How to Rehydrate Wood Floors Using These 4 Simple Methods

Dryness is a serious cause of alarm on your wood floors as they would eventually crack and can result in significant accidents in your house. As a result, you must rethink and establish appropriate steps to rehydrate the floors when you notice dryness. Rehydrating wood floors can help bring back their original shine and beauty. However, how to rehydrate wood floors has become a primary concern among homeowners.

Read along as we strive to break down the process and methods of rehydrating wood floors.

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How to Rehydrate Wood Floors

Rehydrating wood floors involves restoring moisture to the wood to address issues such as buckling, warping, cupping, cracking, or gaps between the boards. You can rehydrate the wood floors using a humidifier, oil-based urethane, water-based polyurethane, or vinegar solution. Whatever method you pick, always ensure that the chosen product does not harm your wood floor and wipe out any spills from the floor’s surface to prevent moisture damage. 

The below process illustrates some of the steps to follow when dealing with the different floor rehydration methods.

  1. Clean the floor: Use a vacuum or brush to remove all dirt and debris from the wood floor. This will guarantee the success of the rehydration procedure.
  2. Pick a suitable product or method: Wood floors can be rehydrated with various readily available materials. Be sure to use a high-quality wood floor rehydrator that has natural oils and other components that can get inside the wood’s fibers. For instance, you can use a mild vinegar solution to clean the wood surface.
  3. Use the product: Use a clean, dry cloth or mop to apply a small amount of the wood floor rehydrator to the floor. Make sure the product is distributed evenly around the floor by working in tiny pieces.
  4. Let the product absorb: Depending on the package directions, let the wood floor rehydrator soak into the wood fibers for several hours or overnight. The product will have ample time to enter the wood and replenish moisture.
  5. Buff the floor: After the product has been absorbed into the wood, polish the surface using a clean, dry cloth or a buffing machine. This will provide a smooth finish and help distribute any surplus product.
  6. Repeat the procedure: You might need to go through the rehydrating process more than once, depending on the state of your wood flooring. Ensure you thoroughly follow the product’s directions and give it enough time to absorb into the wood.

The above process is independent of the product you use. You can choose any product and follow the above process to apply it to your wood floor for rehydration. However, there are various methods you can adopt to dehydrate your wood floor.

Below are some of the Methods to Rehydrate Wood Floors

  1. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier is an effective way to rehydrate your wood floors. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and can help restore moisture to your wood floor. The humidifier must be kept safe from your floors to protect them from water damage.

The hardwood floors are in the best condition, with a humidity level of between 30 and 50%. When hardwood floors are damaged by excessive dryness, consider installing a humidifier to add extra moisture to your room. Humidifiers enhance the relative humidity of the environment.

Humidifiers come in different types. The model you acquire depends on your intention or use. For this role, you aim to enhance the air moisture in your room. As a result, using steam, evaporative, and ultrasonic humidifier models is recommended.

  1. Use Oil-Based Urethane

While using the oil-based urethane, you aim to prevent moisture loss by sealing the wood surface. However, you must sand the old finish off for the urethane finishes before applying the new one. Sand and clean the debris to get better results, as with the oil-based urethane finish, you are also restoring your wood’s shiny and original appearance.

Sanding is vital when your wood floor is severely dehydrated. Sand down the surface of the wood before you apply a new finish. This process can help restore the natural moisture levels and the wood’s beauty.

  1. Use Water-Based Polyurethane

Using a water-based polyurethane solution is a perfect option to rehydrate your hardwood floor surface while attempting to revitalize its inventive glossy sheen. The finish attempts to bring down the moisture loss from the wood material into the air. The implication is that the method helps prevent moisture loss from the wood surface, keeping them hydrated.

Compared to oil-based urethane, water-based polyurethane is easy to apply and can be complemented with other methods like using the vinegar solution to realize an even smoother surface finish.

