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If you want to remove your carpet in order to refurbish your hardwood floors, there are many things that you need to do. Restoring your hardwood floors is no easy task but it can become easier with the right instructions. Here is a guide that will help you effectively remove the carpet and clean hardwood floors. Learn how to clean hardwood floors the proper way! Also find out how to repair hardwood floors after removing carpet.

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How to Clean Hardwood Floors After Removing Carpet

To Start, Pull Up the Carpet

We’ll teach you the best way to clean hardwood floors after removing carpet.

First and foremost, you will need to start by slowly and carefully removing the carpet from your hardwood floor. Doing it too fast or hard could cause a great amount of harm to your floors so it is important to remember to take this step as slowly as possible. Inevitably, there will be a mess or two of dust and dirt on your hardwood floor under the carpet. It will not be kind to you if you have severe dust allergies.

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What Materials You Need:

You will need a few materials on hand in order to properly remove your carpet from the hardwood floor:

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

Once you have these materials ready, you will begin the actual process of removing your carpet.

Start Slow

Put your dust mask on to avoid inhaling too much dust and begin working. You will begin removing your carpets by the corners off of the tack strips on the edges of the carpet. You may need to resort to using your pry bar to remove some stubborn nails that are holding your carpet down.

Slowly and carefully start pulling your carpet up, and use your utility knife as necessary to cut through strands of carpet that are stuck to the hardwood floor. Remember to move as slow as possible to avoid damaging your floors since carpets are usually held down by glue and tacks.


Carpet tacks are usually located at the edges between the carpet and the walls and they normally stick in an upright position into the carpet. Be careful not to stick your fingers or feet by accident when you are removing the carpet as they can cause some serious harm. They can be avoidable if you feel around for them before you pull the carpet back.

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Remove the Carpet

To remove the carpet from your hardwood floors efficiently, you may have to cut your carpet into thin strips with a knife as you pull. Roll your carpet up and place it out of the way. Be careful of any carpet tacks that may remain stuck in your carpet as you’re handling it.

Be sure not to remove the carpet too quickly or recklessly, as it could damage the sensitive area of your hardwood floor. Do not remove your dust mask since you will still be dealing with a lot of dust even after the carpet has been completely removed.

Remove Residue That’s Left Behind

There is a good chance that there will be a great amount of leftover residue scattered across your hardwood floor after your carpet has been removed. There will especially be some leftover adhesive and staples from the carpet that you will have to clean from the floor. This is where you will start the cleaning process for your hardwood floor.

Remove Staples, Dust and Adhesive

The surface of your hardwood floors will be looking pretty dirty after your carpet has been removed. There will most likely be leftover adhesive and tacks from the carpet that you will have to remove and it can become a time-consuming task. However, it is a necessary task if you want to give your floors a thorough clean and have it looking as good as new.

Remove any adhesive and staples that you can find scattered along the hardwood floor and discard them into a trash bag. The staples will have to be picked up individually as you find them and you must be careful maneuvering around the floor until you are certain that every tack and staple has been picked up. The floor will become much safer after that.

As with removing the carpet, you must be careful while picking up everything left behind as they could potentially damage your floor. Once all of the adhesive and staples have been removed, begin sweeping the floor to clean up the dust discarded from the carpet. Clean as much dust as possible before moving on to other cleaning jobs.

If you happen to experience any inconveniences such as holes or scuff marks on the floor in the process of removing adhesive or staples, then there is still a way to repair your floor. You can use wood filler in order to fill in any holes that have been created in the removal or cleaning process.

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Using Natural or Commercial Products

There are many commercial and natural cleaning products that can help you remove the adhesive on your hardwood floors. Leftover adhesive can make for one really sticky mess so having an excellent cleaning product on hand could prove to be beneficial.

Be sure to clean hardwood floors as thoroughly as possible and dry it completely after you are finished. You will want to clean everything you can find on the floor so it will be a completely flat surface.

Water can be dangerous to keep on your hardwood floors if you neglect to dry it after an extended period of time. Water can lead to cracks in the floor, so only use as much water as you think will be necessary to clean your floor. Do not leave any moisture behind once you are finished.

Using Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the natural methods of cleaning that you can use to easily remove the adhesive from hardwood floors. All you have to do is apply a good amount of peanut butter on each area where the leftover adhesive is located and allow it to work for a few minutes. After those few minutes are up, the adhesive will be broken down enough to where you can pull them off of the floor with ease.

Using Dry Ice

Dry ice is another effective natural method of breaking down adhesive for easier removal. Simply use protective gloves and place a tin cookie sheet over the whole area of the adhesive strip.

