The cleaning process for unfinished wood floors is similar to cleaning prefinished wood floors. Unfinished wood floors are just more fragile than finished ones, and cleaning can lead to scratches and swelling of the wood if you are not careful.
So, the cleaning process is a bit more delicate, and more care needs to be taken with it.
In this article, we will be guiding you through exactly how to clean an unfinished wood floor without damaging it or ruining it completely.
What this article covers:
- What to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors with
- How to Clean Raw Wood Floors
- How to Clean Old Unfinished Wood Floors
What To Clean Unfinished Wood Floors With
Since there aren’t many cleaning options available when it comes to unfinished wood floors, you don’t need an extensive list of tools to clean them properly.
But, with this being said, you still need to know exactly what you can use to clean wood floors. A lot of the tools that you do need are very specific, and you can’t get a random replacement, as this could end up damaging the unfinished wood floors.
The most common things used to clean unfinished wood floors are a broom, vacuum cleaner, and mop. And while these are definitely up there as some of the best tools to clean wood floors with, there are a few other things that are really great and will make all the difference to your cleaning.
We will get into all of that in this section, but let’s start with the most common things that you can use to deep clean wood floors.
You can only use brooms with very soft bristles to clean these types of floors. If you use a hard bristled brush, this could very easily damage and scratch the unfinished floors, which are usually very soft.
The vacuum cleaner that is used also needs to be very specific, as a lot of vacuum types can actually leave marks and dents on your wood floors. For this reason, we recommend getting a vacuum cleaner with soft, or natural, bristles. Additionally, you want to use a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar so that you can prevent scratches.
ORBOT SLiM Cordless VLM Machine
When it comes to deep cleaning unfinished wood floors, we would suggest using our ORBOT SLiM Cordless VLM Machine. This is an orbital floor cleaning machine that is safe to use on unfinished wood floors.
The ORBOT SLiM is designed with soft wheels that are non-marking, so they won’t leave any dents or scratches on your wood. It also uses changeable pads, and the UltraLift pad is perfect for microporous surfaces like unfinished wood.
The spray jets are also designed so that they have low moisture. This means that they use a lot less water, so you don’t have to worry about your floors absorbing too much water and becoming damaged.
Vinegar And Water
When it comes to the product you use on your unfinished wood floors we would recommend trying to stay away from any harsh detergents. Harsh detergents can get absorbed by the wood and end up leeching the wood or its color, leaving it warped and disfigured.
We would recommend sticking to mostly water when you are cleaning your unfinished wood floors. But, if you find yourself struggling with some stubborn stains, then adding a bit of vinegar to your water can be very helpful.
Vinegar is a natural substance that won’t cause any damage to your unfinished wood floors. The only downside of using vinegar is that it has quite a pungent smell which may bother some people. If you are one of these people, try finding an odorless vinegar or adding a few drops of essential oil to it.
Whenever vinegar is used, it should be white vinegar, and it should also be mixed with warm water. The general ratio is adding half a cup of vinegar for every gallon of warm water that you use.
How To Clean Raw Wood Floors
Step 1: Prepare Your Room
The first thing that you want to do when you clean your raw wood floors is to prepare the room. Remove any furniture and rugs that may get in the way of your cleaning process, or make it difficult to execute properly.
Step 2: Sweep The Floors
The next thing that you need to do is sweep the floors with your soft bristle broom. This helps to remove any loose dust, pet hair, and debris that may be on the surface of the floor.
Sweeping is something that should actually be done every week if you want to keep your raw wood floors clean and make them last longer.
But, it is also particularly important to do now. This is because, in a few steps' time, you will be using water on your floors, so we don’t want any debris and dust to remain on the floor, as this could cause streaking and discoloration later on in this process.
Step 3: Vacuum The Floors
To be extra sure that all the dust and debris have been removed, we would recommend going over the floor with a vacuum cleaner once you are done sweeping.
This ensures that any debris stuck in the cracks of the wood, or that may have been missed with the sweeping has been picked up.
