Using Lysol on wood surfaces is a controversial topic. Some sources claim it’s perfectly safe, while others warn that it can damage wood floors and furniture. This article will analyze both sides of the argument, providing a nuanced look at the potential risks and benefits of using Lysol on different types of wood.
The Lysol-On-Wood Debate
Lysol is a trusted brand when it comes to disinfecting and cleaning. Their all-purpose cleaners and disinfectant sprays are staples in many households. But what happens when you use Lysol on vulnerable wood surfaces? Can it damage or discolor the wood? Or is it safe to use if you follow certain precautions?
Opinions are divided on this issue. Some sources greenlight using diluted Lysol solutions on sealed and varnished wood floors and furniture. However, others argue that Lysol can seep into raw, unsealed wood and cause permanent damage. There are also concerns that overuse of Lysol may gradually damage certain wood finishes.
To settle this debate, we’ll analyze the different perspectives in detail, including:
- Lysol’s official guidance on using their products on wood
- Wood flooring brand recommendations
- The difference between cleaning sealed vs. unsealed wood
- Potential risks of using too much Lysol on wood over time
- Safer alternative cleaners for wood surfaces
By evaluating the evidence thoroughly, you’ll have a definitive answer: can you use Lysol on wood?
Lysol’s Guidance on Using Their Products on Wood
As the makers of Lysol cleaning products, the company’s recommendations carry significant weight in this debate. According to Lysol, their all-purpose cleaners can be safely used on finished wood floors when diluted with water.
Specifically, they recommend mixing 1/2 cup of their Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner per gallon of water. According to the company, this diluted solution can be used to clean and disinfect finished hardwood floors without causing damage.
Lysol does caution against applying undiluted Lysol directly to wood floors. The concentrated formula could seep into unfinished cracks and absorb into the bare wood, causing discoloration or warping.
For wood furniture, Lysol advises users to never spray their products directly onto the wood’s surface. Doing so would allow excess liquid to pool and soak into the grain.
Instead, they recommend applying the Lysol solution to a cloth first. Then, use the damp (not soaked) cloth to gently wipe down wood furniture, ensuring no excess liquid makes contact.
So in summary, Lysol confirms their products are safe for cleaning and disinfecting wood floors and furniture, but only when used correctly and diluted appropriately. Spraying or pouring undiluted Lysol directly onto wood can damage the surface.
Recommendations From Wood Flooring Brands
In addition to Lysol’s guidance, it’s helpful to consult the recommendations of major wood flooring brands. Companies like Bona and Bruce are authorities for maintaining hardwood floors. Here’s what they have to say about using Lysol and other disinfectants on wood:
Bona confirms that Lysol and Clorox products are safe for use on their urethane-finished hardwood floors. For best results, they recommend mixing 1/2 cup of cleaner into 1 gallon of warm water, then going over the floor using a damp mop.
Bruce Hardwood Floors approves using Lysol Disinfectant Spray on their urethane or aluminum oxide finished floors. They recommend spraying a light mist onto the mop head or cleaning cloth, rather than directly onto the floor.
The consensus from leading flooring brands is that diluted solutions of Lysol can be safely used on modern urethane or aluminum oxide finished wood floors. Spraying directly onto unfinished wood can damage the surface, so apply it to a mop or cloth instead.
The Impact of Wood Sealants: Finished vs. Unfinished Wood
Whether wood has been sealed makes a major difference when using Lysol for cleaning. Sealed wood surfaces like urethane-finished floors are less prone to damage. The protective sealant prevents the Lysol solution from soaking into the grain the way it would with raw, unfinished wood.
Lysol can sit on the surface long enough to disinfect on sealed wood before being wiped away. Any excess liquid is absorbed like a sponge with unfinished wood, potentially leaving white marks, discoloration, and warped boards.
This is why Lysol only recommends using their products on sealed, varnished, or finished wood surfaces. Unsealed, raw wood has too much potential for damage.
Finished Wood Surfaces
- Urethane-finished hardwood floors
- Varnished wood floors
- Lacquered wood furniture
- Sealed wood cutting boards
- Polished wood cabinets
Unfinished Wood Surfaces
- Raw wood floors
- Untreated wood furniture
- Unvarnished cabinets & trim
- Unsealed cutting boards
- Wood handled tools
So ultimately, yes Lysol can be used on finished wood but should be avoided on raw, unfinished wood. The sealant is critical.
Potential Long-Term Damage from Overusing Lysol on Wood
While light, occasional use of Lysol on finished wood is considered safe by most sources, there are some concerns about the long-term effects of overusing it.
If Lysol solutions are applied heavily and frequently to wood floors, some discoloration or damage to the finish can occur over time. The combination of moisture and harsh chemicals takes a toll after repeated use.
Using too much force while scrubbing with Lysol can degrade wood finishes and leave light spots or scratches. So it’s important to wipe gently when using Lysol on varnished wood furniture, for example.
For these reasons, many experts recommend limiting Lysol usage on wood to only occasional, as-needed disinfecting. For routine dusting and cleaning, gentler wood-specific products are a better choice.
Signs of Wood Damage from Using Too Much Lysol
Watch for these signs of potential damage if you frequently use Lysol to clean wood surfaces:
- Discoloration – Light white marks/spots on the wood finish from moisture damage.
- Dullness – The wood loses its lustrous shine and becomes matte and cloudy over time.
- Rough Texture – Too much scrubbing degrades the smooth finish, making it rough.
- Warping – Excess moisture causes raw wood boards to warp, swell, or crack as they dry.
- Odor – A strong chemical odor lingers from repeated Lysol usage.
