How to Clean Old Wooden Floorboards – 4 Quick Methods

how to clean old wooden floorboards

Cleaning old wooden floorboards can be a bit challenging, because most than not, the finish/sealant used on the wood has worn out, leaving it open to damage.

This brings us to quite an important topic on how to clean old wooden floorboards. Olden wooden floorboards are best cleaned with vinegar and water or a lemon mixture.

Most old wooden floorboards are damaged by termites and infested with other insects. Thus cleaning it might not be business as usual. Read on as we explain safe words to preserve your old wooden floorboards when cleaning.

Read: How to clean old damaged wood floor

How to Clean Old Wooden Floorboards

It is recommended that old wooden floorboards be cleaned with homemade wood floor cleaners instead of commercial ones. This is because most commercial wood cleaners are meant for wood floors with proper finishing and sealant and might damage your already weakened, old wooden floorboards.

Below are some of these homemade wood floor cleaners that will give your old wooden floorboards a new look!

1. Clean with Diluted vinegar

Vinegar is known to cut through debris, dirt, and grime, particles that cling onto the wood. Make the vinegar mixture by combining half a bucket of warm water with a cup of white vinegar.

Alternatively, you can add about 6 drops of lavender or olive oil (you can use any essential oil of your choice) for a pleasant smell.

Before you get to cleaning, use a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from your old damaged floor. Then dip the mop into the mixture and wring out excess water before use.

Mop the floor thoroughly with the mixture ensuring that all the dirt and debris are removed. After mopping, make sure there is no excess water pooling by the corner. If such is the case, use a clean, absorbent towel to pick up excess water.

2. Clean with Diluted Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another useful ingredient in cleaning wooden floorboards, and it’s naturally known for its cleaning properties.

Combine lukewarm water, lemon juice and olive oil in a bucket and stir  to make the solution.

Dip an absorbent cloth into the mixture and use it to clean the old wooden floorboards. Or better still, to limit the amount of water you have on the floor, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray all over the floor. Then use the rag to clean off the water.

You can use any cleaning method with this approach. The endgame is to prevent water pooling on the floorboard. This is because old floorboards soak excessive water, which will end up damaging the wood.

3. Clean with Vinegar and Baking Soda

We are back to vinegar again. Vinegar mixed with baking soda is a famous wood cleaner that is equally safe to use on old wooden floorboards. The mixture is known to remove tough stains and restore the wood to its former glory.

To make this mixture, combine equal amounts of vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. Use a sponge or cloth to apply the paste all over the floor. Allow the paste to sit for some time till it dries, and clean it off with a wet cloth.

Read: 4 DIY cleaners for hardwood floor

4. Clean with Vodka and Essential Oils

Have you ever heard of cleaning floors with vodka? Well, you can easily clean your old wooden floorboards with vodka and essential oil mixture.

Make the mixture by combining a spray of olive oil, 1 cup of vodka, and 15 drops of essential oil. Dip a microfiber mop into the mixture and mop in small sections.

Read: How to get alcohol smell out of floor

How To Maintain Your Old Wooden Floorboards

You don’t want your old wooden floorboards to deteriorate further, do you? Well, there are certain steps to take to preserve it.

1. Sweeping Your Floor Everyday

This is the best and easiest way to maintain your old wooden floorboards. Dirt, dust, pet hair, debris, and other harmful substances can easily damage your floorboards; thus, you need to sweep regularly to prevent this from happening. Use a soft bristle broom when sweeping.

2. Mop the Floor at Least Monthly

We have already discussed some homemade wood cleaners that are safe for your old wooden floorboards.

Using this homemade wooden cleaner discussed in this post will save your floorboards from further damage. Use little moisture as possible during cleaning to prevent further damage.

3. Clean Up Spills Immediately

Spills, in this case, don’t just mean water spills but spills from ink, coffee, tea, juices, paint, chemicals, or pet messes. Leaving these spills can further damage your old wooden floorboards.

4. Avoid Sanding

Sanding old wooden floorboards should be minimized. Rather than sanding, apply wax or use a microfiber pad to buff instead. Only sand if the floor is riddled with stains or marks that chemicals like mineral spirits cannot remove.

Read: How to clean old hardwood floors


There are certain rules you should adhere to when cleaning old wooden floorboards; such as limiting the use of excessive moisture when cleaning.

Also, the use of commercial wood cleaners on old wooden floorboards should be minimized or completely avoided. We hope this post provided all you need to know on how to clean old wooden floorboards.

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