How to Clean Painted Wood Floors

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Things You'll Need

  • Dust mop

  • Sponge

  • Soft cloths

  • Vinegar

  • Paper towels

  • Baking soda

  • Fine-grain sandpaper

  • Paint

  • Baby wipes


To better protect your floor; once the paint has dried, add an oil finish. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to avoid unnecessary scratching. Place protective furniture pads under chairs and tables to further protect your floor from unintentional damage.

Attractive wood floors represent a lifelong investment of time, energy and effort. Any decision regarding their care and maintenance should be carefully considered and fully planned prior to being attempted. For most, routine care includes protecting the surfaces from heavy wear and environmental elements that could result in scratching, discoloration or a build-up of grease, grime and dirt. If your finish of choice happens to be paint, caring for your floors will take more than standard sweeping and mopping. These tips can help you to clean your painted wood floors without causing any damage.

Step 1

Clean the floors with a dust mop or with a soft, damp sponge at least twice a week, being careful not to leave any water on the surface. If moisture is allowed to collect on paint, it will leave unsightly water marks when it dries, and these can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

Step 2

Wipe down the baseboards with a damp cloth at least once a month, paying particular attention to the areas around the doorways and the corners of the room. If you find that high-traffic areas tend to attract an unmanageable amount of dirt, cover them with area rugs, which can be easily cleaned with a vacuum or laundered.

Step 3

Use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to remove stains. Simply dampen a paper towel with the solution and place over the discolored area. Leave the paper towel in place for approximately 10 minutes and then gently rub the stain way. If vinegar alone does not work, a thick paste made of baking soda and water can be applied, because it is mildly abrasive. It should not damage the paint or the underlying wood and can be useful for deep or stubborn stains.

Step 4

Repair nicks or surface scratches by sanding down any visible blight with a fine-grain sandpaper. Try not to remove any more of the paint than is necessary to repair the damaged areas. Once the surface is smooth again, find the best match you can for your paint. Or, choose a new color and repaint the entire floor.

Step 5

Use moistened baby wipes to clean floors or other surfaces that have been coated with paint, polyurethane or varnish. Purchase a large bag of refillable baby wipes. Do not spend money on the expensive, scented brand names. Instead, buy the fragrance-free, discount brand, which can often be found in bulk. These wipes will remove a wide variety of surface grime without causing any damage to the paint.

references & resources

Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.