How to Wash Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

I don’t mind washing floors, it’s instant gratification in the cleaning department and the biggest annoyance about it is moving furniture and the not walking on it until it’s dry part.  But…I’ve been struggling with my hardwoods (I know, not important in the scheme of things, but humor me).  When I say struggling, I mean that I feel I’ve tried just about every natural (and sort of natural) cleaning technique and tool known to hardwoods and while my floors look clean, I have never been completely happy with the finished results.  But…I’m a busy mom, and I like to clean in a hurry and get it over with and get on with my life, so I just washed them the best I could in the shortest amount of time and moved on.  I just felt like I always had some type of residue or something remaining on the floor – I chocked it up to juice, cereal, play-doh, dog slobber…

But the curiosity got the better of me and I tried washing my hardwoods the ‘really old-fashioned way’.  On my hands and knees and with hot water and vinegar.  First of all, I will tell you that I hate the smell of vinegar and smelling like a pickle, so that is why it has taken me so long to get to the point of actually trying to clean my floors this way.   But I gutted it out and guess what?  My floors have never looked cleaner and they stay cleaner for longer.  I had to change the bucket three times as I was washing my floors.  I know that they weren’t that dirty (because I wash them once a week), but I think that there was residue built up from the cleaners that was attracting dirt.  Now when I wash them, I don’t need to rinse the bucket more than once or twice.
I would rather not wash my floors on my hands and knees, but the results were so great that it’s hard not to.  I used a microfiber cloth, wrung almost dry, a little bucket with warm water and white vinegar (you don’t need to use ‘cleaning’ vinegar, this is just what I grabbed at the store).  The correct ratio of water to white vinegar is 1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm/hot water.  You could use a mop and bucket or a microfiber mopping pad.  I’ll be experimenting with the vinegar and water mixture in my refillable mop with microfiber pad, but for now I really enjoyed washing my hardwoods the old-fashioned way.
Tell me – have you been washing your hardwood floors with vinegar all along?  What’s your favorite method and cleaner for your floors?



  1. Becky, I wash mine with hot water and vinegar (and a few drops of lemon essential oil to kill the vinegar smell) but I use a microfiber mop like this one:

    Got mine at Target and I love it! Much easier than doing it by hand. 🙂


    • Hi Jamie!
      I have that mop and was thinking of trying it this week for my floor washing. I’ll have to add the essential oil to reduce the pickle smell 🙂 Great tip, thanks!
      xo, Becky

      • Kim VanDorn says:

        Hi. I have recently bought a home with original hardwoods that had at some point been refinished and poly urithaned. At some point, the previous owner or the owner before them had a pet who urinated in one corner. I have recently acquired two female kittens and although they use the liter box quite well, they are attracted to this corner and I now have an odor problem. Bona, and all the originating pet odor removers seem to do nothing. I am now wondering about doing a good clean with vinegar and adding the essential oils but my concern is if the oils will be harmful to my pets, even though we are talking about a couple of drops added in? I have pure tree tea and lavender, both of which might deter the kitties from further use for a while but I don’t want it to harm them. Does anyone have any thoughts on pet safety here, when applying these cleaning techniques?

        • Pet store they sell nature’s miracles it cuts the smell out of any animal on any surface.

          • Used to use Nature’s Miracles but now have found Messy Pet at Walmart. It is fantastic!! I have a very good sniffer and could always still smell urine after using NM. Just tried MP one month ago, and and amazing results!

        • White vinegar will take urine odor out. Clean with strong bleach water solution first. The bleach water mix should be strong enough to foam when it reacts to the urine. Let it soak in good (5-10 minutes). Rinse with vinegar water several times and finally take full strength white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray over urine area and leave to dry. “If” there is any urine odor after the vinegar dries repeat the vinegar spray daily until the urine odor is gone.

    • Terri Lovejoy says:

      If you want your wood floors to shine add a couple of drops of Lemon joy dish soap to the vinegar and warm water. I’ve been cleaning for over 30 years , this is how I clean wood floors.

      • Thank you so much for this advice. I’m now cleaning a beautiful home with hardwood floors throughtout the house so this info was just what I was looking for!

  2. I’ve used vinegar in the past on my hardwoods. I normally mix it up in a spray bottle and use a Swiffer with a microfiber cloth on the end instead of the throw aways that come with the swiffer ( if that makes sense). Vinegar and water can be used for so much too! Windows especially! I remember a neighbor using it for his outdoor windows with a squeegee!

    • That’s a great technique Felicia! I like the idea of using a swiffer that way too!
      xo, Becky

    • I use vinegar and water with a few drops of grease cutting original Dawn to clean just about everything, best cleaner I have ever used, damp mop my hardwood with it also.

