How To Clean Antique & Reclaimed Wood Flooring

People often ask us how to clean reclaimed wood. When cleaning and taking care of your wood floor, it’s important understand what type of wood floor you have.

For example, antique wood cleaning does not have a universal solution, and instead focus should be placed on which finish your antique or reclaimed wood floor has, rather than age and origin.

The finish (or burnish) will determine exactly how to care for you wooden floor, and other factors need not be considered.

Care and maintenance for your specific reclaimed wood floor

Antique and reclaimed wood can take on different finishes, but ultimately what you should focus on is whether the finish of your floor is oil based, or water based.

Lacquered and hardened oiled floors require use of Care System 1 or 3 (depending on the tone) whilst floors which are natural or hardwax oil need Care System 2 or 4. We only ever recommend you use cleaning products specifically supplied by Ted Todd and Woodworks, but there are other everyday methods by which you can clean maintain your hardwood floors. Visit our floor care store here.

Regardless of finish however, wood floors should never be cleaned using a pressure washer or other powerful cleaners, as you heavily run the risk of eroding the finish of your floor.


An original patina is the ultimate Woodworks finish, something that cannot be recreated and only build up over time as the wood ages naturally in the air.

For original patina floors that have not had any finish applied, please hoover on a regular basis and use our soft care floor cleaner. This will remove any excess dirt and also provide a diluted wax to the surface of the floor each time you clean it, making it the best wood polish for antiques.

Should you wish to give your floor a deeper clean please buff with a purple abrasive pad.


Please hoover your oil burnished floor on a regular basis, use our soft care floor cleaner, and apply Ted Todd oil replenisher if your floor starts to look dry.

This a quick drying natural oil that will feed your floor with waxes and oils to fill the pores. In the longer term, you have the option to strip the oil finish off your floor with a dewaxing solution, leave to dry and then refinish your floor with your choice of oil-based finish.

For everyday maintenance, using dust mops, soft bristle brushes or a damp mop is permitted, but we would always encourage avoiding standing water on the surface on your antique or reclaimed wood floor.


Please hoover on a regular basis and use our soft care floor cleaner, just like an oiled floor. You should also use one of our floor polishes to maintain your floor’s fresh look and keep the finish protected throughout the years, even in high traffic areas. 

Our intensive polishes provide the highest protection and are available with a matt or gloss option. You can also mix them if you require.

In the very long run it is always best to recoat floors before the finish has worn through. This way the existing finish can be screened back and additional coats of finish can be carefully applied without the need to sand your floor back to raw wood.


Other antique and reclaimed wood floor cleaning advice

When maintaining your reclaimed or antique floor and following our how to clean reclaimed wood advice, here’s a few more important things to take note of:


Hand polishing is a key part of creating a Woodworks floor and continuing to polish it throughout the years will help to keep your flooring looking its absolute best.


Spillages are no problem for wood floor and a damp mop should solve the problem in no time. We do recommend avoiding larger build ups of water though and flooding can cause damage.


Any care and maintenance for your Woodworks floor should be done by hand, or my using simple, non-mechanical tools. A pressure wash may seem like a convenient solution but taking the time to care and maintain by hand will always have more positive results and is less dangerous to the integrity of your floor.


Reclaimed and antique wood cleaning is very simple and easy, it just requires a little hard work, time and elbow grease to keep your floor looking its best throughout the years.

See our floor care store for more information, and visit our Woodworks division to learn more about reclaimed and antique wood flooring.