Quick DIY Floor Cleaner (for any floor surface)

Sometimes you need a quick floor cleaning solution and you don’t want to drag out your mop and bucket.  I like having a spray bottle with cleaner ready to clean up small or large messes that need it.  BONUS:  it’s ridiculously simple, yet effective.  This is time-saving and helpful when it comes to little kitchen messes or quick clean ups before guests arrive.  Did someone spill a glass of milk or walk in with muddy shoes?  No need to haul out the mop and bucket, simply spray this SUPER simple solution on the mess and wipe up.  No rinsing required.

New here? I’ve written a lot about DIY cleaners here on the blog and in my 2 books – Simply Clean and The Organically Clean Home.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

  • choose either castile soap or Sal Suds (both of the solutions I’m referencing are made by Dr. Bronner’s, but there are other brands of castile soap) – you’ll need 1-2 drops of the soap or cleaning concentrate (adjust as necessary – you want a little bit of bubbles, but you won’t be rinsing it, so you aren’t looking for a ’soapy’ solution).

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 16 oz. spray bottle (here’s my favorite glass spray bottle)
  • 1-2 drops of Sal Suds or castile soap
  • 3-5 drops essential oils if you’d like a little scent – some of my favorites are lemon + clove for the castile and pine + lemon for the Sal Suds (it has a pine-y scent already)
  • my favorite application is with a spray bottle and microfiber cloth but you can also spray and use a microfiber mop or spray mop (you can see my favorites here) or pour the solution into a small bucket and wipe up with a microfiber or cleaning cloth

Once you’ve cleaned up your little or big mess, move on to more important things!  Did you know that I have a floor cleaning recipe label pack in Clean Mama Home?  Check it out here.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors WITHOUT Vinegar

how-to-wash-hardwood-floors-without-vinegar-clean-mama

All right friends – the most controversial topic in cleaning just got a little more controversial.  You guys know that I clean my sealed hardwood floors with an itty bitty amount of white vinegar in a whole lot of warm water, right?  If not, go to this post and then head on back here for some new insight.  I will still stand by my original statements that washing hardwood floors with just the right amount of white vinegar is still a-okay but for those of you that doubt or just want a different solution, today’s post is for you!

I still believe that the largest risk a floor washer can take is to use too much water or liquid when washing hardwood floors.  Regardless of what you clean your floors with, make sure that you aren’t leaving standing liquid on the floors – the liquid will warp them and destroy the finish.  Use a barely damp application and make sure no water is left on each section before you leave it. You’ll see that I prefer spray mops or spray bottles when washing floors – this allows me to control the application and the amount of liquid I’m using.  If you want to use the traditional wet-mop method, you’ll up the ratio of water and cleaner.

On to the non-vinegar method….

You’ll see that I recommend 2 different products/concentrates for cleaning your hardwood floors – one is a soap (Dr. Bronner’s) and one is a cleaning concentrate (Sal Suds).  Both work and both are from the same company – Dr. Bronner’s.  If you have castile soap on hand, try it and see what you think.  If you’re looking for something new, Sal Suds is a natural cleaning concentrate that can clean just about anything.

Here’s what you need:

  • choose either castile soap or Sal Suds (both of the solutions I’m referencing are made by Dr. Bronner’s, but there are other brands of castile soap) – you’ll need 1-2 drops of the soap or cleaning concentrate (adjust as necessary – you want a little bit of bubbles, but you won’t be rinsing it, so you aren’t looking for a ’soapy’ solution).

alternative-solutions-for-washing-hardwood-floors

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 16 oz. spray bottle (here’s my favorite glass spray bottle)
  • 1-2 drops of Sal Suds or castile soap
  • 3-5 drops essential oils if you’d like a little scent – some of my favorites are lemon + clove for the castile and pine + lemon for the Sal Suds (it has a pine-y scent already)
  • microfiber mop or spray mop (you can see my favorites here) – if you’d rather hand wash your floors, simply pour the solution into a small bucket and use a microfiber cloth for the application

Pour the water into your spray bottle.

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Add a drop or two of  soap or cleaning concentrate.

sal-suds-floor-washing-naturally-clena-mama

Add essential oil if you’d like a custom scent.

add-essential-oils-clean-mama

Put your sprayer on the spray bottle and shake vigorously.

floor-washing-solution-clean-mama

Grab your mop.  I always recommend using a microfiber mopping pad and making sure it’s damp before getting started.  You can spray it with your cleaner or dampen with water before putting it on your mop head.  Work in small sections and get started – spray, mop, let dry.  There shouldn’t be any standing water – wipe up any excess water as you go.

washing-floors-clean-mama

How about you?  What do you use to wash your hardwood floors?  Are you going to try this non-vinegar method?

There are affiliate links in this post – go here to see my full disclosure policy.

 

3 Ways to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean Longer

3 Ways to Keep Hardwood Floors Clean Longer-2

One of your most-asked questions is all about how to make hardwood floors look and feel clean.  If you have hardwood floors you know that when they’re clean and shiny they’re beautiful and maybe even bring a smile to your face.  But if they’re grungy and dirty and sticky, they’re frustrating and they beg to be washed.  So how about a couple ways to keep your hardwood (and just about any other hard surface floor) stay and look clean longer?

