Savvy home decor people know that cork isn’t just for wine bottles. Cork may be used to create beautiful floors. Selecting a colour and finish is the fun part. Next is the reality of keeping it looking beautiful. We have many house cleaning clients who have chosen cork for their kitchen, hallway, or den. Here are our 6 expert tips for how to clean a cork floor.
What is a Cork Floor?
Cork floors are not new, but they have become more popular in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that it is an environmentally friendly choice. Cork doesn't cause any damage to rainforests or old-growth forests. It is sourced from the bark of the cork oak tree. Cork is harvested directly from the living tree every 9 years, without causing harm. The tree will simply regrow and replenish. Truly sustainable! Cork floors are manufactured by grinding up the cork and mixing it with resins to bond, then forming into sheets or tiles. Cork floors are available in a variety of colours and patterns which can fit well with the decor of any room in the house.
Beyond being an environmentally responsible choice, many people go with a cork floor because of the comfort and insulating qualities. Cork is naturally soft underfoot, which makes it very popular for kitchens. Unlike tile or stone floors, standing on cork for hours is easier on the feet and back. The sponginess of cork also makes it an excellent insulator. Any room floored with cork will reduce noise transmitting to the rooms below.
No matter the colour, style or room it ends up in - all cork floors need to be cleaned eventually. Follow these guidelines to care for your cork floor.
How to Clean a Cork Floor
1 Avoid prolonged direct sunlight. We all know that sun can bleach clothes and hair. Direct sun can also discolour a cork floor. Use blinds and curtains to filter the sunlight and protect the floor.
2 Avoid standing water. Cork is highly absorbent, and will warp if water gets into it. Cork floors should be finished and sealed with a polyurethane or wax - just like a hardwood floor. Never clean by sloshing around a wet sponge mop or cotton string mop.
3 Wipe up spills immediately. If there is a spill or splash of water or any liquid, clean it up quickly using a try towel. Any liquid left to pool on the floor can get past the sealant and cause damage.
4 Avoid oil-based cleaners. If the product has “oil” or “soap” in the name, don’t use it. With repeated use, this will damage the finish and ruin the look of the floor. Use only a PH-neutral cleaner for hardwood floors. Or better yet, use a mix of 10 parts water and 1 part vinegar.
5 Vacuum or sweep frequently. Crumbs, kitty litter, sand and any grit will wear away the finish of a cork floor. It is important to keep the floor clean of that debris. Never use a beater bar meant for carpets. Use only a soft floor brush for your vacuum, or a broom with gentle bristles. This can be daily or weekly routine that your kids can help with.
6 Damp-mop only. If there is a spill of any kind, wipe up with a damp cloth, and then dry with a fresh dry towel or cloth. Clean the floor only once or twice a month. Spray the floor with warm water with a little vinegar added, or a pH-neutral cleaner before wiping with soft microfibre or cotton mop pad.
With these 6 tips, you can keep your cork floor looking beautiful for many years.