A Homeowner's Guide to Caring for Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Posted On Friday, 21 April 2023 16:35

The great thing about unfinished hardwood floors is that they look so rustic and natural that you will feel like you have a piece of the forest in your home. But they do come with one distinct disadvantage. They aren’t low-maintenance floors like finished hardwood floors would be. 

They require you to put in a bit more effort to clean, and take care of them, than would other kinds of flooring. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid getting unfinished hardwood flooring.

Quite the opposite - merely following the tips we have laid out below should get on you on the road to taking care of your unfinished flooring quite well. So let’s get started. 

Daily Cleaning Away of Dirt Is Imperative

No matter how hard you try to prevent dirt from being tracked into your home by using mats or admonitions, there will be some dirt that will get into your home inadvertently. And that’s why you can’t just clean your unfinished hardwood floors once a week. 

You need to brush away dirt, debris, and other elements on the unfinished flooring every single day using a broom, a static mop cleaner, or a vacuum. 

This way, these dirt particles will not scratch or stain your hardwood floors. When flooring is unfinished, it’s more likely to absorb everything into itself, as it’s quite porous. That’s one reason folks use finishing products on their floors, so they don’t stain quite as easily.

Thus, with unfinished flooring, you will want to ensure you clean dirt regularly and remove anything that could stain your floors instantly. There’s no waiting around possible here. 

Always use a soft-bristled brush to clean your floors since they can get scratched in an instant, and then you will have to sand them down to get them perfect again.

Do Not Sand in One Place for Too Long

The problem with sanding your unfinished floors is that too many people end up sanding in one spot for too long and that damages floors faster than you can say ‘I’m done’. 

If you have a particularly tough stain, you will want to sand it down. Sand for just a few minutes; don’t go mercilessly sanding your unfinished flooring for half an hour.

Sanding is only for tough stains. Most light stains on unfinished flooring can be removed using Trisodium Phosphate.

Apply a tiny amount to the stained area and then use a soft bristle brush to gently clean the region. Finally, rinse with a small amount of water and clean up the water asap using a dry towel, never leaving moisture to sit on your unfinished hardwood floors. 

Don’t forget to use a broom to remove all the dust generated after sanding your hardwood floors. 

Use Products Meant for Unfinished Hardwood Floors

Another common mistake that causes unfinished flooring not to last as long as it should is when folks use products for finished flooring on unfinished floors. Don't do that, even as a last resort. 

Always have products meant for unfinished hardwood floors in your home at the ready. These would be:


You might never have imagined that this humble household item could be used to clean your unfinished flooring, yes? Well, it can, and it’s quite handy. 

All you need is a half cup of vinegar in a gallon of water, and you can use that to clean your unfinished hardwood floors happily without worrying about damaging them. Make sure to mop with the grain of the hardwood floors in long strokes to prevent leaving streaks. 

And don’t worry about the smell. As the vinegar fumes evaporate, so will the odor dissipate. 

Murphy’s Oil

This is a petroleum-based cleaning substance that can be used to clean your floors without fear of harming them. Apply it to your floors using a lint-free cloth or soft pad, rubbing it into them. 

You can also add Murphy’s Oil into the water and then use it that way, again making sure to remove any leftover moisture using a dry towel so it doesn’t ruin your flooring. 

Trisodium Phosphate

We have already mentioned this product earlier. You can find it at hardware stores or home improvement stores.

A granular substance, it can be rubbed into the unfinished solid hardwood flooring using a soft bristle brush to remove stains. 

Always read through the instructions for usage carefully before applying them to your unfinished floors. 

Never Use a Lot of Water or Leave Moisture on Your Unfinished Flooring

This is a big no-no when it comes to unfinished hardwood floors. You need to be diligent about this, especially if you have young children who might not be as careful as you are.

Unfinished hardwood floors are ultra-porous and will absorb moisture like it’s their business. So remove any water or moisture on the floor asap. Use a dry towel to do so. 

Never let your unfinished flooring dry naturally, always dry it by hand.

Unfinished Hardwood Floors Are Beautiful, Even if High Maintenance

After all this, you might wonder if unfinished hardwood floors are even worth all this extra effort. But they truly are.

With a bit of work, you will have gorgeous natural floors that will just get better day by day. You will not want to let laziness get in the way of having these beautiful unfinished flooring in your home. 

Want to read more articles about floor maintenance? Keep browsing through our website, as we have many blog posts on a variety of topics. 

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