Phosphate
We keep this one as the last option because it is the harshest of them all. Trisodium Phosphate is a powder-based cleaning agent that removes the stains on the hardwood floor like no other. You have to sprinkle the powder on the stains and then rub it with a soft brush to scrape the stains and stubborn, stuck-on dirt and grime. And do not forget thorough dusting before you do all the scrubbing and rubbing. After you have scraped the dirt and grime, just wipe those up with a cloth.
Now rinse the spots with water and immediately dry the surface with a dry pad. A lot of scraping and rinsing will be done while using Trisodium Phosphate, so unless your unfinished hardwood floor desperately needs it, skip using this product.
If there are residues, clean them with water. Additionally, if you use chemicals like the spirit or Phosphate, wear gloves, always use lots of carpets and rugs to protect the floor, and maintain the thorough dusting religiously. However, if you take care of the dust and spilled stuff, you wouldn’t need to use mineral spirit or other harsh chemicals frequently. Once in every six months or even a year will be more than enough.