How To Clean Wood Floors With Tung Oil Finish

Tung oil occurs naturally in seeds of the Chinese Tung Tree. It is is a drying oil, which came to North America around a century ago and was used historically for furniture and coatings. Most old-home restorers preferred this oil since it was easy to apply and maintain a low sheen making the floor look natural. Its popularity disappeared after 1930 since polyurethane and other durable sealants took its place.

Oiled floors are very easy to take care of, as when scratched, all you need is to reapply the Tung oil. Floors having tung oil finishing have a layer of wax, which protects the finishing. Cleaning it, requires a solvent, which can partially dissolve the wax layer. The following are 6 steps you can follow to get started:

1. Dusting

Take a dust mop or a broom and sweep the entire floor to remove dust, hair, pet hair, or even dirt. Ensure that the broom does not have oil since that may stain the wood. Dusting ensures that your work is reduced when you start cleaning.

2.Cleaning using either mineral spirit or vinegar mixture

Take the cleaning pad and place it on your hardwood. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoon of the odorless mineral spirit underneath the the pad. You can use the regular mineral spirit if the room has good ventilation.

You can also create a mixture of apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and water. Take a half cup of vinegar with one gallon of water. The advantage of using this kind of mixture is the fact that the vinegar will not need to be rinsed off. The disadvantage is the fact that vinegar mixture will not remove the wax properly such that it will not be an effective method of cleaning the Tung oiled floor.

3. Cleaning

Smear mineral spirit across the room in a single stroke. Apply across every corner Ensure you do not do this multiple times since the purpose is not to scrub the oil but to clean it. If you do this multiple times, you will be scrubbing too much, which poses a danger onto the Tung oil. After the first stroke, there should be a recognizable change. It should appear shiny. Add more on the pad and once again go over the floor working from corner to corner. Ensure that every section of the room is cleansed.

4. Drying

Take a clean rag and place it on your floor. Press it against the surface to dry it up. To ensure that excess liquids do not settle on the floor, you should continue wiping it even when you see it drying up. As you wipe, you will realize that the clean rag is getting dirty. This is the upper layer of the oil. It has come out due to the rag being pressed hard on the floor.

5. Drying Out

Apply an additional mineral spirit across the floor and dry it again until it’s clean. Thereafter, it should be left undisturbed throughout the night so that it dries out completely.

6. Re-Sealing

Smear a thin layer of liquid wax over the floor to return the seal that had come out during the cleaning process. Use the same technique you used while applying the mineral spirit,” a single mop stroke over the entire floor.” Finally, give the wax time to dry before you walk on it again.

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