Best Secrets to Clean Unfinished Solid Hardwood Flooring

April 25, 2023
by Riveras Cleaning Solutions
hardwood floor cleaning

The natural look of unfinished hardwood makes it unique and desirable for most homeowners. However, unlike the prefinished ones, because this type of flooring is not sealed with a protective coating, it’s more prone to scratching, absorption, and deformation.

While you may know the best way to clean a prefinished hardwood floor, this one needs to be handled a bit differently and with more care while cleaning.

Basically, the secret of cleaning unsealed wood floors is to be gentle while dealing with them. Learn below the best and safest process to clean them properly.

Maintain The Beauty of your Unfinished Hardwood Flooring in 3 Steps

1. Remove all The Dirt and Debris

Before you start with a thorough cleaning, it is essential to clear all the solid dirt and debris from the floor. Else, this may cause scratches during the cleaning and damage the wood. Regular surface cleaning is the way to protect unfinished wood floors.

There are two methods to clean them.

  • Broom and a scoop
  • Vacuum cleaner

According to experts, your safest bet is to use a broom and scoop to clear the dust, as it won’t damage the flooring. Use a broom with soft bristles and sweep off the dirt from the surface.

You can use a vacuum cleaner as well, but make sure it has a dedicated hard floor setting as the harsh bar/brush roll can cause permanent damage to your wood floor.

2. Remove all The Stains

Stains are especially bad for unsealed wood surfaces as they are porous in nature. So, before you begin to mop the floor, it is required to spot and clean the floor to avoid spreading them more.

To remove stains from unfinished hardwood flooring, you can use trisodium phosphate or sandpaper.

⇒ Trisodium Phosphate

Sprinkle a small amount of trisodium phosphate on the stained area and use a small soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to scrub the stains away.

This is the ideal cleaner for stubborn stains ingrained in the pores while also being safe on such wood.

⇒ Sandpaper

You can use fine sandpaper and gently scrub the stained area with it until it is removed. Make sure to avoid applying too much pressure and keep checking if the stains are off. Over-rubbing can cause damage to the wood.

Lastly, sweep or vacuum the dust spread while you sanded the surface.

Tip: If you have any gum or sticky substance stuck on the hardwood flooring, you can easily get it off by freezing it with an ice bag placed on it and then gently scraping it off.

3. Deep Clean and Disinfect

The next step is to mop the floor thoroughly for deep cleaning. While you may be tempted to use chemical cleaners for your floor mopping, it is best to avoid them on your delicate floors.

Rather, here are some safest ways to deep clean unfinished hardwood flooring.

⇒ Vinegar and Warm Water

Vinegar is the best cleaner for untreated wood floors. Being a natural cleaner and deodorizer, it won’t damage the wood and its acidic nature can effectively break down tough grime from the surfaces.

How to Use:

To prepare the solution, mix 1 cup of plain white vinegar with a gallon of warm water in a bucket. You can make the required amount of mixture as needed with the same ratio. Optionally, add a few drops of essential oil to mask the slight smell of vinegar.

Now, dampen a mop without over-wetting it, and mop your floors in the direction of floor grain to clean the floor thoroughly.

Clean the floor with vinegar twice a month.

⇒ Mineral Spirits

These cleaning agents work best for unfinished hardwood floors by removing dirt and disinfecting the surfaces as well. This can even be used for removing tough stains from the floors.

However, be careful and wear a mask while using it as this has toxic fumes which shouldn’t be inhaled. Also, ensure you have proper ventilation in the room while cleaning.

How to Use:

To start, spray a small amount directly on the stained area or spray it on a cloth. Gently rub it on the stained area and let it sit for 5 minutes. After it has loosened the dirt and stain, you can wipe clean the area with a microfiber cloth or a dry mop.

What to Keep in Mind while Cleaning Unfinished Hardwood Floor?

  • Don’t use any bleach or other harsh cleaning solutions for cleaning.
  • Use safe products specially designed for such floors.
  • Vacuum or sweep before you mop.
  • Do not overwork the floor.
  • Clean the spills immediately by blotting them away.
  • Avoid soaking the floor at any cost.


Cleaning unfinished wood flooring needs to be done carefully while not harming the wood. And it is best to hire hardwood floor cleaning professionals periodically to take the best care of them and keep their shine intact for years to come.

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