Cleaning Cork Tile Floors
How to Clean Cork Floors
Cork floors, often overshadowed by its popular counterparts such as vinyl and hardwood, is a misunderstood gem. Contrary to the misconception that paints it as inferior, cork flooring has many benefits.
Cork flooring has emerged as a favorite among the environmentally conscious, harnessing the renewable potential of cork oak trees flourishing in the Mediterranean.
Cork is the bark of the tree that splits from it naturally every 10 years or so. This cork that is used in floors is the same type of cork that comes in a wine bottle.
While cork may seem soft, especially after it’s removed from a wine bottle, it’s actually a very durable substance. After it’s made into floor tiles, it’s treated so its durability and functionality are increased.
Cork is as durable as most hardwood and laminate flooring, but it does require occasional buffing and sealing.
Pros of Having Cork Floors
- Soft comfortable flooring
- Noise insulator
Cons of Having Cork Floors
- Needs to be sealed yearly if not more often. If not sealed, it will result in more wear and tear of the finish, making it much easier to damage the flooring.
- Direct sunlight can fade flooring.
- It is not moisture resistant.
- Prior to laying a cork floor you must check sub-floor for moisture.
- Susceptible to damage by pets or if not kept clean.
Maintaining Cork Floors
- You must sweep or vacuum at least once a week; daily if there is a lot of foot traffic, to remove sand, dirt and grit. These can mar and scratch the surface.
- Cork, just as every other floor, should have spills cleaned up immediately. It’s very important to not allow any liquid or highly acidic foods like tomatoes to sit on the floor for any length of time
- Cork should be mopped regularly. It’s important to use a soft mop, no hard bristles or scrubbers allowed.
- Door mats inside and outside of entry points are important to keep debris from the bottom of shoes from transferring onto the floor.
- Shoes should be taken off at entry points to keep the floor from being damaged.
- Add felt buttons to the bottom of furniture.
- Do not apply too much water when cleaning.
- If you have pets, be sure to keep water bowls on a mat to keep the floor from getting to wet.
How To Clean Cork Floors
To preserve the longevity and beauty of cork floors, it is essential that they must be kept clean. Cork tiles are usually treated with one of two finishes: Wax or polyurethane. Regardless of which kind of finish was used on your tiles, the initial cleaning steps are the same.
When cleaning these floors, do not apply too much water as this can get between the planks and cause possible mold issues. Floors should be dried after cleaning to avoid water marks or puddles of water.
- Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water and place it on something to keep the floor dry when wringing out the mop.
- Using a microfiber mop, dunk it into the pail and wring thoroughly to remove excess water. You do not want to splash or pool water on the floor.
- Place the microfiber mop on the floor and move about in a circular motion.
- Repeat the process over the floor, rinsing and wring the mop completely.
- Allow to air dry or dry it with a soft cloth or chamois.
For Wax Sealed Cork Floors
Although cork floors with a wax finish are highly durable and resistant to scratches, they do need to be re-waxed at least every six months and possible more depending on the traffic in your household.
Deep Cleaning a Cork Floor
Again, before mopping the floor, be sure you have swept or vacuumed the floor to remove any dirt or debris.
Occasionally, you will need to use more than water to clean the floor. Use a pH-Neutral cleaner and following manufacturer recommendations.
Always Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions
Just as you would with other specialty flooring such as wood, laminate or vinyl, always make sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s directions when cleaning cork tile floors. Improper cleaning can lead to a dulling or deterioration of the finish. Never use harsh, abrasive cleaners.