If you notice any warning signs, cut back on the Lysol and switch to gentler cleaners. You may also need to refinish areas that show damage.
Safer Cleaning Alternatives for Wood Surfaces
Many homeowners opt for safer, wood-specific cleaning products to avoid even minimal long-term risks from using Lysol on wood. Here are some popular options:
Wood Floor Cleaners
- Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner – Gentle formula cleans without dulling floor finish.
- Method Wood for Good Polish – Plant-based cleaner and polish in one.
- Arm & Hammer Wood Floor Cleaner – Cleans and shines finished wood floors.
Wood Furniture Polishes
- Howard Restor-A-Finish – Cleans and polishes worn wood furniture.
- Briwax Wood Cleaner – Removes grime without altering color.
- Mrs. Meyer’s Wood Polish – Plant-based oil nourishes wood finishes.
Multipurpose Wood Cleaners
- Murphy Oil Soap – Trusted brand for cleaning all wood surfaces.
- Orange-Glo Wood Cleaner and Polish – Revitalizes wood with vitamin oils.
- Method Wood for Good Daily Clean – Non-toxic plant-based formula.
While not disinfectants, these products provide thorough cleaning and shine for wood floors, furniture, cabinets, and other surfaces. They help preserve the wood finish while removing dirt, scuffs, and dust.
Tips for Safely Using Lysol on Wood Surfaces
If you do wish to use Lysol for occasional disinfecting and cleaning of wood surfaces, follow these tips to minimize risks:
- Always test Lysol on an inconspicuous area first and check for any damage.
- Dilute Lysol with water according to the label instructions before use on wood.
- Only use Lysol on sealed, finished wood, not raw unfinished wood.
- Avoid excessive scrubbing pressure when cleaning wood with Lysol.
- Immediately wipe up any pooled Lysol liquid on wood surfaces.
- Consider applying Lysol to a cloth first rather than spraying directly onto wood.
- Limit Lysol usage on wood to periodic disinfecting, not daily cleaning.
Common Questions About Using Lysol on Wood
Let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic:
Is it safe to use Lysol wipes on wood furniture?
Lysol wipes contain the same active ingredients as Lysol spray cleaners, so the same precautions apply. Using the wipes on sealed, varnished wood is fine, but avoid unfinished wood. Don’t let excess liquid seep between cracks.
Can Lysol remove stains from wood surfaces?
Lysol is not well-suited for removing stains from wood. The chemicals can potentially react with and set certain stains. Use a dedicated wood stain remover instead.
What about using Lysol in bathrooms with wood vanities?
Wood vanities should be well-sealed with a water-resistant finish. Clean with diluted Lysol solution but immediately wipe up any excess liquid to prevent water damage.
Is it safe to use Lysol in a wood floor steam mop?
No, pouring undiluted Lysol into a steam mop for wood floors is unsafe. The steam and concentrated formula are too harsh and could damage many wood floor finishes.
Can using Lysol on wood floors void the manufacturer warranty?
It depends on the flooring company, but using Lysol according to the label instructions will not void most warranties. Damage from improper use of Lysol would not be covered.
What if Lysol damages my wood floors?
For light damage, try re-coating or re-finishing the affected boards. Severely damaged boards may need sanding and replacement. Prevent further damage by discontinuing Lysol use.
Examples of Using Lysol on Wood
Analyzing hypothetical scenarios provides additional insight into the risks versus benefits of using Lysol on wood surfaces:
Sealed Wood Floors in a High Traffic Area
Diluted Lysol on family’s hardwood floors helps manage germs in a high-traffic hallway. The wood is factory-sealed with three coats of urethane, protecting it from moisture damage. She dilutes the Lysol per instructions and is careful not to soak the floors.
Verdict: Safe to use diluted Lysol on these protected wood floors to disinfect occasionally.
Antique Furniture With Worn Finish
Use diluted Lysol on antique oak cabinet to kill germs. But the decades-old finish was worn and cracked in areas. The Lysol seeped into the raw wood, leaving white marks and a cloudy haze on the surface after drying.
Verdict: Do not use Lysol on antique furniture with damage that exposes raw wood. Use wood polish instead.
Wood Cutting Board After Food Prep
I was disinfecting wood cutting board with Lysol after chopping raw chicken. After several minutes, I noticed the board had soaked up some liquid. Over time, repeated use left the surface dried out and rough.
Verdict: Lysol should not be used on unfinished wood like cutting boards. Use soap and water instead.
Evaluating realistic use cases helps identify proper and improper ways to use Lysol on wood while highlighting potential risks. Always examine the condition of the wood carefully first.
Given all the evidence, what’s the final verdict on whether Lysol can be safely used on wood surfaces?
The answer is a qualified yes, in certain circumstances only:
- Yes, diluted Lysol can occasionally be used to clean and disinfect sealed, finished wood floors if rinsed thoroughly after 5 minutes.
- Yes, diluted Lysol may be used on sealed wood furniture as long as no excess pools on the surface. But wood polish is the better choice for routine cleaning.
- No, Lysol should never be used on unfinished, raw wood. It can easily soak in and cause permanent damage.
While Lysol can technically be used on some wood surfaces, there are safer cleaning options for wood available. Many homeowners opt to use wood-specific cleaners whenever possible to eliminate risks of damage from moisture or harsh chemicals.
Always test Lysol on a small hidden area of wood first. If any damage or discoloration occurs, discontinue use immediately. With proper precautions, Lysol can be an occasional cleaning option for sealed wood floors and furniture. But wood-specific polishes and cleaners are the best first choice for maintaining wood surfaces.