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My Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner Experiment

Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner

As I told you not too long ago, when we moved into this rental house here in Tennessee, it was my first time to ever have wood floors. And we don’t just have one room with wood floors; the house has more wood floors than carpet! So this is a new territory for me and I’m learning as I go.

So I was excited to see a recipe for Wood Floor Cleaner in the Clean & Simple ebook when I read this book last week. I love the idea of using all homemade cleaners and we’ve used a lot of them over the years, but it seems that I fall back into buying some cleaners occasionally, just for the sake of convenience.

Clean & Simple Book Review

After reading this ebook, though, I want to switch to all homemade cleaners. Why? Because Stephanie made it feel so doable and simple.

My favorite thing about this book was that all the recipes in it can be created by buying only 7 ingredients total. And the majority of the ingredients are inexpensive items like vinegar!

The ebook was well laid out, easy to read, and included cute pictures of every recipe — which made you want to go whip it up right away!

Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner

Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner

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  • My grandmother used grape seed oil, vinegar, water, and lemon oil for years! She had the cleanest floors I’ve ever seen, and were not slippery. As a child I made the mistake of telling her the floors were so pretty I could see my reflection in them, and so to help me further enjoy my vanity, cleaning the floors became my chore, so I can also vouch for the blends effectiveness! The one thing I have added to her process is making my own duster and drying clothes out of Dollar Tree shammies. I also set my dehumidifier on after cleaning my living room and hallways hardwoods, you would be shocked at how much water they take out of floors! Crystal, I would love to see a post on EO DIY floor polishing spray, or the like! Thanks for a great post!

  • Nicole says:

    I don’t have hardwood floors, but I am wondering and also curious if this cleaner would work on tile floors??

  • Alison S. says:

    How you run across a home made granite cleaner? I know vinegar, lemon, etc. eat away at natural stone. Most cleaning “recipes” I find have those ingredients.

  • Vanessa says:

    Awesome! My mother just very recently installed wood flooring.. We are actually scared to clean it with anything but water on it very lightly damp and mop! Lol.. Thank you very much for the great information that you always provide!

  • Dilenna says:

    Did it leave a residue? After using Swiffer products on my wood floors and having a residue build up, I am leary of anything other than my steam mop. I also tried making some dishwashing detergent with castile soap and it left a residue on my dishes. I was so bummed because I would also like to stick with all homemade cleaners. So now I have left over castile soap and some wood and tile floors so I’m interested in this recipe!

    • This didn’t leave a residue that I could see or feel. Has anyone else noticed a recipe like this leaving residue?

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’ve used castile soap with dishes before and it left a residue for me as well. I was able to get it off by then rinsing the dishes in vinegar diluted in water. But it basically meant I had to wash my dishes twice, first with castile soap and then with vinegar before rinsing them in plain water and drying them. It just seemed like too much work, and I stick to natural dish detergents now like Seventh Generation.

      I wonder if the floor cleaner cuts that two-step process by just mixing vinegar in with the soap. However, some basic chemistry knowledge makes me think that the soap and vinegar would contradict each other, and lead to pretty much just a bucket of water. I’m not sure how well I would trust the cleaning power if the two were mixed in one bowl instead of being used one after the other. I don’t know enough chemistry to comment authoritatively on it, I just know that acid and base neutralize each other.

    • Guest says:

      We used Swiffer in our first house and found that though the floors were super shiny initially, they became very dull. We switched to Orange Glo in our new house and very nearly ruined our floors. Please take a look at the blog post I did on this both to identify if this is the same type of residue you have as well as to learn how to clean it. Sorry this happened to you – it’s awful!

      One word of caution on vinegar…if you use too much it will have a bleaching effect on wood.

  • Shannon says:

    In doing some research on cleaning wood floors, I learned what you use depends on the type of wood and the finish. Using vinegar can be harsh on some woods and finishes. Many recommendations I read called for just hot water.