  3. I’ve heard and read that vinegar will eventually begin to remove the finish from your floors, dulling their appearance, due to its acidity. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Kelli!
      In my research, I found that if you have pre-finished (that’s what we have) OR finished hardwoods, the vinegar/water solution is the best way to care for them. It’s important though to make sure your ratio of vinegar to water is correct and to use a barely wet application so the finish doesn’t have standing water on it at all. If you have waxed hardwood floors vinegar/water isn’t the best cleaning technique because the vinegar can remove the wax.
      xo, Becky

    • My husband spent 2 years installing hardwood floors (real ones, that are sanded and finished) … he says vinegar and water is the ONLY way to effectively/safely clean them. Stay away from ‘Bona’ like products.

      • Schennia Thomas says:

        Hi Hovestols,
        I just read your comment about staying away from Bona products. I use Bona and have been wondering if its damaging my hardwoods. What was your experience with this product line?

        • Vader1013 says:

          I don’t know that Bona “damages” the floors per se, but I can for one say that it will leave some sort of a residue that then will attract dirt, causing you to need to clean more, then the vicious cycle begins. I used Bona products for years and they never “damaged” my floor, BUT i can say that since switching to vinegar I notice a significant difference. I use the Heinz cleaning strength vinegar (at awl-mart), mix it up in a spray bottle with a couple drops essential Tea Tree oil (an EXCELLENT disinfectant) and a couple drops lemon essential oil, and boy WOW are my floors nice. It took about a month of cleaning like this to be able to tell that I had removed all of the other crappy cleaners’ residue, but now my floors just FEEL really, really clean underfoot.

        • laurie stowell says:

          I was told by my hardwood floor installer that he will only guarantee them IF i use Bona products and they work wonderfully and do not leave a residue on my floors.

        • Sheryl Dudley says:

          I just used the Bona on my hardwood floor Thursday and I have been searching on Pinterest to fix what it did to them. They are NO longer shiny in areas where I used it and you can see where I may have missed an area. I am absolutely sick! Will this vinegar make them dull? Any suggestions on how to bring back a little shine?

          • Marie Campanali says:

            I hated Bona. I used it on my hands and knees hoping for a great shine. I got streaks and dullness for my effort

          • DO NOT use Bona on your sealed hardwood floors! I used it several times, then decided to deep clean with vinegar and water. I noticed some shiny spots and some dull spots so I got down on my hands and knees with a microfibre cloth and started rubbing – I couldn’t believe what was happening. The Bona product was coming off like shedding skin! I knew it was Bona because what was coming off was light blue – the colour of Bona. I was horrified as I have a lot of hardwood floors in my home. I eventually removed with Windex with ammonia and a scraper I use on my glass top cook stove. I took pictures but I don’t see anyplace to add them. I had to scrape off in sections and spent around 3 hours each day for over a week to remove. My floors now look like the day they were installed. All I use now is a microfibre mop with water and a small amount of vinegar and I just damp mop – not a lot of water.
            I hope this helps someone!

      • YES , So True it leaves floors with a white film after several uses. You actually forget what kind of floors you have and find yourself trying to buy all sorts of products trying to correct the appearance on the floors.

  4. I switch between using hot water and a touch of dish detergent and hot water/vinegar in my spray mop on my floors. I find the detergent helps get the kids spills up better, but this gets them overall cleaner.

    Where is the cute little white bucket/tub from?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great tips! Thanks Becky & friends! I am going to try this. I have chemical sensitivities & don’t think all that chemical stuff is good for anyone.–Pam

  6. I use the hot water and vinegar with a touch of dishsoap on my tile floors as well. It works great. Every once in a while I get down on my hands and knees, but mostly I use the Sh-Mop.Here is a link


  7. I use Murphy Oil Soap (concentrate diluted with water as indicated on the package) on my hardwood floors for routine cleaning. I use a vinegar water solution if there’s a big mess to clean/disinfect.

    • was reading through this posting and saw your comment about using Murphy Oil soap. I just had hardwood floors installed by an experienced contractor. His instructions to me: NEVER use Murphy Oil soap. He said that it takes off the finish over time. He has had to refinish numerous floors because of this, and always the reason was that the homeowner had used Murphy’s. He also said he can tell when Murphys has been used do to the breakdown in the finish. I was surprised as I had already bought a bottle of the stuff having used it in the past. So…do some checking with flooring guys who do refinishing and see what they say. But he was very adamant that of all of the cleaners, this was the one that is causing the problems.

      • I just had hardwood installed 2 weeks ago. My guy said NEVER to use Murphys either on the floor. It will strip and damage. Good for other things but not the hardwood floors.

