How to clean unsealed wood floors

Unsealed wood floors can add a rustic charm to your home. If they are maintained properly, unsealed wood floors can last for many years. But, because the wood lacks the protection of a sealer, it is imperative that water and other liquids do not stand on the surface of the unsealed wood for long periods of time. Spills should be mopped up immediately and cleaning should only be done with a non-water based cleaning product.

Vacuum the unsealed wood regularly. Vacuuming on a regular basis with your vacuum's brush tool, will reduce the chances of dirt and other materials penetrating the raw wood. The vacuum's crevice tool can be used to clean up debris in tight spots. But, if you do not have access to a vacuum that can be used for wood floors, sweeping is also sufficient. Vacuuming and sweeping should also be done prior to routine cleaning.

Apply odourless mineral spirits to a clean cloth in order to clean smaller sections of unsealed wood floors. Odourless mineral spirits are safer to use indoors because they lack the dangerous vapours that are found in ordinary mineral spirits.

Fill a spray bottle full of the odourless mineral spirits for bigger jobs. If you have a large area of unsealed wood that is in need of cleaning, the odourless mineral spirits can be sprayed on the floor and spread with a microfibre mop. The microfibre mop will allow the mineral spirits to clean the unsealed floor and dry it at the same time.

Pour ammonia into a bucket and apply with a sponge mop. If you do not have odourless mineral spirits available, ammonia can be used. You should open the windows to allow for proper ventilation before use, ring the mop out before applying, and be sure to dry the floor thoroughly afterward with a microfibre mop.

Wax your unsealed wood floors with a non-water based wax in between cleanings. Cleaning your wood floors can make them look dull. But, even unsealed wood can be brilliant, and applying the wax with a soft cloth can give unsealed wood a certain level of protection without an overwhelming shine.


Dry mopping with a Swiffer sweeper on a daily basis is an easy way to keep your unsealed wood floor free of dust, pet hair, and other foreign matter.


Do not use oil soaps and ordinary wood cleaners. These products contain water that has the potential to leave watermarks and damaging stains.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Vacuum brush tool
  • Vacuum crevice tool
  • Broom
  • Odourless mineral spirits
  • Clean cloth
  • Microfibre mop
  • Ammonia
  • Sponge mop
  • Non-water based wax
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About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.