How to Use Murphy’s Oil Soap to Clean Furniture and More

By Marsha Harrison

Fact-checked by Kia Lowe

how to use murphy's oil soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap has existed for over a century, but its biodegradable formula remains popular among homeowners and woodworkers.

While it is initially created to keep wooden surfaces clean and shiny, people also use this oil soap as a stain remover and insect repellent.

In this article, I’ve compiled all the tutorials on how to use Murphy’s Oil Soap so you can make the most of this product!

What You Need

Aside from Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner, you will need these supplies:

  • Clean rags
  • Bucket
  • Measuring cups or spoons
  • Warm water
  • Soft brush
  • Towel
  • Mop
  • Grade #0000 Steel Wool
  • Orange oil furniture polish
  • Spray bottles

For specific supplies, check the instructions you want to follow below.

Ways to Use Murphy’s Oil Soap

1. Cleaning floors


  • Based on Murphy’s Oil Soap directions, mix ¼ soap oil and 1 gallon of warm water for normal cleaning.

If heavy cleaning is required, you put ½ cup of murphy oil for every gallon of warm water.

  • Use your mop to clean the floor, making sure that it is well wrung out. The good news is that you don’t need to rinse it!

Since several people complained about residue, they asked me, “Is murphy’s oil soap good for hardwood floors?” Well, here are some tips:

  • Tip #1: You can prevent oil soap residue on hardwood floors by following the recommended dilution ratio.
  • Tip #2: Mop the floor in sections to avoid having excess liquid sitting on the surface.

Another commonly asked question is, “Does Murphy’s oil soap shine wood floors?”

With the technique I shared, the product can bring out the floor’s natural glow. However, this will depend on the finish of the wood.

2. Cleaning laminate wood

  • Create the cleaning solution by combining ¼ soap oil and 1 gallon of hot water.
  • Dampen the mop with the solution and wring it. Then, mop your laminate wood floor in a sweeping motion and ensure that you don’t leave any residue.
  • If the bucket of water looks dingy, you will need to discard it and create a new mixture.
  • Tip: You shouldn’t use waxes or polishes on laminate floors because it often leads to warping or damaging the laminate’s resin.

3. Cleaning wood

  • Prepare the DIY Murphy’s oil soap. To do this, simply add 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap to 6 to 8 ounces of warm water in a container.

Alternatively, using Murphy’s pre-mixed solution.

Be sure to have a clean rag with you.

  • Dip your rag in a diluted soap oil and wipe the surface.
  • Once you applied on furniture, you can continue to wipe and rub the rag.
  • Next, use a clean dry tea towel to wipe the furniture. This will not only dry surface but also give it a slight polish.

It is also recommended that you look at the surface from an angle to check for fingerprints, smudges or goo left.

If you see one, continue to buff the furniture until it is gone. After that, it’s ready to use!

  • Note: According to the manufacturer, Murphy’s Oil Soap is not suitable for waxed, unfinished, or unsealed wooden surfaces because they are water sensitive. When in doubt, do a spot test in a hidden area. If you notice discoloration or dulling, you may need to wax or refinish the wood.

4. Restore old furniture

  • Gather the Murphy’s Oil Soap, orange oil furniture polish, grade #0000 steel wool, and a couple of soft rags.

Then, create an oil soap and water solution per the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Dampen a rag with the solution and wipe it on antique furniture.

Just make sure that you don’t get it too wet. With a dry rag, remove the excess moisture.

Keep wiping until all the gunk is gone from the furniture.

  • Use the steel wool to remove the remaining dirt or chips of paint. Since the steel wood is abrasive, I highly recommend rubbing it in the direction of the wood grain.

Make sure to rub every part of the furniture.

  • You will notice that the wood looks duller now. In this case, apply the orange oil furniture polish per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wash the furniture again with your water and oil soap mixture.

  • For final touches, spritzing some orange oil on a dry rag and using it to rub on the furniture.

Add a bit more of the orange oil on the spots are appears more faded.

Lastly, wipe off the excess oil and buff it until it shines!

5. Getting rid of stains from fabric

  • Take your stained clothing to the sink and run it with warm water.
  • If you are using liquid oil soap, apply a few drops to the affected area. For those using bar soap, simply rub it on laundry stains as you run it with warm water.
  • Using a towel or a soft brush, scrub the stain with the soap until you start to see it fading then rinse the area.
  • If you still see some stains left, repeat the above steps. Otherwise, you can proceed to wash the clothing item according to the care tag’s instructions.
  • Note: Oil soap does not work on oil or grease stains.

6. Cleaning tiles

  • Combine 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of water. If you need more, simply follow this ratio.
  • Just spread this across the tiles in your bathroom or kitchen.
  • Allow the solution to sit and work through the dirt for 15 minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrub the solution then rinse it well.
  • Tip: Besides the impressive before and after results in cleaning tiles, you can apply it on cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom to make them shine!

7. Repel insects on plants


  • All you need to do is follow this formula: 1 gallon of warm water with 1 tablespoon of Murphy’s Oil Soap.
  • Transfer them into spray bottles and start spraying your plants!


These days, we are more accustomed to buying specialized cleaning products. But with simple tutorials like this, you can maximize one product and potentially save money.

As shown in this article on how to use Murphy’s Oil Soap, you can add water and clean wooden surfaces, stained clothing, and even get rid of insects from your plants! No wonder this product is a crowd favorite!

That said, keep in mind that while this oil soap is generally safe to use on most surfaces, be sure to spot test before you start cleaning. This way, you don’t run into discoloration issues.

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