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How To Clean Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet

How To Clean Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet: 4-Step Solution

Unclean hardwood floors get covered by dust and grime and become a breeding ground for allergens. 

So, after removing the carpet, you must remove any glue and sand on the floor to clean your hardwood floors properly. Then, you can mop, vacuum, seal, and polish the floor.

Continue reading for a detailed step-by-step guide to getting your unclean hardwood floors vibrant again!

🧹How To Restore Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet?

Basic steps1. Remove any remaining carpet glue & debris
2. Check the finish of your floor
3. Vacuum & mop the floor
Sanding the floors1. Sand The Floors
2. Stain The Floors
3. Sandless Refinishing
Cleaning the floors1. Vinegar solution
2. BonaWood bleach & water solution
3. Hot water & tide
Polishing the floorAlmond oil


Before starting the steps, assess your floor’s condition. We recommend consulting a professional if your hardwood floor has major damage or scratches after removing the carpet.

Follow these methods to restore hardwood floors if the floor has minor damage:

🧼Basic Steps

Basic Steps

Materials needed: Scraper, broom/sweeper, vacuum, mop, and water.

  • Remove carpet glue or adhesive on the floor. Use the scraper gently to remove the glue, avoiding damage to the hardwood flooring. Be patient and take breaks in between because it’s tiresome to execute this!
  • Remove the debris from your floor. You can use a broom or a sweeper to remove the glue scrapes and any major debris.
  • Now that the glue is out of the way, you can check the condition of the floor’s finish. Remove things like staples and pins sticking out of the flooring.
  • Next, vacuum and mop the floor to complete the cleaning process before we get to the repair. Remember not to use excessive water as it can damage the wood.

💡Tip: You can use a heat gun to soften the glue and make it easier to remove it.

⏳Sanding The Floors

Sanding The Floors

👉Sanding and Staining

Materials needed: Coarse and finer grit sandpapers, vacuum cleaner, wood stain, foam applicator, paper towels, or cotton cloth.

We’ve already cleaned and scrapped the glue to prepare it for sanding. Sanding will remove any remainder of stubborn carpet adhesive or other debris. You must also smoothen any imperfections like dents and scratches.

  • Use coarse sandpaper to remove any leftover adhesive and smoothen any surface damage. Once you finish the coarse sandpaper, use fine-grit sandpaper to even the wooden floor surface.
  • Work your way up to finer grit sandpapers to further smoothen the surface. Sanding floors is a daunting task that takes hard work, so take breaks in between as you see fit. You must also vacuum the dust and debris each time you sand the floor.

It’s very satisfying to see the surface look new after sanding. Thoroughly vacuum off all the dirt so we can start with the staining.

  • Applying a wood stain will intensify the hardwood’s color, and you can also choose a wood stain that compliments your house furniture or wall color.
  • When you stain the unfinished floors, do small areas at a time, not leaving any spots behind. Use a foam applicator and gloves to apply the stain. Follow the grain of the wood for a leveled finish. Don’t leave any droplets on the floor.
  • You can remove excess wood stains using a cotton cloth or paper towels. This is very important if you want your hardwood floor not to be sticky.
  • Leave the stain to dry completely. Then, you may apply any additional coat.

💡Tip: If a scrubber thoroughly removes stubborn dust and adhesive off your hardwood floor, you can skip sanding the floor and apply a sealant.

✍️Note: For the staining of the floor, have proper ventilation to avoid inhaling the fumes.

Also Read: Can You Vacuum Sawdust?

👉Sandless Refinishing

Materials required: Sealant, vacuum, mop, water, machine for sandless refinishing, and its technician.

Sandless refinishing is an alternative to sanding the floor where you do not have to deal with fine dust. But this method should only be used for very lightly damaged wood floors. 

  • First, remove dust and debris from the floor by vacuuming and mopping with a damp cloth.
  • Now, use a sandless refinishing machine (you can take help from a technician). The machine has abrasive pads and uses a cleaning solution to remove the adhesive and stubborn debris from the flooring. 
  • After you’ve run the machine, the eroded topmost layer gets dissolved in the chemical liquid solution. Then, rinse the floor to clear off the chemical, and let the floor dry afterwards.
  • Now, apply the sealant/protective layer on your floor. This is the final step to give a bit of shine to your hardwood floor and elongate its life.


The process is similar to sanding and staining. It’s just that the fine dust and debris get dissolved in a chemical for convenience. But sanding is a more dependable method if your floor has minor damage. 

