If you’re like me, you’re constantly cleaning your home, especially with pets and little kids running all around! And when it comes to the cleaners you want to use, you’re probably doing your best to use natural versions that are less toxic than the brand name ones you’ll find in most stores.
Now, in my home, natural is always the goal, but that doesn’t mean we always get there. Sometimes I choose what’s quick or more convenient because I’m busy or I don’t know another way, but when it comes to getting clean wood floors the natural way… now that’s a goal I can meet! Not only is it possible to clean wood floors naturally, but it’s quick, easy, and super cheap!
Today, I’m going to show you a simple way to make a DIY orange vinegar floor cleaner that cuts through dirt and grime, helps decrease germs, freshens your home, saves you money, and isn’t harmful to you or your family. I’m also going to share what I’ve learned about caring for wood floors, especially when it comes to using vinegar on them as that’s somewhat of a controversial topic among wood care experts.
Orange Vinegar Floor Cleaner
Making and using an orange vinegar floor cleaner is one of the simplest, safest ways to clean your floors. It cleans, it deodorizes, it’s non-toxic, and it’s cheap!
- Fill your glass jar 1/3 full of dried orange peel (or full if using fresh peel). Top with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, filling your jar 1-inch to the top.
- Put a plastic lid on the jar and place it in a kitchen cabinet to sit 1-2 weeks… shaking every 2-3 days if you can remember to do it.
- After a couple weeks, strain vinegar from orange peel. Compost your herbs, and reserve orange vinegar in a labeled glass jar. Don’t forget to start the process over when your orange vinegar is half gone!
Once you’ve swept or vacuumed your floor well, add 1/2 cup of your orange vinegar floor cleaner to 2-quarts of room temperature water. Do not add essential oils to this mix as the oils will not mix with the water and will end up sitting on the top of your floor and can possibly damage the plastic components of your mop if you’re using a spray mop like I do.
Lightly spray your floor with this mixture and mop. Open the windows or turn on the fans in your home to help your floors dry quickly, and follow up with a nourishing oil if you choose to do this at this time.
How To Clean Wood Floors With Vinegar
This orange vinegar floor cleaner will work on all types of floors, but there are some cautions when using it on wood floors, although, in my opinion, these cautions can apply to all types of flooring.
So, first off, wood flooring needs 3 things.
- To stay clean
- To stay dry
- To stay sealed and nourished
Sweeping and Vacuuming
To care for your flooring, it’s important to keep your floors clean and free of dirt and grime as dirt acts as sandpaper and scratch or rub the finish off the flooring, leading to a dull look or deep scratches over time. Regular sweeping and vacuuming can help save your floors finish.
Water will ruin a floor quicker than dirt so it’s important when you’re cleaning your floor to keep the water to a minimum when mopping it. My favorite way to mop is to use a mop that sprays a fine mist over the floor and has a microfiber cleaning cloth that can be removed and washed. Not only is the water minimized with these mops, but they save you money and help keep your floor cleaner as the microfiber picks up extra dirt left behind after sweeping or vacuuming.
Sealing and Nourishing
The last thing to keep in mind when it comes to caring for floors is to make sure they stay sealed. Most floors have a coating over the top to keep the wood free of dirt and moisture, but over time, this protective layer is rubbed away. You can minimize this by keeping your floors swept and mopped, and you can also refinish your floors ever so often if you’re up for it.
In our home, we designed our floors to have a rustic look and feel to them. After we put our wood in and sanded them smooth, my husband beat the floors with a chain, a hammer, nails, and anything else he could think of to dent and scratch it before we stained and sealed it. This gave us a nice weathered look, but life with four boys and a dog has weathered it even more. Thankfully, we’re okay with that, but because the sealant is wearing away from the floor, it does expose our wood to more dirt and water.
One of the things we do to nourish our floors is to oil them once or twice a year. There are various kinds of oil you can use to nourish the wood in your home, but the most common are coconut oil, linseed oil, tung oil, and jojoba oil. Each of these oils works well to soak into the wood and help it resist moisture. If you choose to do this to your wood floors (or furniture), be sure to purchase 100% pure oil (nothing with added solvents) and research which oil is the right fit for your color floor and your budget. I also like to add lemon essential oil into whatever oil I’m using on my floor when I do this as it makes the whole house smell great! This step takes a little bit of work, but that’s can be a good thing! Your floors will look so nice, and it will be so good for them. If they could talk, they’d say, “Thank you!”
So there you go. A cheap and easy DIY orange vinegar floor cleaner that you can use to clean your wood floors safely.
Happy spring cleaning, friend!