How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors?


If you are into unfinished wood floorings for your homes for your Victorian-style houses, chances are that you are going to regret wanting them, especially since they are so hard to clean and maintain. The details of the cleaning process are going to be extremely subjective, depending on what supplies people use and the techniques that they have mastered over years.

While using harsh chemicals can strip off the natural colour and grain of the wood, using too much water can make it warp or discolour in the long run. It is about the subtle art of balancing the right techniques and the resources for that squeaky clean flooring.

However, difficult or complicated it might sound; the process is pretty simple and not something that you necessarily have to wrack your brain about.

Indulge in Everyday Cleaning

If you have a home with unfinished wood flooring, chances are that you will pretty much have situations with dust accumulation even when you have a no-shoe policy at your home. Establishing a regular cleaning regime for such floors is considering the best.

The best way to clean such kinds of unfinished floors is by using a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood floors. They come with a separate hose attachment that collects all the dirt and leaves your floor looking clean and shining without putting in any kinds of excess effort in the process.

If you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, the next best thing to use would be the OG brooms. Use the soft-bristled mops or static dust mops for ideal cleaning results. Another great option is using mops for hardwood floors.

Also, avoid being harsh on the floor, especially if you don’t want to leave behind permanent scratches on them. Go on with a light sweep for easier cleaning.

As we have mentioned before, any kind of wood flooring leaves the floors damaged in the long run. So, when it comes to mopping your unfinished wood floor regularly, you need to use liquids sparingly to prevent the risks of damage and warping.

How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors Using Different Cleaners?

When it comes to the suggested cleaners for the unfinished wood floorings, there are two broad spectrums. There are the traditional natural and DIY cleaners and there are chemical-infused cleaners too that you can use according to your needs. For your convenience, we have sorted them into two sections individually.

Natural DIY Cleaners

There are predominantly two types of natural and DIY cleaners that are ideal for unfinished wood floors. They include:

  • Vinegar solution
  • Murphy’s Oil solution

Vinegar Solution

The most commonly used cleaner for your unfinished wood floors is vinegar solution. It is not just a readily available option; it is pretty safe for usage and is used by professionals for the cleaning process too. The acidic nature of the vinegar solution is ideal for getting rid of germs and even the tough grime and stains on the unfinished wood floorings.

For making the vinegar solution, mix one gallon of warm water and one cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Once done, you can spray it sparingly on the floor and then wipe it down using a mop wet with regular water to get rid of any remnants. For the best results, use your mop in the direction of the floorboards to prevent leaving scratch marks on the floors.

While vinegar has pretty amazing results in terms of cleaning, it does leave behind a very pungent smell that you will most likely regret in a few hours. However, keep in mind that the smell does dissipate over time, so you wouldn’t have to worry about the smell lingering around for a long time. If you are very off-put by the smell, invest in an odorless vinegar option.

Murphy’s Oil Solution

Not many users know about this but the combination of water with Murphy’s Oil does magic to your unfinished wood floor be it in terms of texture or even in terms of appearance. 

For this, you need to take ½ gallon of warm water and add 1 tbsp of soap and murphy’s oil to the mixture and give it a quick swirl. Once the solution is done, you can take a rag and wet it in the solution to clean the unfinished wood floors.

Make sure that you use a dry rag to clean the floors instead of letting them air dry. This will ensure that there are no signs of streaky appearance on the floor or leave it sticky.

Chemical Cleaners

Not just the DIY natural cleaners, you can also rely on the chemical cleaners if you want to deep clean your unfinished wood floors after a few weeks or months of cleaning. There are mainly two types of chemicals, mineral spirits and trisodium phosphate that have promising benefits in cleaning the floor and getting rid of tough stains effectively.

Mineral Spirits

For those who aren’t aware, mineral spirits are petroleum-based liquid compounds that are often used for getting rid of the paint from the brushes. The composition of this chemical nourishes the wood flooring and gets rid of the excess stains from the floors without any complications.

Once you are done cleaning the floor with this chemical, make sure that you use a dry-cleaning rug to get rid of the wetness. 

Trisodium Phosphate

This is a crystallized powder that is readily available in the nearest hardware store around you. If you are new to using this, make a thick paste using the powder and then use a scrub brush to clean through the stain. If possible, use warm water for the cleaning process.

Wring out the excess moisture off the floors using a dry rug to prevent the risks of warping and damage to the unfinished wood floor.

While you wouldn’t have to worry about the natural and DIY cleaners, there is a certain range of risks that come with the chemical cleaners. In such cases, we’d suggest that you practice necessary precautions, especially with using gloves and wearing protective gear if you have respiratory issues.

In case you’re going to opt-in for a chemical solution we strongly recommend you read our review of the best hardwood cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Use Murphy Oil for cleaning the Unfinished Wood floor?

The best thing about Murphy Oil is the fact that they work in cleaning the floor and disinfecting it but at the same time, it helps leave a shiny finish to the wooden flooring that makes it look spanking new.

2. Will Vinegar Eradicate Unfinished Wood floor?

Contrary to popular belief, unfinished wood floors are pretty amazing for cleaning the floors without causing any risks of discoloration and damage. If possible, avoid using concentrated vinegar directly on the floor.

3. How often should you Clean Unfinished Wood floors?

You need to be very careful with the cleaning process for the unfinished wood flooring. Instead of being too rough on it, ensure that you clean it every other week to retain the look and feel.


If you have never had unfurnished wood before, chances are that you will struggle with the cleaning process in the beginning. Just ensure that you follow the right steps and use the right resources to clean and restore the natural shine on your unfinished wood floorings. Doing the cleaning the right way ensures retaining the natural elegance of the unfinished wood floorings.

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