How To Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet

Most subfloors are generally referred to as plywood, though subfloors can be made of other materials like oriented strand board, concrete, and other organic-based materials. After removing your old carpet, it is crucial to check the state of your subfloor and clean it as necessary. Replacing carpet without proper cleaning and deodorizing of the subfloor can lead to serious problems and that is why it is important to know how to clean subfloor after removing carpet in your home.

A carpeted subfloor gives your home a classy and elegant look. However, this leads to you removing the old carpet or installing a new one. Since the subfloor is under a carpet, you will have to put extra effort into cleaning the subfloor.


What you should know about cleaning subfloors?

Pet odor is one of the commonest odors that happen to subfloors and the best bet is to use an enzymatic pet cleaner to achieve the cleaning job. These pet cleaners are composed of enzymes that convert organic waste into carbon dioxide and water. They are also effective in removing oil, grease, food, and wine stains. Be sure to sweep and vacuum the floor completely before applying any of the cleaners.

Select an enzymatic cleaner that is specifically for the kind of odors and stains on your subfloor. However, you may need to use more than one of those products. Go for a cleaning solution that contains protease if your subfloor has urine, wine, and bloodstains. Cleaning solution that contains lipase is good for removing oil and grease.

Cleaners that are composed of amylase work better for starch-based stains, sugar, and egg stains. It is important to read the instructions written on the product label or manual guide. After applying your chosen cleaning solution to the subfloor, allow it to sit on the floor for up to a day so it can work effectively as desired. Rinse and dry after.

How To Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet

Other ways to clean subfloor

You may decide not to use an enzymatic cleaner but a homemade cleaning solution. Combine ¼ cup of dish soap, 1/3 cup of white vinegar, and 1 cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle very well to get it properly mixed, then spray it on the subfloor. Use a neat cloth or towel to wipe it off. Inspect the subfloor if what you just did has an effect on it. If it does, mix a large amount of the cleaning solution you just prepared and wash the subfloor with a sponge.

You can also combine a part of bleach or hydrogen peroxide with warm water. Apply this mixture to clean the subfloor. Use a mop over the subfloor surface and use a clean towel to dry it afterward. Allow it to dry completely. Make sure to wear protective gloves, a mask, and goggles when using any of the cleaners.


How to clean the subfloor after removing carpet

  1. After removing the carpet, there will be glue marks on the floor that you need to deal with. Scrape them off with handheld floor scrapers.
  2. Once you remove the adhesive from the subfloor, get rid of accumulated dirt and dust by sweeping and vacuuming the subfloor
  3. Mix one part vinegar with water or one part bleach inside a bucket. These cleaning solutions are good at eradicating smell.
  4. Now, start washing the floor. Don’t pour too much water on it to avoid getting it all soaked up with moisture. Work in sections by moving from one small area to another.
  5. Dip a broom into the water and brush it over the subfloor
  6. Ensure to dry the first small area completely with a dry towel before moving to other parts.
  7. Proceed to other parts and repeat procedures 3, 4 and 5
  8. After you are done with the entire floor, allow it to dry.
  9. You may choose to apply a sealer to keep away any remaining smell.
  10. Apply the paint while following the manufacturer’s instructions
  11. Let the paint dry up before installing a new carpet.

Also Read: 7 Best epoxy resin for river table

How to treat pet odors from subfloor?

If you have pets like dogs and cats in your home, escaping pet odors from your subfloor is almost impossible. When pet urine dries, it turns to crystals and releases a bad odor. Even after replacing the old carpet and rug pad, you may still end up with such stench because it would have soaked inside the wooden subfloor.

You may not really need to replace the wooden subfloor, just lift off the new carpet to locate where the stench is coming from. In some cases, it is not possible to eradicate the odors from the subfloor. So, you will need to cut out the affected area and replace it, then treat the remaining part of the subfloor with a cleaner specially meant for pet urine before replacing the carpet.

In a case where you want to deal with cat urine, effectively cleaning it relies on some factors like where it is located, how long it has been there, and the kind of surface it was deposited on. We are dealing with wooden subfloor surfaces here. The recommended cleaners you can go for should contain enzymes that can break down and neutralize the urine odor.

Firstly, use a wad of paper towels and press firmly into the affected area to soak up as much liquid as possible. There are various commercial cleaners for pet odors in nearby hardware stores. Make sure to read the instructions in the product manual guide. You can as well use several homemade cleaners as an alternative.

  1. Hydrogen peroxide: Spray a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide on the affected spot and allow it to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how large the spot is. Then, dry it clean with a clean towel.
  2. To prepare a more concentrated solution, mix 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of dish soap and little baking soda. Spray this mixture on the affected area and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then, use a clean cloth or towel to blot dry.
  3. White vinegar: Mix warm water with about 25 to 30 percent of white vinegar. Spray the mixture on the spot and let it sit for a few minutes before you dry.

Caution: Always test these homemade solutions on a piece of carpet or areas out of sight to confirm they won’t cause damage to your subfloor. Ensure to avoid products that have ammonia content.

How To Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet

Eliminating odors from concrete

Concrete is porous and it soaks in liquid which can lead to smell whether it is subfloor or an outdoor floor in a basement, garage, or kitchen. Enzymatic cleaners are effective at neutralizing odors on concrete. It is wise to choose a cleaner that has trisodium phosphate content. Pour 1 gallon of warm water into a bucket and mix with the cleaner.

Apply the cleaning solution to the floor and allow it to absorb for about 10 minutes. Make use of a short-bristled nylon deck brush to scrub it in. Then, rinse the floor with warm water 2 to 3 times. You may need to vacuum the subfloor to get rid of excess water.


Frequently asked questions: How To Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet


Q: Materials appropriate to clean plywood floors

A: No material is detrimental to the health of the plywood produced using natural wood. However, these floors might get dirty through the accumulation of dirt and dust, and require cleaning. The materials you can use include white vinegar, bleach, or degreaser.

Q: Can I put kilz on the subfloor?

A: Depending on the kind of floor and why it is used, a kiln can be used on subfloor. The paint works well on plywood, hardwood, and other kinds of subfloor prone to stains and odors. This paint can either be oil-based or water-based.

Q: Does kilz get rid of odor?

Kilz original primer has been widely used among professionals for over decades. They are good at eliminating odor and stains. They have excellent sealing properties. When replacing carpet, kilz can be used to block odors from subfloor.

Q: How to clean a subfloor before painting?

A: You need to be aware that paint won’t stick on dirty surfaces. Don’t let liquid get absorbed into subfloor because it can warp the subfloor wood. Wash the subfloor and allow it to dry before painting.

Q: Is plywood a subfloor?

A: The subfloor is a structural layer of sheet quality material. This material can be either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). There is always a debate on which one is best – plywood or OSB.

Q: Can I paint a subfloor?

A: Sure, you can successfully paint your subfloor and it will last for years. The process of getting this done is not that rigorous and it is something you can get done without no too much stress.

Should a subfloor be painted before carpet installation?

Installing carpet shouldn’t restrict you from painting your subfloor if want to. Actually, it is a good choice to firstly paint your subfloor before installing the carpet. This is because if any drip misses the drop cloth, they might be covered over once your floors are installed.

Also read: Best water-based polyurethane for furniture

Conclusion: How To Clean Subfloor After Removing Carpet

Cleaning a subfloor after removing the carpet can be a stressful job if the appropriate procedures are not followed. Instead of spending a lot of money with a professional, follow the above procedures and get your desired result.