Vacuum cleaning should be done once a week on your raw wood floors, and not much more. But it does form an important part of your deep clean, so make sure that you last used the vacuum more than a week before your deep clean.
Step 4: Use The ORBOT SLiM On Your Raw Wood Floors
The last step of this cleaning process is to use our ORBOT SLiM on your raw wood floors. You could use a damp mop instead, but our ORBOT SLiM is much more effective in deep cleaning raw wood floors and is great if you have any pesky stains that you’d like to target.
You could use only water in the solution tank, or you could mix some vinegar with the water in the ratios that we mentioned above.
Instructions for how to use the machine will be provided with it, but we recommend that when you do it you focus on small sections and don’t do the whole floor in one go.
How To Clean Old Unfinished Wood Floors
Old unfinished wood floors are even harder to clean than new unfinished wood floors. This is because wood degrades over time, which makes the wood even softer and more sensitive to cleaning.
This may leave you a bit worried and wondering how to clean old wood floors without sanding. Are there even any other options to use? Luckily, there are.
Usually, water is a no-go when it comes to cleaning old unfinished wood floors, but if you ensure that the mop you use is very lightly damp, and not dripping with water, you should be okay. Just be aware of this when you are cleaning and try to be cautious.
We also wouldn’t recommend using our ORBOT SLiM on old unfinished wood floors. While the ORBOT SLiM is safe for wood, the softness of the wood, and the fact that it degrades easier due to its age, makes it a bit risky.
For this reason, we would recommend using our Flat Mop instead.
Step 1: Prepare The Room
Prepare the room for cleaning by removing any furniture that is on the floor, and anything else that is in the way and that will hinder your cleaning.
Step 2: Sweep Your Old Unfinished Wood Floors
Use a soft, or naturally bristled, broom to sweep any dust and debris that is on the surface of the floor. Be gentle with this process, and make sure that you don’t push any of the particles into the wood.
Due to the softness of old unfinished wood floors, scratching is more likely and easier to occur, so you want to make sure that you avoid this.
Step 3: Use A Vacuum Cleaner To Ensure That The Floors Are Properly Clean
Once swept, go over the floor with a vacuum cleaner to make sure that the dust and debris on the floor have been removed from all the nooks and crannies on your old unfinished wood floors.
Try not to vacuum these floors too often, as it can lead to degradation. This should be done once a week at the very most.
Step 4: Use A Damp Mop To Clean Your Old Unfinished Wood Floors
The last step is to use a damp mop to clean your old unfinished wood floors. You must ensure that the mop is damp and not saturated, as water can easily be absorbed by old unfinished wood floors.
We recommend using our flat mop for this job. Wet the Terry Cloth Cover with water and wring it out so that it is just damp.
Mop the floors in long strokes that go along the grain of the wood. This is one of the best things to do if you want to clean wood floors without streaks appearing when the dampness dries. Work in small sections at a time so that the floors can dry more easily.
We would also recommend changing, or at least properly rinsing, the mop cover and water frequently throughout your cleaning. The mop cover can be easily contaminated and start spreading soil and debris instead of removing it, which defeats the purpose of what you are trying to do.
And, if you want to be extra safe, you can place a fan on the section you have finished while you move on to the next. This will help speed up the drying process and prevent too much water absorption.
Lastly, it is a good idea to add vinegar to the mixture, as we have previously spoken about. Not only will this help give the floors a good clean, but it also acts as a disinfectant. Unfinished wood floors, especially the older ones, can harbor a lot of bacteria and germs, so it is a good idea to give this a clean now and again.
Even though cleaning unfinished wood floors is a bit more technical and takes some thought and process, it definitely can be done. And very safely too, for that matter.
The biggest thing with unfinished hardwood floors is to be aware of how much water you use whilst cleaning. Always keep this to a minimum, and your chances of damaging the floor are very low.
Some people also like it when their wooden floors shine. Unfortunately, this takes a bit more than just cleaning them, so if it is a look that you like, try investigating what to clean hardwood floors with to make them shine.
Now that you know how to clean unfinished wood floors, have a look at our carpet-cleaning chemicals so that you can keep the rest of your house spotless, too.
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