Cleaning floors is easy but keeping them from getting damaged in the process is tough. For most flooring options, water is a cleaner as well as a threat to the flooring structure. Choices like hardwood are prone to water damage. Fortunately, epoxy floors aren’t that sensitive.
To clean epoxy floors, you must spot the area that needs to be cleaned, get a pH-neutral cleaning solution like ammonia, super-dilute it and pour it on the dirty portion, and scrub it lightly with a rag or a sponge. Finally, use a dry mop to remove excess liquid from the mix.
This article will be your guide to safely cleaning your epoxy floors. Some of the things we will discuss include the types of cleaners you can use and the best practices to avoid epoxy damage while cleaning your floors. Most importantly, you will discover what each of the following steps entails and how you can:
- Decide the type of cleaning
- Get the right supplies
- Dilute the cleaning solution
- Transfer the solution to the dirty area
- Scrub the unclean spot without being too harsh on the floor
Step 1 – Decide the Cleaning Level
The first step in cleaning an epoxy floor is deciding how much cleaning is required in the first place. The requirements for dusting are different from those of stain removal. Knowing the scope of the cleaning project will help you save time and money because the supplies can vary by the type of cleaning required.
That said, even if you don’t need the larger supplies like mops, getting them isn’t a waste of money as you will eventually use them when you need to clean a larger area. Here are the four types of epoxy floor cleaning processes
- Dusting – This involves removing dust from a prominent, albeit a small, area of the epoxy floor.
- Dry mopping – A scaled-up version of dusting that entails wiping dirt off the entire floor.
- Stain removal – Usually a smaller project that can be cleaned by a kitchen sponge.
- Chemical spills – This isn’t as frequent but is required whenever residue-leaving chemicals get spilled on the floor.
Step 2 – Get the Appropriate Supplies
The second step in cleaning your epoxy floor involves getting the right supplies. In most cases, they are lying around the house, and you don’t need to specifically go outside to get what’s needed. Again, it is advisable to get everything you might need regardless of the type of cleaning required.
You’ll be glad you have everything at hand whenever there’s a nastier spill in the future. In case you want to stick with getting only the items needed this time around, you should refer to the chart below.
|Cleaning type||Mop||Sponge / Rag||Deck-scrubbing brush||Detergent|
|Dusting||not needed||required||not needed||not needed|
|Dry mopping||required||optional||not needed||not needed|
The table above makes it easy to understand which specific supplies will be required the most. Getting them even if you don’t need them right away is prudent. That said, the “detergent” field requires further clarification. You cannot get any random floor cleaner as some detergents can be harsh on epoxy.
Detergents to avoid when cleaning epoxy floors
Unlike hardwood, epoxy doesn’t get damaged too easily. Still, it should not be treated as indestructible. Vinegar is one of the most commonly used detergents because it is the most widely available type of cleaning agent.
White vinegar is stored in the kitchen, which is also the venue for most accidental spills. A quick google search into stain removal hails vinegar as an appropriate stain remover. While that might be true in most cases, it is not true for epoxy floors.
Vinegar and citrus detergents are both harmful to epoxy floors. Therefore, they should not be used to clean epoxy surfaces, including floors and countertops. Vinegar can roughen epoxy after coming in contact with it.
The citric property of vinegar is to blame for this, so lemon detergents and similar products should be kept away from epoxy as well. The last type of detergent to avoid is a harsh soap. Some people use laundry soap bars to scrub floors. That’s rarely a good idea, even with non-epoxy floors.
Fortunately, the detergents you need for cleaning epoxy safely are easier to acquire than the ones mentioned above. Here are three of the best detergents for epoxy floors.
- Solimo Gentle & Mild Clear Liquid Hand Soap – A mild soap further diluted by water is one of the best epoxy cleaners. Since Amazon competes by offering lower prices, its own brand Solimo has one of the cheapest mild soaps. The product has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 20,000 reviews and ratings.
- Austin’s Clear Ammonia Multipurpose Cleaner – Ammonia is suitable for cleaning epoxy floors most of the time, which is why we will use it as the detergent of choice for this guide. Even if you need to dry mop this time around, it is advisable to get ammonia if your house features epoxy surfaces.
- Zep Neutral pH Industrial Floor Cleaner – one of the most destructive things about standard detergents is that they’re not pH neutral, which poses a threat to your epoxy floor’s smoothness and shine. You’ll need to dilute Zep’s pH-neutral cleaner before using it on epoxy floors.
Now that we’ve decided on the best cleaning liquids, it is time to choose the medium to distribute a detergent across an epoxy surface. As a golden rule, you should go with a small item like a rag or a soft sponge and must avoid rough brushes or cleaners with a high surface area. A flat option like a soft rag is ideal for smaller spills, while larger cleaning projects require a mop.
Soft mops are preferable, but all mops work; in case you have a mop lying around in your attic or garage, you don’t need to buy a new one. Just make sure the mop itself is clean and doesn’t have harsh material like cured paint clinging to the mop head.
