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When my oldest child was about six months old I suddenly became much more interested in finding a natural and DIY floor cleaner recipe. I now had a pint-size inspector who would eat/lick anything I missed!
At the time we had several different types of floors in our tiny one-bedroom apartment. I had to find something multi-purpose and easy to make with the ingredients I had on hand. Something with white vinegar, washing soda, and dishwashing liquid.
The great news is I discovered natural cleaners are incredibly easy to make. And they can save a lot of money too!
Why Make Natural Floor Cleaner?
So with all a mom already has to juggle, why not just use conventional store-bought cleaners?
Ever read the ingredients in regular floor cleaners, Swiffer mops, and other store-bought floor cleaning products? Even something seemingly simple like bleach has harsh chemicals that are toxic to breathe. Here’s a sampling of toxic ingredients from popular floor cleaning agents.
- Dipropylene glycol
- Dialkyl dimethyl
- Ammonium chlorides
- Didecyldimethylammonium chloride
- Artificial fragrances
Most of these substances are a) not natural in any sense and b) known to have health and environmental concerns. Not what I want my little one crawling around in!
Don’t Have Time to Make Your Own? That’s OK!
Of course, life has changed a bit since I first experimented with homemade natural cleaner recipes years ago. I’ve had a few more kids (just a few!). Schooling and working from home make for crazy hours sometimes. In fact, I often get the question, how do you do it all?!
The answer is … I don’t! Life goes through certain phases and I certainly didn’t tackle living a healthier life all at once. I’ve learned, experimented, and grown bit by bit. And since vinegar stinks and borax is controversial, once I found store-bought brands I liked, I’ll be honest … my homemade cleaners appear less and less on the scene.
The good news is there are a lot of health-conscious companies and brands out there now, thanks to consumers who ask for these products and support them with their dollars.
My Favorite Store-bought Floor Cleaners
Vinegar and water make for a pretty easy recipe. But when a ready natural substitute is needed, try one of these brands. Some of these are multipurpose so you can use the cleaning solution for more than just your floors.
- Sal-Suds (The one I use often as it works for everything from floors to laundry)
- BioKleen Bac-Out Floor Cleaner
- Branch Basics Cleaning Concentrate (cleans almost everything)
Now, onto the recipes that started it all: my easy, DIY natural floor cleaner recipes!
Natural DIY Floor Cleaning Recipes
Here are my favorite homemade floor cleaner recipes from over the years. With a little practice, they’re so easy to make it becomes almost automatic. You can use these with a microfiber mop or with a regular mop bucket. I avoid using microfiber cloths for home cleaning (here’s why), but you could easily use a cotton towel instead.
Adding Essential Oils
Essential oils add a nice, fresh scent and they help fight pathogens and microbes. Using too much on vinyl floors or linoleum floors can leave a film though. I like using them in my wood floor cleaner, but you may want to skip them when cleaning floors made of laminate or tile. Here are some options to try:
- Lemon essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Orange essential oil
- Fir needle essential oil
Natural Wood Floor Cleaner
Wood floors require some special care to preserve the finish. Some DIY floor recipes add a small amount of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to act as a disinfectant. I haven’t found the need to use it. The following recipe helps get rid of grime and add shine to hardwood floors. Just be sure to wipe it off completely to avoid slippery floors! I use this cleaner on the wood floors in our home.
- Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil or other vegetable oil, and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
- Add a few drops of essential oil of choice for a nice scent if desired
- Shake well and spray on a cleaning cloth.
- Rub lightly into floors to bring back shine and clean spots.
You could use lemon juice instead of the 1/2 cup vinegar, but it will need to be used right away. Some sources say to use 1/4 cup of lemon juice in a gallon of water to protect the wood finish. This helps get up greasy spots without being overly acidic.
Best Homemade Floor Cleaner for Hard Floors
I like using this recipe for ceramic tile and laminate floors. It doesn’t leave a greasy film on vinyl or tile floors and is great for natural cleaning. Some tile floor cleaner recipes also add liquid dish soap to the recipe for extra scrubbing power. In that case, Sal Suds from Dr. Bronner’s would work. Unlike castile soap, it won’t interact negatively with the vinegar.
Here’s how to make an all-purpose cleaner for hard floors:
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and dampen the mop head.
- Mop well with hot water.
- Damp mop with pure hot or warm water to rinse.
For really tough stains, pre-treat with 2 tablespoons of washing soda (not baking soda) dissolved in 16 ounces of water.
How to Clean Grout
We’ve covered what to do about tile, but what about the grout? Especially in the bathroom and shower area, grout can become discolored over the years. Then there’s the grime, soap scum, and mildew. To clean grout, make a paste with hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the area, then rinse off with warm water.
Get even more homemade grout and tile cleaner recipes here.
Natural Carpet Stain Removal
With 6 kids and several pets, we’ve had our share of carpet stains! Here are some tips to get them out naturally.
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray on stains, let sit for 5 minutes, and scrub with a soft brush. Add 1-2 drops of dish soap for tough stains.
- For tough grease stains, pour cornstarch liberally on the stain and let sit until dry. Vacuum up and then use the method above.
- For heavy-duty stains that won’t come out, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax, and vinegar. Rub into the stain. Let sit until dry and vacuum up. Use the methods above if any part of the stain remains.
- Hydrogen peroxide also makes a great natural stain remover. Be sure to test on an inconspicuous area of the material first if you’re worried about color leaching.
How do you clean your home naturally? Any floor questions I forgot to cover here? Share below!