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How To Clean Unfinished Wood

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I know! It’s exhausting to clean unfinished wood. And if you stain it by accident? Well, that’s a different kind of nightmare. 

This type of wood so delicate that we must be extremely careful while cleaning it. There are so many things to go over – the cleaning procedure, the chemicals that can be used, safety measures – a heck of a process!

But worry not, for there is a solution to every problem. 

Before digging into that, let’s understand why our wood is so delicate.    

1. What Is Unfinished Wood?

Normally, the wood used for home decor has a layer of varnish or polyurethane. It is to protect it from moisture and other environmental factors as well as to give it a desirable appearance. 

Unfinished wood is the one that lacks this layer. So, it needs to be handled delicately.  

There are many ways of cleaning and maintaining such wood. Let’s look into that!

2. Natural Methods To Clean

Step 1- Use A Brush   

I am sure that you have got a soft brush at your home. If not, a toothbrush can do the job too. Give it a gentle flick and use it to clean the debris from the crevices. 

Do this at least once or twice a week. It’s a harmless and effective way of cleaning the wood. 

Step 2- Wipe It Down

Sometimes the dust will stubbornly stick to the wood and a brush won’t be able to do the job. In such a case, take a damp cloth and wipe that area gently. This wood needs to be treated with the utmost care.

Do this once or twice a week. Take care not to use too much water as you already know that it is not water-resistant.

Step 3- Clean Deeper

Brushing may not be enough to remove all the trapped debris from the crevices. If you have adhesive rubber, use that!

Gently press the rubber on the area(do not rub). Soon you’ll see that the rubber is becoming darker. This means that the dust is coming off. You can tear off this part to reveal a fresh sticky surface and get to work again.

You don’t need to do this regularly, once in a while is enough.

Step 4- Remove Stains

As I said earlier, stains on this wood can be a nightmare. But don’t be scared! I’ll rescue you from it. 

Surely you have a mop. Mix some vinegar with few drops of some essential oil. Apply the mixture with the help of the mop on the stain. Again, you should be gentle. Vinegar is harmless for the wood and is also cost-effective. The oil is to mask the foul smell of the vinegar.

In the case of oil stains and grease, use 150 grit sandpaper to clean it. Carefully sand the area until it is cleaned. This method is not preferred much but you might find it helpful.

Step 5- Sticky Mess

Chewing gum is great until it gets stuck to your wood. Take some ice cubes in a plastic zippered bag then put it on the mess. Wait till the gum hardens and then use a knife or a spatula to carefully remove the gum.

You can also use this method if pine tree sap gets spilled on your wood.

Remember to be very careful when using the knife/spatula. You do not want to harm your fragile wood.

3. Chemical Methods For Deep Stains

These are stains that we should fear. Now, there is no other option than to apply chemicals to your wood to get rid of them.

1. Buy a bottle of acetone and pour some drops of it on a dry cloth. Gently wipe the affected area and soon you’ll find no stains! Remove the residue using fine-grit sandpaper.

2. Another chemical that can be used is mineral spirits. It is a petroleum-based product. Use a soft pad to apply it to the stain gently. Don’t apply an excessive amount as that can harm your wood.

3. Using Trisodium Phosphate powder is another way of cleaning deep stains. Apply it with a soft brush and then rinse the area with warm water. Do not forget to soak up the excess moisture.

The above chemicals can’t be used just like that. They are volatile and highly inflammable. You need to take some necessary safety measures to protect yourself.

4. Safety Measures To Take While Using the Chemicals

1. Cover your hands with thick gloves before touching the chemicals to avoid any irritation or harm caused by them.

2. It is better to use a respirator while using them. The room you are working in must have a good ventilator to avoid noxious fumes.

3. Never use these chemicals in front of anyone having respiratory problems. 

4. Go through all the directions given on the cover of the chemicals thoroughly. Do not use them without any prior knowledge about them. If possible, consult an expert.

Unfinished wood can’t be left untreated. You need to maintain this fragile thing to the best of your ability. You may ask-

5. How Do I Maintain It?

1. Gentleness Is The Key-

This is the most important point. Do not forget how fragile your untreated wood is. Treat it as gently as you would treat a baby. Do not use any sharp objects on it. For regular dusting, use brushes, brooms, or a vacuum cleaner.

2. Keep It Away From Moisture-

Always use a damp cloth whenever needed but do not leave the wood moistened. Soak up the moisture as fast as possible. Avoid placing wet objects on your wood.

3. Spills-

Do not wait for the spill to turn into your nightmare. Clean it as fast as possible. Try to avoid the chemicals unless they are absolutely necessary. Apply the natural methods first.

4. Protect Your Unfinished Wooden Floor-

Buy rugs and mats and cover the areas where the wood is prone to most harm. DO NOT buy a plain one. It must look good!

Stick to the natural methods of cleaning as long as possible so as to avoid the chemicals. If you follow the methods mentioned in this article properly, you can enjoy the rustic look of your wood without any fear.

Treat it with care and it’ll surely be kind to you too.

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