      • I’ve heard the same thing from numerous sources.

      • I used Murphy’s Oil Soap on my 85 year old wood floors once, and it ruined the finish. I’m sick over it. I’m stuck with the dullness because I cannot afford to refinish. Now I clean with warm water and vinegar. Even on my wood furniture, I use only a barely damp paper towel, water only. I can go a pretty long time without dusting at all, and this is an 85 year old house with original windows (not hermetically sealed like some houses today).

        After I’ve finished wiping down window jams, sills, etc with barely damp paper towel, I spray mist vinegar/water on the old stained wood window surfaces and on the stained wood baseboards. (It’s an old Spanish Revival house, to everything is dark stained wood, not painted.) Every couple of years I flip my furniture on its side and spray straight vinegar under there. It has eliminated my spider issue. I never saw the spiders, but their white excrement was getting on floors and other wood finishes. It looked awful and it was murder to scrape off. Turns out spiders hate the taste of vinegar, and their taste buds are in their feet! It has worked perfectly.

        Now if I could just find a way to stop those darn geckos from pooping on everything. Those little buggers need to stay outside, but they zoom in all the time. I rarely see one in the house, but I certainly see their poop and it stains fabric and affects wood finishes on furniture, even when you clean it off the next morning

        • Vicky Jackson says:

          I love the vinegar under the couch for pooping spiders tip! haha! I’m going to try it tomorrow.

      • Patrese Jones says:

        When I was a young girl my mother and daddy were divorced.There was not much “extra money” to go around. Even Pledge or Endust would put Mother over the limit at the grocery store. Most of our furniture was oak and I still remember Mother would just use water and a damp cloth when she would dust. Thanks Mother for the things you taught me as a child. I miss you.

  8. can you do this on Laminate hardwood flooring?

    • Yes…it’s the same proportions of water to vinegar. You can also mix up 1/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, and 1/3 rubbing alcohol with a drop or two of dishsoap for a laminate floor cleaner as well.
      xo, Becky

      • Is this vinegar solution also safe for cleaning a bamboo veneer toilet seat? What is the best cleaning care for this item? Thanks.

  9. This came just in time! We just had new hardwood floors installed in our kitchen and I’ve never had real hardwoods before. On my own, I never would have thought I could use vinegar and water on them but now I know I can (very dilluted of course). Do you use any floor shining products or do they stay shiny with just the vinegar and water?

    • Once a year I use the Bona Floor Refinisher in glossy – it’s a safe, water based polyurethane, but if your floors are brand new I’d just use the vinegar until you need a shine. You should be good for a few years at least.
      xo, Becky

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. I have a mop similar to yours without the spray feature. It’s must a microfiber cloth on a stick pretty much.

    My entire house is laminate flooring, except my kitchen and bathrooms, which are tile. I have a lot of mopping to do around here.

    I put the hot water and vinegar in a spray bottle, spray the floor, and use my mop! I keep a separate microfiber cloth handy to scrub tough spots by hand.

    My floors are left looking and feeling clean. The vinegar smell is fairly mild and only lasts for a short time.

  12. Now, that spray bottle idea is a great one! That’s what I’ll do…I already have a new microfiber mop.


  13. Anonymous says:

    We have always used vinegar and water – it was a tip from our hardwood floor installer when the floors were put in.

  14. Becky, we have been in our house for a year and a half. We have bamboo floors but aren’t sure what kind of finish (or if there even is one) on our floors. So it’s hard to know how to care for them. Is there a way we can tell??

    LOVE you blog, by the way. Thanks for all you do 🙂

  15. totally did this today and you are right!

  16. osmenage

    vinegar and water still still doing the job i think 😛

  17. Have you ever used a steam mop? I am wondering if maybe I can either add a tablespoon of vinegar to my steam mop or how it compares?

    • Bissell actually recommends adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to prevent hard water build up. Mine says distilled water only but vinegar hasn’t made it stop working either. 🙂

  18. I have been into this cleaning business for very long and if, anyone want to know more about this just visit my link.

    Office Cleaning Sydney

  19. I personally use tiny bit of washing powder, some lemon juice and essential oils works wonder with vinegar. Vinegar is very useful for removing even pale and strong stains off the floor.

  20. Vinegar is also my recipe of cleaning. It works great for any type of hard cleaning. And it’s also very easy to apply!!

  21. You can also use freshly brewed tea for your wooden furnishings. In one liter of water, boil a couple of teabags. Once it cools down, dip a soft cloth and wipe it on the dirty surface.

