How to Clean an Oiled Hardwood Floor

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Some older hardwood floors have oiled surfaces. To keep them in top shape, periodic cleaning and re-application of oil is necessary. It's a lot like polishing a large tabletop. Let's run through the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Brooms
  • Dustpans
  • Rags
  • Oil Soaps
  • Sweep or use a good vacuum to pick up any dirt and debris.

  • Use clean rags to apply oil soap or any cleaning oil designed for wood floors.

  • Apply the oil to the rag, not the floor, and wipe the floor with the wet rag.

  • Use firm, straight strokes going with the grain of the wood.

  • Spread the oil as evenly as possible to ensure that color is affected equally over the entire surface.

  • Change to a new, clean rag as often as needed. An average-size room will require several rags.

  • Let oil seep into the wood for 1 to 2 hours.

  • Make a second, lighter pass with the oil as needed to even up any light spots.

  • Continuing to buff the floor with clean, dry rags will heighten the shine and bring out the patina of the wood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sweeping any hardwood floor on a regular basis will prolong the life of the finish by years.
  • Oil cleaners or polishes are best used on older, unwaxed and bare-wood floors only. Wax- or polyurethane-finished floors generally need only to be mopped with regular soap and water, or with water and vinegar. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a gallon of water to keep your vinyl no wax floors clean and shining.
  • Pouring oil on the floor and wiping it with a dry rag may cause the oil to spread unevenly and may stain the floor.

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