  1. Use a Vinegar Solution

Vinegar solutions are a perfect way to rehydrate hardwood floors. The process is simple as you only need to clean the floor surface using a mild vinegar solution. The process is simple. Start by vacating the room, removing all the furniture, and then cleaning the room using a broom to remove all the dirt and potential debris from the wood floor surface.

Once the floor is cleaned, make a solution of water and white vinegar in a ratio of 10:1 in a bucket. Use a wet mop, dip in the resultant solution, and thoroughly wring it before mopping the wood floor. The moisture from the vinegar solution will seep through the gaps and cracks, resulting in dryness on the wood surface and dehydration.

The below video illustrates how to clean hardwood floors and make them shine using a vinegar solution.

Effects of Excessive Moisture on Wood Floors

On wooden floors, excessive moisture can have a variety of detrimental impacts. For instance, expanding wood floors will be inevitable if you live in a highly humid environment. Wood floors absorb moisture in the air and expand. As a result, the wood floors, upon exposure to the high humidity levels, may buckle, brown, or cup. Your floorboards may not recap once it experiences these problems.

The following are some ways through which moisture might harm your wooden floors:

Crowning and Cupping: Your floor’s wooden planks may expand and contract due to moisture-induced unequal water absorption. When this happens, the sides of the boards may cup or crown, becoming higher or lower than the middle.

Warping: Wooden floors that have absorbed moisture may collapse and warp, separating the boards and leaving gaps between them. Additionally, this may result in the floor becoming unsteady and uneven.

Mold and Mildew: Excessive moisture can produce the ideal conditions for the growth of mold and mildew. This might cause health issues for house residents and eventually cause the wooden floor to decay.

Wooden floors are susceptible to stains from moisture, which are either impossible or very difficult to clean. This may be particularly problematic if the discoloration appears in evident regions.

Structural Damage: Excessive moisture over time can erode the integrity of your wooden floors, leaving them more vulnerable to harm from heavy furniture, foot activity, and other stressors. Your wood floor will undeniably attract moisture from the air, resulting in the individual boards swelling and putting pressure on the neighboring planks. The damage influences your floors’ structural integrity and ruins their general look.

Maintaining your wooden flooring as dry as possible is crucial to prevent these problems. Dehumidifiers can help with this, as they can swiftly repair any leaks or water damage and avoid spills and standing water on the floor.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors

If you are a homeowner, you probably have hardwood floors or have had an idea of installing hardwood floors. Like other flooring options, there are associated dos and don’ts as part of the cleaning measures for wood floors.

Even though maintaining the hardwood floors won’t cost you a dime, if you do not understand the proper care of these floors, you can end up initiating their damage without knowing.

So, what are some of the Dos and Don’ts when cleaning hardwood Floors?

The Things You Mustn’t Do (Don’ts)

  1. Do not allow moisture to sit on the Wood Surface

One of the greatest enemies of your wood floors is moisture. Ideally, over 80% of the hardwood floors are water related. As such, any spills, ice cubes, or wet mops resulting in moisture seeping between the floorboards and into the wood’s cracks must not be allowed on the hardwood floor surface. In the long run, the moisture problems on your wood surface may result in the wood floor cupping, buckling, warping, or downright damage.

2. Baking Soda or Vinegar Shouldn’t be Used on Wood Floors

You have a range of options when deciding to clean your wood floors. However, baking soda or vinegar must not be on your wood cleaning alternatives. Vinegar or baking soda can dull polyurethane on your wood floor or completely ruin the floor, which can be costly in the long run. You will need to either repair the damaged sections or fully replace them.

If you are interacting with the vinegar solution for the first time, you must understand that it is an acid. As a result, when you apply the solution on your wood floor, the finish will be broken down on the floor’s surface as acid eats away the wood finish. Over time or due to continuous usage, your wood floor will lose its shine or show a dull appearance.

In some homesteads, people have used vinegar with water to reduce the acidity levels in the substance. Still, this is a dangerous option to take on your wood floors since excess water on wood floors can result in swelling or discoloration.

