You have likely put a lot of time and money into your hardwood floors—whether you purchased a home with original hardwood floors or added them yourself. When something spills onto or stains your wood floors, it can feel like a disaster. Don’t lose hope: You can use a homemade wood floor cleaner to resolve the issue and get your floors in tip-top shape. 

Since commercial cleaners are often pricey and contain harsh chemicals that can lead to serious allergic reactions, a cheaper and safer alternative is to make your own DIY floor cleaner. Many homeowners prefer the convenience of using items they already have around the house instead of spending time and money curating specialty cleaning products. 

Try out these homemade hardwood wood floor cleaners that will have your floors spotless and shining in no time.

1. Water and Vinegar

White vinegar is considered by many to be the best homemade cleaner for wood floors. After diluting it with water, you can use it to clean almost every room of the house. To clean your wood floors with water and vinegar, do the following: 

  • Mix one part vinegar with three parts water. 
  • Before cleaning your floors, make sure that you first test the solution in an inconspicuous spot since vinegar can dull certain types of hardwood floor finishes. 
  • Once you’re confident that the solution is safe for the surface, you can use it to mop, clean, and shine your hardwood floors. 

2. Water, Vinegar, and Essential Oils

Since you may find the smell of white vinegar unappealing, try adding a few drops of essential oil to the solution. Lavender, rose, cedarwood, and lemon are all great essential oils to use to clean your wood floors and fill your home with a lovely aroma. 

3. Water, Vinegar, and Dish Detergent

Dish detergent can be used as a DIY hardwood floor cleaner to remove oil, dirt, and dust from your floors. Use the same water and white vinegar mixture but add a few drops of dish detergent for some extra-powerful cleaning.

4. Water, Vinegar, and Plant-Based Liquid Soap

Similarly, for a vigorous hardwood floor cleaner solution, mix one part plant-based liquid soap and one part white vinegar with 10 parts water. The liquid soap will break apart any stubborn dirt and grime. You can also add essential oils to this solution for that fresh, clean scent. 

5. Vinegar and Vegetable Oil

Although it might sound like a recipe for salad dressing, vinegar and vegetable oil can be used as a natural hardwood floor cleaner. Mix one part white vinegar and one part vegetable oil in a spray bottle, shake vigorously, and apply to your floors. This solution is best for those concerned about using water on certain hardwood floor finishes. 

6. Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Water

Yet another tasty-sounding solution, this mixture will make your floors gleam. To clean your floors with this DIY mixture, combine equal parts olive oil and white vinegar, a few teaspoons of lemon juice, and five parts hot water. Dip your mop or rag into the solution, wring gently, and then wipe down your hardwood floors with this homemade wood floor cleaner that shines.

7. Black Tea

You might be surprised to learn that tea is an excellent natural wood floor cleaner. Black tea has been used for centuries to clean and polish hardwood floors because it cuts through the grime and dust and adds an extra sheen. The tannic acid and astringency in black tea can spruce up your hardwood floors—no kettle required. 

To use tea to clean your hardwood floors, boil a pot of water with at least three tea bags, then let it steep for fifteen minutes. Once it’s cool, mop your hardwood floors with the tea, and let air dry. 

Keep in mind that this is a great technique for hardwood floors but that you shouldn’t use it for certain wood finishes, such as laminate.

Continuing Care for Your Wood Floors

No matter which DIY wood floor cleaner you choose for your floors, it’s important that you take the time to properly care for your wood floors so that they keep looking and feeling great throughout the years. 

Sweep and vacuum regularly to make sure that any surface debris is removed before it can scratch your floors. It’s also a good idea to use a dry dust mop or microfiber pad to remove dirt, dust, and dander at least once a week. 

  • You can help stop dirt buildup before it becomes a problem by placing mats at entryways to remind your family and guests to wipe their feet; you can also place area rugs and runners strategically in places with a lot of foot traffic. Imposing a no-shoes-indoors policy further helps prevent dirt from being tracked inside. 
  • If you notice any spills or stains on your hardwood floors, make sure to clean them up immediately, before they have the chance to soak deep into the floors. 
  • Never allow water or any other liquid—including the homemade wood floor cleaners we’ve listed—to remain on the surface of your wood floor for long. Wipe up any standing liquid before it has the chance to penetrate and stain your floors. 
  • To prevent floor scratches, it’s a good idea to keep your pet’s nails trimmed and any furniture on pads or rugs. 
  • If you do any construction in your home, be sure to protect your hardwood floors with breathable floor protectors. Learn more about hardwood floor costs and how to decide which type of new floor works best in your home.

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