How to Clean Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is an extremely reliable, solid flooring material. Its aesthetic qualities, coupled with its positive environmental impact makes this flooring material a wonderful choice for homes and office spaces. Cork flooring is warm in the winter and cool in the summers. It requires low maintenance and care and is very soft on the feet. That being said, cork flooring also requires proper attention and careful cleaning.

Materials To Keep On Hand:

  • Soft-Bristled Broom
  • Dish Soap or Neutral Chemical Cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Soft-Sponge Mop
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Murphy Oil Soap

Step 1:

It’s important to regularly sweep and dust cork floors. This is also the first step in any floor cleaning process. When it comes to cork floors, always use a soft bristled broom to remove dirt and debris.

Step 2:

Fill a bucket with warm water and add a little dish soap or neutral chemical cleaner. Do ensure the cleaner you use is neither acidic nor basic—this can damage the sealant used on cork floors. If using dish soap, use a very minimal amount. An excess of soap in the water will leave a film on the floor once it dries.

Step 3:

Use a soft-sponge mop to wipe down the floor. Do ring out the mop well before starting. When it comes to cork flooring, less is definitely more. Any excess amount of water will quickly saturate the cork in the floor, which can cause the joints of the flooring to swell.

Step 4:

To dry, gently wipe down with a soft, microfiber cloth and allow the floor to air dry.

Once a Week:

Once a week, clean the cork floor by damp mopping with a small amount of vinegar. Dilute a very small amount of vinegar in a bucket of water—one-fourth cup of vinegar per one gallon bucket. Wet a microfiber cloth with the solution and ring out so that it is just barely damp before wiping down the floor.

Twice a Year:

Approximately every six months, cork flooring should be given a “hands and knees” scrub using a very small amount Murphy Oil Soap.

Every 5-7 Years:

Cork flooring should be given a nice refurbishing every five to seven years using polyurethane, such as Bona Traffic, a polyurethane satin finish. This will be most necessary for cork flooring that experiences heavy traffic from dogs and children, etc.

To Avoid:

Many commercial products on the market today are considered very harmful to cork flooring. Owners should avoid all Swiffer chemical products, Orange Glo, Mop & Glo as well as bleach cleaners or other harsh materials. These types of cleaners will quickly absorb into the porous material of the cork, thus damaging the flooring. Common commercial cleaners such as Swiffer and Orange Glo will create very streaky results on the cork flooring material.


  • All spills should be immediately wiped up using paper towels.
  • Collection trays should be used under all plants and under pet bowls to avoid water from penetrating the floor.
  • Breathable mats should be placed in front of sinks or exterior doorways to prevent build-up of moisture.
  • Furniture should never be dragged across the floor—it can cause scratching. Magic sliders or other materials should be used under furniture and under chairs that are often pulled across the floor.
  • Sharp objects should be kept away from the flooring. This includes vacuuming without an agitator, which can permanently scratch the cork material. Dog nails should also be kept trimmed.
  • Cork flooring should be kept away from direct sunlight. Shades, blinds and drapes should be utilized to minimize exposure to sunlight.
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