Step 3 – Dilute the pH-neutral Detergent
Depending on the type of cleaning liquid you opted for, you’ll have to add a varying quantity of water. Softsoap needs the least dilution of all. The only reason you add water to a mild soap is that it doesn’t make the epoxy floor slippery. But when it comes to detergents like Ammonia or industrial floor cleaners, you need to dilute the liquid more seriously.
- Dilute a mild soap with water until you feel it will be easy to spread and, later, wipe off.
- Add half a cup of ammonia to a gallon of water to prepare an epoxy floor cleaning solution.
- Dilute the industrial floor cleaner by adding a quarter cup to three-fourths of a gallon of water.
Step 4 – Pour the Prepared Solution Over the Unclean Area.
If the entire floor is dirty, you’ll need to pour the solution from a bucket, a cup at a time. This ensures that the leaning liquid is spread evenly and all areas of the floor get proper coverage. If the spill is smaller, then the solution is prepared in a cup and is poured carefully, or a rag is drenched in it and is used to transfer the cleaning solution directly onto the epoxy floor. Here are the different ways in which the cleaning liquid can be distributed across an epoxy surface.
- For chemical spills, drench a sponge in diluted industrial floor cleaner and use the sponge to scrub the affected area. Avoid rough scrubbing and use a soft sponge.
- For oil stains, drench a rag with appropriately diluted ammonia and use it to wipe away the oil residue.
- To deep-clean the whole floor, pour diluted ammonia in each corner of the room and use a solution-saturated mop to spread the cleaning liquid. Then use a dry mop to wipe away the remaining solution.
- For surface-level cleaning of the epoxy floor, pour diluted liquid soap in each corner of the room and use a wet mop to cover the entire floor with mild soap. Then use a dry rag or mop to wipe away the remainder.
Step 5 – Dry the Excess Liquid
This is briefly covered in the previous section, but the last step in cleaning your epoxy floor involves removing excess liquid from said floor. If you skip this step, you will step into a slippery puddle, which isn’t ideal on epoxy.
One doesn’t need a guide on wiping water off a floor, though. At this point, as long as you avoid using a rough rag or an old sponge, your floor will be fine. It is advisable to use softer options, but you don’t need a microfiber cloth for this. This step is an anti-slip measure that you can execute with a dry mop or an absorbent rag. Any cloth that can remove water from the epoxy floor’s surface is fine.
Epoxy Floor Cleaning: Frequency, Cleaning Quality, and Best Practices
Now that we have covered what you need to do to get the perfect epoxy floors, let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding the subject.
How Often Should You Clean Epoxy Floors?
On average, you should clean epoxy floors every three to four months. However, if the floor receives higher foot traffic, you might want to increase the cleaning frequency to once a month. Spot-clean whenever you find a stain or dirt and keep dust from compounding.
The reason spot cleaning is advisable is that overexposure to chemicals, including pH-neutral cleaners, can negatively affect the top layer of the epoxy floor. Water doesn’t damage epoxy as long as the floor is properly sealed and moisture doesn’t reach any potentially vulnerable material under the epoxy floor.
Why is my Epoxy Floor Cloudy?
Your epoxy floor is cloudy because layers of dust have accumulated over its surface. It happens if you do not clean the epoxy surface that receives high foot traffic. You can improve your epoxy floor’s clarity by removing the dust and making the floor shiny again.
How to Make an Epoxy Floor Shiny Again?
To make an epoxy floor shiny again, you should wash it with hot water. When the impurities that have settled on the epoxy surface get removed with hot water, the floor becomes shiny again and retains its gloss until multiple layers of dust settle over it.
Since hot water can help make epoxy floors clearer, it is often recommended as a cleaning medium of choice. However, heat can also damage epoxy since resin is a supercooled liquid. This brings up the question of the ideal temperature of water for cleaning epoxy.
Water has to be below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or it will start uncuring the epoxy resin and warping it. Warm water just below 85 F is okay for most epoxy floors since floor epoxy is different from art resins and is much harder to uncure. Still, the water temperature should not exceed 300F, which is when the epoxy will start to turn into a puddle.
Can I Pour Epoxy Over my Epoxy Floor?
You can pour epoxy over your epoxy floor after properly priming it. However, this should not be seen as an alternative to cleaning the floor because it is more difficult, and the end result will not be clear unless the surface underneath is cleaned anyway.
The only reason to pour epoxy over the epoxy floor is that there are problems with the texture of the old epoxy. Sometimes, poorly leveled epoxy can also be fixed by pouring a new layer. In either case, cleaning the previous layer is a prerequisite, for which you will need to follow the steps listed in this post.
Cleaning epoxy floors is a matter of exposing the floor to a diluted pH-neutral detergent while wiping it with a low-impact fabric and technique. You can do this in any way you please, but we recommend the steps in this post. Here’s a quick recap:
- Determine which area needs to be cleaned
- Choose between mild soap or ammonia
- Dilute the detergent you selected
- Use a clean cloth or direct pouring technique to transfer the detergent
- Opt for a mop or a sponge to clean the floor.