  22. Useful post. In fact vinegar with warm water can be used also to clean chocolate and sauce stains.

  23. I have had hardwood floors for over 10 years. I did exactly what you did and scrubbed on my hands and knees. BUT I came up with something better….I take a towel and wrap it around the end of my broom and tape the ends up around the wooden handle part. Put the solution in a spray bottle……and it goes a lot faster. When I’m done I throw the towel in the wash with hot water and bleach. —-It looks ghetto, but works awesome!

  24. i use pure tea tree oil and hot water on my hardwood floors it smells nicer and has natural disinfectant

  25. I just used this on half my wood floor, and my slate flooring… I did it by hand too! great!! My husband is calling me cinderella— as he lies on the couch watching football! HA

  26. I will try the vinegar and water, but usually use Murphy’s and hot water. I do have a tip for those who mop on hands and knees-buy the cheap gardening knee pads that attach behind the knees. I can actually stand after mopping my whole house without my knees aching!

  27. This may sound strange, but I love to wash my hardwood floors with strong, black tea. It smells fabulous, and the tannins in the tea really bring out the shine in the floor. I just put a few tea bags in a bucket of hot tap water, let it sit a few minutes, and use it with a microfiber cloth to wipe down the floors. Just be careful not to spill on your new, cream rug…:)

  28. I’m glad you did this post so others will give it a try. Yes, I’ve been washing all my floors this way for around 15 years. I will admit that I have got down on my hands and knees with a microfibre cloth and wow that really IS a difference. But to be perfectly honest, I have a lot of floors and a bad back and not lots of time … so lazy me uses a mop most of the time. When I see there’s a bit of dog drool or something, I’ll grab my microfibre for touch ups however. Love this post!

  29. I also use the combo of vinegar and water and love it. I use a large head flat mop that has terry cloth covers that you can moisten then spray the vinegar-water solution. Rinse when needed. This covers a large area faster. When needed wash the wood work by hand. My question is, I have some fading in my Brazilian Cherry factory finish floor. Is the vinegar nourishing the floor enough?

    • The fading is inevitable, but you might need a wood conditioner – check with the manufacturer and see what you can use.
      xo, Becky

    • My hardwood is a natural pre-finished but must have been a flat polyurethane, was not as shinny as I would like & I use Bona as the wood people recommended but I do switch off & use vinegar & water too; honestly I can’t tell the difference & I though the Bona would be too expensive but a gallon purchased at Bed,Bath & Beyond for $9.95 last at least 18 months or more. Do you think the Glossy finisher would work on the pre-finish floors!

  30. I’m using the vinegar & water solution on my new Shaw wood floors. It seems like I have a haze on them after they dry. Any suggestions? I have dogs that bring in dirt when it’s damp outside. I try to wipe the paw prints separately before I actually mop the floors.

  31. I soak my vinegar with orange peelings. This draws out the oils and gives the vinegar a sweet orange smell. Plus orange oil is wonderful conditioner for wood products. It is a win win for me. I reload my swifter wet jet with vinegar solution and get it done in a flash. Also I have hard water so I use distilled water or boil it before hand.

  32. Have recently removed all the carpet and underlay in our loungeroom. Underneath is a blonde coloured wood, which I don’t think has ever been treated with anything – perhaps only a light neutral stain ( if that ). I would very much like to keep the natural wood flooring without staining or varnishing it at all. I don’t know much about all this, and am not even sure what a microfibre cloth is !! I frankly cannot afford the expense of stain and varnish, let alone rehousing us, dog, cat etc. for up to a week while the whole thing is done ( because of toxic fumes ). Can anyone tell me how to care for natural wood ( I have no idea what kind of wood, but may well be pine – I am sure it is a hardwood though ) … and if it can be kept as natural flooring for a long time ? I have noted with much interest the comments here about vinegar and water to clean with, but am presuming that refers to stained and varnished wooden floors. Please help … any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Yes, don’t wash un-sealed hardwood with water and vinegar, but you might want to look into a wax finish that you can apply yourself. That would protect the wood a bit and give it a more finished appearance.
      xo, Becky

    • Restor-A-Finish from Howard works wonders on floors. I bought my 1950 vintage house with maple floors, but the (wax) finish was shot with water stains, discoloration, scratches, etc. I thought a complete sand/refinish with polyurethane would be the only solution.

      This Restor-A-Finish penetrates the stain and brings out the beautiful wood grain – just gorgeous! Also worked splendidly on my trim and cabinets. Note: you cannot use this product if you plan to apply a polyurethane product over it (it won’t stick). Perfect for waxed floors, though.

  33. Heather says:

    Hey Becky! I have linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms of our mobile home. What do you recommend for the solution for using this method? Same? Thanks so much!

  34. I have only used water and vinegar on my laminate floors! never thought I could use it on wood too! That is a time saver!

