How To Clean Cork Flooring

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How to clean cork flooringCork flooring provides unique attributes. Though it requires little maintenance, you need to know how to clean cork flooring to get the most out of it.

Quick Cleaning Tips for Cork Flooring

You can keep your cork floor looking clean and pristine with regular maintenance and cleaning. You also need to make sure to protect this soft material from moisture, abrasive materials, and direct sunlight. With the right approach to cleaning a cork floor, you can enjoy the positive attributes of this material without experiencing the drawbacks.

How to Clean your Cork Floor by Sweeping

cork floor sweeping

 Sweeping is a vital kind of preventive maintenance for cork flooring.  If you remove dirt, dust, and other particles, you will prevent them from getting ground into the floor, which will create a dirty, dull look that will be difficult to remove.

How much you sweep depends on how much traffic the cork surface sees. In a kitchen or living room, you can run the broom over the floor daily or every other day. In bedrooms or rooms that see less foot traffic, once or twice per week may be sufficient.

You should use a broom with soft bristles or a dry mop with a soft pad. You should never use a sweeper with stiff bristles, as these may scratch your floor or drag larger particles across the surface, which will also lead to scratching.

Though a broom is usually a better option, you can also use a vacuum as long as it does not have brushes, a beater bar, or a wet-cleaning feature. Because moisture damages cork floors, you should never use a steam cleaner or steam cleaning attachment.

How to Clean Your Cork Floor with a Mop

cork floor mopping

You can clean your cork floor with water and a microfiber mop. Cork floors can get damaged by excessive moisture. For this reason, you should use minimal water when cleaning your cork floor.

You should also avoid floor cleaning liquids that have ammonia. These will leave a residue, and the cork flooring could hold the chemical scent for a long time.

Instead of store-bought cleaning agents, you can opt for a few drops of dish detergent in a gallon of warm water. You should always wring the mop before washing a cork floor to minimize the amount of water that comes into contact with the surface.

 An alternative to soap is to use a quarter cup of plain white vinegar mixed into a gallon of water. 

How to Correctly Prepare to Mop a Cork Floor

You should always sweep the floor before mopping. Also, you want to make sure the surface gets dry as quickly as possible. If you have a fan in the room, you can turn it on as soon as you finish mopping. Also, you can open windows to create a natural air current to speed the drying process.

Like sweeping, the number of times that you need to mop depends on the amount of traffic that the floor sees. Mopping could be a monthly chore in a bedroom or a weekly job for a higher-traffic area such as a living room.

When Should You Perform a Deeper Clean on a Cork Floor?

You may want to perform a deeper clean on your cork floor once or twice each year. If the flooring covers a smaller area, you can perform this deep clean by hand. Using a rag, you can scrub the floor using a wood-floor or cork-floor cleaner.

You should always avoid cleaners that use ammonia, bleach, or other products that promise a “shine” or “glow.” These can damage the floor, leave a harsh scent behind, and leave a residue.

A Polyurethane Coating Can Protect Your Cork Floor

If you have an unfinished cork floor, you can apply several layers of polyurethane to protect against moisture and spills. These coatings last for between five and seven years, so you can reapply this coating after five years if needed.

 A polyurethane finish leaves the floor looking new and shiny.  However, the coating can get scratched if you are not careful. Make sure you use non-abrasive cleaning tools and sweep often to limit scratching.

Give a Cork Floor a Clean Look with a Buffer

Another option is to use a buffing machine. If your floor hasn’t is in poor conditions, you can use a buffer and then apply a polyurethane finish.

If you rent a floor machine and perform the buffing job on your own, you need to ensure that you use softer disks, such as fine steel wool. These disks are not going to grind too much of the floor away.  Buffing is an excellent way to deal with small scratches. 

How to Wax a Cork Floor

Some people use wax instead of polyurethane to coat their cork floor.  Floor wax is a natural substance, and it is easy to apply.  Most cork floor manufacturers suggest using undiluted 100% pure wax for the best protection.

The disadvantage of wax is that you need to reapply it annually. After five years, you need to strip the wax before reapplying a fresh coat. You do this to avoid excessive buildup. You also need to remove the wax if you want to switch to a polyurethane coat.

How to Handle Spills on a Cork Floor

cork floor spills

You need to avoid moisture on your cork floor. You should soak up spills as soon as possible. You should use a clean towel and soak up the spill using a blotting motion. If you spill leaves a stain, you can use a small amount of vinegar or dish soap mixed with warm water. You can rub this mixture in by hand.

You can use a mild floor cleaner as long as it is pH neutral.

What Other Maintenance Techniques Should I Know?

You can place felt padding under heavy furniture to avoid divots or scratches on your floor. Cork floors can also fade due to UV rays. If you have a window or area that gets direct sunlight, make sure you close the curtains, draw the shades, or apply a tint or window treatment to block UV rays.

If you maintain your cork floor correctly, you can enjoy its unique attributes without having to deal with potential drawbacks.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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