How to Clean Old Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet

hardwood floors

If you’ve ever watched a home improvement show in the past, one of the most exciting discoveries you can make is finding great hardwood underneath carpet of your newly purchased home. Alternatively, even if you’re a homeowner who has installed carpeting on top of your own existing hardwood, you might be interested in switching back to the latter.

One important thing you’ll need to learn is how to clean old hardwood floors after removing carpet, as there will typically be glue and residual materials left on the surface once the carpeting is uninstalled. With the help of a little bit of hard work and a couple of tools, you can restore the wood to its natural beauty all without the help of professional contractors.

Knowing How to Clean Old Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet

Below are some great tips and tricks for cleaning your hardwood after removing carpet or any other surface flooring material. 

Step 1: Removing Installation Materials

The first thing you’re going to need to do is remove all of the installation materials that were used to help install the carpet on top of your hardwood. This could range from anything such as staples to carpet tape, but the most important thing is to make sure that you remove it just with your hands. Although this might be slightly time consuming, it’s far better than taking pliers and other heavy-duty tools to the surface and potentially damaging your hardwood.

After you’ve removed the installation materials, it will be time to remove any glue or adhesive.

Step 2: Removing Adhesive and Glue

Even if it might be tempting to just scrape away extra bits of carpet that are seemingly glued to your floor, it’s not recommended as this can also damage the hardwood. Ideally, you’re going to need to purchase a floor stripper designed for removing carpets as these chemical products are specifically designed for the job. Just ensure that you use them in a well-ventilated area away from children and pets.

Depending on the type of floor stripper you buy, you might need to dilute it with water but it is important to read the instructions with your specific product. Typically, all you have to do is apply it to the floor and it will work away all of the glue, wax, or any type of adhesive element that might be on the floor. If you’re not too keen on using chemicals in your home, you might be able to use heat to your advantage, such as a heat gun, to help melt the layers of adhesive.

Step 3: Scrubbing the Hardwood

If there’s one thing everyone knows, it’s that hardwood is quite resilient up to a point. You’re not going to want to pull out the steel wool and start scrubbing away at the surface layer of the floor, as this will significantly damage the wood. Ideally, you should find a scrubbing product from a hardware store that is specifically designed for hardwood, as it will help to clean the surface without damaging it.

Similar to how you would scrub your tile in your bathroom, ensure that you take your time and be gentle as you help to get rid of any residual dirt and grime that might be caked onto your hardwood. Make sure that you wait for the floor to dry entirely and that you mop up any significant piles of water that might have accumulated from the clean.

Step 4: Cleaning the Floor

At this point, all of the glue, adhesive, and wax should be removed from the entirety of the hardwood. Even though the previous steps might take a little bit of time, it is important that everything is removed, otherwise you’re never going to be able to clean your floor properly. When you’re learning how to clean old hardwood floors after removing carpet, there are a few options open to you.

  • Hardwood Floor Cleaners: These devices are incredibly useful as they give you the ability to clean your floors much easier than you ever imagined. Typically designed similar to a stick vacuum, hardwood floor cleaners are equipped with a soft scrubbing pad and a wood-approved cleaning solution. All you need to do is run the cleaner along your floors and either push a button or pull a lever to release the cleaning solution. It’s quick, efficient, and much simpler than getting on your hands and knees to clean. 
  • Hardwood Steam Cleaners: An even better option when it comes to getting your floors clean after removing carpet is to opt for a hardwood steam cleaner. Not only will it help to loosen any extra dirt and grime, but in the event that you also missed a little bit of adhesive, the hot steam from the mop will help to loosen the material so it can be easily wiped away. Hardwood steam cleaners can be preferable as well as they do not require any type of cleaning solution, just water.
  • Sponge and Soapy Water: For a more traditional method, there’s always the ability to use a mild soap (or vinegar) and your regular everyday sponge. The most important thing to remember is this choice is going to take substantially longer and wreck havoc on your body, so it’s better to opt for some type of mop or cleaning tool.

Step 5: Dry the Floors

The next step will be to make sure that the floor is entirely dry, as this will give you a clear idea of any damage to the flooring that might lead you to having it professionally refinished. Hopefully, your hardwood is beautiful and as in tact as it was when it was first installed, if not, there’s nothing better than a couple of home renovations to spruce up the inside of your home.

Learning how to clean old hardwood floors after removing carpet is easier than most people think, it simply takes a little bit more time than a traditional floor clean. With the help of the right products and a little bit of patience, you’ll be well on your way to restoring your hardwood to its original glory.

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