If you are an environmentally conscious person and want new floors in your home, then consider placing cork in your house. Cork is harvested from cork trees, and the collection process does not harm the trees. This means that cork is renewable and there are no chemicals that are used to process the cork to make flooring materials. Cork cannot be cleaned like regular flooring material though, and many people make mistakes when they try to remove the dirt and debris from their floors. You should avoid these mistakes so your floors can last a long time.
Mistake #1 - Mopping the Floors
Cork floors are protected with a sealant that helps to keep water and foreign matter from penetrating the surface. This sealer is secured in a thin layer and the protective coating can wear away relatively quickly.
Even if the coating remains intact on the floor, water can seep through the joints and cracks between the pieces of the cork floor. Cork is quite porous, and the water will be absorbed quickly. This can result in a moldy floor or cork materials that become warped or bent. This means that you should not use a mop and a bucket of water to clean the floors.
Use A Small Amount of Water
If your cork floors are extremely dirty, then you can use a small amount of water to clean them as long as you are careful. Make sure to purchase a sponge type mop that can be wrung out thoroughly while you clean.
When you go to clean your floors, dip the mop in your bucket and wring out as much water as you can. Run the mop gently across your floor and use a clean towel to wipe away an excess water that is left behind. If you see any water pooling in seams or cracks, then use a blow dryer to help the water evaporate as quickly as possible.
Mistake # 2 - Using Harsh Chemicals
Cork is made up of small tree bark tissues and air. In fact, about 85% of cork is composed of air, and thin layers of tissues surround the air in a honeycomb type fashion. The cork material is considered durable, but your flooring can be destroyed if you allow chemicals to eat through the organic parts of the cork. This means that you need to stay away from cleaners that contain chemical compounds.
Some of the strongest cleaners like bleach and ammonia should never be used on your floor. You should also watch out for any product that contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Polishes, carpet cleaning solutions, floor cleaning detergents, aerosol cleaners, and other cleaners contain VOCs.
Look for Gentle Products
Instead of using chemicals and cleaners to clean your cork floor, look for natural products that are pH balanced. The products will be far more gentle on the cork materials. Dish soap is a mild cleaner as well. If you need to clean up a major spill or a mess on the floor, then consider using vinegar.
The acid in vinegar will be strong enough to remove food and other debris, but it will not be so strong that it will destroy the cork. Make sure to water the vinegar down though, before you use it. Only use about one-eighth of a cup of vinegar for every cup of water to create your cleaning fluid. Spray the vinegar mixture on the floor or wipe the area with a vinegar soaked rag. When you are done cleaning, use a small amount of water to get rid of as much of the vinegar as possible from the area on the floor.
You also need to make sure that you clean up spills immediately. Use a cotton rag or a paper towel to soak up messes. If you work quickly, you may not need to use any cleaners to get rid of the spill.
If you like to live a green life, then you probably want to make sure that the majority of your purchases are environmentally friendly. If you want a green floor, then cork is the way to go. Don't ruin the floor by cleaning it improperly though.