Expert Answers: Cleaning a Cork Floor

Cork is a great flooring choice, but is it difficult to keep clean? HANDY has the answer.

Q: I have installed cork flooring and love it, except that it stays dirty. Apparently the dirt goes into the cork. Any suggestions on how I can clean it? - Lee Komich , Alexandria, VA

A: Handy contributor Gary Legwold responds: Cork flooring with several coats of an appropriate finish should not be difficult to clean. My panels came with one coat of water-base polyurethane. After installing the floor, I applied two additional coats. The finish prevents dirt from penetrating the cork, especially at the seams. It sounds like your floor may need more finish. Check with the manufacturer to find out what type of finish is on your cork and apply a couple of additional coats.

Even with several coats of polyurethane, cork floors need cleaning. Most manufacturers make cleaner for their flooring. My floor is from Lumber Liquidator, which sells a kit containing a 32-ounce bottle of Bellawood soy-base floor cleaner, a mop with a washable terrycloth head and a tin with 100 felt furniture pads. I don’t know which of the three items is most valuable. I’m leaning toward the pads because the actual sweeping and mopping are a breeze; getting ready to clean can be a wrestling match with heavy couches and chairs, a task you may not want to tackle often. To make it easier, put the pads or plastic disks under the feet of the furniture (photo 1) so you to easily slide pieces out of the way for cleaning. - HANDY