One of the first photos I Instagrammed while in Denmark was this photo of pine flooring:
It is 12" wide, 2" thick Douglas Pine (or Douglas Fir as we more commonly refer to it in North America.)
It is the most beautiful floor I have ever seen. It is light, and rich, and matte and beautiful. Guess what it is finished with?
I thought there must have been something lost in translation. Surely you cannot finish floors with soap.
But you can, and it's beautiful.
I continued to see soaped floors everywhere I went in Denmark. Some lighter than others (they have also been treated with lye before soaping), but all absolutely stunning.
I need them. I am obsessed.
Here is what I learned about how they are done:
After the floors are sanded, if they are to be lightened, they are treated with a wood lye solution. Basically, it acts as a bleach, and it also stops the wood yellowing in the future. After the lye process has been completed, the floors are mopped with a mixture of soap flakes & hot water. Then the soap is left to soak in, and mopped with clean water to finish. The soap is 100% vegetable based, and it soaks into the pours of the floor making a barrier against dirt. To maintain them, you just mop with a (more diluted) version of the soap & water mixture.
The results are light, buttery soft, gorgeous floors that smell amazing.
The only problem is, I don't need new floors right now (well, I do... upstairs, but I do not have the $ to get new ones right now.) HOWEVER. I have the basement that needs flooring. My plan was to use plywood. I wonder if I can lye & soap plywood? It is wood after all. Right?
So I went o Home Depot, bought 8 sheets of plywood. Had them cut into wide planks, and they are currently stacked in my basement ready for installation.
Anyone have any tips on where to get lye that doesn't make people think I'm Walter White-ing it up in my basement?