Unfinished Wood Cleaner (Things You Must Know)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

Using unfinished wood for furniture or flooring in a house gives it a natural, rustic, and aesthetic appearance.

However, cleaning or maintaining unfinished wood is complicated because there’s no coating or protection, leaving it vulnerable to easy damage.

So it’s important to know what type of cleaner you can use to clean unfinished wood without damaging it.

The mixture of vinegar, ammonia, and water is the best cleaning solution for unfinished wood; it has no damaging effect. A good mixture should be a half cup of vinegar, one cup of ammonia, and a gallon of water. However, using only vinegar or other wood cleaners can harm an unfinished wood surface.

Can You Use Wood Cleaner on Unfinished Wood?

Unfinished Wood Cleaner

Yes, you can use wood cleaner on unfinished wood, but only on profoundly embedded stains and dirt that is hard to erase.

A wood cleaner will do a deep clean into the wood to remove the hard stains and make it look as new as before. Also, some natural wood cleaners are suitable for use on any wood.

Although, it’s not advisable to use wood cleaner or liquid as a regular cleaner on unfinished wood.

Another reason not to use a wood cleaner is that most are for finished wood. And using a finished wood cleaner will gradually raise the grains of the wood.

Constantly Cleaning unfinished wood with a wood cleaner or ordinary household cleaners or cleaning methods can quickly damage it.

Naturally, unfinished wood is mostly porous no matter how thick it is and will absorb liquid, which degrades the wood. So using water or another liquid wood cleaner can harm the wood.

Although the liquid cleaning method is a no for unfinished wood, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any liquid.

Besides, cleaning unfinished wood is similar to cleaning finished wood. The only difference between cleaning finished and unfinished wood is that you try to limit the use of liquid. 

If you clean to eliminate dirt or dust on unfinished wood, dusting or vacuuming is okay.

However, a brush vacuum cleaner is preferable for more effective cleaning. If it’s for a floor, the brush vacuum cleaner will quickly suck up the dust and dirt on the unfinished wood without cleaning.

However, you can’t always avoid using liquid to clean unfinished wood, but how you use it will preserve the wood.

So, during cleaning, you should ensure water or liquid is not resting on the wood for long.

You can have a good clean with a wood cleaner, but the difference between unfinished and finished wood is also essential.

So let’s see some difference between the unfinished and finished wood that distinguishes their cleaning methods in the table below.

Unfinished Wood Finished Wood
It’s unsealed or uncoated.It’s sealed or coated.
Dust and dirt stains are not easy to remove.It’s easy to get dust and dirt stains off it.
It can easily absorb stains and moisture.It doesn’t absorb stains and moisture quickly.
Water or liquid spills take time to dry up.Water or liquid spills can quickly dry up.

Best Unfinished Wood Cleaners

Unfinished wood cleaners that are best so far are a mixture of vinegar, ammonia(optional), and water.

Also, you can use other cleaning agents, such as Trisodium phosphate and mineral spirit.

Use the cleaner correctly when you use any of the cleaners, be it vinegar solution, mineral spirit, or trisodium phosphate.

 Also, some natural wood cleaners will be okay here because they are for any wood without causing damage. But Mineral spirits or vinegar spirits are generally okay for any wood type.

In addition, using vinegar with water and ammonia is better than most solvents you get from a store.

Vinegar is safe to use, unlike some cleaners with strong chemicals that may tend to be toxic and dangerous. It’s the best cleaning alternative for unfinished wood because it’s effective.

Reasons for cleaning unfinished wood surfaces differ; hence there are different cleaning agents or methods.

Sometimes some stains like ink can prove challenging to get rid of with an excellent unfinished wood cleaner.

So you can sand the surface using sandpaper that is not too rough; it does the work and gives it a new look.

Unfinished Wood Floor Cleaner

You can use a Trisodium phosphate solution on the unfinished wood floor to eliminate stains and clean them.

In addition, you can consider a few natural wood cleaners for cleaning unfinished wood, e.g., Murphy oil soap wood cleaner, better life floor cleaner, e.t.c. 

Trisodium phosphate is mainly for tough stains on the floor. Therefore, it would be best if you used it to clean the stain on the floor.

And then, use a microfiber cloth or soft brush and warm water to clean the residues gently.

Unfinished wooden floors can be the best choice for their more natural appearance than a finished wood floor. However, it can be a complicated issue to clean unfinished wood floors.

But if regular cleaning is not a problem for you, then the unfinished wood floor is okay.

There are a few mistakes you should avoid when cleaning the unfinished wood floor; they include:

  • Avoid using a wood cleaner meant for finished wood because it can cause permanent stains on the wooden floor.
  • Avoid mopping solely with water and leaving water on the floor because unfinished wood will absorb water. Hence, clean the water immediately from the spot when mopping.
  • Avoid using hard or rough brushes; they are also dangerous on unfinished woods. Cleaning with strong brushes will scratch the surface gradually, reducing the wood’s quality and damage. Generally, using a solid brush is not a good practice for wood materials.

Before you clean an unfinished wood floor with a wood cleaner, you must do some pre-cleaning first.

In other words, you must clear any irregularities on the wood and sweep or vacuum it to eliminate dirt and dust.

Removing sharp objects or nails and vacuuming the floor before cleaning guarantees your safety and allows a smooth cleaning. Vacuum cleaners are essential in the house to eliminate dirt and dust.

Unfinished Wood Furniture Cleaner

If it is just a regular cleaning without a severe stain, you can use just warm water and a soft cloth to clean.

However, a mixture of vinegar, ammonia, and water will also do. Vinegar can be dangerous if used alone because of its acidity, so mixing it with water or any liquid reduces its acidity.

It would be best if you avoided any chemical-based cleaner for unfinished wood furniture to avoid discoloration or permanent stains.

So it would be best if you stuck to a more natural cleaning method for the best results. 

Finished wood Furniture in sight are beautiful objects and best because they tend to last longer without damage.

But some people still prefer unfinished wood for their furniture as a form of design, which expels naturalism and beauty.

However, there is a more damaging risk attached to unfinished wood than finished wood.

How to Use an Unfinished Wood Cleaner?

When it comes to cleaning using a solution that includes some chemicals, you should be cautious.

The unfinished wood cleaner and water should be a primary concern when cleaning.

Accidents can happen anytime; you could get the wrong cleaner, which can leave a permanent stain on the wood. 

The process is similar when using natural cleaners, Trisodium phosphate, or vinegar with water.

Below is how to use any natural wood cleaner, vinegar mixture, or Trisodium phosphate:

  • Add half a cup of vinegar or natural wood cleaner to a gallon of water.
  • Soak your cleaning material, e.g., mop, cleaning cloth.
  • Squeeze the solution from the material until it’s damp, then start cleaning.

The hardwood may react differently to the cleaner than other wood types. For this reason, you should do a spot test to ensure the specific cleaner is safe for your unfinished wood.

Look for an insignificant wood part and try the cleaner to see if it reacts positively or negatively.


Unfinished wood creates a conducive and good atmosphere in your home, with all the natural aesthetic feels.

But it’s essential to care for and clean unfinished wood to last longer and maintain its quality and beauty.

Unlike prefinished wood, unfinished wood is more vulnerable to dirt, stains, or water damage.

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