How to Clean Wood Floors Finished With Tung Oil

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Tung oil is a naturally-occurring substance extracted from the seeds of the tung tree. It was a popular substance that was used to seal hardwood floors before the 1930s, but has since been replaced by polyurethane and other more durable sealants. Some floors sealed with tung oil still exist in older homes. Tung oil floors are usually waxed to protect the finish, so cleaning them requires using a substance that can partially dissolve the top layer of wax that traps dirt.

Things You'll Need

  • Mineral spirits
  • Hardwood floor mop
  • Floor cleaning pad
  • Rags
  • Liquid paste wax
  • Place a wood floor cleaning pad onto a hardwood floor mop. Pour 1 to 2 tbsp. of odorless mineral spirits onto the bottom of the cleaning pad. Use regular mineral spirits if the room is well-ventilated.

  • Apply the mineral spirit solution to the floor in single strokes. Do not go over areas multiple times, as the point is simply to apply the mineral spirits to the floor, not scrub off the oil. The floor should appear shiny after each stroke of the mop. Reapply additional mineral spirits to the cleaning pad as needed, working in floor sections of approximately 6 by 6 feet.

  • Place a clean rag onto the floor and press down to wipe off the mineral spirits from the floor surface. Continue wiping until the area is almost completely dry. As you wipe, a dirty substance will appear on the cloth; it's the top layer of tung oil being removed.

  • Apply more mineral spirits to the floor and wipe it off until the entire surface has been cleaned. Allow the floor to sit overnight to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate.

  • Apply a thin layer of liquid paste wax over the entire surface of the tung oil floor to reseal it. Apply the wax in the same manner as the mineral spirits, using single mop strokes over the surface of the floor. Allow the wax to dry completely before walking on it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan to start cleaning at an inner corner of the room so that you do not become trapped in a corner and have to walk across the wet floor.

References

  • Photo Credit wood texture image by PaulPaladin from Fotolia.com
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