Hardwood Floors & flooring

How to Clean Wood Floors That Are Untreated

by Anita Alvarez

cleaning wood floors

Not many homeowners choose to leave their hardwood floors unfinished, but it's an inexpensive, unique alternative. Nonetheless, knowing how to clean wood floors means ensuring they remain sanitary, whether or not you choose to wait on sanding and finishing treatment until your budget allows.

Cleaning untreated wood floors keeps them in good condition, and ensures that they're protected from the wear and tear many finished floors are inherently resilient to. If you decided to finish your floors later, you'll want the stain to bring out the brilliance of the wood grain, not show dents and wear.

Which Cleaners Are Effective?

Choose your cleaner carefully, and avoid using solutions with harsh chemicals like ammonia or petroleum, as these can warp and discolor the surface. Natural cleaners like Murphy® Oil Soap and some mineral spirits safely remove dirt and grime without damaging the beauty of the wood.

Keep in mind you can always test a section of the floor with your cleaner to ensure that it's safe to use. Simply clean a small section in an out-of-the-way space and let it dry. This will let you see the effect of the product without committing to a full clean in case your wood is sensitive. However, mineral spirits and natural formulas are safe to use on unfinished wood floor, so you don't have to wait on cleaning until you install a finish.

Does Moisture Affect Untreated Floors?

It is important to avoid using a lot of water when cleaning, so limit the amount left on your mop when you're ready for it to touch your floor. Saturating the floor with water raises the chance of leftover puddles when you're done, leading to warping. Water that seeps beneath the surface can also discolor the wood and affect the grain if you decide to stain your floors later on, although this will depend on the type of finish as explained by the National Wood Flooring Association. If you happen to leave water behind on your floor, use a dried mop to gather it and then wipe the area with paper towel.

Unfinished wood floors are an attractive, low-cost way to furnish your home. By learning how to clean wood floors without these treatments safely, you'll enhance the natural coziness and beauty of the household.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.