Also Read: How To Clean Unfinished Hardwood Floors

🪠Cleaning The Floors

Cleaning The Floors

After applying the sealant, you must let it dry for a few days, depending on the type of sealant you use.

Once that’s done, it’s time to clean the floor.

  • Sweep the dust and debris off the dirty floors. You can use a sweeper, broom, or dry mop for this. You can also use a suitable vacuum cleaner for hardwood.
  • Next, use a mild cleaner to mop the floor. You can use diluted vinegar, bona hardwood cleaners, or wood bleach solution.
  • Damp mop the floor again to remove any cleaner residue.
  • Leave the floor to dry.


Vinegar solution is great for hardwood cleaning, while wood bleach solution or Bona can also work well on stains. However, if wood bleach is not used properly, it can lead to discoloration.

Also Read: Best Way to Clean COREtec Flooring

✨Polishing The Floors

Polishing The Floors

The hardwood floor will look dull after cleaning, repairing  and applying a protective coating. For this, you have to apply a polish. Do polishing after the sealant is dry.

You can use almond oil to polish your floors. Other polishes are also available, but almond oil provides a natural color to the wood. 

Before you apply polish on the entire floor, test it on a small, unnoticeable area.

  • Use a microfiber cloth or a soft cotton/foam pad to spread the polish evenly.
  • Work a small area at a time, and do not leave excess polish.
  • After you are done, use a microfiber cloth for buffing to remove any excess polish and bring out a glossy finish.
  • Let it dry.

Once it is dry, you can go for an optional second coat. Give the polish a minimum of 1-2 days to dry for you to walk and place furniture.

Also Read: Can You Use Fabuloso On Wood Floors?

🪧How To Protect Your Hardwood Floor After Removing Carpet?

Ways to Protect Your Hardwood Floor After Removing Carpet

Hardwood floors are durable and elegant but can get damaged without proper care:

  • Avoid cleaning the floor with water as much as possible. Do not mop with water regularly. Depending on floor traffic, damp mopping 1-3 times per week is sufficient.
  • If you have pets, ensure their nails are clipped as and when needed to prevent scratches. The nails can damage the sealant and then the hardwood.
  • For low-traffic areas,  dry mopping with a microfiber cloth daily is great for the long run.
  • Use the right cleaning solution for your floor. Ensure its pH is close to neutral and does not damage hardwood. Vinegar solution in water is a great choice.
  • Limit the traffic over the floor. If you have kids make sure they do not draw on the flooring and play with sharp wheel toys that could damage the floor.
  • Do not overdo the sanding of your floor. Sanding is something to be rarely done; it is not a dependable fix that can be used regularly. Getting down on your knees with water and rags should always be prioritized for tough stains before sanding the affected area.
  • Use protectors for furniture legs. Furniture is moved during thorough cleaning sometimes, and the legs can cause great damage to the floor. So, it’s best to use a protector.
Also Read: Best Vacuum For Concrete Floors

💡How To Clean Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet: FAQs

How to remove stains on hardwood under the carpet?

Vinegar solution removes dark stains from hardwood floors under the carpet. Dilute vinegar in water and use a rag to rub it off. Wood bleach can work on tough stains, but unlike vinegar, it could discolor the area.

How to remove carpet residue from hardwood floors?

Use vinegar and water solution to remove carpet residue. For this, sweep off dust and debris from the region and then apply this solution. After 5 minutes, wipe the region using a microfiber cloth. Use an old rag to absorb the remaining liquid and let it air dry.

How do you remove glue from hardwood floors?

If the glue is fresh, wipe it off with a cloth damped with water and dish soap.

For tacky glue:

1. Apply vinegar and water solution to the area using a cloth
2. Press and leave the cloth on that region for 5 minutes. 
3. Then remove it, and the glue will be lifted. 
4. Wipe away any remainder with a damp old cloth.

How to prep your wood floor after removing the carpet?

After removing the carpet from the floor, you will find nails on tack strips along the edges.

Wear leather gloves for protection and use a hammer and a flat pry bar to remove the strips.

Then remove the base molding. After that, you move on to restoring the hardwood floors of your home.

Finally, clean the floor and scrape the glue off the floor. Sanding and staining would be required to repair the minor damage. Polish the floor for a final touch.

How do you disinfect finished hardwood floors?

Using wood-friendly cleaners like Lysol to disinfect finished hardwood floors is best. You can also use highly diluted Hydrogen Peroxide or white vinegar solution.

But never use bleach and steam cleaners because they can seep into and damage the wood floors.

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