How to Clean Old Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet

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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.


1. How To Remove Old Carpet Paddings and Carpet Padding Residue Stuck To Wood Floors?

How you remove your old carpet and its underlying paddings matters a lot to make sure you don’t damage your flooring. An improperly removed carpet padding can damage the floor, give your new floor covering a rough appearance and it could cost you a lot of money to replace the entire flooring. To Remove carpet residue from the floor, follow these steps.

  1. Get a scraper or a putty knife, preferably plastic. Metal will work if that’s what you have. Just be extra careful with metal scrapers.
  2. Buy Murphy’s Oil Soap or Mix soap and water in a bucket if you can’t find Murphy’s.
  3. Gently scrape the bigger pieces off the floor until there aren’t any more left.
  4. Spray the Murphy’s or Sprinkle the soap and water paint thinner cleaning solution on the remaining residues and glue. Allow it to soak in for about 30 minutes.
  5. Scrape the soaked residues and glue off.
  6. If the glue or adhesive is still tough to remove, pour boiling water on it. Or steam it off. You can check here for our best selection of steam mops under 200.
  7. Wash your floor normally.

Last update on 2024-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. How Do You Deep Clean And Rejuvenate Old Hardwood Floors?

Be it a house that has not been lived in for a while or a floor you were too busy to maintain properly, getting an old hardwood floor back to its former glory could be a daunting prospect. Do not be fazed. With these steps, we will show you how to deep clean and rejuvenate your old hardwood floors.

  1. Remove any objects from the floor: This is obvious. Clear the entire floor area of furniture, carpets, and rugs. Prevent the children and pets from coming there or walking across the floor for the duration of the entire cleaning.
  2. Examine the floor for any damage: Physically inspect the floor for damage that might be caused by termite, rot, mold, and water. If you spot any, call a professional to remove and replace them. Damages, when not repaired, can spread to other parts of the floor or the entire home. They can also significantly reduce the value of a property that you want to sell.
  3. Sweep or vacuum the floor: To get dust and debris off the surface, you need to get rid of the loose dirt like lint and hair off the surface by vacuuming or sweeping it. This is also where you remove the carpet glue and carpet staples that are used to attach the carpet to the floor.
  4. Wash the floor: Proceed to wash the floor with a mild detergent or dishwashing soap. Use a buffer or a mop to scrub the floor clean.
  5. Wipe according to the grain and buffer the floor:Pick a corner and wipe in the direction of the floorboards and their grain. This will help hide water stains when you are done wiping.If you have a buffer, simply use it to polish your floor. If you do not have a buffer, pick an old towel, dab it with floor wax or a small mixture of vinegar and olive oil. Proceed to wipe the floor in circular motions with it. If well done, it will cost you elbow grease, but you will be happy with the results.
  6. Let it air dry: Soak up all the water possible and leave the floor to air dry for a few hours.
  7. Your floor is ready: Rearrange your furniture and don’t forget to clean your carpet soon to keep it in the best condition.

3. What Do Professionals Use To Clean Hardwood Floors?

To clean floors, professionals use chemical cleaners that sometimes require special expertise and safety equipment to safely handle. Professionals also use pieces of equipment that you might not have at home like buffers and scrubbers with assorted accessories to clean hardwood floors. We advise that you regularly maintain your floors by vacuuming, washing, and mopping regularly to avoid the need for expensive professional cleaning services.

You can buy a pH-neutral, wax-free, and petroleum-free cleaner, such as Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner to clean your floor. It will give you a good clean and great sheen.

Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner Refill - 128 fl oz - Refill for Bona Spray Mops and Spray Bottles - Residue-Free Floor Cleaning Solution for Wood Floors
  • Oxygenated formula penetrates for a deep, powerful clean loosening tough, heavy build-up, while bubbling action helps lift away stubborn debris
  • Ready-to-use, just spray and mop
  • Cleaner Floor; Cleaner Ingredients; Water-based and biodegradable solutions that are phthalate and paraben-free
  • Meets the U.S. EPA product standards and is Safer Choice Certified for containing ingredients that are safer for people, pets, and the planet
  • Safe for all unwaxed, un-oiled, polyurethane-finished wood floors

Last update on 2024-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. What Is The Best Cleaner For Old Hardwood Floors?

For cheap floor cleaners, there are various types of cleaners that you can clean your hardwood floor with. You can get commercial grade cleaners from a store near you, you can use dishwashing soap or detergent. Alternatively, we understand that chemical cleaners are bad for the environment. They can also injure you and can damage your floor when misused. We advise you to use natural ingredients to clean your floor. You can use natural cleaners like:

White Vinegar, Olive Oil, & Water: add half a cup of white vinegar to each gallon of warm water and mix in a bucket. This will polish your floor and kill microbes in it naturally. This helps you get your floor shining again. For extra sheen and perfume, you can add a small quantity of olive or vegetable oil to it.

Lemon Juice and Water: Lemon juice has natural acid that breaks down mold, perfumes your wood, and gives it a squeaky clean. Simply mix the juice with some water, and polish the floor with it. Enjoy the lemony scent that fills afterward.

Using Vinegar and Baking Soda: Create a paste by mixing equal parts of baking soda and vinegar. This paste helps remove all stains, marks, and dark spots easily with minimal scrubbing efforts. With a sponge or towel, apply the paste to the stain. Leave it until it dries. After, wipe the spot to clear the stain completely.

Tea: just like lemon, tea contains natural acids that help break down dirt and grime in the wood and lift them out. Just brew a couple of tea bags in water and wipe the floor with it.

5. Is it safe to use vinegar to clean hardwood floors

Short answer: Yes

Long Answer: As a result of the delicateness of hardwood floors, they can get damaged when some chemicals are used on them. You don’t have to worry about using vinegar on hardwood floors though. Vinegar is a natural (organic) material that is made from foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables. This makes it safe for use on wood. Vinegar does not release harmful vapor or fumes into the atmosphere. In addition to the shine, it gives hardwood, vinegar is also known to kill microbes and fungi. In conclusion, vinegar is a great biodegradable cleaning agent for your hardwood floors that gives it a pleasant luster at a very low cost.

6. How to Paint Your HardWood Floor

Now that you’ve cleaned your floor, if you think a new color will look great on your wooden floor, then let’s go through the process of painting your floor together.

First, buy wood floor paint: Oil-based paints work best. If you cannot find wooden floor paint or if you want to use solid color paint, you can just buy interior latex paint. Choose one with a flat or matte finish. Use protective covering for your nose and eyes to prevent fumes from getting in your eyes and nose when working.

Thoroughly clean the floor: If you’ve not cleaned it, vacuum it, wash and mop it with vinegar and water. Remember to remove the residual carpet glue with a putty knife and oil soap. Be careful to not damage the floor while using a putty knife to remove the carpet adhesive.

Sand the floor to remove the previous finish: Sand your floor to give it an even surface and to remove the previous finish and open up the wood pores. This can be done by hand or by using a sander machine.

Apply the first coat: Using a brush or roller, apply a thin layer of paint to the floor. Follow the grain of the wood to give you a smoother finish. Paint from corners towards the door.

Wait For Two Days Before Applying Second Coat: Give the painted floor about two days to dry completely before replying another thin layer of paint to it. This helps smoothen it. Repeat The Coating If Necessary

Seal The Paint And Wait For The Fumes To Go: To avoid the paint peeling, give it a coat of polyurethane or wax coating. Wait for up to a week to allow the fumes to escape.

Enjoy Your New Floor

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