How to Remove Murphy’s Oil Soap from Hardwood Floors

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how to remove murphys oil soap from hardwood floors

If you’ve mopped your floors with Murphy’s Oil soap and have a hazy residue left behind, you’re probably wondering how to get it off.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult.

You can remove a Murphy’s Oil Soap residue by cleaning your floors with water and a microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t work, try water and white distilled vinegar. The acidity in the vinegar will eat through the residue.

If you’re ready to get started, here’s how to remove residue from Murphy’s Oil Soap and the best way to use this cleaner in the future.

What is Murphy’s Oil Soap, and When Should You Use It?

what is murphys oil soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap is a natural cleaner that brings out the beauty and shine in finished wood. 

But despite the name, there’s no oil in this product. Instead, pine oil is one of the raw ingredients and after the manufacturing process, no free oil is left behind. Instead, this product works like soap.

This cleaner has a light lemony fragrance, and you can use it on any finished wood floors (that have a poly coating), cabinets, tile, and linoleum.

How to Remove Murphy’s Oil Soap from Hardwood Floors

Even though Murphy’s Oil Soap doesn’t have any free oil in it, it’s still possible for it to leave behind a residue. The chances are even more likely if you previously used other cleaners that you didn’t adequately dilute.

Luckily, there are a couple of ways to remove the Murphy’s Oil Soap residue from your hardwoods.

Method 1: Use Water and Microfiber Cloth

For the first method, you only need three things: water, a microfiber cloth, and a towel.

Here’s what to do:

  • Dampen your microfiber cloth with clean water
  • Wipe down your floors in small sections
  • Dry the area you wiped down
  • Move on to the next section

The water and microfiber cloth should remove leftover residue and is the most gentle method. If you try it and it doesn’t work, move on to the next suggestion.

Method 2: Mop with Water + Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic. Because of this, it’s not a cleaner you want to use on hardwood floors regularly. If you do, it will slowly eat through your poly, leaving your wood floors exposed.

However, it’s okay to use diluted vinegar every once in a while, and it’s beneficial when you need to cut through soap residue from a previous cleaner.

(Just spot test on your floors first.)

  • Mix a solution of half white distilled vinegar and half water
  • Dampen your mop and mop over the residue 
  • Dry your floors with a microfiber cloth to pick up any lingering soap build-up

How to Properly Use Murphy’s Oil Soap on Your Hardwoods

how to properly use murphys oil soap on your hardwoods

Murphy’s Oil Soap is for use on hardwood floors. However, if you don’t dilute it properly, you will be left with a hazy residue.

To safely use Murphy’s Oil Soap on your hardwoods, follow these steps:

Dilution: To dilute Murphy’s Oil Soap add ¼ cup of product to one gallon of warm water. If your floors are heavily soiled or are a very hardwood like oak, you can use up to ½ cup per gallon of water. Don’t use more than this.

  • After diluting the product, lightly dampen your mop with the solution.
  • Mop your floors, clean out your mop, and reapply the solution as needed.

It’s important to never overly saturate your mop – doing so will damage your hardwoods. 

You don’t have to rinse Murphy’s soap after mopping.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to remove murphys oil soap from hardwood floors

Does Murphy’s Oil Soap go bad?

Murphy’s Oil Soap doesn’t have an expiration date, and it’s unlikely that it will spoil before you finish the bottle. However, after two years of opening the bottle, most cleaning experts recommend discarding a multi-surface cleaning product.

 If you’re wondering if your bottle of Murphy’s Oil Soap is still good, look for lumps or thickening – if you don’t see any, it’s probably okay to use.

Can you use Murphy’s Oil Soap on laminate floors?

You can use Murphy’s Oil Soap on laminate just like you would hardwood floors. But before you get to mopping, make sure to properly dilute your cleaner. Add ¼ cup of oil soap to a gallon of water and avoid oversaturating your floors.

Will Murphy’s Oil soap make your floors shine?

Regular Murphy’s Oil Soap is a cleaner for sealed wood. It will clean your floors and leave them with a natural shine. But, since it doesn’t contain any free oil, it won’t make them super shiny. 

Does Murphy’s Oil Soap restore hardwood floors?

Murphy’s Oil Soap is a cleaner and does not restore hardwood floors. Hardwood restoration products fill in scratches and leave a shiny topcoat behind. Murphy’s soap only cleans wood.

Can you use Murphy’s Oil Soap on vinyl flooring?

You can use Murphy’s Oil Soap on vinyl flooring. Since this soap doesn’t have any free oil, it won’t leave an oily coating on your vinyl – instead, it gently cleans it. And since this product is 99% natural, it’s a great choice if you worry about harsh cleaners in your home.

Final Thoughts

Murphy’s Oil Soap is a hardwood floor cleaner. When adequately diluted, it does a great job cleaning wood and leaves behind a natural shine. However, if you use too much or already have a cleaner build-up on your floor, you might notice a hazy residue left behind.

The best way to get rid of this residue is to wipe it off using water and a microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t work, you can eat through the haze using diluted white distilled vinegar.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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