How To Rehydrate Wood Floors – Make Your Floor Dry & Shine Again

How To Rehydrate Wood Floors featured image

The floor is essential to your house, and wood is an ideal material. However, wood floors can encounter various problems over time. A few to mention are scratches, gaps, squeaks, or discoloration. And, of course, dehydration is one of them. Wood floor dehydration is the leading cause of your wood floor not lasting as long as it would. This article will dive deep into the ‘symptoms’ of dehydrated wood floors, why we should rehydrate the wood floor more frequently, and how to do that precisely. 

How To Know If Your Wood Floor Is Dehydrated

To determine if your wood floors are dehydrated, there are several signs you can look out for. One common indication is the presence of gaps and cracks between the floorboards. Dry wood tends to shrink, causing the floorboards to separate and create noticeable gaps. Additionally, cupping or buckling of the floorboards can occur when the edges become higher or lower than the center, respectively. These distortions can result from uneven moisture levels and indicate dehydration.

Another clue is the emergence of squeaky or creaky sounds when walking on the floor. Dry wood can become dry and rub against adjacent components, producing noises that indicate the need for rehydration. Additionally, visually inspecting the appearance of the wood floors can provide valuable information. Dehydrated wood often loses its natural luster and can appear dull or faded. If your wood floors lack the vibrant color and shine they once had, it may be a sign that they need moisture.

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Lastly, dry wood is more susceptible to damage. You may notice increased scratches, dents, or splintering on the surface. The lack of moisture compromises the strength and flexibility of the wood, making it more prone to wear and tear. This guide’s ultimate goal is to keep your wood floor as durable as possible.

Reference: Article titled ‘How Long Can a Wood Flooring System Last?’ – MDPI.

When & Why You Should Rehydrate Wood Floors

The first question: When? The answer is as soon as you recognize any of the above signs showing that your wood floor is dehydrated. Or, make this a routine maintenance, like annually or biannually. But I find that only necessary if your wood floor is old and needs regular care. Decide what is best for you! 

What happens if you don’t rehydrate your wood floor when it needs you the most? Dehydrated wood floors can lead to shrinkage, gaps between floorboards, cupping, buckling, cracking, splintering, and a loss of luster and beauty. The lack of moisture makes the wood brittle and susceptible to damage, while its appearance may become dull, faded, or discolored. For short, your wood floor will be visually poor and inconvenient at some points.

Read more: Best Flooring Warranties For Your Home: What You Should Know.

Some benefits for rehydrating wood floors when it’s needed: 

  • Restores the natural outlook of the wood floors & enhances the longevity and lifespan of the wood flooring.
  • Prevent further damage, such as cracking, splintering, or warping.
  • Fewer gaps and cracks between floorboards will improve the wood floors’ overall stability and structural integrity, creating a more comfortable and pleasant walking surface.
  • Preserves your investment in your wood flooring by keeping it in optimal condition. Moreover, maintaining well-maintained wood floors adds value to your home or property.
  • Rehydrating wood floors provides a healthier indoor environment by preventing dust, debris, and allergens accumulation in gaps and cracks.

Love it? Let’s get started!

How To Rehydrate Wood Floors (An Easy Step-by-step Guide)

1. Clean Up the Floor

Before rehydrating your wood floors, it’s essential to clean them thoroughly. This step’s final goal is to remove any dirt, dust, or debris on the surface. You can use a broom, a soft brush, or a microfiber mop for this task. This step helps remove loose particles that could interfere with moisture absorption during rehydration.

Only move on to this step if you find stubborn stains or spills on the wood floor (like old paint spots, glue/gum stains). The above action can’t eliminate them. Here is a general how-to guide:

  1. Dampen your soft cloth with a mild cleaning solution for wood floors. Avoid harsh chemicals, which can harm the wood or cause discoloration.
  2. Gently blot the stained area to avoid causing any damage.
  3. After cleaning, give the floor enough time to dry completely before starting the rehydration process. You can use dry microfiber cloths or let the floor air dry.

Better visualizations from Youtube: 

This precaution prevents moisture from seeping into the wood, causing problems like warping or mold growth. Properly cleaning the floor prepares it for rehydration, ensuring that your wood floors effectively regain their health and appearance.

2. Prepare The Rehydration Mixture For Wood Floors

Preparing a rehydration solution for wood floors is a simple process. Here’s a straightforward method to follow:

  • Gather Your Ingredients: You’ll need warm water and a suitable cleaning agent for wood floors. Look for a pH-neutral wood floor cleaner or mild dish soap to use in the solution.
  • Mix the Solution: Fill a bucket or container with warm water, ensuring it’s not too hot. Add a small amount of the wood floor cleaner or a few drops of mild dish soap to the water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate amount of cleaner to use. Stir the solution gently to mix it well.
  • Test the Solution: Before applying the rehydration solution to the entire floor, it’s a good idea to test it in a small, inconspicuous area. This step helps ensure that the solution doesn’t cause any adverse effects on the wood.

Remember, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific wood floor cleaner you’re using is essential. Some cleaners may have different dilution ratios or application methods, which might not suit your case. After getting this done, we quickly move to the next step: applying the solution.

3. Apply The Solution & Patiently Wait

Gently apply the solution using these simple steps: 

  1. Once satisfied with the test, dip a mop or a clean cloth into the rehydration solution and wring out any excess moisture.
  2. Work in small sections, starting from one end of the room and moving towards the other.
  3. Gently mop or wipe the floor with a damp cloth, not oversaturating the wood.

Usually, it takes a few minutes to wipe the floor, but you should check the manufacturer’s instructions for the exact time.

Take a look at a few tutorials I can find on Youtube (especially the parts you can see the liquid):

4. Wipe Out The Excess Moisture & Let It Dry

After applying the rehydration solution to the wood floor, use a dry cloth or mop to remove any extra moisture. Make sure to remove the solution from all areas of the floor. Then, let the wood floor dry naturally. It’s a good idea to open windows or doors to circulate fresh air and help the floor dry faster. Be patient and wait until the floor is arid before walking on it again. This step prevents problems like bending, unevenness, or mold. Keeping the wood floor dry helps it stay strong and look its best.

Once the wood floor has dried completely, please take a moment to inspect it again. Look for any remaining signs of dryness or areas that still appear dehydrated. Repeat the rehydration process or address specific spots with targeted moisturizing treatments. Regularly inspecting your wood floor helps ensure it stays hydrated for a beautiful and resilient appearance.

Read more: How To Make Hardwood Floors Look New Again – Useful Methods


Rehydrating wood floors can revive their appearance and strength. You can effectively restore your dehydrated wood floors by cleaning the floor, applying a rehydration solution, and removing excess moisture. Regular maintenance and preventive measures are essential to keep your floors in good shape for long. This action will also save you more time and money on future wooden flooring problems. 

Is this article helpful? Remember to let me know your thoughts/ questions in the comment section! Also, here are a few suggestions for your next read on GreenHouseCenter: 

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