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Old 08-31-2008, 03:23 PM   #1
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Cleaning hardwood


Looking for the best cleaners. Have used Bruce with sucess but a lot of elbow grease, and my wife used Murphys oil which turned it into an oil tracking pit!
The floor is a Bruce 3/4" Butternut finish.

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Old 09-01-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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There is no useful use for Murphy's Oil soap that I can think of. Get rid of it. First of all it's soap. To clean, you want detergent, not soap. Secondly, as you now know, it contains oil, which leaves a film so dust and dirt is attracted to it.

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Old 09-02-2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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Yea, I already got rid of that.
The Bruce cleaner works, but is a lot of work. Looking for something easier.
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Murphy's Oil Soap MUST BE RINSED THOROUGHLY. As does any soap.

Been using it for decades without issue.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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LOL, Bud using soap!

...uh you aren't serious are you, about suggesting someone use Murphys oil soap?

Geez, I hope not.

IMO no 'professional' in floor care should have anything to do with oil soaps. There are better products out there and I expect any true expert to know the difference between oil soaps, detergents and evaporative cleaners for hardwoods; just as I expect the pro to know the difference between wax, polyurethane and acrylic finishes, catalysed- and water- based polyurethanes...just goes with the territory.

Of course we don't know exactly what finish the OP has on his product (I don't know Bruce products) but I imagine they're products currently on retails shelves - and therefore made in the last 20 years. If so, they have one of a number of possible finishes on them but I'll bet my last weeks earnings that not one of them would require Murphy's oil soap to clean it.

But you are joking, right Bud? . You might just have a sarcastic side to you...

Used it for years? Then I guess you've put it onto polyurethane...have you ever seen the residue left after you've applied it? I'll tell you something: no matter what fatty acid you use to make a potassium, an ammonium or a sodium soap, nothing in that chemistry says it won't just sit there until you buff it off with a rag - or bacteria eat it. Won't evaporate, might even smell after a few days.

So what have you just done? you've put a sticky, gummy product onto a glass-like finish. Try that with your own kitchen window and see how long your wife admires your work. But hey maybe it was a 'waxed' floor...well there it might work, cause you'd probably buff it anyway. But how many waxed floors do you buff in a year?

What other floor finishes would qualify for ol' Murphy...none that I can think of....oh well. Nope, fatty acid, glycerine or oil-based soaps aren't even around much any more - apart from Ivory bars. Too bad, as I liked to wash my hands with them but the pH made my skin itchy.

Bud: this one's for you: I also saw reference made to ammonia being acidic in pH...perhaps I'll just throw this question out there:
Is 'ammonia' acid? why? is that why it damages wood?

Answer at your own risk. Go on, make my day...
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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Cleaning hardwood


HOLD ON, HOLD ON, Take your hand out of your pants for a minute.

The OP said:
Quote:
...and my wife used Murphy's oil
Then JazMan came along and said:

Quote:
There is no useful use for Murphy's Oil soap that I can think of.
And that's where I got involved in defense of the Murphy's product. I have used it for years on ceramic tile without a single issue. It is an oil soap and it must be neutralized after use as should all oil soaps, it must be rinsed, it must be cleaned up after it does its job, it's the nature of the product.

I have no idea if it works on wood and I don't care. The thing is, it does work 'cause I've used it in my own home but that's neither here nor there.

So if you are looking for an opportunity to trip me up you'll have to choose a different subject or sit back and wait for me to screw up again. But, you won't be using Murphy's Oil Soap to clean my plow.

I don't want to turn this into a Murphy's Oil Soap thread but here is what the company says about their product:

http://www.colgate.com/app/MurphyOil...AboutWood.cwsp

Last edited by Bud Cline; 09-02-2008 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:16 PM   #7
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No dice, Bud.

Not trying to trip you up, but you didn't specify. Either way, if you now say you use it on ceramic tile, then I am dumbstruck. Why? does it dissolve dirts that Windex can't? why come back and buff it? And what's this about "neutralizing" Murphy's? How do you figure that? and what do you use? an acid, a base?

Not trying to catch you off base, really, just wonder at how your experience led you to these conclusions...

When you try to 'neutralise' a soap, say with an acid, it breaks back down into its components - and usually separates into globs of fatty acid. So what you have left on your surface is a solution of a fatty acid at a pH around 7.

