Quick Tips: How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

Keeping hardwood floors clean is one of the major concerns for most people. Floors are cleaned more often than any other part of the home. Dusting and laundry can be left for another day, but dirty floors can affect the health of your family, particularly if young children or pets play on them often.

how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar

Have you ever read the list of ingredients on a bottle of store-bought floor cleanser? They can be full of ingredients made from p-chloro-benzylphenol, o-phenylphenol, and other things that can’t even be pronounced. Ethanol and alcohol may be the safest ingredients in a bottle of cleanser, yet no matter how much you may rinse your floors after washing—most people don’t—and there can still be a residue left behind that contains toxins.

Even if you are careful, these toxins can still transfer to your skin and get inside your body. One of the best ways to safely wash every floor in your home is with regular white vinegar. Since vinegar is safe to eat, it’s also safe to use for all types of cleaning purposes in your home.

You can safely wash your bathroom, hallway, and kitchen floors with vinegar. If you have pets or children playing on the floor, you’ll never have to worry again about them being poisoned, or suffering from long-term effects of those harmful store-bought cleansers.

Why Vinegar Makes the Perfect Hardwood Floor Cleanser

Vinegar is sold in the condiments section of grocery stores. It’s made from mostly water, with about 5% to 10% of ascetic acid. It may also contain other ingredients, such as herbs, or flavourings.

Vinegar is made through the fermentation of ethanol and ascetic acid bacteria. It takes about 20 hours to three days to make vinegar. There are also specialty vinegars that can take up to a year to make. While it’s mainly used in cooking, making salad dressings, or pickling, it’s also suitable for cleaning.

Since vinegar contains a mild acid, it has been used throughout the centuries to clean the home. Today, it’s also used in medical and industrial settings.

Since vinegar is so safe to consume, it also makes the perfect floor cleanser. And since it contains ascetic acid, this makes it the perfect antiseptic that will kills germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi on contact.

It’s just as effective as manufactured cleansers, but so much safer to use. You can also purchase vinegar in large bottles, making it a more affordable alternative than buying a bottle of cleanser that’s not going to last all that long.

Many people who suffer from asthma or allergies can’t tolerate the store-bought cleansers that contain artificial fragrances and perfumes. These can lead to breathing difficulties. Even cleaning with bleach isn’t recommended for people with lung difficulties.

But most people with these issues can safely use vinegar for household cleaning, and suffer no ill effects from breathing in the smell of vinegar.

Finally, vinegar is an ingredient that is safe for the environment, even if you pour it down a drain. It breaks down naturally, and won’t clog drains or harm the environment.

What is the Best Vinegar to Choose?

If you’re shopping, you’ll see dozens of different types and brands of vinegar to choose from. All you really need to buy is regular white vinegar. It doesn’t matter if you buy a premium brand or the store’s own cheap brand, it’s pretty much the same.

You don’t want to use balsamic or wine vinegar, because these have natural red dyes in them that could stain tile grout. There is also apple cider vinegar at a higher cost.

You’ll also want to avoid purchasing vinegars with flavourings in them or herbs. Stick to plain, clear, white vinegar and you’ll find many cleaning uses for it in the home.

Many people believe that a vinegar smell lasts a long time, which is not true at all. Once vinegar dries on your floor surface you won’t smell it any more.

What Types of Flooring Can I Wash with Vinegar?

Pretty much any type of flooring can be washed with vinegar. If not listed here, then look it up to be certain.

  • Laminate
  • Hardwood
  • Tiles and grout
  • Linoleum
  • Spot cleaning on carpets
  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles
  • Concrete
  • Cork

How to Use Vinegar to Wash the Floors

You can use vinegar two different ways to wash hardwood floors. No matter which way you choose, wear rubber gloves. While the vinegar is safe for the skin, it can still dry it out and cause skin irritation. It’s best to cover up your hands when you do your cleaning. This also keeps your hands safe from germs while you do the cleaning.

Vinegar also serves a dual purpose. Not only does it clean your floors but it freshens them up too. If you have bad smelling floors near your garbage bins, the vinegar will soon have that area of your kitchen smelling fresh again.

Vinegar is also good to use to wash around the floors and walls of your cat’s litter box to make that part of the home smell good again.
1. Mix 1 litre of hot tap water with 250 ml of vinegar in a bucket.
Use a clean cloth and wash your floors.

vinegar in recipes
2. Mix your vinegar with water and other ingredients to add more antiseptic power to your cleanser, and to make your natural cleanser smell even better.
Then use a clean cloth to wash your floors.

You may wish to use an additional towel to wipe your floors dry. This can extend their life, as the moisture won’t erode away at the surface. But the great thing about using vinegar and water is that you don’t have to rinse them off if you don’t want to. The vinegar and water will air dry naturally.

***Note that some people use a sponge to wash the floors. These are nearly impossible to clean, and bad for the environment when tossed in the garbage. Buy some high-quality cloths and towels to wash your floor. These can be tossed into your weekly laundry and reused indefinitely.

