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How to Clean Unfinished Wood: Simple Tips & Tricks

POSTED ON April 30, 2024

how to clean unfinished wood

Looking for the best way to clean raw wood? It's important to keep bare wood clean. Untreated wood needs special care. Without a protective layer, you can't clean it like finished wood. 

We'll show you how to clean dirt, grime, and stains off raw wood without harm.

Understanding Unfinished Wood

First, let's define unfinished wood. It's wood without any finish or sealant. You might see it in furniture, floors, or other items. These all show the wood's natural beauty.

To clean unfinished wood, you need a special method. This prevents harm and keeps the wood looking its best. Whether it's new or you're maintaining it, use the right cleaning techniques.

Preparing for Cleaning

Get ready to clean your unfinished wood project the right way. It's key to set up the area and get the tools you need first. This careful prep work guarantees a thorough clean without damaging your stuff. Here's what to do:

1. Clear the area: Begin by taking off any decorations or items from the wood. This lets you reach all the spots easily and avoids harm to nearby things.

2. Dust and vacuum: Use a soft cloth or a vacuum's brush attachment to wipe away dust and dirt. Don't forget to dust well in the nooks and crannies.

3. Test the cleaning product: First, test the cleaner on a hidden part of the wood. This makes sure the product won't ruin the visible surfaces.

4. Choose the right cleaning method:

 Pick if you need to clean with something wet or dry. Soft dust and dirt go away with dry methods. Wet cleaning handles tougher spots better.

5. Gather the necessary supplies:

 To clean wood, grab a soft cloth, mild cleaner, water, a soft brush, and microfiber towels. Avoid harsh chemicals or rough cleaners to protect the wood.

With these steps, your cleaning job will be efficient and safe for the wood. Now, let's learn about the best ways to clean raw wood in the next section.

Related: Quick and Easy Ways to Remove Mold from Wood

Gentle Cleaning Techniques

Cleaning unfinished wood needs care to prevent damage. We'll look at simple DIY ways and natural cleaners suitable for raw wood. This helps keep the wood safe while making it clean.

Mild Soap and Water

Use mild soap and water for a simple clean. Mix a bit of gentle soap in warm water. Wet a soft cloth or sponge, then gently clean the wood. Remember, don't use too much water. Keep the cloth or sponge clean to avoid making things messy as you clean.

Vinegar and Oil Mixtures

Vinegar and oil can also clean raw wood. Mix equal parts of white vinegar with olive oil or mineral oil. Put it in a spray bottle or small container and shake. Use a soft cloth to apply this mix on the wood. The vinegar cleans, while the oil adds a beautiful shine.

Baking Soda Paste

To clean stubborn stains or grease:

1. Use a baking soda paste.

2. Just mix some baking soda with water.

3. Apply the paste to the problem area and gently scrub.

Baking soda is safe and acts as a mild abrasive.

Lemon Juice and Salt

Lemon juice and salt can lighten dark stains. Pour lemon juice on the stain and top with salt. After a few minutes, softly scrub. Lemon and salt together work as a gentle stain remover.

These methods are great for cleaning and keeping your raw wood looking new. Try these ideas on your wood. You'll see that careful cleaning makes wood beautiful for a long time.

Deep Cleaning Unfinished Wood

Over time, unfinished wood can gather tough stains and ground dirt. When usual cleaning falls short, it's time for deep cleaning. These ways can help make wood furniture beautiful again.


Sanding is great for taking out deep stains and flaws in unfinished wood. Choose fine-grit sandpaper and sand gently in the wood's grain direction. Make sure to sand evenly to keep from making dents or scratches. After cleaning, wipe off dust with a damp cloth before finishing the wood.

Related: How to Clean Your Driftwood Home Decor

Specialized Wood Cleaners

These cleaners are made just for deep cleaning unfinished wood without harm. Pick cleaners for unfinished or untreated wood. Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub. Rinse well with water and fully dry the wood.

Before using any cleaner, do a small test in a hidden spot. Make sure it doesn't stain or damage the wood.

Deep cleaning should be done carefully to avoid damaging the wood's fibers. Always check the manufacturer's advice or ask a pro if you're not sure about cleaning your piece. 

Ongoing Maintenance and Care

To keep unfinished wood looking great, you must care for it regularly. By using these tips, you'll keep your wood looking its best for many years.


•  Dust your unfinished wood with a soft cloth or a feather duster often.

•  Don't use dusting sprays or wax. They can make a mess on the wood.

•  Dust along the grain to avoid scratches.


•  Polish your unfinished wood now and then to bring back its shine.

•  Use a good wood polish or furniture wax that's right for unfinished wood.

•  Apply polish with a clean cloth as the product tells you to.

•  Lightly buff the wood for a beautiful, glossy finish.

Protective Finishes

•  Think about adding a protective finish to your untreated wood. It guards against water, stains, and harm.

•  Choose a finish that works well with unfinished wood, like tung oil or polyurethane.

•  Follow the finish's instructions to apply it evenly.

•  Let the finish dry all the way before using the wood or putting things on it.

By taking care of your unfinished wood this way, you can admire its natural beauty. These steps will also keep it clean and guarded. Doing this maintenance helps your wood stay looking good for a long time.


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