Asked on Apr 07, 2013

Murphy's Oil Soap

Dana T
by Dana T
Hi all! I'm had a bit of a problem cleaning this morning. I grew up with my mom using Murphy's Oil Soap on anything that even resembled wood. So I recently purchased some and washed my kitchen cabinets with no major problems. This morning I went on a little cleaning spree and mixed up some this soap in bucket and washed the wooden bedroom doors. A half hour later, I was walking past one of the doors and it had a horrible white film all over it!
These are the original doors and they do not have a nice glossy finish. Could this be why the soap caused a film? Does Murphy's need to be rinsed off? Has anyone else had this problem? #SpringCleaning
  12 answers
  • Paola Paola on Apr 08, 2013
    Hi Dana, Murphys oil It is not recommended for cleaning unfinished or waxed wood because the wood may be water-sensitive,I will suggest to go to their website and find out what to do. Paola
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 08, 2013
    I avoid Murphy's oil soap with a 10 foot should nearly everyone. In the floor re-finishing business this single product has lead to more "failures" than just about any thing...the next biggest culprit is silicone contaminates in "furniture" polish like pledge. People need to understand that in 90% of most "wood cleaning" you are not cleaning the wood but the finish that has been applied to the wood to protect it. In the case of hardwood floor this is often a polyurethane (plastic) coating. very few items in the home are "wood" in its unfinished or minimally protected state ( a simple wax or oil finish) My recommendation toss the Murphys in the trash and go pick up some Howards "Feed and Wax" I get this at my local hardware store.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 12, 2013
    You can use a tiny bit of soap and water, dry it! KMS is always on the mark! You are cleaning the finish and not the wood. The finish is protecting the wood, so you need to protect the finish. If you have ever stripped a piece of furniture, or wood floors you would see the waxy coating all over your sand paper. It is horrible. Murphy's is nothing but vegetable oil. Throw it on the floor and it just keeps building up and dulling the finish.
  • Dana T Dana T on Apr 16, 2013
    Thanks for the input, everyone! I found a store near me that sells the product KMS recommended. I'm going to give it a shot on the doors. If no luck, I guess it will just be that much more reason to completely refinish them! KMS, if I could ask you a follow up question...what do you recommend for mopping hardwood floors? Now that I'm somewhat nervous of "wood" cleaners, I am considering using the Norwex mopping system (microfiber mop pads, only clean with water). Your thoughts?
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 16, 2013
    @Dana T about 1/2 of my home is done in hardwood. My living room and library are done in Bolivian Rosewood with an oil based poly finish, these are cleaned with a damp towel using plain 'ol water. if the kids have spilled something sticky or greasy I might add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the towel. The trick is to rinse often using the bare minimum of water. our 650 sq ft master suite is done in Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) this floor is finished with a more basic linseed oil finish and is also cleaned with plain water most of the sticky spots are hit with a swiffer type pad . For a bit more info check out this article I wrote on floor finishes.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 16, 2013
    I agree with KMS, about cleaning your floors. When you clean, you are cleaning the finish not the wood. You need to protect the finish. And remember the underneath of the floor isn't protected by the finish. Never use anything that has wax, vinegar, ammonia. There are many neutral cleaners. Bona being one of them. But there are many others if you wish to use them. Never spray any cleaner directly on the floor. I use a damp micro fiber cloth, and spray the cleaner on the mop. I never spray it directly on the floor. I also use a spray bottle of water to mist the micro fiber mop, this way I never over wet it. If I have to wash the floors I use a micro fiber mop, a bucket of water ( warm I hate sticking my hands in cold water). And a few drops of dish soap. I really really wring out the micro fiber pad, and wring it again, I also never ever see suds when I am doing this, a few drops, is a few drops of soap. And mop. You can also use plain ole water. The key to wood flooring is to dry it. You don't let it dry naturally. You protect your investment. If you know what kind of flooring you have you can also google it. I google all the manufactories guidelines this way. Installation and cleaning guidelines and the name of the flooring. I have even called the manufactories. So many people are using vinegar...on wood flooring. I can show you the damage it has caused many of my customers. With all these home made recipes everyone thinks their cleaning green and saving money. But instead they are going to spend a whole lot more money replacing their wood floors when all they had to do was read the directions.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 16, 2013
    KMS..great article! I would love to see your Brazilian Cherry Floors! We installed wood flooring last weekend in my Mothers home. I think it's the hardest I have ever worked, ripping out carpet and pulling up carpet tacks isn't fun and pulling up staples made my hands were so sore I couldn't move them in the morning. I thought about you doing this for a living and thought what a easy peasy job I have. My question is we dry walled and it took the Finish right off my oak floors. Last time we used a water based sealer to finish it. Now because of the dry wall it has taken the finish off I am going to re-stain and re-seal the floors. What kind of sealer would you suggest? Like you I like a low sheen but I want it to be durable. Thank You
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 17, 2013
    @Sherrie here is a post I did recently on a Red Oak refinish job. I used oil based Varthane in satin. Oil base finishes POP the grain much better than water based. You can see some of the Jatoba in this pic of my bedroom woodstove. I also used the jatoba to trim out the slate tile.
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  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 18, 2013
    This turned out amazing! I love the tile and the pattern. I also love the stain you chose for your floors. The trim around it makes the whole room pop! And I thought I was the last of the last that still heat with wood. : ) I also think a oil base sealer would do better. I just takes longer to dry. I did my Family Room in tile. It is the room where I burn wood and it connects to the kitchen. I wish I had also picked a bigger tile and maybe slate. Your work is beautiful! I can see your a perfectionist.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 18, 2013
    The soapstone wood stove is in our master bed room, our bigger wood stove insert, is in the living room. The Jatoba in the bedroom is not stained ...that is its natural color, and it is very durable, Its janka rating is 2350 Which is about twice that of oak. The thermal mass of the soapstone (about 600) is further enhanced by the thermal mass of the tile. The above link is the wood stove insert in the living room which we use about 8 months of the year on a daily basis. This is the small wood stove at our cabin. The Black granite back drop all works as a great heat sink...dark colors absorb more of the infared wavelengths. I have our 6 cord of wood coming this we are still in the grips of winter...this is a pic of our deck yesterday.
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  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 18, 2013
    it turned out beautiful! I would like to replace our hearth or I am going too sooner or later. I love the looks of yours, and I love the floor. If I could move any place else it would be Co. I lived there as a child, and last summer we spent several weeks there. It is the most beautiful country I have ever seen. We spent several weeks hiking, and shopping. Your City is perfect. There are so many walking trails and it health conscious. The best part was hiking the mountains. We saw more animals and coyote's that make ours look like straving dogs. When I first saw them I thought they were wolves. Ours are mangy and red. We wanted to come back this summer...I am trying to talk my husband into it!
  • Jeanne Jeanne on Jan 25, 2015
    What is KMS??? A guy who does hard wood floors, told us years ago...NEVER use Murphy's Oil soap...especially on wood floors...Just use..vinagar and water...smell goes away quickly...but works...