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How to Clean & Restore a Parquet Floor

Updated February 21, 2017

You moved into your new home several months ago. Finally you pull back the carpet at the edge to see if you can get away with reusing the current underlay—and find the original parquet floor. It needs some tender loving care, but if you take a little time to clean and restore it, all you'll need to buy are some rugs.

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  1. Remove all traces of the old carpet underlay and carpet grippers. The website Wood You Like suggests using a screwdriver to remove the staples from the grippers and then a chisel to pry the grippers off the floor. Remove as much of the carpet underlay manually as possible and then use the plastic scraper to get rid of the rest. Use white spirit or lacquer thinners to remove any underlay which refuses to budge.

  2. Check the floor for a dark, sticky substance. If you find this, an excessive amount of wax has been used in the past. Wood You Like recommends using white spirit to remove the substance.

  3. Vacuum the floor thoroughly. A canister vacuum with a brush nozzle for hard floors is the best way to remove dust and debris. Wash the floor with warm water and a natural detergent. Wring out the cloth tightly each time it's dipped in the solution to avoid over-wetting the floor. Remove stubborn marks with a scrubber. If the floor is very dirty leave the soap solution on for five minutes, rinse and then wash again with a soap solution.

  4. Establish your floor's original finish. Choose an area which is hidden from general view and put two drops of water on it. If white spots appear within 10 minutes the floor originally had a wax or oil finish. If no spots appear the floor had a lacquered or varnished finish. Remove the spots with steel wool dipped in wax.

  5. Apply a maintenance product to restore your floor. If its original finish was varnish or lacquer you'll find most maintenance products are polishes. However, in the case of an oiled or waxed floor you have the option of using either polish or a hard wax. Wood You Like recommends hard wax if the floor is looking really tired. When using wax apply a second coat if the floor is in very poor condition.

  6. Buff the floor. Wood You Like says domestic electric buffers are not heavy enough for this particular task. It recommends the use of a semi-professional buffer with a large white pad attached or an old fashioned buffing block.

  7. Tip

    The website Naturally Wood recommends the use of soft plastic or fabric-faced guides under furniture legs to prevent them marking the parquet. It also recommends regular vacuuming, sweeping or mopping of the parquet to remove dust, dirt and debris. Apply polish or wax every six months and even more frequently in high-traffic areas of the room. This protects the parquet and feeds the wood.


    When using chemicals such as white spirit or lacquer thinners, make sure the room is well ventilated and wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of fumes. The Naturally Wood website says wood floors should never be wet mopped as standing water can cause staining and other damage to the surface. Do not clean a parquet floor with a solution of dish cleaning liquid as Wood You Like says this may damage the surface. Naturally Wood recommends using a proper wood floor cleaner.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Chisel
  • Plastic scraper
  • White spirit or lacquer thinners
  • Canister vacuum cleaner
  • Natural detergent
  • Scrubber
  • Steel wool
  • Polish or floor wax
  • Cast-iron buffing block

About the Author

Belfast-based Neil Greenlees was made redundant in March 2009 after working as a reporter for 26 years. For most of his career he was a senior journalist with ''The Ulster Star," a weekly newspaper covering the Lisburn and South Belfast areas. Greenlees holds the National Council for the Training of Journalists Pre-Entry Certificate.

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