June 19

How to Clean Unsealed Hardwood Floors


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You may be puzzled how to clean unsealed hardwood floors. Everything tells you not to use anything on unsealed hardwood floors. These floors wouldn’t be unsealed and looking great if generations ago housewives couldn’t clean their floors without ruining them.

Many of us with unsealed hardwood floors have removed things like carpet and peel and stick tile. The good news is that caring for your unsealed hardwood floor is easier than you may realize.

Cleaning unsealed hardwood floors

Sweeping and vacuuming are essential to caring for your unsealed hardwood floors is a bit different than other hard floors. Choose a soft-bristled broom to avoid scratching your floor. When choosing a vacuum look for one with a softer roller designed for bare floors to avoid scratches. In high traffic areas, you may need to pass over your floors more often to ensure they stay clean and keep dirt from building up beyond easy clean-ups.

For most hard surfaces, when they are messy you would go right to the mop and bucket. For these, a mop and bucket can lead to warping and cracking of your beautiful hardwood floors destroying them with no real way to fix the damage.

Cleaning up sticky gooey messes is the biggest challenge for cleaning your unsealed hardwood floors may require water and a little bit of cleaner from time to time. If you find yourself in this situation there are a few things you can do.

  • Wipe up as much of the mess as possible with a clean cloth
  • Mix up your soap and water solution in a bowl or dishpan rather than your mop bucket.
  • Dip a clean cloth into your cleaning solution and ring it out well
  • Scrub the mess off your floor with the damp cloth rinsing and repeating until the mess is completely gone.
  • Dry the floor off with a clean cloth soaking up as much liquid as possible
  • Allow the floor to dry. You can place a fan pointing at the area to help it dry faster
  • After drying, replace the oil or wax coating you use on your floor.

What about when your unsealed hardwood floor just really needs a mop to get rid of dirt?

While it is easy to get stuck on the usual mop and bucket way of mopping a floor this can be damaging to the wood. Instead spread mineral oil or Old English oil on your floor. Allow it to set in for a few minutes to both soak into the wood to moisturize it and loosen dirt that will come up with a quick dry mop. This will give your floor the clean of a classic mop while leaving your floor with a brighter color and a beautiful shine.

What can you do when your unsealed floors look dull?

To brighten and add shine to your unsealed hardwood floors you have two options. Both of these add a level of protection for your unsealed hardwood floors from water damage.

In between using oil for cleaning your floor you can use it simply to hydrate and make your floor shine. Spread the oil across your floor buffing it in with a clean dry cloth and allow it to settle into the wood before walking on it again to help get an even unmarked coating.

Waxing with a petroleum-based water-free wax is a great way to add luster and shine that tends to last longer than oil to your hardwood floors. Apply the wax with a clean cloth and allow it to dry for about half an hour before buffing the wax with a clean cloth for a smooth and even finish.

What cleaners can you use on unsealed wood floors?

My favorite option for unsealed hardwood floors is Old English Lemon oil. This light oil leaves your floors looking and smelling great just like if you used a traditional cleaner on a sealed hardwood floor. You can even get it in a trigger spray bottle to use on your floors while dust mopping for easy cleaning and shining of your floors.

Rejuvenate offers several great products that are safe for use on unsealed hardwood floors including a restore product that makes adding a wax shine to your unsealed hardwood floor easy. This can help fill in scratches and give your floor a shine while protecting it from further damage.

Plain mineral oil can go a long way on your unsealed hardwood floors. If you need something available at the local store without issues you can easily pick up a bottle of mineral oil from the first aid section. Most stores sell mineral oil as a laxative making it readily available in nearly any store that sells basic pharmacy and medical supplies. For a fragrance boost, you can easily add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

If you’re looking for a way to make your hardwood floors shine without breaking the bank, try these tips and tricks. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get those unsightly water spots off with just a few simple supplies that are probably already in your home!

Have you found any other ways on how to clean unsealed hardwood floors? We’d love to hear them. Let us know by leaving a comment below!


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