DIY Homemade Cleaners {Hardwood Floor Cleaner}

Making your own cleaners can be fun and economical.  This series is all about must-have ingredients, recipes {free printable}labels {free printable}, and how to make homemade cleaners.

My favorite way to wash my hardwood floors is with warm water, vinegar, and essential oils.  (You can see how I use this method in more detail with a bucket and microfiber cloths in this post.)  The cleaning power comes from the water and vinegar, but I add a couple drops of essential oils to keep the house smelling a little less pickle-y.  I’ve done a lot of research on this method and it is what is most recommended by hardwood floor installers and refinishers.  However, vinegar is acidic, so it’s super important to make sure that the ratio of water to vinegar is correct because too much vinegar can dull the finish of your floors.  It’s also very important to use a barely damp cloth when washing your hardwood floors because too much water can damage your floors too.

Here are the simple ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 2-3 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors)

I mix this up using the same ratio in my floor cleaner:

  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 16 ounces of warm water
  • 1-2 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors)


Pop on a label and you’re all set!

Come see this updated post with my favorite 3 ways to clean hardwood floors with vinegar:

3 Ways to Wash Hardwood Floors via Clean Mama

Follow my Pinterest board for lots of cleaning tips and more DIY recipes!

Click here to see all the posts in this series.

The Organically Clean Home - Clean Mama

There’s a whole section of recipes for cleaning your floors naturally in my book,  The Organically Clean Home!


  1. Not sure if my last question posted properly. I’m wondering if essential oils are the same as the scented oils you would find in the candle aisle in a store like Walmart?

    • Scented oils typically use fragrance and essential oils are the actual product (lemons) distilled down into the oil. I only recommend using food-grade essential oils, but you can try the others and see what you think!
      xo, Becky

      • John Chrapkowski says:

        I agree that you should only use essential oils. The scented oils may have other ingredients that harm your wood floor

  2. Beckie, I love home made cleaners too. However vinegar’s pH level is acidic and will eventually damage wood floors. Wood floor cleaner must be pH neutral.

  3. I’m looking forward to trying out this and the other homemade cleaning solutions! Where do you find your essential oils?

  4. I am looking forward to trying this out. I love your homemade all purpose cleaner it’s excellent. So without a doubt I know this will be just as fantastic!

    I am kind of bummed I am going to miss your e-book sale oh well your two books is all I need :p

  5. By the way thanks for recommendation of the mop I am going to give it a go.

  6. I’m reviewing some of your recipes and am confused why two different ones are listed for your hardwood floor cleaner? Is this for a large batch job (gal of water) and a separate one for small spot cleaning (16 oz of water)? I’m confused. Thanks for your help.

    • The floor cleaner that’s pictured only holds 16 ounces so that is the smaller ratio. If I mix up a bucket with the cleaner I use the other recipe. Hope that helps! xo, Becky

  7. Karatemom says:

    My hardwood floors got dull and cloudy when I used this cleaner. 🙁

    • Not all hard wood floors can be cleaned easily with this solution. It sounds like you have a wax finish or a polyurethane finish that needs to be removed and replaced. The first time I used vinegar on my floor I had the same problem it turned out I left the vinegar on too long too strong and it started to lift the finish.

  8. Stephanie Depuy says:

    Just a word of caution if you have cats. I have read that citrus essential oils can be dangerous to use around cats. I love do terra essential oils and I want to try this recipe. I am going to use non citrus essential oil, just to be on the safe side. Thanks!

    • Citrus oil is not dangerous, they just don’t like it. There are a lot of essential oils out there that are not appropriate for a household with cats. I suggest before deciding on a scent you do you research and look into not only which ones are safe for all residents of your home but how they can affect your mood, appetite, immune system, sleep patterns and overall health. Keep in mind that not everyone reacts the same to each scent and what may be soothing to you could be aggravating to someone else.

  9. Do the oils leave a slick residue or anything on the floor? I have someone in my home that walks with a cane. Just wondering if the oils would make it difficult for her.

    • I would never use essential oils in a steam mop – only in a spray mop (that’s pictured) 🙂
      xo, Becky

    • Nope. Use essential oils diluted with sweet almomd oil and water to clean all surfaces. Electronics, even GLASS!

