Whether you have friends headed over, are out of store-bought cleaner and need to get your dirty floors clean quick or you just don’t like the idea of using chemical cleaners around your home, a DIY floor cleaner is a quick and easy fix to get all of your floors clean. There are lots of recipes that are environmentally friendly, floor safe and work great. And you can whip one up in no time at all with just a few household ingredients. See our expert-approved recipes for DIY floor cleaner for every flooring type you may have in your home.
DIY floor cleaner for all floors
Dish soap solution
Sure, it gets your dishes clean, but dish soap can make your floors squeaky clean as well, says 10-year house cleaning veteran Clinton Cole, owner of Gulf Coast Cleaning Service in Los Angeles, California. “It’s eco-friendly with no harsh chemicals and works on all types of floors,” Cole says. Dish soap is known for cutting through grease, and it works the same way on your floors, washing and breaking down dirt and grime. He recommends mixing about an eighth of a teaspoon of Dawn with at least a gallon of warm water and using a well-wrung out microfiber mop and drying the floor as you work
“As long as you don’t add too much dish soap, it’s a no-rinse formula,” Cole says. He notes that you can also add vinegar to this solution for a more powerful cleaner, but acknowledges that you likely won’t want to then use it on hardwood floors, as vinegar can degrade the surface finish on hardwood floors over time.
Rubbing alcohol cleaner
Good old household rubbing alcohol works great as a cleanser for any type of floor when diluted in warm water with a four-to-one ratio, says cleaning specialist and social media content producer Whitney White. The best part? Since we walk on our floors wearing shoes from outside, the alcohol will fight any lingering germs or bacteria — and because it evaporates very quickly, it dries streak-free! Simply mix a quarter to half a cup of 70% isopropyl alcohol for every two cups warm water. Then use either a spray bottle and microfiber mop to spray and wipe floors clean or damp mop with the solution, being careful to wring the mop well and dry the floor immediately after with a dry microfiber mop or cloth. “Diluted in water, the alcohol is even safe for wood floors,” says White.
See this trick in action here:
DIY floor cleaner for wood floors
Black tea cleanser
Tea is a popular drink in both hot and cold versions, but did you know you can clean your hardwood floor with it? “It’s true,” says Danielle Tays, TikTok’s ‘Mom That Loves to Clean’. Hardwood floors can be difficult to keep looking new because using harsh cleaners can dull the wood’s finish, and they also should only be washed once a month or so at maximum. But when it is time to wash, the tannic acid in tea is strong enough to cut through any dirt but still gentle enough not to damage the finish. And the compounds in tea can also prevent bacteria from growing.
Simply boil water and steep six or eight tea bags in it, then add one teaspoon of castile soap, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, advises Tays. Then use a well-wrung-out microfiber mop to wash your floors and a soft cloth to dry them. “You won’t believe how well this method works,” Tays says. Be sure to test the solution in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t stain — especially if you have light wood floors, she advises. If the tea color produced by six-to-eight tea bags is too dark for your floors, simply reduce the number used and cut back on steeping time.
See Tays’ video demonstrating the technique here:
Lemon juice and olive oil combo
According to the folks at FlooringInc.com, a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and warm water can work to both clean and add some polish to your hardwood floors. Combine one gallon of warm water with three-quarters of a cup of olive oil, and a half cup of lemon juice, and use the mixture to mop your wood floors. Like some other methods, the floor needs to be dried carefully once you’ve cleaned the entire floor, especially since you’re adding oil to the water with this recipe. And don’t let the wash water sit, they caution, “as this could damage the floor over an extended time.”
DIY floor cleaner for tile and vinyl floors
White household vinegar works great for cleaning tile and vinyl floors because it contains acetic acid, which helps to break down dirt while at the same time cutting through any sticky residue left over from other cleansers you may have used, says White, who uses this formula at the Airbnb’s she cleans. Mix two cups of warm water and a quarter cup of vinegar together, and damp mop or spray and mop with the solution, drying immediately after.
Stick to the proportions given, as using too much vinegar can damage the finish on a vinyl floor. “If your floors are super muddy you’ll also want to add about a teaspoon of dish soap as well,” says White. “But if it’s just streaks, then water and vinegar work wonderfully.” White notes that you can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to cut the smell of the vinegar.
See White making this cleaner here:
Baking soda paste
Vinyl floors have stains? The folks at Home Depot recommend a mixture of baking soda and water to clean stains from a vinyl floor. Simply combine the two ingredients to form a paste, and use a soft cloth to rub gently at the stain until the discoloration is lifted, then rinse with warm water — or warm water and vinegar for extra cleaning power. Real estate agent and social media cleaning expert Stephanie Booth recommends baking soda mixed with Sal Suds (Buy on Dr.Bronner.com, $9.99) and notes that it actually works on all kinds of household surfaces.
See Booth making the paste here:
DIY cleaner: Should you use the viral Tide floor-cleaning hack?
The powdered Tide with Bleach floor cleaning hack went viral awhile back as being great for all types of floors, but should you use this method on your floors? No, says Booth. “Using Tide can damage the surface of most flooring types, and the company itself doesn’t recommend it.” It can damage the seal on both wood and natural stone floors and create buildup on others, dulling their surface finish. While it can likely be used on vinyl floors without causing damage, even there, it would need to be rinsed clean, creating extra work.
See Booth’s video debunking the viral hack here:
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