Erika K
Erika K
  • Hometalker
  • Wyckoff, NJ
Asked on Apr 14, 2012

Cleaning hardwood floors naturally

Joanne williamsonKMS WoodworksDesigns by BSB
+61

Answered

I'm looking for a homemade solution to clean hardwood floors. All suggestions welcome! Thank you.
64 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 14, 2012

    we simply use a damp towel for the bulk of our wood floor cleaning... In most cases excess "cleaner" can lead to dulling residues. Check out this article I wrote on Floor finishes...there is a cleaning section at the bottom. http://www.networx.com/article/exotic-wood-floor-finishes-you-havent-s

  • Arlene G
    on Apr 14, 2012

    We use a small amount of white vinegar with clear water... works extremely well... cleans... leaves no residue.

  • Francie N
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I use a cup of white vinegar to a bucket of warm water. I've tried all the products out there that are supposed to be for hardwood floors, they all leave a residue. This leaves no residue and they shine, shine, shine !!

  • Karen
    on Apr 14, 2012

    We use the Shark Steam Mop and it cleans and sanitizes without using any chemicals, just water (use distilled water so no added minerals, etc), absolutely wonderful and it dries instantly.

  • Dee W
    on Apr 14, 2012

    White vinegar and warm water works best for me-if they need some color, I brew 8 tea bags in 2 cups of hot water for 15 min, then add to /2 gallon of water. Wipe the floor and scratches disappear!

  • Val E
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I agree with Karen. I am a residential housekeeper and one of my customers has wood floors throughout her whole house and we use the steam cleaner always, no cleaner residue, no chemicals, dries extremely fast, looks fabulous.

  • Fran B
    on Apr 14, 2012

    It seems to me I used to use a solution of vinegar, water and a little bit of lemon oil.

  • Therese C
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I worked for a highrise in St Louis and all floors were inlaid Oak Parquet ..the REAL stuff..the only thing we ever used was luke warm water and white vinegar, mixed 50/50. Shines beautifully!

  • Carroll A
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I also have a shark steam mop. Love it! Quick and so easy to use.

  • Rhonda M
    on Apr 14, 2012

    We have all hardwood floors, Brazilian Cherry or something, Tried everything. White vinegar and water in spray bottle terry mop or terry rag hands and knees. Works great and cheap!!

  • Ruth K
    on Apr 14, 2012

    to all those that use the steam "anything" steam is putting hot water on your wood floor. This is absolutely the worse thing you can use. .it forces water down in the seams.sooner than later the wood will start to swell,little at a time. Ask any wood working person. wiping with a dampen rag is very best. Don't forget to use proper oil treatment at least 1x per year.

  • Linda D
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I have to agree with Ruth K. I also would never use vinegar wood either. I use a damp clean clothe with water and either Dr. Bonners soap or Murphy's soap

  • Linda D
    on Apr 14, 2012

    ops cloth

  • MaryAnn D
    on Apr 14, 2012

    We have cherry wood floors use a shark steam mop plain water.They always come out with streaks,and when my 5 pound poodle walks u see his spot footprints.So I also need help on what to use

  • Kelly S
    on Apr 14, 2012

    I was using Murphy's oil soap but it is leaving a reside after 3 uses. I will try the vinegar and water. The problem I have is doggie drool. Most cleaners simply re-liquidify it and don't get ride of it. I have to go over an area several times. I agree with Ruth, over time it will cause problems.

  • Ruth K
    on Apr 15, 2012

    about 1x yr try old english oil polish but be careful until it really has dried it is slippery. Go to the beach for the day,have a picnic. Let it dry well. will work as well on wood paneling too.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 15, 2012

    Mopping wood = bad Steaming wood = bad using "oil soap" = bad water + wood = bad Wood is hygroscopic which means it absorbs / releases moisture from its environment. I refinished my first hardwood floor back in 1983 and have seen countless example of floor "abuse". I'm not the only one to share these views, In addition to my history with flooring I have been a custom woodworker / Furniture maker for over 30 years. here is a nice posting from another flooring professional...read it all the way through and check out the section from Bona on oil soaps at the bottom. http://www.cinhome.com/murphys.html I have seen and worked on wood floors that were more than 100 years old. I have also replaced wood floors that were less than 10 years old and ruined due to improper care....If you want your floors to last take care of them properly.

