The Best Ingredients For Cleaning Cork Floors

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Cork flooring isn't as common as hardwood or tile, so you might be at a loss on how to clean it. But don't let that lack of knowledge deter you from installing it. Due to its soft and padded nature, it's a great addition to everything from home gyms to kids' playrooms to movie rooms. It's also a fun and novel material to add to living rooms or bedrooms, adding a pop of texture to the space. And luckily, it's just as easy to care for as its wooden and tiled counterparts. There are several ways to clean this type of flooring, but the two most recommended methods are to mop it with either vinegar or a pH-neutral cleanser. 

Both of these ingredients are strong enough to bust grime and dirt, but they're also gentle enough that they won't ruin the material of the flooring. Another bonus is that both ingredients are easily accessible and can be used for other chores in the house. You can use vinegar to clean everything from countertops to laundry, and a pH-neutral cleanser can be used to wash a variety of different floors in your home. This allows you to cut back on how many products you have in your cleaning cabinet since they're a multi-purpose tool. Here is how to use these ingredients to keep your cork flooring in tip-top shape.

How to clean cork flooring with vinegar

Cork is a non-toxic flooring option you could feel good about. It's hypoallergenic, doesn't off-gas any questionable chemicals, and is a natural material. And most important of all, it's easy to clean and maintain. According to flooring manufacturers, one way to keep it in tip-top shape is to wash it with a vinegar and water solution. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to a bucket of warm water, and use a soft microfiber or sponge mop to wash it. You want to avoid using any kind of hard bristle brushes since their stiff hairs can scratch the protective coating and mar its appearance. 

When mopping with the vinegar solution, make sure you are using a lightly damp mop and not a sopping wet one. Cork floors don't like to be wet since it can ruin the material. This means you should also wipe the floor dry afterward to ensure there is no standing moisture. You can do so with a fresh sponge mop or a cloth on a Swiffer or similar tool. If this is your first time mopping your new cork floor and you're worried about the acidic nature of vinegar, spot-test the method first in an inconspicuous corner. Wipe down a spot in a corner or behind a door and see how your cork floor and sealant react to the mixture. Since the solution is heavily diluted, it should be fine, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Play it safe with a pH neutral cleanser

If you want to use a milder solution to wash your cork floors instead, reach for a pH-neutral cleanser. These are safe to use because they're neither too alkaline nor too acidic, which means the soap won't negatively interact with the material. To properly dilute them, follow the directions on the label of the product you bought. Chances are you need to simply add a small amount of cleaner into a bucket of warm water, and then mop it like you would with the vinegar method. 

If you're unsure which pH-balanced cleaner to get, Bona Hardwood concentrate is a great pick. You can get a gallon for $32 on Amazon. This should last you about a year or more, so it's cost-effective. It does not leave residue on the flooring, has no odor, and won't dull the floor like other wood cleaners are known to do. It's one of the most recommended cleaning brands by flooring companies, so it's a safe bet to use this on your new cork floors.