If you have hardwood floors and are wondering how to clean wood floors naturally without the use of harsh chemical cleaners this article is for you. In this article, I will discuss different natural hardwood floor cleaning tips and options for homemade wood floor cleaners and polishes.
These instructions are for finished hardwood floors only not for unfinished hardwood or waxed floors as they both need very specific care and it is best to check with the flooring manufacturer on how to best keep them clean.
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Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner Options
You can easily mix up your own hard surface floor cleaning solution using one part vinegar or vodka to 3 or 4 parts water. You can also make a simple floor cleaning solution using just water with a squirt of Castile soap or a simple dish soap.
Cleaning hardwood floors with vinegar is a very popular and effective option, however, some people also claim it can dull finish over time. If using vinegar to clean your hardwoods you want to make sure it is highly diluted by using a higher ratio of water.
The best option to clean wood floors naturally is a vodka and water solution (you can substitute rubbing alcohol if you don’t feel comfortable having vodka in your home). The reason a vodka cleaning solution is the best option is that it disinfects, dries quickly, prevents streaks and is pH neutral so it will not harm the finish.
Another great option for cleaning hardwood floors is just adding a couple squirts of Castile or dish soap to a plain water solution or adding it to your vodka or vinegar solution. The soap is very effective at breaking down dirt and grime on floors.
Best DIY Hardwood Floor Cleaner Recipe
Pour all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. You can double or triple recipe as needed.
Homemade Wood Floor Polishing Options
If you would like to add some additional shine and conditioning to your wood floors naturally there are some great inexpensive DIY options for doing just that. Polishing your hardwood floors is not something you need to do every time you clean them but can be used whenever your floors look like they could use a little boost.
Oil polishing option: Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to your vodka or vinegar cleaning solution. My favorite oils for this are sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (stays liquid and won’t go rancid) but you can also use olive oil for this as well. Make sure when using the oil mixture it is rubbed into the floor well and keep in mind it can be a little slippery until it dries.
Black tea polish option: Brew 4 bags of black tea in a pot of boiling water. Let it cool and use that tea mixture in place of the water in your DIY hardwood floor cleaning solution. The tannins in the tea add shine and help bring out the wood’s natural warm tones.
With both of these polishing options they are one use products and won’t store well. When using oil to polish mix in a separate spray bottle vs. using a sprayer attached to the mop as it may clog the sprayer over time.
Best Device for Cleaning Hardwood Floors
When cleaning your hardwood floors the absolute best device to use is a flat head mop with reusable microfiber pads and a sprayer or spray bottle. The reason this is the best option is it is far more economical and less wasteful than using a mop with disposable floor cleaning pads. It is also far more sanitary then using a sponge mop which are breading grounds for bacteria or a mop and bucket where you are dipping the mop into the same dirty water supply. It is also very important to never get your hardwood flooring too wet as too much moisture can easily damage hardwoods so using a spray bottle or a floor cleaner with a sprayer or spray bottle helps assure that the floors are not over-saturated with water during the cleaning process. Microfiber is very good at trapping dirt and debris which makes it excellent for floor cleaning.
The flat head mops I recommend is this floor mop with integrated sprayer and reusable floor cleaning pads or if you prefer to use something without an integrated sprayer this professional microfiber mop is a great option as it can cover a large surface area and the mop handle is adjustable.
If you already own a Swiffer WetJet you can make it more economical by attaching your own microfiber cloth instead of purchasing the expensive and wasteful floor cleaning pads. You can also remove the cleaning bottle and refill it with your own cleaning solution. Brittany from the YouTube channel Vasseur Beauty did a great home hacks video that shows you how.
Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips
Here are some additional tips for cleaning your wood floors naturally.
- Always make sure your floor is completely swept of vacuumed before cleaning so no debris scratches the surface.
- If you would like to scent your floor cleaning solution with essential oils you can but make sure you understand Essential Oil Cautions and the ones you use are kid and pet safe if you have pets or young kids. Essential oils should not be stored in plastic so you want to make sure you use up the solution and make a new one each time if using a plastic container.
- When using a new floor cleaning mixture for the first time it is best to test in one spot and wait for it to dry and make sure you like the results before using the solution throughout your house.
- If you are not getting the results you are looking for you can try changing up the ingredients or ratios. For example, if you are getting streaks you could try switching the type of soap you are using or eliminating the soap altogether. If the floor is not drying quickly enough you can try doing a slightly higher percentage of vodka to water.
- Another reason a floor might streak is if there are too many minerals in the water. If that seems to be the case then switch from tap water to distilled water.
- When purchasing vodka for cleaning get the biggest cheapest bottle you can find. Cheap vodka makes for a very inexpensive cleaning solution. As mentioned you can replace vodka with rubbing alcohol if you do not feel comfortable having vodka in the home but do keep in mind that rubbing alcohol is more irritating to the skin and respiratory system then vodka with a much stronger smell so I only recommend it as a replacement if using vodka is not an option. If you do use rubbing alcohol in place of vodka make sure the area is well ventilated.
- You can use any of the hardwood cleaner solutions mentioned minus the polishing ideas on any of your hard surface flooring. Vinegar, however cannot be used on tile floors if they are made of natural stone.
- Have multiple clean reusable floor cleaning pads on hand so you don’t need to wash them as often. Wash your microfiber floor cleaning pads according to the manufacturer’s instructions and consider using something like a GuppyFriend Washing Bag when washing microfiber or other synthetic materials to avoid microfiber pollution.
-Elizabeth Hemmings, author of Easy Green Cleaning
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