After you’ve sanding your wood floors, you need to seriously clean them. And I mean seriously. That’s because, unless you happen to live in a barn, those wood floors will be stained and sealed. You may skip the staining part, but you will be sealing them.
Any kind of dust remaining on the surface of your just-sanded wood floors will mess up your sealing work. Sawdust will make you nice sealing coat all gritty and bumpy and awful. After that point, the only way to fix it is to…sand again. And I’m sure you’re not especially keen on that, are you?
Vacuuming is Not Enough
Run a Shop-Vac across the floor, and call it a day?
No. Use the Shop-Vac (and start with window sills, radiators, door molding, etc. even before vacuuming the floor) to get off the worst of the sawdust. But that’s not enough.
Some floors installers will not recommend this, but you can use a very squeezed-out damp mop to pick up more sawdust.
Clean Floors with Tack Cloth
But the best thing in the world is called a tack cloth. These are annoyingly gummy rags that you buy cheap at the local hardware store. The gum feels like beeswax (because it is!) and feels a bit wet (’cause it ain’t), and that’s the cool thing. It works like a wet cloth, but it’s not.
For a 400 square foot floor, I would buy a five or six packs of tack cloth. Using the tack cloth will be your very final cleaning step. Keep the floor clean! Walk in sock feet! And those tack cloths are worthless once they have picked up sawdust. Toss ‘em out.
A small expense, but well worth it.