  35. Becky, What do you recommend for cleaning bamboo toilet seats that will not damage the veener?

    • Hi Meg!
      A vinegar solution of 1:4 should be safe for bamboo veneer – test under the seat to be sure, but that’s what I’d try.
      xo, Becky

  36. Lisa Robertson says:

    You can buy a Rubbermaid commercial like swifter mop with reusable washable mop heads from amazon very reasonable and is built to last. Also off gassing from the verathane takes much longer than a week. I would not use oil based verthane on a floor ever again.

  37. I am going to try this. I made some strawberry lemonade concentrate a few weeks ago and instead of throwing all the peels into the compost I filled a couple of quart jars with sliced lemon peel and filled them with vinegar and put them in dining room closet up on a shelf to sit for a couple of weeks. Now, I will have lemon vinegar and an extra benefit is that lemon peel itself will help keep ants out of the house so I imagine this would help too. You also get a nice lemony fragrance instead of the straight vinegar.

  38. Hi Becky!
    I was just about to do a long overdue floor washing today and realized I had no floor cleaner. If I had to go out and buy it, I definitely would have lost my mojo, lol! I knew there had to be a way to make something with vinegar and found your site with the correct ratio. Floors got nice and clean, I let them dry and used some Orange-Glo for a little shine, after. Thank you so much!

  39. The Manufacturer Of Our Hardwood Floor “Said” To Use Vinegar In WARM, not Hot Water. And NEVER EVER use Dish Soap Or ANY Soap On A Finished Wood Floor! You Spent A LOT of Money ON Your Floor, Don’t Strip The Natural Oils In The Wood!

  40. Great tip! my floors look beautiful. I used two dishtowels, soaked in the vinegar solution and then wrung out, on the floor. Just used my feet, scootched around on the towels from side to side, instead of getting on my hands and knees. Good workout, and it worked fine! I used paper towels afterwards, both to dry the floor and to see how clean it was. Perfect!

  41. I am interested in the trying the vinegar/water solution on my hardwood floors…but I was told to also use vegetable oil in the mixture to give it a shine. Have you heard this?

    • Hi Danielle!
      I have never heard to use vegetable oil – I don’t think it would hurt your floors, but I haven’t tried it myself!
      xo, Becky

      • Becky, I did read on the web to use 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. This was before I found your web site. I tried this and it was fine until we walked on the floors. It left footprints, even with socks on. I cannot get these prints off the floors. Our floors were sealed. Please help. Thanks,

        • Oh goodness – that will definitely do a number on your floors. That said, you need to degrease the oil off the floors – I’d use either a warm water and 1/4 teaspoon dish soap with a VERY well wrung out mop. Change the water and soap solution frequently and repeat as necessary until your floors return to the natural finish.

    • After reading all of the comments and suggestions, I’m left wanting to try this. My husband and I recently moved into an older home with the real deal of hardwood floors. They’re still great floors; they’re holding up extremely well BUT, I don’t think they’ve ever been treated, much less, treated properly. I can’t wait to get home to make my vinegar water solution with a few orange/lemon peelings. My floors again, are so old, I’m pretty sure I’ll need to also purchase some type of wood wax finish to top it off or try the idea of using a drop of vegetable oil. I’m excited about seeing the finished product……….one thing I can say is that judging the looks, these floors have already seen the absolute worst so I’m praying that this will bring them back.

      Thanks for the post! I’ll post my results soon.

  42. We moved in a one year old home with beautiful wood floors. The past owners used Bona wood cleaner. After my house cleaners came twice and used it we have a light white film build up on the floors. Will vinigar and water remove that and bring my floors back? Wife thinks we ruined the floors. Any remedies are welcome. Thank you


  43. My friend who installs hardwood floors said This would be the best thing I could do. Finally tried it this am. Then googled your post. So far so good floors are drying as I type. 🙂 I loved that I didn’t have to ho over it 3xs for the nasty soap line the mop “usually” leaves…

  44. After reading all of the comments and suggestions, I’m left wanting to try this. My husband and I recently moved into an older home with the real deal of hardwood floors. They’re still great floors; they’re holding up extremely well BUT, I don’t think they’ve ever been treated, much less, treated properly. I can’t wait to get home to make my vinegar water solution with a few orange/lemon peelings. My floors again, are so old, I’m pretty sure I’ll need to also purchase some type of wood wax finish to top it off or try the idea of using a drop of vegetable oil. I’m excited about seeing the finished product……….one thing I can say is that judging the looks, these floors have already seen the absolute worst so I’m praying that this will bring them back.

    Thanks for the post! I’ll post my results soon.

