It’s no secret that one of my favorite homemade cleaners is a basic 50/50 vinegar and water mixture. It’s usually my go-to homemade cleaner of choice and I’ve written about it several times here on the blog. In fact I sometimes worry I’ve written about vinegar too much and that I’ll start sounding like a broken record . . . stop talking about the vinegar and water already!
But as much as I’ve sung the praises of vinegar and water as a cleaner, there’s one place I’ve never used my all purpose favorite and that’s on my hardwood floor. Once before I wrote about this in my post about 7 things not to clean with vinegar, and in fact made hardwood floors the #2 thing on that list! There’s certainly debate on that subject and you can find plenty of homemade floor cleaner recipes around the internet that use some vinegar, but I’ve always decided to remain careful and keep the vinegar away from my vintage restored hardwood floor. Vinegar is acidic and I’ve decided to heed the cautions that it could dull the finish and even possibly warp the wood over time.
Usually if I feel the need to do more than just a “dry swiffering” of my floor, I’ll use plain water. There are times, however, when just plain water doesn’t feel like quite enough either. For those times I was still debating on a homemade solution that could be helpful.
Then I read an article in my local newspaper that mentioned that a simple mixture of alcohol, distilled water, and a bit of dish soap was a good homemade solution for cleaning wood floors. It sounded like an easy solution and I finally had a chance to give it a try. And I liked it!
Understanding the Ingredients
Alcohol can be a good choice to use in homemade cleaners as it has an almost neutral ph, meaning it’s neither too acidic nor is it too alkaline. If there are surfaces that need gentler care (like granite countertops or when you clean your electronics) alcohol can certainly be the solution. I usually use the 70% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol but in a pinch something like gin or vodka can work too.
And if you’re remaining cautious about your wood floors, distilled water is a good choice too. Distilled water (which you should be able to purchase for an inexpensive price at your local grocery store) can be useful in eliminating streaking or other marks from hard water and can prevent mineral buildup too.
And finally, this mixture has just a quick little squirt of dish soap. This bit of soap helps in breaking the surface tension of the water which in turn can make your cleaning more effective, but is a small enough amount that doesn’t require any rinsing.
All three of these ingredients are pretty simple and inexpensive items. For me the added bonus is that I always have these items around the house so I can mix up some of this cleaner whenever the need comes up.
"No Vinegar" Hardwood Floor Cleaner
- 1 cup Distilled Water
- 1/4 cup Rubbing Alcohol (70% Isopropyl)
- Small Squirt of Dish Soap (I used Dawn)
- Combine the ingredients in a small spray bottle.
- To use: Spray a small area of the floor and then rub with a cloth to clean and wipe the area dry. You can do this on your hands and knees, but I usually put a cloth on my Swiffer and use that to clean and dry the area. Be sure to dry the area well as any standing water left on hardwood floors is not good for them either.
- Continue spraying and wiping dry until you have cleaned the entire floor.
Do you have a hardwood floor too? Do you have a favorite method or homemade cleaner that’s your preferred solution on your hardwood floor?
I’d love to hear what you have to say on the subject! Feel free to leave me a comment below with any of your experiences and/or advice.