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How to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

Hi Neighbors!

If you have been to the Rocky Top 10 Movie Theater in the past few weeks, you have probably noticed Bob up on the big screen telling you a little known fact...

You should never use Murphy Oil on your prefinished hardwood floors! 

What?! That is correct. ALL of our manufacturers do not cover your warranty on a floor which has been routinely cleaned with Murphy Oil Soap. For example, the Armstrong Prefinished Hardwood Floors Certified 50 Year Warranty expressly states, "Do not wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty." 

Murphy Oil is a vegetable oil based product. Most of our prefinished hardwood floors are polyurethane coated. Imagine polyurethane as the coating which protects your wood from stains, scratches and soil. You cannot oil this finish as the polyurethane is designed to not allow absorption of any material. Using the oil cleaner will generate a build up of oil residue on the surface. Over time, your floors will begin to dull and smudge. The oil can also eat into the finish of some polyurethane quickening the dulling process and permanently damaging the finish. 

Customers generally want to refinish the floors once they become dull and if you have a build up of residue, you are likely to gum up any sander that tries to remove the coating. It is a great idea to err on the side of caution and use a manufacturer approved hardwood cleaner. 

Now begs the question, what is a good hardwood cleaner? There are several options, but there is work involved in finding the correct one for you. Not all finishes and floors are created equal in polyurethane finishes. Each mixture is unique to the product and the wood species. You may have to try a little trial and error until you find the cleaner that works best with your floor. 

We here at Crossville Wholesale Carpet are partial to Shaw's Hard Surface Cleaner. We keep it in stock along with Armstrong Hardwood Cleaner. The trick is to use the right mop head and care for your tools. You do not lay a spatula on a hot stove, as it will melt it. There are a few rules for your mops as well! 

Purchase a spray cleaner APPROVED by the manufacturer of your hardwood. Spray a 3x3 area with the cleaner. Use a terry cloth mop to remove spray and soil. A single mop head will cover approximately 300 sf, about two rooms. You will need to have a second head on hand if you have a house of hardwood. If the mop head becomes dirty, it stops effectively removing soil and starts putting it back down in streaks. 

To clean the mop head, put them in the washing machine and wash with either white vinegar or a powder detergent. Try to avoid liquid pods and liquid detergent. You can toss them in the dryer and store until ready to mop again. 

We recommend you vacuum your hardwood, with the beater bar OFF, once a week. This will remove the vast majority of abrasive soil which causes scratches and a dull finish. A soft bristle broom is a great tool as well. Clean with the approved hardwood cleaner as needed. I try to do this every 2 weeks. 

Now the final question I know is burning...What would someone do if they had been using Murphy Oil Soap? STOP IMMEDIATELY. Vinegar and water mix, 1 part to 4 parts will cut through a lot of the oil. This is not a mix I would use frequently as water and vinegar can be too aggressive on many polyurethane coatings, but it will cut through the oil build-up. Mineral spirits will also clean up oil residue, and this requires a lot of elbow grease. Apply the oil with a clean white cloth. Come immediately after with a clean, dry cloth and remove the mineral spirits. You do have to scrub when cleaning this way, but it will work...eventually. 

I hope this helps! I know it can be frustrating, but call us anytime. We have cleaner for all types of flooring and we will help you make certain you are getting the best and keeping your warranty! 

-- Kate 



By the way, Danny Ferguson will be our new countertop expert here at Crossville Wholesale Carpet. We are offering granite and quartz. Danny has a section of the showroom here at Main Street showcasing the new color selections. Please stop in and take a look at our selection when you are in town.

Cambria Quartz - Bellingham - Waterstone Collection™ 


Visit HOUZZ.COM for home design ideas.


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