Place a half pound piece of dry ice over it and let it sit there for a minute or two. Remove the dry ice and the broken down adhesive along with it and clean whatever is left with water and dish soap, scrub it away gently, and dry up any wet areas afterward.

Alternative Stronger Methods

On the odd occasion, the marks on your hardwood floor may not be moveable with a natural or commercial product. On these occasions you will need a tougher solution to the issue such as: 

  • A putty knife: The best putty knife you can use on a hardwood floor is a dull one. Gently run over the problem area with the putty knife, if just doing this isn’t enough you may need to use a hammer to gently tap the top of the knife. (Porcelain wood tile cleaning)
  • A paint scraper: While a putty knife is the best solution for a smaller localized area, a paint scraper is a better solution if the “residue” on your flooring is widespread. Use it exactly how you would use a paint scraper to scrape paint except be as gentle as possible. Too much elbow grease and you might take chunks out of your flooring. 

If using either of these methods it is really important to take your time and use extreme care as there is a high probability that you will cause damage if you don’t.

Cleaning Hardwood Floor 

The thoughts of cleaning your hardwood floor after the removal of carpet can be daunting. But if you’ve taken the time to fully remove all the residue from the floor, it’s actually a simple to clean. Before you clean,you will need to determine the condition of the finish of your hardwood flooring. It’s time to see that beautiful wood emerge. 

Check Your Floor’s Finish 

The purpose of a finish on a hardwood floor is to make it shiny as well as making it a lot easier to clean. The majority of old hardwood floors had a finish, such as polyurethane, at some point. 

If your floors finish is in good condition you will be able to clean it using a wide variety of different methods from sweeping to vacuuming. If the finish is completely gone, or in bad condition, you will have to take a lot more care when cleaning it. 

To test the condition of your floor’s finish, pour a few drops of water onto several different areas of the hardwood flooring. If the water stays on the surface and stays beaded for a number of minutes the finish is in good nick. If the water absorbs into the wood almost immediately and disappears then your finish is definitely not up to scratch. 

The condition of your floors finish will determine the route you will take when cleaning. If the finish is okay, you can use a cleaning method that is water-based. If the finish is not up to scratch you will have to avoid water and use an alternative method. 

Cleaning Methods for Finished Floors 

Using water and vinegar or water and dish soap are the two most popular methods. Both methods work well and are safe as well as effective. It’s always wise to choose a corner to test your cleaning method in first so you get a good idea of how the flooring is going to come up once cleaned and to make sure it responds well to the method you choose.  

Using Water and Vinegar 

If your hardwood flooring has quite a buildup of grime and has been buried under carpet for many years, this could be your best option. Vinegar works wonders at cooking through the toughest of grime. 

You will simply need to dilute the vinegar with water. A half cup of water per gallon of water is sufficient. You may want to add in an essential oil to counteract the vinegar smell. Lemon is a popular choice for that fresh clean smell. 

The only downside of this method compared to using dish soap is that it can tend to leave your floors looking a little on the dull side. You can brighten them up using a little coconut oil. It’s an extra step that might seem like a lot of hassle. But it’s definitely well worth it.

Try Water and Dish Soap 

Overall, this is often the best method to use as the end result is usually a shiny, brighter floor. 

Cleaning Suggestions for Unfinished Floors 

When cleaning an unfinished floor, you will have to take a lot more care to avoid causing any damage or staining. Using water on an unfinished floor can lead to permanent warping. 

You can use vinegar and water as outlined in the above method. But you will need to use a mop and then immediately use a towel to dry the floor. You will probably need to do this a couple of times for a complete clean. 

For a deeper clean on an unfinished floor you can use mineral spirits. You will need to apply it to a cloth and then rub it into the floor and immediately wipe up any excess liquid. This method will leave your flooring with a beautiful shine. But the downside is that it does take quite a length of time, especially if it’s a large area you are cleaning. 

Finish with Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil has so many uses in your home and is a great tool if your floor is very dull after the cleaning process. It rehydrates the wood and leads to a beautiful shine when applied to your dull flooring. 

You will need to use coconut oil that is still solid and hasn’t melted. Apply it to a cloth and rub it generously into the flooring. Let it sit for fifteen minutes and then buff the wood with a clean cloth to produce a beautiful shine.

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Unlike other types of flooring, hardwood floors bring nature right into your home as well as raising the value of your house. Now all you need to do is keep those beautiful floors looking clean, try as much as possible to avoid using water. But if you must, make sure the mop you use is wet as opposed to soaking wet. Now, you know how to clean hardwood floors after removing carpet. How to clean carpeted stairs

In order to cut down the need to mop, sweep your floors thoroughly daily to avoid any buildup of dirt. A small effort every day will avoid the need to have to heavily clean your flooring constantly. You can also try a good vacuum for hardwood floors.

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