How to Make Unfinished Wood Floors Shine – 4 Easy Steps

how to make unfinished wood floors shine

If you want some rustic highlights in your home, then unfinished wood floors are definitely the right way to go. But there is a downside of installing unfinished wood floors in your home. Unfinished wood floors are susceptible to damage, especially when you use the wrong wood cleaner.

Also, unfinished wood floors are less shiny, which brings us to how to make unfinished wood floors shine. A mixture of olive oil and vinegar might just be the secret ingredient your unfinished wood needs to shine, just like finished woods.

Read on as we discuss various ways to keep unfinished woods shiny, clean and free from damage.

Read: How to make bamboo floors shine

How to Make Unfinished Wood Floors Shine

When compared to finished/sealed wood floors, unfinished wood floors might be less shiny. The steps discussed below will make your unfinished wood floors almost as shiny as treated wood floors:

1. Mix 1/3 of olive oil and vinegar into a small pot.

2. Add about 5 cups of hot water into the mixture (the quantity listed here should depend on the area you want to clean)

3. Pour the mixture into a bucket and use a microfiber mop to clean the floor. Mop in a circular motion until you have gotten the desired outcome.

4. If you have excess shine on the floor or if the floor is too slippery, wipe with a dry rag.

How to Know if you have Unfinished Wood Floors

If you’re not really into home décor, you might not be able to differentiate between unfinished and finished woods floors. You must know the type of wood floor installed in your home as cleaners for finished wood floors will likely damage unfinished wood floors.

The major difference between unfinished and finished wood floors is the finished wood floors are sealed, which serve as a protective barrier against moisture.

To check the type of wood flooring installed in your home, chose an inconspicuous part on the floor and placed a few drops on it. If the water beads up, it implies that the surface is sealed (properly finished). If it gets absorbed, then the floor is not sealed, or the seal is damaged.

Alternatively, apply fine steel wool in a hidden area. If the floor is sealed with wax, you will see a grey film on the steel wool.

Generally, just to be safe, always try out new cleaning products or techniques in an inconspicuous area. The result will determine if you use the products or techniques on your entire floor comfortably.

Read: How to dry water under wood floor

How to Clean Untreated Wood Floors

Unfinished wood floors are also referred to as untreated wood floors. As mentioned earlier, the cleaning method and product used for finished wood floors shouldn’t be used on finished wood floors.

Read on, on how to clean untreated wood floors below:

1. Clean with Vinegar

Thinking of preserving your unfinished wood floors, then you definitely need a bottle of vinegar in your home. Most homeowners opt for vinegar as a cleaning solution because vinegar is effective in combating deep-rooted dirt on wood floors.

To make the vinegar solution, mix one cup of vinegar in a gallon of water (the vinegar needs to be diluted as concentrated vinegar can damage your floor). Clean the floor thoroughly with a broom or vacuum cleaner, then mop the floor with the vinegar solution. Always wring the mop dry after cleaning an area to avoid too much water on the floor.

Read: DIY floor cleaner for spray mops

2. Use Trisodium Phosphate to Clean the Floor

The vinegar solution method discussed above is a good and effective way to clean the entire untreated wood floor. But suppose you are dealing with specific stains. In that case, we recommend you go for a deeper cleaning solution like Trisodium Phosphate (Sunnyside TSP is a good option).

Most often, Trisodium Phosphate comes in powder form. Thus you will need to dilute in water. Half a cup of Trisodium Phosphate should be diluted in two gallons of warm water.

Trisodium Phosphate is a deep cleaning solution, so sweeping or vacuuming the floor is optional. For specific stains, apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush or shoe polish brush (depending on how large the stain is). For general cleaning, dip a microfiber mop into the solution and dry-mop.

Read: How to remove black urine stain on wood floor

3. Use Mineral Spirit

This is also another effective way to clean specific stains on untreated wood floors. This method, however, has a downside; mineral spirits have a high level of toxicity and thus shouldn’t be inhaled. Always wear a respirator and keep the room ventilated if you’re going for this method.

Most mineral spirits come in a spray bottle, spray on the affected place and clean immediately with a dry rag.

Read: How to clean grease off wood floor

How to Clean Unfinished Wood Floors Before Staining

If you want to stain your unfinished wood floors, all you need to do is clean the floor with the vinegar solution discussed above.

In this case, transfer the mixture into a spray bottle, spray all over the floor and wipe clean with a lint-free rag soaked in the solution. Let the wood air dry fully before staining.

Read: How to clean unsealed wood floor


Unfinished wood floors are highly vulnerable. Thus, you need to know the right way to clean them. Any mishap can result in damage to your beautiful wood floors.

It is important to note that most wood cleaning products marketed are only safe to use on sealed hardwood floors. Thus, you need to be exceedingly careful about the products you use on your unfinished wood floors.

We hope this post has effectively covered on all you need to know on how to make unfinished wood floors shine

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