Your Guide to Scandinavian Soap Finish for Wood Furniture and Floors

Your Guide to Scandinavian Soap Finish for Wood Furniture and Floors

4 minute read

“Soap” is an age-old Scandinavian wood finishing tradition for flooring and furniture. A soap finish makes a soft to the touch, light finish, and is best suited for light-toned Softwood species which are more porous, like Pine and Douglas Fir and hardwood species like Oak. If you’re looking to experiment with this technique, read on for all you need to know about a soap finish.

A Soap finish is a very natural and environmentally friendly option for finishing furniture and flooring. If you have a furniture project and want to treat it with soap, it is light, soft, beautiful, and renewable. If you are thinking about treating your floors with soap, there are some issues to consider with a “soap” finish for flooring.

After the initial Soap application, the woodwork, furniture, or flooring requires weekly soaping of WOCA Natural Soap to “build” the soap finish into the floor. It takes about 3 months of this weekly maintenance to achieve an adequate soap finish.  During the 3-month window of building the finish, the floor is vulnerable to spills and stains.  After the 3 month period, the floor should then be soaped as needed or at least every other week.

A few tips for living on a soap finished floor

  •         Live the Scandinavian way- do not wear shoes in the house
  •         Expect to apply WOCA Natural Soap on a regular basis
  •         Clean up spills immediately
  •         If stains occur, they will fade with more soap and time

Scandanavian soap finish

Items needed for a WOCA “Soap” finish application

WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner diluted (coverage 2000-3000 sf/liter) 

WOCA Oil Refresher Soap in White, UNDILUTED (100 sf/liter) 

WOCA Natural Soap in White (diluted 3000 sf/liter)


“WOCA Soap Finish” instructions 

  1.  Before the application of soap is done, make sure that the surface is freshly sanded with fine grit paper (180-220). Damp mop the surface with WOCA Intensive Wood Cleaner, dilute 3 oz to 1 gallon of water and let dry at least 2 hours.
  2. WOCA Oil Refresher Soap is ready to use.  Do not mix it with water. Shake well before use.
  3. Pour Oil Refresher Soap into a plastic  bucket.
  4. Make sure that the WOCA Oil Refresher Soap is applied in an even, uniform amount on the surface using a sponge or a short haired paint roller.
  5. Immediately after, polish it wet with white floor polishing pad until the surface appears saturated. If necessary, repeat application to ensure full saturation.
  6. Immediately after polishing, remove any excess soap with cotton cloths. Keep polishing until the surface feels soft & smooth.
  7. Leave the surface to dry for approx. 24 hours.
  8. After 24 hours, clean the surface with WOCA Natural Soap White diluted 6 ounces of Natural Soap to 1 gallon of water.
  9. After drying the surface is ready to use.
  10. Regular weekly cleaning is done with WOCA Natural Soap white mixed 6 ounces to 1 gallon of water.

To minimize the natural yellowing that can occur with Pine and Oak and create a “whitewash” look, treat the wood with WOCA Wood Lye in White prior to applying the WOCA Oil Refresher Soap.

If you’re hesitant about the durability and required maintenance of a soap finish for flooring, WOCA has a great alternative for you. WOCA Diamond Oil Active in white creates a lighter, natural look and strong durability that can immediately meet the needs of your busy lifestyle. A WOCA Oiled floor is still cared for with WOCA Natural Soap, but only on a monthly basis.

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