Remove shoes at the door

Entryway - Clean Mama

If you haven’t adopted a shoes-off policy, this will definitely help keep the tracked in dirt and debris at the door.  Strategically place a rug at each entrance of the home and put a basket with socks or slippers out and accessible for guests.  If you have a place to put shoes in your garage, utilize that so you aren’t even bringing the dirt inside.

Vacuum and wash floors very thoroughly weekly

Easy to Clean Floors via Clean Mama

I find that a thorough vacuum and floor washing every week is the best way for me to keep the floors clean and fairly dirt free all week long.  By vacuuming edges and corners and doing a thorough job, I find that the floors look better for longer.  Of course if you have kids and/or pets you know that you could most likely vacuum and wash floors every day, but I’m guessing you don’t want to be spending your time doing that every day.  In my cleaning routine I vacuum on Wednesdays and wash floors on Thursdays – it’s a great system and method that works.  Go to this post to find out more.

Spot clean any little messes right away

If you notice a smudge, spill, or mess, tackle it right away. Crumbs under the table after a meal, give it a quick sweep.  Juice splatters from breakfast?  Wipe it up or bring out your favorite spray mop to clean it right up. It only takes a minute or two to clean up little messes but if left until the next time you wash the floors, your floors will look dirtier and they’ll take longer to clean when you do clean them.  Go here for some of my favorite tools and tricks for cleaning hard surface floors.

What do you do to keep your hardwood floors clean longer?

3 Ways to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

When it comes to controversial cleaning topics, patient cleaning hardwood floors with vinegar is close to the top believe it or not.  If you are in the ‘it’s not safe camp’, you probably won’t like this post.  But in my research and years of personal cleaning experience, I believe that there are 3 basic and safe methods that can be used.

 

What’s the big concern with vinegar and hardwood floors?  Vinegar is an acid and hardwood floors need a pH neutral or close to it cleaner.  When mixed with water, the solution’s acidity is drastically lowered and it becomes an effective method to wash hardwood floors.  The vinegar and water mixture cuts through dirt and grime, leaving a streak-free and naturally clean floor.

 

3 Ways to Wash Hardwood Floors via Clean Mama
NOTE:  Cleaning floors with vinegar is merely my suggestion, please form your own opinion and try at your own risk.  If you are unsure, test in an inconspicuous spot.  These recipes are only for SEALED hardwood floors or pre-fabricated hardwood floors, not waxed or unfinished hardwoods.
I always I like to give my readers a range of options and solutions. Some people love making their own cleaners while others prefer the pre-mixed, ready to go options.  I only recommend products that are non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets, but these are all products that I use and love.  At the end of the post you’ll see some a post linked with other hardwood floor cleaning options if you don’t want to use vinegar.

You probably know this, but it’s worth mentioning:

Hardwood floors foot sections and never let standing water sit on hardwood floors as it can warp and ruin the wood.

3 Ways to Safely Wash Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

METHOD #1: By Hand with a Bucket and Cloth

Bucket Method via Clean Mama

This is the old-fashioned method to wash floors and works great if you are wanting to get up close and personal with your floors.  I don’t do this every week, but when I feel like the floors need a really good cleaning, this works really well.  You can use the mixture on most baseboards too.

  • 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)

METHOD #2: Refillable Spray Mop

Refillable Spray Mop via Clean Mama

Refillable spray mops (this is the one I’m using now – I love it!) are super convenient and work well for daily touch ups and regular floor cleaning.  Make sure that your microfiber pad is rinsed frequently to prevent streaking.

  • 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)

METHOD #3: Spray Bottle and Microfiber Mop

Spray Bottle and Microfiber Mop via Clean Mama

If you prefer a spray bottle and microfiber mop, this works great – I recommend this microfiber mop.  Mix up the same solution that you’d put in a refillable spray mop bottle, wet the mop head with water and wring out.  Then spray and wipe, working in 4-6 foot sections.

  • 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)

3 Ways to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

What’s your favorite hardwood floor cleaner and/or method?

Check out these posts for more cleaning info – just click on the image to go straight to the post:

The Best Ways to Clean and Care for Hard Surface Floors via Clean Mama

How to Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner via Clean Mama

Kid-Friendly Cleaning Caddy + DIY Cleaning Spray via Clean Mama

Six Things I Do Every Day to Keep the House Clean via Clean Mama

HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

The Best Way to Clean and Care for Hard Surface Floors

The Best Ways to Clean and Care for Hard Surface Floors via Clean Mama

One of the top questions I receive is how to clean and care for hard surface floors.  It seems that everyone wants to know what the best method is, what won’t ruin their floors, and how to get the job done quickly and easily.  Because everyone loves a clean floor, right?

This past week I opened up the floor for your cleaning and organizing conundrums and issues. I received a lot of great questions and am excited to share what my solutions are to many of your common cleaning and organizing annoyances are.  Keep an eye out for your question to pop up here on the blog, Facebook or Instagram in the coming weeks as I work through them with you.

