Is Pine Sol Good for Hardwood Floors? [Safety + Residue Tips]

By Joe McGuinty
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If vacuuming and dry-mopping aren’t getting your hardwood floors to the level of cleanliness you desire, you might be thinking about other cleaning solutions to brighten things up. If you’re dealing with stains, residue, build-up, or grease on your wood floor, Pine Sol might sound like the right cleaning option for you, but will it cause damage to your hardwood floors? Is it safe to use Pine Sol on wood floors?

Pine Sol is good for cleaning hardwood floors but only if they are finished or sealed with a protective coat. It’s safe to use even on engineered wood floors but can cause damage if the floor is worn out, oiled, or waxed. Rinse well when cleaning with Pine Sol to prevent leaving residue on the floor.

The manufacturers of Pine Sol describe it as a great removal agent for debris, grime, and tough stains on hardwood floors.

Below, I’ll show you what you need to consider in terms of how safe it is to use Pine Sol on wooden floors and how to use it without leaving residue behind.

Can You Use Pine Sol on Hardwood Floors?

Yes, Pine Sol is absolutely safe for use on wooden floors that have been sealed or finished. The product’s manufacturers, however, recommend that it shouldn’t be used on unsealed or unfinished wooden surfaces.

Additionally, while Pine Sol may have no significant negative effect on the wooden floor surface itself, the effects on humans, pets, and the environment can’t be ignored.

Wooden floors are those that are wholly made of solid wood material. Common types of wood used for wooden floors include oak, cherry, ash, maple, and poplar.

Is pine sol good for hardwood floors

As per The Environmental Working Group, Pine Sol has negative effects on health and the environment—with the potential to cause respiratory issues to humans and pets. You should, therefore, ensure that no kids or pets are around when you’re about to use Pine Sol on your wooden floor.

Is Pine Sol Safe for Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood is quite different from solid wood. Heat and pressure compression is applied to alternating layers of wood in order to make engineered hardwood, which is more structurally durable compared to solid wood. As such, it’s harder to leave behind scratch marks and scuff marks on this type of floor.

Pine Sol is safe to use on engineered hardwood flooring. Compared to other cleaning products typically used on hardwood floors, Pine Sol is relatively safer,as it’s a water-based cleaner. It offers various advantages over wax-based, oil-based, and ammonia-based hardwood cleaning formulas.

The advantages of using Pine Sol are discussed below:

  • Pine Sol reinforces the finish on your hardwood floor, unlike wax-based and oil-based formulas that take away the glow when used on polyurethane wood surfaces.
  • Unlike oil-based and ammonia-based cleaners that eat away at the sealing and hamper the chances of future seals or finishes sticking to the hardwood surface, Pine Sol is great for use on sealed hardwood.
  • Finally, when used and applied the right way, Pine Sol doesn’t leave behind any residue that will leave you with an unsightly hardwood floor surface. Wax and oil-based cleaners, on the other hand, leave behind a hazy residual substance. Removing this residue may be costly, as you may be forced to sand and refinish your hardwood floor to its original look.

Precautions When Using Pine Sol on Hardwood Floor

Still, you have to take some precautionary measures when using Pine Sol on your hardwood surfaces. Here’s an overview of the things to look out for when using Pine Sol as your hardwood floor cleaning agent:

  • Concentration: Unless you’re trying to get rid of very stubborn floor stains, you should be using a diluted Pine Sol solution and shouldn’t be using it in its concentrated form. 
  • Application tool: When applying concentrated Pine Sol directly on tough scuff marks on wood floors, you should work the agent in using a soft sponge to avoid scratching your hardwood surface. 
  • Water pooling: Always ensure to mop away as much standing water as possible, as it may warp or streak your hardwood surface.

Pro tip: Applying concentrated Pine Sol directly to a hardwood surface to remove deeper stains may cause the sealing to peel off, requiring you to sand and refinish your hardwood floor.

Pine Sol vs Murphy’s Oil Soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap is labeled as a wood-specific cleaner whereas Pine Sol is a multi-surface cleaner. Murphy’s has a much shorter ingredient list and a more natural scent whereas Pine Sol’s ingredient list is much longer with more toxic chemicals—obviously resulting in a more artificial smell. Both products work well at cleaning wood floors (as long as the floors are finished or sealed with a protective coating).

How to Use Pine Sol to Clean Hardwood Floors

To properly spruce up your hardwood floor using Pine Sol, follow the steps below:

  1. Sweep the floor using a good dust mop for wood floors to remove dust and loose debris.
  2. Pour one gallon of water in a bucket, then add ¼ cup of Pine Sol to the water and stir the mixture.
  3. Soak up a mop with the mixture, making sure to wring out excess water.
  4. Mop the entire hardwood floor, then dry it using a second dry mop. You should always ensure to mop along the wood grain.
  5. If you’re trying to get rid of very tough stains such as dark water spots, you might want to apply the Pine Sol directly to the floor using a sponge instead of adding it to a water-based solution first. You can then use a soaked up and wrung mop to remove the cleaner from the floor surface.
  6. Keep a dry piece of cloth or dry mop on standby to dry mop the floor once you’re done.

Do You Have to Rinse Pine Sol off Floors?

You’ll want to rinse well after cleaning with Pine Sol to prevent leaving residue on the wood floor. Once you’re done cleaning with Pine Sol, dump out the cleaning mixture from the bucket and replace with clean warm water. Rinse and ring out the mop as best as possible so you are mopping hardwood floors with clean ends.

How to See if Your Wood Floor Is Sealed

Water-based cleaners like Pine Sol are only recommended for use on hardwood floors that have been sealed, as they can cause damage to unsealed hardwood surfaces. As such, before you use Pine Sol on your floor, you can always test your hardwood surface to ensure it’s been sealed.

A great way of testing for floor sealing is by pouring a drop of water on the hardwood surface and observing whether it pools atop the surface or absorbs right into the hardwood material.

If the waterdrop beads on the surface, it means that your hardwood floor is properly sealed and you can proceed to clean it with Pine Sol. If the water soaks into the wood, however, it means that your surface may have never been sealed before, or the old sealing may have worn off.

Cleaning Your Floor With Pine Sol

Cleaning your wood floors with Pine Sol is completely safe and doable. I recommend following the considerations above such as ensuring your floors are sealed and that there are no children or pets around when cleaning with Pine Sol. You should also follow the recommendations about diluting the solution and rinsing once you’re finished cleaning. Once you’ve done all that, you can enjoy your clean floors once more!

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AUTHOR

Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

1 thought on “Is Pine Sol Good for Hardwood Floors? [Safety + Residue Tips]”

  1. Thank you so very much for this helpful article!!! I was using the Murphy’s Oil Soap for our new floor, and it left a sticky residue after the very first application. It discouraged me from mopping again, so I’ve only been sweeping for the past week without mopping. I’m so happy to know that I can go back to my beloved Pine-Sol, which we previously used when we had tile. It’s got a wonderfully great aroma that’s very welcoming to come home to. ? THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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