  45. Thanks for the great tips!! I discovered I was doing 3things wrong thru your tips: 1. Not boiling my water due to us having hard water. 2. Adding dish soap ( It’s a great degreaser I found for the kitchen) 3. Not wringing out my mop enougg/ leaving to much water in the floor via mop or brush when my kids and I wash the floors. My 7yr LOVES to help his mommy clean. I love knowing that when he helps, or his little brother drops styff in the bucket, they are safe, no chemical exposure. Same for the rest if us and our dog when we walk on the floors.

  46. Thanks for all the ideas, comments, and suggestions. I had been using water, vinegar & lemon essential oil for furniture dusting spray. But it didn’t dawn on me to use it on the floor too 🙂 So, today, I used it on my wood floor and loved it!

  47. Great info Becky, but I have already done EVERYTHING wrong. Have four large hairy dirty dogs, and the floor needs daily cleaning. The finish has started to wear off. It gets nice and clean with the vinegar solution, but can I do anything now to keep it from getting worse–professional refinishing would probably need to
    wait until I no longer have dogs, and getting rid of dogs now is not an option. Rugs just get wet and smelly. HELP!!

  48. I have recently purchased a 50 year old house with original hardwood floors. I believe they were probably stained and may have even been finished..but they have not been cleaned in years..literally! They have so much built up dirt and grease I have no idea how to start. I notice many people use microsoft cloth..but these floors are filthy! I was considering using a scrub brush, but I was afraid it would be too much water. How did they clean wood floors 100 years ago? Any suggestions?

  49. Is this safe for any wood finish?

    • No, it has to be sealed hardwoods. xo, Becky

      • How can you tell if your floors are sealed? I’m moving into an apartment from around the 1920s (??) with lovely dark original flooring, but they’re not shiny and smooth–if that makes sense. More old and worn. Help! : )

        • I’m guessing they probably aren’t sealed – but you could try it in a small corner and see how it works.
          xo, Becky

  50. I use Rejuvenate Floor Cleaner and Rejuvenate Urethane Satin High Gloss afterwards. It is important that you use a microfiber head. You can find Rejuvenate at Home Depot. They are expensive,but will give your sealed floors a very shiny result.

  51. Great post! What is the ratio for a spray bottle or one of those refillable spray jet mops? Thanks!

  52. I have found that cleaning my hardwood floors with a spin mop and a little bit of gain liquid laundry detergent in a bucket of hot water. The detergent really cuts the grease and grime . I was using vinegar alone it did a good job, but the gain does an even better job.

  53. Ever since I ad the floors put in I see foot prints on them. I use vinegar and water then go over it with a Heavy dry towel to make sure they are dry. I still see “prints” show up. I know I used hardwood cleaner when thy were installed three months ago and by now the build up hold be gone. I do thm constantly when I see the marks. I actually hate them. They are too much work. They are the light wood. Please help!

    • Have you tried wearing socks and slippers? That’s the only way to keep the footprints away at my house 🙂
      xo, Becky

      • I do not use vinegar same reason footprints and everything sticks. I try every few years thinking i am doing something wrong with my floors regarding vinegar. After we installed the floors my housekeeper said vinegar was great. HECK no we saw EVERYTHING on the floors in seconds. I usually use Murphys oil soap. Works great but I am trying to go more green and less store bought things.

        Just went over the floors with a table spoon of Dawn liquid detergent and a gallon warm hot water and i can slide on my Brazilian cherry wood floors.

        • I agree. I have brand new engineered hardwood floors. When we first moved in they immediately showed every smudge and footstep….I washed with my Murphy soap and water and they cleaned up okay and dried with no streaking but again showed every smudge and footprints right away. I washed with the Murphys several times and then thought I’d try vinegar and water thinking that that might help with the smudging. The vinegar and water dried streaky right away even though I was on my hands and knees drying and buffing and the smudging became worse…..I am thinking that there is a residue from the beginning. I am going to do a test patch with some dawn and water

  54. Theresa Fairbanks says:

    Do you put anything on the floor once you are done mopping with the Vinegar and water solution?
    Something Natural? Like Pure Lemon oil? suggestions please

    thank you so much

  55. Ah yes, just got off of my hands and knees (towel under them) washing my wood floor with water and vinegar.
    I loved doing it as well although you have taught me to use correct proportions which I did not know
    Anyway, thyey are pure and clean…Shall we start a club? Women on their hands and knees
    Carol Sue

  56. Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap! I did this the first time I cleaned my brand new hardwood floors and I am still regretting it over 6 months later. Murphy’s Oil Soap leaves a residue that 1) attracts dirt, and 2) sticks to feet/socks and sticks right on your carpeted areas in your house. I had to get my brand new carpets cleaned because I used Murphy’s Oil Soap. Stick to vinegar and water!

