How to Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet – Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet - Step-by-Step Guide
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There will always be layers of every kind of dirt you can imagine underneath, no matter how clean your house or carpets are! From hair to massive amounts of dust bunnies, pet urine stains, and mildew patches.

Your finished wood floor’s subfloor serves as its base. Cleaning the dirt and dust requires sweeping and vacuuming.

Gather Your Supplies

How to Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet - Step-by-Step Guide
  • A floor scrape or something with a sharp edge to scrape away the old sealant or paint
  • Old towels or rags
  • A dustpan and broom
  • A bucket
  • 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
  • A 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  • Scrubbing brush
  • UV light, a.k.a. black light (Optional)

Why is It Necessary to Clean a Subfloor After Removing the Carpet?

When it comes to home improvements, some jobs are just trickier than others. So if you thought that how to get a stain out of a hardwood floor was your biggest concern, think again. Just wait until you decide to lift your carpets!

You might be dismayed to discover a buildup of dirt and dust beneath a carpet when you lift it up. Pet stains from previous years will have left their mark, penetrating the carpeting all the way to the subfloor. Additionally, you need to deal with a layer of outdated adhesive.

Before installing new flooring, it is best to get rid of any old blobs of carpet adhesive that may still be present on your subfloor. You’ll have a clean, smooth surface for installing your new flooring if you remove this accumulation of adhesive and dirt.

In contrast, it will seem simple to remove water stains from wood and even black stains from hardwood floors. You won’t need to worry, though, because these methods will enable you to quickly and conveniently clean your subfloor like a pro.

Guide to Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet

How to Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet - Step-by-Step Guide
  1. To remove the staples that were left behind from the carpet padding, use a floor scraper. This step is essential because, before laying your new carpet, you want to make sure that nothing is on the floor. For instance, nails may not be so easy to spot, but you will be able to get all of them with the floor scraper.
  2. Next, sweep the padding and debris into a large trash bag, if any. Or just turn on a shop vac if you have one. That poor little vac you use for regular cleaning will fare much worse than this!
  3. Reduce the amount of light in the space and use the UV light to spot any urine stains or foul odors you may have noticed.
  4. Pour 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a bucket. You may need to mix this paste several times, depending on the size of the area.
  5. Apply the solution to the stains and use the scrubbing brush to brush them off.
  6. After that, use a rag or towel to completely wipe the solution. Till all the stains are removed, repeat the procedure.
  7. The tricky part is now! You’ll have to “wash” the subflooring, but you’ll also want to be very careful so as not to drench it. Moisture really does not like wood! Therefore, it is best to steam clean it or very lightly mop it. (If done properly, steam is safe for wood.) After all, steam cleaning won’t produce nearly as much water waste as other techniques.
  8. To dry the place thoroughly, let air and sunshine (if possible) in. Turn on all of your available heaters, fans, air conditioners, etc. Hair dryers can also be helpful, but watch the temperature!
  9. Put on a sealant or paint after the subfloor has dried. Voila! When that one dries as well. You can now put in your new carpet.


Subfloors stabilize your floor surface and can be built from a variety of materials. These all come with inherent strengths and weaknesses.

By understanding the materials your subfloors are made of, you’ll be better prepared to clean your subfloor after removing the carpet. No matter the size or type of floor, you’ll do a great job using our extensive selection of floor cleaning detergents, tools, and accessories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Use to Clean Plywood Floors?

Vacuuming will be your most dependable ally if the plywood floors are only moderately dirty (think dust, hairs, and everyday grime). Get vinegar, bleach, or a thick paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda instead if you’re dealing with unpleasant or odorous stains like pet poop. They are among the most effective homemade germicidal cleaners.

How Can You Remove the Smell from a Subfloor?

Apply 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to the area and let it soak for a few minutes. Afterward, use a towel to wipe it down. A concentrated solution can be made by mixing a little dishwashing soap and baking soda with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spray it on, then let it sit for a few minutes before blotting it dry.

How Do You Treat Plywood Subfloor for Urine before New Carpet?

With a mildew-resistant, oil-based primer for plywood or solid boards like KILZ Complete or Zinsser B-I-N, you can seal odors into the wood. However, the subfloor needs to be completely dry before anything can be painted. The best course of action is to replace any urine-soaked wood. The good news is that only the affected areas need to be removed, not the entire subfloor!

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