Exterior vs. Interior Wood Care: What's the Difference?

When it comes to caring for hardwoods inside and outside, not all products are created the same. That’s because both exterior and interior woodcare require oils and cleaners that are uniquely designed for each. So, what’s the difference exactly?

We’re breaking down what you need to know about exterior vs. interior wood care, along with some products to help out along the way.

Wood oils


Interior wood oils are designed to penetrate deep into your floors so they can withstand daily wear and tear. However, many wood oil finishes typically contain polyurethane, which can be dangerous to work with and toxic to you and your family.

Your best bet is to stick to non-toxic, plant-based wood oils that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Not only are these safe, but they penetrate and harden, providing top-notch protection from daily activities as well as water damage, stains, cracking, and warping. Our top pick? WOCA Diamond Oil Active, which can be used on all indoor wood species — whether you’re refinishing your floors or furniture.


Exterior wood oils are designed to offer more optimal protection from elements like water and sunlight. Like indoor wood oils though, many of these have a high level of toxins that aren’t as safe for you and your family.

WOCA Outdoor Wood Stain, on the other hand, is also plant-based and low in VOCs, making it extremely safe and long-lasting. Unlike other outdoor stains that just sit on the surface, Outdoor Wood Stain strengthens your exterior wood from the insight out while protecting it from sun damage caused by UV rays.

Wood cleaning


Interior cleaning products are just as important — if not more — than wood oils. That’s because you clean your hardwoods and furniture more often, which means more exposure to you and your family. 

For daily and weekly cleaning, opt for a natural hardwood soap that cleans and protects without stripping the color. If you’re wanting to re-oil your floors entirely or apply a maintenance coat of oil, you’ll want to use a stronger cleaning solution, like Intensive Wood Cleaner, which opens up the grains on your floor so the wood oil can properly sink in and harden.


Exterior hardwood-like patios and wood furniture don’t need as much routine cleaning — especially if you only use your outdoor space seasonally. But if you’re spring cleaning your patio to prep it for summer, you’ll likely want to start with a deep cleaning to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and stains that built up over the winter months. You may even need to sand down exterior wood surfaces to prevent splinters and to smooth the grain.

 Our advice? Ditch the power washer and opt for WOCA Exterior Wood Cleaner instead. It’s not only perfect for your wooden deck and furniture — it can be used to clean furniture, siding, brick, concrete, tile, and pavers. If your patio needs occasional cleaning through peak usage times, Exterior Wood Cleaner is also perfect for quick, routine cleanings to keep your outdoor space fresh (it’s plant-safe, too!)

Wood maintenance and protection


With proper maintenance and protection, your interior hardwood floors can last for several years. With the right products, you can clean, maintain, and protect all in one. Enter: WOCA Natural Soap Spray. It not only cleans — it protects and strengthens your wood with each use while keeping your wood oil intact.

 Occasionally, you may need to simply refresh the look of your wood floors and furniture. For that, you can turn to WOCA Oil Refreshing Soap, which does exactly as it says. This can be used 3 to 4 times a year to extend the color of your floors without reapplying anything.

If after a few years your floors and furniture need a re-oiling, you can turn to a maintenance oil, like Maintenance Oil Diamond Active. This doesn’t require stripping and sanding  as other wood oils do, making it a simple solution for long-term maintenance and protection.


Exterior hardwoods are often subjected to harsher elements, so the right care products will also be important for long-term maintenance and protection. After cleaning your outdoor patio and furniture, spray it down with our Exterior Multi Protector. Combined with an exterior wood cleaner, this will further protect wood and furniture from weather, water, dirt, and grease.

Finally, to prevent your patio and furniture from sun damage, consider investing in protective gear like:

  • Furniture covers
  • Patio shades
  • Patio screens
  • Curtains
  • Umbrellas

 Don’t forget to use these even when you’re not on your patio to ensure your exterior hardwood lasts for years to come.

Protect your interior and exterior hardwood with WOCA Woodcare

Your interior and exterior hardwoods are different, so the way you treat, clean, and protect them should also be different. But with the right products, the wood surfaces inside and around your home will look great and remain strong year-round.

Ready to treat your hardwoods with wood care products that are safe and effective? Explore our indoor collection here, and our outdoor collection here!

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