  57. I keep trying every few years with vinegar and we still stick to the floors after a capful of vinegar and a drop of dish detergent.

    I use just dish detergent and everything is fine and dandy..

    Why is the vinegar always sticky?

  58. I would not recommend vinegar to clean hardwood floors. Today is the second time my housecleaner used vinegar on my floors & I returned home to find dull, lackluster floors. For the better part of an hour I rewashed & waxed the floors. My floors seem dry and are just sucking up the wax. No more vinegar for us, this appears to have damaged our floors.

  59. we have WAXED hardwood floors and water with vinegar leaves a film no matter what I do. I’m going to damp mop with water only then wipe with a towel to dry. Then take my buffer to them. I have a big dog and family that try not to track stuff in but it’s a battle. I have heard that wiping and buffing is the only way to treat WAXED hardwoods, but there must be something easier. Any suggestions?

    • Vinegar is not effective on waxed wood 🙂 Water and a cleaner that is specifically for waxed wood like a paste wax is your best bet. xo, Becky

  60. Great post! Thanks! Going out to get my vinegar, spray bottle and mop right away.

  61. I didn’t really feel like going to work out today and this is the perfect alternative. . .two birds with one stone! Natural cleaning and an aerobic exercise (if I have everything ready and waiting)!

  62. COuld you please post some before and after pictures

  63. My family is about to move into a home where we just had our real hardwood floors (up and down) refinished and with four coats of semi-gloss poly. Can you please share how is best to clean these floors? I have a cleaning crew about to come in and clean and she says she uses “Bona” to clean hardwoods. Please advise ASAP. Thank you so much!

    • Not sure if it matters but the hardwoods are red oak and we went with a bit darker stain – actually 3 parts provincial and 1 part red oak for the stain. Thanks!

  64. I have waxed hardwood floors how do you recommend I clean them?

  65. I just started using vinegar and water to clean my hardwood floors. It has worked very nicely, until the last time. I am wondering if it is possible to use too much vinegar in the mix. I thought I had measured it out good, but I may have used more vinegar than in the past. I noticed a dulling smudge look to the floors once they dried. Do you know if using too much vinegar will do that? I see a rubbermaid soft cloth spray mop.

    • HI Tina! I’d go back and rinse with warm water and make sure you have everything rinsed off. The water/vinegar ratio is lots of water and just a little bit of vinegar. If you used the ratio that I recommend on sealed hardwoods I doubt it’s the vinegar. I bet you just need a little more of a rinse. xo, Becky

      • I am confused as to the ratio of vinegar to water. I read 1/3 vinegar to 1/3 water and alcohol and then 1/3 or 1/2 vinegar to a gallon of water- and do u use distiller water? I am not sure if I hv hard water. Also is it regular white distiller vinegar from the supermarket or is there a special cleaning vinegar

        • Hi Julie-
          1/3 vinegar to 1/3 alcohol to 1/3 water is a ratio for laminate floors, NOT hardwoods. This recipe is for hardwood floors – the dilution is different. Distilled water is just what you’d purchase from the store or if you boiled an cooled the water. You only need to use distilled water if you’re planning on storing a homemade recipe. You can use white distilled vinegar OR cleaning vinegar – either one is fine.

          • Becky,
            What do you recommend for waxed hardwood floors? I don’t understand your post above, and need some clarification, please.


          • Hi Staci! Waxed hardwood should typically only be cleaned with water.

  66. Someone may have mentioned this. Instead of paying $6+ for the refill for my Shark steam floor cleaner, I add vinegar and water to the refillable bottle.

  67. Thank you for this! My hard wood is also in my kitchen and I’ve been using every product under the sun to get the gunk out of the corners/cracks. Going to try the old fashion way!

  68. Nancy plaut says:

    Thank you Thank you!

    I am a working women who is a bit OCD and I find the vinegar mixture is the absolute best!

    I have tried every solution known to man and trust me you have nailed it! Vinegar is the way to go!

    Thanks for confirming that the basics are still the best!

    I am now bare-foot in’ .


  69. Breanna says:

    My husband and I moved into our home about 2 months ago. Our hardwood floor, covering our living room and kitchen, was consistently left streaked with white marks and always just looked dirty after each clean with regular products. I finally buckled and cleaned the floor with the vinegar, warm water, and microfiber cloth. I could not believe how shiny and clean it looked. My husband came home and commented that the floor was so clean he could slip and slide in his socks. He has since requested that I clean the floors on Friday, so he can enjoy the slip and slide all weekend long. Needless to say this is the only way I will clean my hardwood floors.

