How to Clean Cork Floors

How to Clean Cork Floors

Cleaning cork flooring is not much different from cleaning hardwood floors.  If you have questions about How to Clean Cork Floors or comments about How to Clean Cork Floors, I will answer them here.  Feel free to ask your questions about How to Clean Cork Floors and care for a cork floor.

The basics:

There is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to take care of your cork floors. Cork is a finished surface and should be treated in the same way a hardwood floor is treated.  Forna cork products are factory finished with water based polyurethane.  Polyurethane is a tough, surface finish that sits on top of the cork and protects it from damage and stains.  The polyurethane is in the same category as hardwood floors finished with urethane or polyurethane.  That means there can be no harsh chemicals, no wax based, no oil based, no solvent based products used on these floors.  If the bottle does not say “pH Neutral Hardwood Floor Cleaner” then do not buy/use it on cork or hardwood.

The RIGHT way:

  1. Sweep dust/dirt/sand off of the floor on a regular basis (3-5 times per week)
  2. Vacuuming is fine so long as you TURN OFF the beater bar
  3. Dry mopping with microfibre material or push mops that use static electricity to hold the material is acceptable
  4. Damp mopping with water is normally all these floors required (1-4 times per month)
  5. For a deeper clean or to remove stubborn dried on food/mud a “pH Neutral Cleaner for Hardwood Floors” is acceptable (1-2 times per month)
  6. For “natural” cleaning products we ONLY allow a water:vinegar mixture of 10:1 ratio (1-2 times per month)
  7. For very stubborn greasy floors the water:vinegar mixture can have 1 DROP of “Dawn” dish soap added;  if you proceed with this method the floor must be rinsed with hot, clean water to remove any trace of the soap.  Several rinses (2-3 rinses) are normally required for this procedure which is why most people choose not to use this method of cleaning; this format is recommended only a few times per year (2-4 times per year)
  8. After a damp mop, it is wise to wipe the floors dry to remove any concerns about water spots left behind on the floor

The WRONG way shows how these products will damage your floor:

  • #1 WORST thing to use is Murphy’s Oil Soap – will ruin the most expensive finish inside of a year or two and there is no way to apply more finish to save the floor; the only cure for Murphy’s = new flooring
  • “All Purpose” cleaners are not to be used on finished wood floors; they can to be used on glass, ceramic/porcelain/cement tiles and metal but NOT WOOD!
  • “Natural All Purpose” cleaning products are as bad as their “chemical” cousins; they are not meant for anthing other than glass, cement or metal
  • “Natural” Cleaning products are often derived from “oil based soaps” which puts these products in the same “floor killing” category as Murphy’s Oil Soap; best to avoid these products
  • Oil Based cleaners or “shine” products such as Mop&Glo or Orange Glo; these products leave heavy residues that rank in the same category as Murphy’s Oil Soap and should never be used on wood surfaces – ever!
  • Steam Cleaners will “cook” the finish to the point where it will turn white and hazy; this is quite common and often requires the floor to be fully sanded and refinished which means you will loose the pretty pattern and the colour of the cork you paid plenty of money for; or the cheapest option is to rip out the floor and install another floor while at the same time throwing out the steam cleaner
  • “Swiffer” style spray mops are not designed for polyurethane or urethane floors; they are allowed on ceramic/porcelain/cement tiles, linoleum and sheet vinyl but NOT WOOD!
  • Oil, wax or polishes should be avoided They are inappropriate for Forna cork flooring products

These are the basics of How to Clean Cork Floors.  Most of these products are heavily advertised with pretty pictures of the product being used on wood floors but the reality is that very few are acceptible for use with wood or cork.