 

Today’s questions and answers focus on FLOORS, more specifically on how to clean hardwood, laminate, tile and grout.  Before I clean the floors, I always start by vacuuming to get rid of crumbs and dirt. If you have pets or a lot of dust, you may want to follow up with a quick sweep using a microfiber based floor duster.  If you follow my cleaning routine, Wednesdays are Vacuuming Day and Thursdays are Floor Washing Day.

Favorite Floor Tools via Clean Mama1 /2 /3 /4

HARDWOOD FLOORS:

 

Before using any cleaner, make sure that your hardwood floors are sealed.  How to clean your wood floors is not always dependent on the kind of wood but rather the finish that is on them. If you aren’t sure what sort of finish is on your floors, check with the manufacturer.  I prefer to use a refillable or microfiber mop versus a steam mop on my hardwood floors. While many people love the ease of a steam mop, my personal preference is to play it safe and use a more gentle, and less moisture approach with the refillable mop.  Alternatively, a damp microfiber mop works – just use a spray floor cleaner and spray and wipe you go.

 

UNFINISHED OR BAMBOO FLOORS:

If you have unfinished, waxed, or bamboo hardwood floors, the best approach is to use a barely damp (with water) microfiber mop pad.  Always check with your manufacturer’s instructions first.

 

STREAKS AND RESIDUE:

A couple helpful tips for streaks and residue on floors…if you are using a microfiber pad, dampen it before starting and rinse often while washing the floors.  If you have streaks with a steam mop and rinsing the mop head frequently doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to use distilled water (purchase by the gallon at your local grocery or drug store).  If you have hard water the minerals in your water may be contributing to streaking and residue on your floors due to the minerals in your water.

 

FAVORITE CLEANERS:

When it comes to just what brand or formulation of floor cleaner I prefer, I like to give a range of options and solutions. Some people love making their own cleaners while others prefer the pre-mixed, ready to go options.  I only recommend products that are non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets, but these are all products that I use and love.
If you are looking for the most economical and green choice, then making your own cleaner is the way to go. Here is my tried and true recipe:

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 refillable floor mop:

  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 16 ounces of warm water
  • 1-2 drops e ssential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors
If you prefer the convenience of pre-made cleaners, there are many options to choose from. My favorite brands for performance and safe ingredients are Murchinson-Hume, Bona, and Honest. All of these are ready to use – simply use the spray and mop method or pour into your refillable mop and clean away. Babyganics also makes a great floor cleaner concentrate that is unscented and easy to dilute – you can use it in a bucket and a refillable spray mop and it’s even compatible with carpet cleaners (see the links below).  If you like a mop and bucket for washing floors (not my preference), you might like a spin mop.  The one that’s pictured in the main photo is this one.
Favorite Hard Surface Floor Cleaners via Clean Mama
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LAMINATE FLOORS:

One of the biggest complaints I hear about laminate floor cleaners is that all the commercial cleaners leave behind a sticky residue that attracts dirt and dust. My all time favorite laminate floor cleaner is a simple DIY cleaner using every day ingredients. Try out this recipe for an effective, economical solution to cleaning your laminate floors. Again, I prefer using a refillable mop for ease, but this solution can be mixed up and put into a spray bottle as well.  The vinegar cleans and the rubbing alcohol aids in the drying and adds a sanitizing component.  The combination is great for getting those floors perfectly clean.  Laminate and water are not a good combination so you’ll want to use this in a spray format in lieu of a mop and bucket.

 

Mix equal parts of:
  • white vinegar
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water
I like to add several drops of peppermint essential oil for a invigorating and fresh scent. I mix up five ounces of each of three ingredients with 3-5 drops of essential oil to fill an average size spray bottle or to pour into a refillable mop.

 

DEEP CLEANING TILE AND GROUT:

It doesn’t take long before grout in between tile can show dirt and wear especially when it is in high traffic zones like kitchens, entryways and mudrooms. There are several different approaches that you can take to deep clean both your tile and grout. A favorite tried and true method that takes a little more elbow grease is a combination of cream of tartar and water. Mix up a paste using these two ingredients that is the consistency of runny toothpaste. Using an old toothbrush or a thin grout brush, dip the brush in and scrub away at the grout. The cream of tartar is a natural ‘bleach’ that should help lift the stains out gently but effectively. Check your local dollar store for an inexpensive container rather than paying full price for a little one at the grocery store.
For effective tile and grout cleaning, I love using my portable steam cleaner. Homeright makes a great model that comes with a lot of attachments so you can use the machine for more than just tile. The small nozzle attachment combines with the power of steam cleaning works wonderfully on tile and grout especially. Try it on your floor, bathroom or wherever you have tile and grout issues.  Homeright has a multi-purpose steam mop that has attachments that cleans grout and tile really well.
I hope this helps clear up some questions and gives you some ideas of methods and products that work!  I can’t wait to continue the What’s the Best… series!
If you want to use vinegar on your hardwood floors, you’ll love this post – 3 Ways to Clean Your Hardwood Floors with Vinegar:
3 Ways to Wash Hardwood Floors via Clean Mama

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