How to Restore a Cork Floor

Written by april dowling
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How to Restore a Cork Floor
Restore a cork floor to preserve its natural appearance. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Cork floors are recognised for their flexibility, natural appearance and insulating properties. Their resistance to mildew and mould makes them ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Exposure to dirt, debris and grime causes cork floors to become dingy and aesthetically unappealing. Frequently cleaning cork floors restores their appearance and protects them from premature damages due to abrasive particles. Properly maintaining cork floors allows them to last for many years. Restore a cork floor using basic supplies and techniques.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Vacuum cleaner or broom
  • 1 tsp liquid dishwashing soap
  • 2 clean mop pails
  • Clean mop
  • Plush towels
  • Water-based polyurethane
  • Synthetic applicator
  • Commercial cork floor cleaner (optional)

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  1. 1

    Sweep the floor with a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust, dirt and grime.

  2. 2

    Mix one tsp of liquid dishwashing soap and one gallon of warm water in a clean mop pail. Fill another mop pail with warm water for rinsing.

  3. 3

    Dip a clean mop in the soapy solution. Wring out all excess liquid from the mop.

  4. 4

    Mop a four-by-four foot section of the floor to remove remaining grit, grime build-up and film. Lightly scrub the cork with the mop. Frequently rinse the mop in the pail of warm water to prevent reapplying abrasive particles to the cork surface. Always thoroughly wring out the mop.

  5. 5

    Blot the clean section of the floor with plush towels to remove all moisture.

  6. 6

    Clean the remaining four-by-four foot sections of the floor using the same process. Periodically rinse and refill both mop pails to prevent applying dirty solution or water to the floor.

  7. 7

    Seal the floor with two coats of water-based polyurethane to protect the cork and restore lustre. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the can's label. Apply the polyurethane with a synthetic applicator and allow each coat of polyurethane to dry for the recommended amount of time.

Tips and warnings

  • You can substitute a broom for the vacuum cleaner.
  • You can substitute a commercial cork floor cleaner for the soapy solution.
  • Excessive moisture from wet mops can damage cork floors.
  • Abrasive supplies can scratch cork floors.
  • Only use cleaning products recommended by the floor manufacturer to prevent damaging the cork and voiding the floor's warranty.

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