Why on earth would you want that - not only on wood - but on ceramic?

Bud, the Murphys Oil Soap page also says that ammonia is acidic. So I will be reading something else...
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:12 PM   #8
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OK maybe "neutralizing" isn't the right word. Any soap should be rinsed until all soap residue has been removed. Colgate makes the claim that no rinsing is necessary but I don't find that to be true in all cases. You keep trying to lure me into a conversation about acids and I ain't goin' there. Don't know as much about acids as you do. Do know as much about anything as you do.

Do what you want, recommend anything you want, doesn't matter to me. All I know is what has worked for me for more than three decades. Just mentioning what I know to be true and workable.

Blue Windex can stain some grouts.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:50 PM   #9
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Sorry Bud, I was a bit punchy back there...but know that I read all your posts with the greatest interest and respect as you one of the most knowledgeable people on this and other bbs where it comes to flooring and you get right to the point. No long-winded diatribes like some we know...

So forgive me when I see things that are out in left field, so to speak and take umbrage at it. It's gotta make sense!

Like that website, think it was Colgate, saying ammonia had an acidic pH. They think we all came in on last night's train?

We used to make our own window cleaner, based on isopropyl alcohol, made it blue like everyone else and found that even the slightest of overages of the blue dye would cause problems in grout. As did the amount of surfactant, even the quality of the water, which we deionized anyway. I stay away from cheaper versions of Windex, but Windex itself hasn't given me problems to date. Touch wood.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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After all this, I still didn't get an answer on what products to use on my floor. LOL!!!
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:26 PM   #11
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OK, here's what I think. Your Bruce floor made by Armstrong is a hard wood covered in polyurethane. The polyurethane is put there to protect the (hard)wood, whcih may be hard or soft but can be harmed or dirtied. If that is the case - and 90% of the time that is the case, then you are cleaning - not wood - but polyurethane.

Now polyurethanes applied by these large comapnies is usually quite strong but they still can be harmed by the application of the wrong product. First: no water. Forget the mops; think microfiber mop with a spray of cleaner here and there but no pails.

Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar. Many of these products can pit or etch the finish...that leaves you with what?... Mr Clean? Nope. Dishwashing detergent? Nope.

That leaves you basically with water and alcohol...ie Windex. Not the Windex with ammonia, just the straight Windex. Use a microfiber mop, spray Windex onto the new, clean pad and go over the floor. The dirt will be dissolved by the alcohol and the pad will pick it up. What it doesn't pick up evaporates. Throw the pad into the washer so that it is clean for the nexrt time - or buy 2.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:44 PM   #12
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Mineral spirits is a great cleaning agent for all types of woods. It dissolves built-up wax, oils, tar and whatever. It evaporates clean and leaves zero residue. It does not cause wood to expand like water does. Avoid water and water-based products on any wood. Water is wood's worst enemy.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
OK, here's what I think. Your Bruce floor made by Armstrong is a hard wood covered in polyurethane. The polyurethane is put there to protect the (hard)wood, whcih may be hard or soft but can be harmed or dirtied. If that is the case - and 90% of the time that is the case, then you are cleaning - not wood - but polyurethane.

Now polyurethanes applied by these large comapnies is usually quite strong but they still can be harmed by the application of the wrong product. First: no water. Forget the mops; think microfiber mop with a spray of cleaner here and there but no pails.

Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar. Many of these products can pit or etch the finish...that leaves you with what?... Mr Clean? Nope. Dishwashing detergent? Nope.

That leaves you basically with water and alcohol...ie Windex. Not the Windex with ammonia, just the straight Windex. Use a microfiber mop, spray Windex onto the new, clean pad and go over the floor. The dirt will be dissolved by the alcohol and the pad will pick it up. What it doesn't pick up evaporates. Throw the pad into the washer so that it is clean for the nexrt time - or buy 2.
I agree. I've tried most of the commercial hardwood cleaners and they all seem to dull the floor out. Regular water seems to work the best on a polyurethane protected floor.
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:58 PM   #14
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I like the Bona products...have not seen any discoloration, check amazon.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:30 PM   #15
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Well, went with the glass cleaner with no ammonia and a microfiber mop, and it worked great!
Thanks for the advise!

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