  10. Rkindschi says:

    Be VERY careful using any amount of essential oils in a floor cleaner. I used to put ONE drop of lemon essential oil in my mix for cleaning my wood floors and fate one year my Haan steam mop was ruined.

  11. Can you just make some and store it or does it have to be warm when you use it?

  12. Thank you for the easy floor cleaning recipe!! I LOVE lemon & clove, use that in distiilled water for a room spray, so when I saw your floor cleaner I thought it was meant to be 🙂 Thanks!!

  13. I have a question, when our floors dry after cleaning with vinegar and water, they seem dull or there is a haze.
    I have a traditional (old style solid wood) brazilian cherry floors. While work to keep clean with 3 teenage daughters they are beautiful when clean and not dull or hazy.
    Stu- a dad that does the floors!

  14. Thanks! I used this, and used lavender essential oil cause that’s all that I had in the house, and it cleaned well and smelled so nice! Not buying hardwood floor cleaner anymore!

  15. I wonder whether this DIY Homemade Cleaners safe to use with Steam Mop or not?
    I agree with you when using vinegar and a little oil will be very good for hardwood floors, but when I use the steam mop fear will ruin it

  16. I have always had carpeting, vinyl, and tile. I just had wood look laminate put in and cannot find a cleaner for it! Does this work on laminate as well or does anybody have a cleaner for it?

  17. NEVER EVER use anything but straight WATER in a steam mop!!!

  18. I have heard that lemon essential oil can degrade plastic. Have you had any issues with your refillable mop in this regard?

  19. Heinz vinegar contains GMO’s. You can use 365 organic vinegar instead. I would cough continuously once I sprayed Heinz into the air. Suprisingly when I switched to organic vinegar I didn’t cough while breathing it in. I used it for years believeing that is was safe and that it did not contain pesticides. I was wrong

  20. can you please tell me which mop to buy (the one pictured) for hard wood floors? i take it you put the vinegar solution in this mop? love the idea and set up and i want to replicate.

  21. Angela Murphy says:

    Looking for something to add To my wood floor cleaner any suggesting to bring bacK the shine.

  22. Hi! Would this solution be acceptable for laminate wood flooring? I’m a big fan of using vinegar on floors.

    • Yes, but you can also do a equal parts of these ingredients for laminate:
      rubbing alcohol
      10-20 drops essential oil (if you’d like)

  23. Am I understanding correctly that this solution has to be rinsed back off once it is dry? Thanks!

  24. Are there any essential oils that should NOT use with babies crawling around on the floors?

    Also, I’ve heard that adding rubbing alcohol will help with drying and streaking. Is this true? Thanks!

    • The ratio of liquid to essential oil is so small that you should be good BUT do your research first 🙂 I use rubbing alcohol in a handful of DIY recipes to help with the drying time – it works great!

  25. So I tried this with a microfiber pad mop. Unfortunately, it left water mark streaks all over the floor on my dark hardwood. Is the microfiber a no go, as it might not get the floors dry enough? Or is it the dark wood that shows the water marks?

    • Dark wood is notorious for showing water marks – try rinsing the mop pad thoroughly a couple times while you’re washing the floors. Work in small sections and dry as you go – hope this helps!

  26. So my question is…what mop is that? I am looking for a cleaning mop that I can put my own cleaner in it. Thanks

  27. I’m wondering where you got that mop with sprayer from?

  28. I found this Casabella mop at a TJMaxx, and was so excited! Too bad it is so flimsy that it broke when my husband pushed hard on it to scrub a spot on the floor. I like the idea of being able to use both sides of the mop head, but because it is designed that way, all the pressure from the handle is on a very weak point on the mop head. I recently replaced it with the OXO spray mop, and am super happy with it! It is sturdy, and the mop head detaches to reveal a small spot scrubber! After going through Swiffers (wasteful), the Rubbermaid Reveal mop (sprayer broke in less than 6 months), and the Casabella mop (flimsy), I think I have found my spray mop. (I know this sounds like an ad, but no, I don’t work for anyone and am not sponsored).

  29. Michele Taylor says:

    Does this vinegar solution work on Bamboo flooring???

  30. Phyllis Gootee says:

    We removed carpet and found hardwood floors!! The wood does not have a polyurethane coating. What do you recommend for cleaning?

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