    • Julie says:

      I would agree with that. Just because something cleans the floor well doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging to the wood. Ours floors were made by Bruce and there is a Bruce’s cleaner that is supposed to be safe but most of the time I can get by using a slightly damp mop. The kitchen floor needs the cleaner from time to time.

  • Ray Lowe says:

    Be careful with the vinegar. It will eventually srtip off the coating off of the floor.
    A much gentler solution is to put a few drops of dishwashing lotion into a spray bottle full of water. Spray a light coat on the floor and mop it off.

  • Ray Lowe says:

    Be careful with the vinegar. It will eventually strip off the coating off of the floor.
    A much gentler solution is to put a few drops of dishwashing lotion into a spray bottle full of water. Spray a light coat on the floor and mop it off.

  • Alicia says:

    The cleaner I make is a similar idea (water, vinegar (though more), a touch of soap. I put it into a spray bottle and use a swifter. I spray an area of my hardwood floors (after sweeping first), and mop it up. I have been using it for a couple years, after NOT cleaning my hardwood for the first couple years we lived here. This has become my only way of cleaning my floors and I’m very very happy with it!

  • Amy R says:

    When our floors were installed the install supervisor said, “I’m supposed to try to sell you our floor cleaner, but I can’t do it. The best thing to clean these floors is a solution of 2 parts water/ 1 part vinegar. Nothing else is needed,”

  • Jen says:

    The best thing I have found for wood is actually the Norwex mop. Just uses a bit of water and leaves the floor very clean with no residue at all. I’m not a gimmicky person, but this mop system lived up to the hype.

  • Kelly says:

    What brand of castile soap is that? I can’t tell from the pictures. Thx!

  • Amy says:

    Be careful using vinegar on hardwood floors. It really dulled my finish. I now just use hot water add a couple drops of dawn.

  • Christie says:

    Lemon oil would smell wonderful! I did read on a Dr. Bronner website not to mix their soap with vinegar because it changes the soap and compromises the cleaning. They did say that you can use it after the fact, just not mixed in.

  • Leslie says:

    Crystal, I’ve been a fan for quite a few years now, and there are great ideas here today. I just wanted to add that using lemon or other citrus essential oils is not for folks with cats. I’m a big fan of essential oils and use them with many of my natural cleaners, but citrus repels some cats and can be harmful or dangerous to some. It’s not worth risking it. We can find something else to use for the floors in homes with cats. Thanks for all you do.

  • Katie says:

    I clean my carpets by sprinkling baking soda (in an up-cycled Parmesan cheese container) and then adding 1 cup of white vinegar to REALLY hot water in my $150 rug-cleaning machine. Much, much cheaper than the $25-a-bottle soap, and it gets the carpets CLEAN. It does smell like vinegar, but only until it dries.

  • Christy says:

    I see a few other people have mentioned it already, but I’ll go ahead and echo — mixing castile soap and vinegar is not a great idea. I did that for quite some time on my wood floors as well, but eventually I noticed that my mop water seemed to be curdling in the bucket (right away when I mixed up the ingredients, I mean). (I have no idea why I didn’t notice it at first.) I, too, saw on the Dr. Bronner’s site that you’re not supposed to mix it with vinegar. For a while after that I just used regular dish soap instead (just a small squirt, a dollop of vinegar, and a few drops of tea tree oil). Now I have the Norwex mop and love it!

  • lyss says:

    I’m no expert, and it might depend upon what type of wood floors you have and also what type of finish is on them, but I’ve always used just a damp mop to clean wood flooring. No cleaner/soap is needed. Especially in a rental, I would be wary of using anything else. In my last rental, our landlady told us to not use anything but water(but to not leave it too wet). May I suggest asking the owner how they want the floor cared for? Refinishing or replacing wood floors can be very expensive!

  • ShirlJ says:

    As I understand, you’re not supposed to mix liquid castile soap and vinegar: (From Lisa Bronner’s blog)

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