I just bought a house from the mid 1800’s. Hardwood throughout but two rooms have had rugs on the floor for obviously many, many, years. When we pulled up the rugs we found that the hardwood was extremely dirty and/or stained. I’m sure there are a hundred different answers as to what to what caused this and the best course of action, hoping to get some ideas for cleaning or if refinishing will be necessary.


Floor Detail

  • 4
    You have a long process ahead of you in sanding and refinishing. (The whole room, you will not get the rug area to match well with rest of the floor.) The end result will be stunning, so worth it IMO.
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 27, 2020 at 21:08
  • Cinderella floor. Thanks for the photo!
    – Willk
    Dec 27, 2020 at 22:07
  • Amusingly in my 1910 house I have the opposite. I believe they decided to save money and not stain under were the rug would go
    – KCD
    Jan 15 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


You can try cleaning the grime off (thats some of the carpet pad impregnated with dirt), but ultimately you should refinish the wood floor.

This involves a commercial sanding machine and other equipment not readily available.

To clean try and scrape as much of the crud off as possible using a putty knife or a paint scraper. try not to gouge the wood or remove the stain (this is the difficult part). Next you should use some type of floor cleaner. I think a good cleaning product is TSP. It's made for heavy cleaning. Fill a bucket with hot water and mix in the appropriate amount of TSP. Wring the mop out so the floor isn't saturated with water and apply. Scrubbing with a bristle brush will help. Repeat as needed.

  • 2
    I agree, although after thoroughly scrubbing/cleaning it may look better than you expect. Wood floor refinishing has indeed become a DIY job and you should be able to rent any/all equipment necessary. Dec 27, 2020 at 23:38
  • Looks like trowel marks from carpet glue. By the time you get all that off, you're going to have to refinish the floor. This can be DiY with a random orbit sander but it's going to take a lot of paper, elbow grease, and time. With professional equipment it's like three days; yourself, it's going to take a month, and likely look like it. You need an edger, a drum sander, and a RO sander, but most importantly, you need to know how to use them. Drums have a steep and unforgiving learning curve, and if you have a bad back; forget about it.
    – Mazura
    Dec 28, 2020 at 0:09

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