How to Clean Oil Finished Wood Floors

Are you thinking about cleaning your oil-finished wood floors? It’s a task that requires a bit of time and patience but getting it right from the beginning will help keep your oil floor finish in top condition for much longer.

Here at Sussex Floor Restoration, we work with all kinds of clients to ensure that their natural oil-finished wood flooring gets that professional clean they’ve always wanted and that they continue to be protected for many years to come.

When cleaning any floor, it’s important to know what the finish of the floor is. Getting the wrong cleaning materials for your flooring type can have serious consequences and could even lead to damage that might be irreversible.

Most modern flooring will be finished with a surface sealant, such as polyurethane or polyacrylic, but there are plenty of floors (especially in older buildings) that are still finished with a penetrating seal or oil-based floor finish. Many of the wood floors we visit for restoration purposes are even left unfinished, depending on the preference of the owner.

real wood flooring maintenance - sussex floor maintance

How to Know Your Finish

If you need to know what type of finish your floor has, the quickest and cheapest method is to use the “smudge test”.

If your floor doesn’t smudge when you rub your finger on it, your floor is likely finished with a water-based polyurethane or polyacrylic finish.

If it does smudge, however, your floor is likely to have been finished with an oil-based sealant, shellac, or lacquer.

Oil vs Polyurethane Floor Finish

There are many benefits to water-based vs oil-based polyurethane flooring finishes, especially as well-engineered water-based flooring finishes are easier to clean and may look better for a longer period of time.

An oil-based wood floor finish for your flooring will still look good for many years, as long as it’s maintained correctly.

Cleaning Oil Finished Flooring

Floors that are finished with an oiled floor finish base, such as a hard wax oil finish for floors, tung oil wood floor finish, or white oil floor finish need to be maintained properly throughout their lifetime to ensure their longevity.

Penetrating seal-treated floors can be mopped with a damp mop, but it’s best not to use a very wet mop on the floor as this could cause problems with the sealant and risk water penetration.

Getting the right cleaner for your oil floor finish can seem quite a challenge, but in general, you will need to go for a gentle cleaner that doesn’t contain high alkaline levels or any harsh abrasive formulas. Also, buy a cleaner that doesn’t contain ammonia.

Using harsher cleaners will risk scratching your wooden floors and they may even contribute to the early breakdown of your wood floor finish.

Cleaning an oil floor finish with some simple and gentle neutral wood floor cleaner is the best option, but be sure to avoid a very wet mop. A damp mop with warm (not too hot) water is recommended for cleaning most oiled floor finishes, including oiled dance floors, home floors, and even an oil-based gym floor finish.

A mop washing a wooden floor in an apartment. Concept of care for the cleanliness of the apartment. Mopping the floor

Get in Touch

For more information on oil-finished wood floors, or to discuss our floor restoration services; wood floor sanding, and parquet flooring restoration, get in touch with our friendly team on 01444 810505.

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