  70. Thanks so much for your helpful tips. Should have looked at this before just cleaning with Murphy’s oil. Will have to re wash my floors. 🙂

  71. Hi I use vinager and water on all my floors and they come out beautiful but I just bought a spin mop saw it advertised on TV and went to Target and they had it. It is the best 39.99 I will ever spend. You just put the water and vinager in the bucket that comes with it and put the mop in and then spin it out. I works like a charm. You never need to touch the mop with your hands no wringing it out the spinner does it for you. You can either make it really dry or a little wet however you want it. Great idea try it.

  72. Amewsika says:

    I’m a senior citizen who once could get down on hands and knees to clean my floors weekly, but now I’m anxious that my cleaning is less than adequate to prevent that “old lady” house smell. I want to forego the environmentally polluting bleach and other chemicals. Thanks for the vinegar idea. I am trying it tomorrow for sure.
    Mama G

  73. Claudia says:

    I have prefinished Bruce hardwood flooring, will the vinegar idea work with this flooring too?

  74. You might all like this. I use water and vinegar in my iRobot Scooba mop. It does all the work and my floors look amazing. Just a handy tip. I love my robot! 🙂

  75. Joel Embry says:

    I cleaned my floors with 1/2 cup to 1 gallon, they are streaky and less shiny than the dirty parts. What did I do wrong?? I used white distilled. Do I just need to do it again maybe? I rinsed out the mop. It’s a sponge type labeled specifically for wood floors.

  76. I know a wood expert, who makes furniture for the Smithsonian and for Colonial Williamsburg, and he said to never use oil on a hardwood floor. If there are scratches, the oil will turn them black and it will be nearly impossible to lighten them back up. He suggests (for my 45-year-old Oak floors, anyway), to wash them annually in very diluted ammonia water, and then to (annually) use paste wax on them to make them water-proof.

  77. I used the cleaning vinegar and warm water. I also added to drops of dawn dish soap. LOVE the way my floors look.

  78. HI I was wondering if Vinegar and water would help me take off the residue left behing by the “Rejuvenate”. I’ve noticed that after I started using that, to give it more shine to my floors, it damaged the shine and left some build up that i could actually scratch off with my nail and you could actually see how the floor is suppose to look underneath. I’m tired of seeing my floors that way that i’ve thinking about having them redone, but the thought of moving furniture and not being able to go in for hours or a day and the money spent, make me rethink. Any advise well appreciated.

  79. I wish I had seen this year’s ago. I used every product safe for hardwood floors including the hardwood brand cleaner of the company. I now have stripped dull floors.

  80. Carla riner says:

    I just had engineered hardwood floors installed. I don’t know if they are considered waxed or not. Can I use vinegar and water solution on them. Also, previous owners were smokers. What tips do you have for removing the smoke smell? I started with an air purifier and am now cleaning what I can with vinegar and water. I’m iffy about using baking soda on carpet and drapes. Any tips would be appreciated.

    • I’m pretty confident that they aren’t waxed but I would consult your installer on what they recommend. Have the carpets cleaned or replaced, repaint the walls and see who the smell is – smoke is next to impossible to completely get rid of 🙁

    • Sandy CARR says:

      Wash the drapes in among a to remove smoke smell and yellowing. Wash twice if needed. Extra rinse with fabric softener or starch if needed

  81. Debbie l Bowers says:

    We have brand-new hardwood floors, everyone keeps telling me I need to use ZEP, or Bona or orange glo. I have bought all three and every single one leaves a film on my floor that when the sun shines and I can see yet. Are you saying vinegar and water is safe for the hardware. Debbie

  82. I used a shark steam mop and sometimes sprayed vinegar solution as well on my hardwood floors for past 6 years. This was in 2 different houses. With babies I felt this was the only way to get them clean. They always felt so nice and clean after I did it. When my kids were crawling I mopped every night. In our new house we just refinished the hardwood floors and they used bona hd. My floorguy said don’t use vinegar only bona or this other hardwood cleaner he gave me. I’m a germaphobe. Thanks for this post. I think I will still continue with vinegar and maybe just thesteam mop once before we move in…then just use your method. I think distilled water is key or boiled then I guess.

  83. dee zwiff says:

    We have waxed hardwood flooring put in 20 years ago……Only Vacuuming or sweeping was recommended….now 20 years later at the busy foot paths in my home – lots of dirt and grime in the wood grain. The vinegar water solution works great at cleaning the grime ( although water is a real enemy to this waxed floor type – we are spraying on a rag not on the floor itself!)……..It is leaving the floor clean but dull….any recommendations for spot waxing a shine back into the planks?….any recommended products….we don’t want to go through the process of refinishing the floors since we don’t want to be inconvenienced and we don’t want our old dog’s routine interfered with!!!!

Speak Your Mind


Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss