Everyone loves the look of a freshly mopped floor, but few like the chemicals found in commercial mopping detergents or the residue left behind. Here are four common household ingredients that can clean your dirtiest, high-traffic floors without using heavy chemicals.
Be careful when using any water-based cleaning solution on flooring surfaces that aren't sealed. Natural wood floors without a good coat of polyurethane varnish or another sealer can be easily stained by water. Some laminate flooring manufacturers caution against allowing water to seep through the seams. While most floors will tolerate light damp mopping, you should never saturate wood and laminate flooring with pooling water.
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Equipment / Tools
- White vinegar
- Mild dish soap
- Scented oil or lemon juice (optional)
- Window cleaner
- Rubbing alcohol
Using Vinegar as a Mopping Solution
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that works well as a mopping solution without leaving any chemical residue on your floors. Although some people don't like the scent, this odor is evident only as you mop and clean—it will fade away rapidly as the solution dries. The results left behind are a gorgeous, clean floor. Try these three different combinations to clean your dirty floors. Cut the recipe in half if you have only a small area to mop.
- Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon warm water
- Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water, and 2 tablespoons mild dish soap
- Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water, and several drops of scented oils or lemon juice
Using Window Cleaner as a Mopping Solution
Window or glass cleaner may not be a completely natural ingredient, but it is a lot simpler than many of the mopping cleaners you will find sold on store shelves. It works great to give your mirrors and glass a nice clean surface, but glass cleaners can also be used to mop your floors.
A window cleaner has the added benefit of removing streaks from shiny surface floors and can even eliminate the need to buff your floors dry, depending on the type of surfaces you have in your home. You can even use window cleaner as a spot cleaner on your floors, spraying directly from the bottle and using a wet mop to wipe and remove dirt and sticky spots. The good thing about this recipe is that you can make a lot or a little, depending on your needs.
Using Dish Soap as a Mopping Solution
Mild dish soap can work well as a floor cleaner, and since it is so mild, it can be used on most floor types without leaving a residue. Don't overuse it, though—too much will create a slightly sticky film.
Here are two different recipes to try:
- Mix 1/4 cup mild dish soap and 3 cups warm water
- Mix 1/4 cup dish soap, 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups warm water, and 1/2 cup lemon juice
Using Rubbing Alcohol as a Mopping Solution
For laminate flooring, water is usually enough to clean thoroughly. But when you need a little extra cleaning power, rubbing alcohol can help. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, which prevents streaks and lines from drying onto your floor. When you use rubbing alcohol, it helps eliminate the need to buff and shine the floor dry.
There are two ways to create a rubbing alcohol cleaning solution:
- Mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 gallon warm water
- Mix 1 part vinegar, 1 part rubbing alcohol, and 1 part warm water
How often should you mop?
Kitchen and bathroom floors, which tend to be high-traffic areas, should be mopped once a week. Mop the other floors in your home every other week.
Should you use two buckets when mopping?
The two bucket system uses one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other bucket as a rinse bucket. This helps to keep the cleanser from getting dirty.
Should you let your mopped floors air dry or wipe them down?
Wiping your freshly mopped floor with a dry mop or towel will keep it from streaking and leaving water spots.
Caring for a Hardwood Floor in your Home. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.