3. You must not use inappropriate cleaning products

You must understand the impacts of cleaning products or any substance you use on your wood floors. Otherwise, you may do more harm than good to your wood floors. For instance, most homeowners have created an accident-prone slippery floor surface by using products such as paste wax and acrylic on their wood floors without knowing. In most instances, these products will strip your wood floor the polyurethane, creating significant damage on the floor that adds to your maintenance or replacement costs before the wood floor’s lifespan.

Besides, you must not use straight ammonia, abrasive cleaners or alkaline products. These substances may cause scratches on your wood finish or cause a dull appearance. Other substances like lemon juice must not be used as they can damage the floor’s seal.

Thus, choosing the right product for your wood floors is paramount as a maintenance practice or improving your wood’s longevity.

4. Do not ignore Spills.

Spills occur daily if you stay with young or crawling kids and pets in your home. It gets worse when you own hardwood flooring due to the danger the spills pose to the hardwood floors. As a result, make it a habit of cleaning and drying out the spills immediately after you note them on your hardwood floor surface. The spills may range from water, muddy boots, wet doggy paw tracks, or ice cubes that may spill out of the freezer.

The porous nature of the wood facilitates the dangers that the spills pose to the hardwood floors. The wood can easily absorb moisture and easily sip onto the wood pores. The absorbed moisture from the spills will result in your hardwood floor cupping, crowing, warping, or buckling, especially when you let the falls rest on the surface for a long time and are absorbed by the wood, causing swelling of the planks.

The DO’s: Do these Things on your Hardwood Floor

The maintenance of a wood floor is pretty simple if you can do the following:

  1. Choose the right PH level for your Cleaning Solution

If you are a homeowner and have invested in a wood floor, use a cleaning solution with a PH level of about 7. PH 7 solutions are neutral, neither acidic nor basic. A solution with a PH level higher than 7 is alkaline, while a solution with a lower PH value lower than 7 is acidic. Too much acidic or alkaline conditions are not appropriate for wood floors. However, regardless of the PH value you choose for your solution, ensure you leave no spills on your floor’s surface.

  1. Clean your wood floors with a broom and Dustpan.

Sweeping your wood floors should be done as often as possible. The more you clean your wood floors, the less it collects grime or dirt. If possible, attempt to use a Swiffer Sweeper for the best cleaning outcome.

Swiffer Sweeper cloth is integrated with ridges that conform to the wood floor grooves. As a result, they can trap and lock the dirt. On the other hand, its wet cloths can dissolve and trap the dirt or grime for enhanced results. However, when using the damp cloth, ensure you have dried the floor immediately after you are done with the cleaning process to guarantee that there is no moisture absorption by the wood.

  1. Use Vacuum Cleaners

Perhaps the most effective way to clean hardwood floors. Consider vacuuming your wood floors at least once a week. Vacuums ensure that there are no moisture or spills on your wood floor. You must, however, ensure that you use vacuums designed for wood floors. The vacuum will suck up all the fine dust particles and entirely remove them from your floor.

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

Q1. Does baking soda dry wood floors?

It is not advisable to use baking soda on wood floors. Baking soda can absorb moisture from the hardwood and result in the floors drying out, particularly when applied in large amounts or when left to sit on the wood floor for longer. Besides, baking soda can dull and damage polyurethane, damaging your floor beyond repair.

On the contrary, you can use the baking powder safely and efficiently without significantly impacting your wood floors. For instance, using baking soda in small amounts won’t cause the dryness of your wood flooring when you rinse the surface and dry it immediately after cleaning.

However, the longevity and beauty of your particular type of hardwood flooring can be ensured by adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and care.

Q2. What kind of oil do you use on dry wood floors?

You can choose from various oil types to use on your dry wood floors. Either way, the oil type you select must be efficient and ideal for wood floors.

Below is a list of oil types you can use on dry wood floors.

