What’s the Best Way to Clean Unfinished Floorboards [Here’s How]

If your floorboards don’t have a finish, walking on them can feel stressful let alone cleaning them. It can feel impossible, especially as you don’t want to cause further damage to the floor. But what if we told you that cleaning unfinished floorboards doesn’t have to be this stressful? 

So what is the best way to clean unfinished floorboards? Follow a few simple steps and you can’t go wrong.

Remove dust daily and deep clean the wood flooring without leaving any moisture on your flooring.

Finally, be sure to use the correct floor cleaner made for unfinished floorboards.


Every do and don’t is carefully listed here so that you can pick up your gear and get cleaning in no time at all.

Remove Dust Daily on Your Wood Floor (This is Important)

Wood floors get dusty quickly, whether they are finished or unfinished. If you don’t clean the floors, dirt will build up and become thicker as well as harder to remove. The best way to do this is by sweeping or vacuuming every day or at least several times a week. 

Unfinished wood floors are incredibly delicate, and so when you vacuum you must ensure that it has a hard floor setting or floorhead. A rotating brush bar can cause scratches and dents that will be very noticable. You can also use the two methods below.

Soft Brush

When sweeping, it is essential that you make sure the brush has soft bristles. This is to prevent damage to your floors while also ensuring all the dirt and debris, as well as dust, is tidied up quickly.

Microfiber Cloth

These are gentle by nature, offering a soft touch to your unfinished wooden floor while also capturing dust and particles expertly. You don’t need to dampen it or anything, just run it along the floor and it will pick everything up naturally thanks to the static nature of the material.

Deep Clean The Unfinished Wood Floor

The issue with unfinished floors is their lack of water resistance, which leads to it being easily stained. While cleaning spills immediately is the top method for cleaning your floors, there are some ways to keep unfinished wood in good condition and remove stains. 

Trisodium Phosphate 

Pour a small amount of this onto the stain and then use a soft brush to scrub it gently. When the stain has been removed, rinse it with cool water and then immediately dry the area to prevent the moisture from soaking into the wood.

Mineral Spirits

These are a great way to clean your unfinished wood without causing it any damage. You should, however, wear a mask and keep the room ventilated while you use them as they are incredibly strong.

Dip a dry cloth into the mineral spirits and then gently rub the stained area. The spirits reach deep into the wood and remove even the most stubborn stains – better even than many chemical stain removal products.

When you have finished, wipe down the area thoroughly to ensure that no mineral spirits have been left behind. 

White Vinegar

This is one of the best and most common natural household cleaners. It dries quickly and without damage to the floor. Mix a cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water (warm) in a mop bucket. 

Next, dampen the mop (make sure it is not soaked) and mop the floor with the solution – remembering to clean the head as it gets dirty. The white vinegar works as an antibacterial solution while also removing stains and grime.

Read Here: How to remove pet urine from your wooden floor

Suggested Floor Cleaners for Unfinished Floorboards

When you go to clean unfinished wood, what are the best commercial cleaners for the job? Sometimes, the solutions above aren’t quite enough – but we have a couple of great recommendations that you might want to try out for severe stain removal.

Black Diamond Cleaner

This floor cleaner is suitable for use on all types of wood flooring – engineered, unfinished, hardwood floors, and laminate alike. It uses a hypoallergenic formula for your comfort, and doesn’t leave streaks when cleaning for a perfect finish. 

In addition to being eco-friendly, it is safe for use around pets and children to provide you with greater peace of mind. It works out tough stains effortlessly using only a small amount, cutting through dirt and grime in record time to make cleaning an easier task for you.

Woca Intensive Floor Cleaner

Straight from Denmark, this floor cleaner is intensive without being harsh – making it ideal and safe to clean unfinished wooden floors. It’s easy to use, with the instructions being that you simply moisten a cloth and wipe away the grime. 

A strong solution, it is able to remove both fresh and old stains with great effect. It can be used neat or diluted, depending on how severe the stain in question is, and the large container means that you will have plenty to spare for later cleaning.

Furniture Clinic Wood Cleaner

Suitable for use on all types of wood, you can expect this cleaner to be gentle on your unfinished wood yet tough on stains. It is a water-based formula, which is important as it assures you that no damage will be caused to your floors and it’s easy to wipe up. 

It can remove even the toughest grime, including grease and wax stains, to leave your wood floor with a glorious shine. Additionally, its gentleness towards all wood means that it can be used on everything from the floor and your tables to the blinds.


How do you get stains out of unfinished wood floors?

You can get stains out of unfinished wood floors by using any of the methods listed above – namely mineral spirits and vinegar – as well as specially made commercial cleaners for those really tough and stubborn stains.

How do you shine unfinished hardwood floors?

To shine an unfinished wooden floors, you should use trisodium phosphate or mineral spirits. They don’t just clean the wood, they also leave them with a fantastic shine that you’re sure to be proud of. While some commercial cleaners get the same results, the previous two are the best.

Can you use a steam mop on unfinished wood floors?

No, you should not use a steam mop on unfinished wooden floors. This is because the moisture produced by them can become excessive and soak into the wood-causing mould and mildew growth as well as warping. Stick to hand cleaning clean unfinished wood.

What is the difference between sealed and unsealed hardwood floors?

The difference between sealed and unsealed floors is that the former has been finished with a top coat to keep it water resistant and protected against scratches and marks. Unsealed floors do not have this finishing and so lack the water resistance and protection.

Final Thoughts

It’s not always easy to clean unfinished floors, but it’s also much simpler when you know what you should be doing. It’s important to remain gentle with them and be careful how much moisture you are exposing them to throughout the process. Just remember – trisodium phosphate and mineral spirits are the way to go if you want that glorious shine. 

How did you get on with cleaning unfinished wood floors? We’d love to know if you found these tips helpful or even had some of your own.

Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by Gemma Tyler

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