How to Clean Hardwood Floors after Removing Carpet

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Whether you want a new look for your home, or you simply want to clean the hardwood floor beneath them, the process is tedious. The cleaning needs to be done in a step-by-step method to not damage the hardwood beneath it. Here you’ll see how to clean hardwood floors after removing the carpet.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet 

To restore the look of the hardwood floor beneath the carpet, the first thing to do is remove the carpet adhesive properly. They can be pretty tough when dry, so consider bringing them back to the liquid state before removing them. 

The tools needed to remove the carpet properly include:

  • Dust Mask
  • Tape
  • Pliers
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Trash bags

Start by putting on a dust mask so that you do not inhale the dust accumulated on the carpet. This is an essential precautionary measure you must keep in mind.

  1. Start removing the carpet from the corner of the edges of the tack strips. Use your pry bar to remove nails attaching the carpet to the floor.
  2. Carefully start removing the carpet from the floor. The carpets are attached using glue or duct tapes. Be slow so that the carpet isn’t damaged due to the movement.
  3. Some strands of carpet may remain stuck on the floor, which can be cut with the help of your utility knife.
  4. If needed, cut the carpet into strips and roll them up carefully and keep them aside for some time while you clean the hardwood floor.
  5. If there is any residue left behind, make sure to remove it too. No leftover adhesive or staples should remain on the floor before you begin to clean it.

Make sure you do not stick your fingers or feet between the carpet and edges of the wall as it may cause serious injuries.

Woman cleaning her hardwood floors

Step 2: Remove Adhesive From The Floor

After all debris and glue strips are removed from the floor, you are ready to begin the cleaning process. If you observe any holes in the floor, you can use wood or dent fillers.

  1. Peanut butter is a very effective household item to remove adhesive marks from the floor. Apply a decent amount of peanut butter on the adhesive stains.
  2. Let it sit there for about ten to twenty minutes, giving it enough time to act on the marks.
  3. After sufficient time has elapsed, the adhesives marks break up and can be easily removed or scraped off.

If peanut butter is unable to do the trick, use some amount of dry ice. Make sure you are using a pair of gloves while handling dry ice.

  1. Place a piece of dry ice, about half a pound in weight, on a tin cookie sheet and place it on the adhesive stains.
  2. Let it sit for about five minutes, and then you will be able to remove the dry ice along with the glue marks on it.

Use water and dish soap to scrub away any stain marks that might remain gently. Dry the floor properly and ensure no moisture remains on the wooden floor. Moisture on the wooden floor for a long time can cause it to crack.

You can use a putty knife or a paint scraper to remove bits of adhesive pieces as and when needed.

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Step 3: Check The Finish Of Your Floor

After you have scraped off all the pieces of adhesive stains, you should carefully begin to examine the condition of your floor.

The amount of effort you will need to clean the floor depends on its condition. Floors in good condition can be cleaned easily, while older ones need more time, care, and effort.

Step 4: Begin The Cleaning 

If you have a finished floor and it is in good condition, you can use water and vinegar and some dishwashing soap to clean the floor.

  1. Make a solution of water and vinegar. Pour a cup of vinegar for every gallon of water you use.
  2. If you do not like the smell of vinegar, you can add some lemon to counteract the odor. You can use any essential oil you want as well.
  3. After the cleaning process, if you feel your floor is looking dull, you can add some coconut oil to make it look bright again.

Apart from this, you can use water and dishwashing soap to clean the floor effectively as well. In case your floor is unfinished, you have to take more care of cleaning it.

  1. For unfinished floors, mop the floor up immediately after you have applied the vinegar and water solution
  2. You have to repeat the process multiple times to ensure you get the perfect cleaning you desire.
  3. Pour some odorless mineral spirit on a piece of cloth and mop the floor with it. Remove all excess moisture, and you will find a bright shine on your floor.

This video on cleaning a hardwood floor will help you understand the process better.

How to Protect Your Wood Floors After Removing Carpet

After removing carpet and cleaning up your wood floors, there are several steps you can take to protect them:

  • Sand and refinish: If the floors have scratches, dents, or other damage, consider sanding and refinishing them to restore their appearance and protect them from future wear and tear. You can also add a stain to the wood floor to change its color a bit.
  • Apply a protective coating: Apply a protective coating, such as polyurethane or wax, to seal the wood and prevent moisture damage.
  • Use rugs and mats: Place area rugs or mats in high-traffic areas or under furniture to protect the floors from scratches and wear.
  • Clean regularly: Regular cleaning will prevent dirt and debris from accumulating on the floors and causing damage. Use a soft-bristled broom or vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment to clean up dust and debris.
  • Avoid high heels and furniture scratches: Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes to avoid scuffing the floors with high heels or dirty soles. Also, attach felt pads to furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents.
  • Maintain humidity levels: Wood floors are sensitive to changes in humidity, which can cause them to warp or crack. Keep the humidity levels between 30% to 50% to protect your floors.

Taking these steps will help ensure that your wood floors remain in good condition and last for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Difficult to Clean Hardwood Floors?

No, the process involved in cleaning a hardwood floor is simple. The only thing you need for it is patience. If you take all the necessary precautions and use the right tools, cleaning the floor is not a big deal. Take the help of an expert if you are doing it for the first time.

Is It Expensive to Clean Hardwood Floors?

The things used to clean hardwood floors are essential items of daily usage and are not expensive. You may need to buy a few extra things, but such things are easy to preserve. Cleaning the floor once grants it a fresh and new look for a long time. Therefore, the cost involved in cleaning is very minimal when you consider it in the long run.

What Is the Black Stuff on My Hardwood Floors Under the Carpet?

The black stuff on hardwood floors under the carpet is likely mold or mildew, caused by moisture getting trapped between the carpet and the floor. This can occur if the carpet was installed over a damp or improperly ventilated subfloor. Remove the carpet immediately, clean and dry the affected area, and fix any underlying moisture issues to prevent further mold growth and potential health problems.


The carpets that you use on the hardwood floor get dirty with time. To maintain it and the floor under it in good condition, periodic cleaning should be done. Be patient and careful during the cleaning process so that you don’t damage the floor. This ensures your house looks perfect after every clean.

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.