  1. Tung oil: This all-natural oil is made from the tung tree’s seeds. It penetrates deeply into the wood, offering enduring protection against water and other damage, making it a popular option for wood floors.
  2. Linseed oil: Made from the seeds of the flax plant, linseed oil is another natural oil. It is frequently applied to give wood floors a cosy, organic look.
  3. Danish oil: This mixture of oils and resins is frequently used to polish wooden floors and furniture. It offers a long-lasting, water-resistant finish, enhancing the wood’s inherent beauty.
  4. Mineral oil: This non-drying oil is frequently used to protect and lubricate wooden surfaces. Although it doesn’t offer as much protection as the other types of oil on this list, it is an excellent choice if you want something more natural and environmentally friendly.

Note:  Your wood floors should be well-cleaned and allowed to dry thoroughly before applying oil. It’s also wise to first test a tiny portion of the floor to ensure the oil won’t deteriorate or stain the wood.

Q3. Is oil or water better for wood floors?

The sort of finish that has been applied to the wood will determine whether oil or water is better for wood floors.

Adding extra oil can aid in replenishing and maintaining a penetrating oil finish on a wood floor. Water, on the other hand, can make the wood swell and perhaps harm an oil-finished floor’s finish.

Using water to clean a wood floor with a surface treatment like polyurethane is typically advised. Oil-based cleaners could leave behind a residue that tarnishes the finish and is challenging to eliminate.

Generally speaking, the oil-based finish will be the best choice if you live in a house characterized by heavy traffic and want to enhance your wood floor’s longevity. We advise applying three coats of oil-based polyurethane on your wood floors to get the desired results. Since the oil-based polyurethanes are thicker, they build a thicker layer of protection on your wood floors.

On the other hand, the water-based finishes are thinner. However, they are slightly harder than the oil-based finishes. For water-based finishes, be weary of the moisture content, which may result in significant wood problems like cupping, crowning, bulking, or warping.

Q4. How does white vinegar affect wood?

Depending on the amount and application method, white vinegar, an acidic chemical, can have various effects on wood.

Cleaning: Wood surfaces can be naturally cleaned with white vinegar. When applied sparingly and diluted with water, it may remove grime, dirt and stains without harming the wood. However, excessive use or direct application of the vinegar to the wood might cause it to lose its natural oils, dry out, and become brittle due to its acidity. As such, if you have an alternative cleaning solution to your wood floor. You should avoid using vinegar solution as a cleaning product for hardwood floors.

Water stains on wood can be eliminated using white vinegar as a stain remover. White vinegar and olive oil should be combined equally, applied to the stain, and let sit for a few hours before being removed with a clean cloth. Use this technique sparingly and cautiously because it might also dry the wood.

White vinegar can occasionally be used to purposefully age or damage wood. When applied directly to the wood, vinegar can react with the tannins in wood to give it a worn or rustic appearance. However, this process may weaken the wood over time and increase its susceptibility to cracking or splitting.

In general, white vinegar can be a helpful cleaning and stain-removal technique for wood surfaces, but it should be used carefully and sparingly to prevent the wood from being harmed.

Q5. Is it safe to hydrate wooden floors if they are very old?

No. Rehydrating wood floors can restore their appearance and usefulness if the wood is structurally sound and hasn’t been severely damaged or deteriorated. As a result, rehydrating the floors might not be a good idea or safe option if the wood is seriously deformed, rotten, or pest-infested.

Besides, it is essential to remember that certain old hardwood flooring could contain dangerous components, such as asbestos or lead-based paint, which provide health hazards if disturbed. It is advised to have old wooden flooring examined by an expert who can evaluate its condition and offer guidance before attempting to rehydrate them.


You can restore the natural beauty of your flooring and avoid additional damage by rehydrating your wood floors. Cleaning your floors, selecting an appropriate moisturizer, applying it evenly, letting it absorb, and buffing the floor are critical steps to rehydrating your floor and achieving its original shine and value.

However,  it’s crucial to use a product made especially for wood floors and to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully. Your wood floors can survive many years and give your house a lovely, classic look with the proper care and upkeep.

We hope you benefit from this article. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns. Regards.

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