Use Vinegar in Recipes for Floor Cleansers

Some people find the smell of vinegar unpleasant, while others don’t mind it at all. If it really bothers you, you can make up special recipes with vinegar so that your natural floor cleanser smells good. But these recipes will still be safe to use around people with allergies or asthma.

1. Vinegar & Lemon Natural Floor Cleanser

Adding lemon to your vinegar floor cleanser not only makes floors smell fresh and clean, but also adds additional antiseptic properties. Like vinegar, lemon also contains ascetic acid.

Ingredients List for Vinegar & Lemon Natural Floor Cleanser

Gather together the following ingredients and supplies to make your simple vinegar and lemon floor cleanser.

  • 1 litre of hot water
  • 250 ml of white vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • One bucket
  • Knife, lemon juicer, and bowl
  • Gloves

Method to Make Vinegar & Lemon Floor Cleanser

Follow these steps to make your natural floor cleanser.

  1. Cut your lemon in half and juice it first. You can use a fork, a glass juicer tool, or a juice maker.
  2. Set aside your lemon skins for use in another project.
  3. Pour the lemon juice into the bucket.
  4. Pour in 250 ml of the vinegar.
  5. Measure out 1 litre of hot water from the tap into the bucket.
  6. No need to mix up as it’ll combine naturally from the physical motion of pouring the hot water in.
  7. Get ready to wash your floors.

2. Vinegar & Dish Soap with Essential Oils Floor Cleanser

This second recipe utilizes the benefits of lemon and vinegar, with additional scents added to make your rooms smell good.

Ingredients List for Vinegar & Essential Oils Floor Cleanser

Gather together the following ingredients.

  • 1 litre of hot water.
  • 250 ml of white vinegar.
  • 3 drops of fragrance-free environmentally-safe dish soap.
  • 5 to 10 drops of ONE of the following essential oils: lavender, peppermint, or orange.
  • One bucket.
  • Gloves.

Method to Make Vinegar & Dish Soap with Essential Oils Floor Cleanser

Follow these steps to make a great-smelling floor cleanser.

  1. Pour 250 ml of the vinegar into the bucket.
  2. Pour your 5 to 10 drops of your essential oil into the bucket. Either peppermint, orange, or lavender.
  3. Add your 3 drops of dish soap. (Note the vinegar will combat the suds but that’s normal)
  4. Measure out 1 litre of hot water from the tap into the bucket.
  5. No need to mix it up as it’ll combine naturally from the physical motion of pouring the hot water in.
  6. Now it’s time to wash your floors!

How to Use Your Special Floor Cleanser Recipes

Vacuum all floor surfaces first. Nothing is worse than washing your floors, then having to deal with hair or food debris. Get rid of that first by vacuuming. Plus, you don’t want to pour that debris down your drains, as it can clog them up.

Wash your floors with a clean cloth, and use a clean towel to dry them afterwards. The best way to thoroughly clean floors is on hands and knees. This is actually good exercise! But if you find that it’s hard on your knees, you can wear knee pads. If you aren’t used to doing this, your body will eventually adjust and it will become easier. But just washing with a mop isn’t that sanitary, and you can’t really see the dirt from standing up.

You should be able to wash up to three flooring surfaces in your home with one bucket. But if your floors are particularly dirty, you may need to empty the bucket and start anew. Be sure to toss your dirty cloths into the washing machine when you are done.

Things You Shouldn’t Do

While washing your floors with a vinegar-based cleanser is fairly safe and straightforward, there are still some things you should avoid doing.

  1. Do not reuse floor cleaning cloths for your dishes or vice versa! Use only clean cloths to wash flooring surfaces, then toss them in the washing machine. You do not want to spread germs around your home.
  2. Do not use bare hands when washing your floors. Wear gloves. This also protects your manicure.
  3. Do not add bleach or other unnatural ingredients to your floor cleaners! It’s not as safe as you think.
  4. Do not wash yourself into a corner. Start at the furthest corner and plot your route to the door.
  5. Don’t pour your bucket water into the garden afterwards. The vinegar could harm your plants. Vinegar is safe to pour down your kitchen drains. You can even add a little baking soda for it to work as a drain cleaner and un-plugger.
  6. Don’t just wash your floors without vacuuming first. This increases your difficulties of cleaning.
  7. Don’t use a mop to clean your floors unless you have the type that you can detach from base and toss into the washing machine. Otherwise, you’re just washing your floors with something that is dirty, over and over again.
  8. DO NOT use boiled hot water from the stove as you might burn yourself!
  9. Don’t allow anyone in your rooms where you are cleaning. They could slip and hurt themselves. Establish a one-hour rule until floors are dry.
  10. Don’t forget to buy a large bottle of vinegar so you have enough on hand.

Use Safe Vinegar-Based Floor Cleanser Now

Vinegar is not only safe to use to wash every floor in your home, but it can also be used to wash counters, sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. It’s one of the best multipurpose cleaners. You can even pour it into a spray bottle to may cleaning much easier.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your home with your vinegar-based recipes, it will smell fresh and clean. And you’ll discover that your health will improve as your body isn’t fighting off free-radicals from harsh chemicals and allergens.

Soon your home will look and smell clean and fresh, and you’ll be eager to invite guests over for the holiday celebrations!

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