whyhardwood11-233x300There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Murphy’s Oil Soap and hardwood floors. After a long conversation with technical support at Murphy’s here’s what I found out. These questions and answers as well as more information are available on their website. If your concern with Murphy’s was like mine and concerned the rumors about Murphy’s leaving a film on hardwood floors, check out a previous post addressing this concern.

What is Murphy Oil Soap made from?
Murphy Oil Soap is a safe, naturally gentle soap, specially formulated for cleaning wood floors, furniture, and other household surfaces. And it leaves your home smelling fresh and clean. Murphy’s contains no harsh detergents, ammonia, or bleach.

Will Murphy’s products leave a residue?
Murphy’s leaves no residue at all! Be sure to dilute the Original Formula and use products according to label directions.

Is rinsing necessary?
Because Murphy’s leaves no residue behind, rinsing is not necessary. Be sure to follow label directions for best results. Always remove excess water.

How can a water-based cleaner be safe for wood floors, furniture, and other wood surfaces?
Murphy’s is recommended for cleaning finished wood. It is not recommended for cleaning unfinished or waxed wood because the wood may be water-sensitive. Most wood flooring and furniture items have water-resistant finishes, and Murphy Oil Soap is perfectly safe for use on these types of surfaces.

Is Murphy Oil Soap biodegradable? Are the bottles recyclable?
Yes, Murphy Oil Soap is biodegradable, and it’s possible to recycle the bottles.

Is Murphy’s safe for cleaning wood floors?
Yes, Murphy Oil Soap is safe to use on all finished wood surfaces, such as wood floors finished with polyurethane. So cleaning hardwood floors with Murphy’s is safe as long as the surface is finished. For extra cleaning convenience when caring for wood floors, try Murphy Oil Soap Squirt & Mop — it’s ready to use on wood flooring with no mixing or diluting.

Remember, Murphy Oil Soap should not be used on unfinished, unsealed, or waxed wood surfaces because they may be water sensitive. Test an inconspicuous area with plain water before using Murphy Oil Soap. Discoloration or dulling indicates the wood may be waxed or needs refinishing.

Can I dilute Murphy Oil Soap and use in the spray bottle?
Due to differences in formulation, do not use Murphy’s Original Formula or Squirt & Mop liquid as a refill for the Murphy’s Spray.

Is Murphy Oil Soap safe to use if I plan to recoat my wood flooring?
Yes! Tests show that new polyurethane coats adhere perfectly to wood floors cleaned with Murphy’s.

On what surfaces can I use Murphy Oil Soap products?
Murphy Oil Soap is ideal for cleaning finished wood floors, furniture, and cabinets. You can also trust Murphy’s to safely clean no-wax floors, tile, painted surfaces, laminates, marble, linoleum/vinyl, fabrics, and more! Murphy’s is the safe all-purpose cleaner.

How can I tell if my wood flooring has a finish or polyurethane coating?
Most wood floors are coated with either a penetrating oil or a surface finish such as polyurethane. You can determine the type of finish on your wood floors by rubbing your hand on the floor. Do you feel a slight oily residue? If so, your wood flooring has been coated with a penetrating oil.

If there is no oily residue and the wood floors have a shiny or glossy appearance, then it likely is coated with polyurethane. In an inconspicuous area, scratch the surface of the wood flooring with a coin. If the finish flakes off, a surface finish such as polyurethane was probably used. Learn more about wood finishes.

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For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Posted Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Filed Under Category: Flooring Maintenance
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Responses to “Murphy's Oil Soap FAQ”

Rob J

Thanks for the information, Shannon.

I’ve sent a link to this information from my our BuildDirect blog. This question comes up every so often, here and there, and it’s nice to have a reference like this to help consumers make good decisions about the products they buy, whether it’s flooring or cleaning products to keep them looking like new.


Nancy Rickerson

I did use Murphys Oil soap on my Laminate floor. I mixed as directed and it has left a film on it. I do not know how to get it off. I contacted Murphy,s no help. I went to my local flooring company and they said never use that. They said I could try Windex with a soft cloth and clean by hand but this did not even do anything to the film. There is actually a place where my dog stepped while it was damp and it is a permanent print. It does leave a film does anybody know how to get it off??? Help!!

cleaning company

I have never tried this before. I will have to try this on my hardwood floors. Thanks.

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[…] Murphy’s Oil Soap FAQ (floortalk.wfca.org) […]


A cleaning service I used cleaned my laminate floors with Murpht’s Oil and it has left a nasty residue. The floors are extramely sticky and your shoes pick up the residue and leave it everywhere you go. Does anyone know how to get this stuff off the floor?


Tom Markel

Murphy’s should NEVER be used on a polyurethane wood floor. Our cleaning people mistakenly used Murphys instead of white vinegar and water and the Murphys left a nasty residue and was sticky as Erica said.

Mary K

I had a cleaning crew to clean my new Pergo floor
and they used 1 cap full of Murphy’s oil soap to a 32oz spray bottle of water….this left no residue, left a wonderful clean smell, and actually when the floors are walked on leaves no dust footprints. I do plan to contact Pergo to see if this is recommended or not. We had tried a diluted solution of vinegar and that left a film!

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