Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Clean Wood Floors Naturally

All-natural, hardwood floors are great for our health (because, unlike carpet, they hold no allergens) and are great for the planet (because they can last decades without needing to be replaced). Not to mention, they're downright gorgeous. A lot of folks are stumped, however, when it comes to how to clean wood floors. There are a lot of unnatural AND natural products on the market that claim to be excellent floor cleaners, but why waste your money (or health) on those when a bucket of water, some clean rags, and a little vinegar will do the job just as well - if not better - at a fraction of the cost?

How to Clean Wood Floors (Hardwood, Bamboo or Engineered):

In a bowl, bucket or sink combine FOUR parts water to ONE PART distilled white vinegar. Dampen a mop or soft rag with the 4:1 mixture and wipe across small areas of the floor. For example, start by cleaning a 4ft by 4ft section and before you move onto the next section, swirl the dampened section with a clean, dry rag until all moisture is alleviated. If you leave wetness on wood (like you can on tile or other surfaces) you will eventually ruin it. It will become watermarked and the wood will begin to slowly warp. Drying small sections of wood as you clean will avoid this disaster ... and will prevent unattractive streaks.
To clean sticky spots or occasional spills, make a small batch of the 4:1 water and vinegar mixture, then spot clean and immediately dry.

Another option that works well on food spills and sticky areas of wood flooring is natural orange cleaner. Simply spray some on the mess and wipe dry with a clean rag. Orange Plus by Earth Friendly Products is a good choice. Or, better yet, skip the extra plastic bottle purchase and make your own orange cleaner, which is also great for cleaning counter tops AND degreasing stove tops. Barbara H. Peterson shares a terrific recipe for homemade, all-natural orange cleaner on her self-sufficiency and sustainability blog "Surviving the Middle Class Crash". (Love that name!)  To visit her blog and learn how to make her natural orange cleaner, click here.  


Unknown said...

This is something new to me, never thought that vinegar can be used to clean hardwood floors.

Marni said...

Darrel, vinegar works great on wood floors - give it a try. My inlaws have been using this method for decades at our family summer home, and the floors still look incredible. I've been using it on our bamboo floors for 6 year. You'll love the shine!