  • Carol B
    on Apr 15, 2012

    Great info. I have hardwood floors throughout my house and don't like to wax them as they are too slippery. The steam sounds like a good idea as well as trying the vinegar. Good ole' vinegar! My grandmother taught me to use it to clean glass and I put it in my laundry to break up enzymes that cause odor and it removes stains. All the cleaning products on the market or basically a rip off!

  • William P
    on Apr 15, 2012

    my company does this professionally and the post above is correct. from KMS Woodworks...too many folks try the 'home remedies to save $ and we find once we are in these homes, a lot of folks have ruined their floors due to these 'home remedies'! The ONLY suggestion that I would ad-lib to in-between professional clean & buffs would be what a few folks stated above...fill a sink with warm water and add only 1/4 cup of white vinegar and ring that mop out till its just barely moist and go over your floors to pick up the light dirt films ...if you have a fan or blower, put that on right away to dry it.. If you do not want to permenantly ruin, scratch, warp or water damage your floors....just call a professional...this service is VERY inexpensive (we only charge 25 cents per sq ft to do them correctly!

  • Cathy B
    on Apr 15, 2012

    KMS is correct..

  • Brenda P
    on Apr 19, 2012

    Hanover House makes wonderful products for hardwood floors. They have a No Bucket Floor Cleaner that is Great. If you really love your floors, you will check out this line of products. They also have a Floor Finish that brings dull hardwood floors and even ceramic tiles back to life.

  • Terri M
    on Apr 19, 2012

    BONA is all I ever use!!

  • Naomi J
    on Apr 19, 2012

    Need to know if the floors have a poly sealant or wood wax. Poly is water base so suggestions with water and vinegar is fine. Floors that have a carnuba wax, use water sparingly. I suggest calling your local floor care Aerus/Elctrolux dealer and learn from the best.how to clean and maintain your wood floors.

  • Karen E
    on Apr 19, 2012

    water and vinegar seems to be the theme here. My housekeeper mixes warm water, white vinegar and a small amount of pine sol rather than murphy oil. The murphy oil makes the floors too slippery. The pine sol gives it a cleaning agent. She cleans with a damp mop. I have asked her to cut back on the pine sol as it irritated my sinuses. I have heard rave reviews about the Oreck steam cleaner. We have over 1200 sq ft of red oak flooring so it is quite a job!!

  • Sharon E
    on Apr 19, 2012

    I use just a quarter cup or less of Johnson's Wood Floor Cleaner in a spray bottle and dilute with water. I use a terry floor duster type "mop" (from Bed, Bath & Beyond) and spray a section of floor, then wipe it with the terry mop. I don't want to use a wrung out regular mop because it still puts too much water on the floor and often leaves streaks or spots. I add just a little of the Johnson's product for the shine. Using the spray bottle gives just the minimum amount of water to clean off dust and marks.

  • Jennie H
    on Apr 19, 2012

    We use Orange Glow spray and a Dry Swiffer. It leaves them clean and shiny but a little slippery at first. My grandkids love it.

  • BONNIE J
    on Apr 19, 2012

    A LOT MORE WORK THAN CARPET, IN SOME WAYS! YES, I KNOW--DUST, ALLERGENS, ETC, ETC!

  • Roxy D
    on Apr 20, 2012

    If they are 'real' wood and sealed with poly, use white vinegar and warm water for heavily soiled. Endust and a dust mop for 'just dusty'. Been doing it that way for years. This does not work so well on heavily soiled prefab, as it is not sealed and water will seep in the joints.

  • Roxy D
    on Apr 20, 2012

    I have used Windex before, and Bona, but Bona is nothing but a glorified Windex and 10x the $$$. Windex will not harm real wood sealed with poly.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 20, 2012

    Keep in mind that in most cases...95% or better you are NOT cleaning the wood it self but the SURFACE finish that has been applied to the wood. In the bulk of cases this finish is a form of polyurethane ( either oil or water based) Where the problems come from is when water seeps between the boards and effects the non coated side and bottom of the wood, these surfaces are normally not coated in any way. When water hits these un-coated surfaces it can cause the wood to swell that leads to further finish damage.

  • Cathy B
    on Apr 20, 2012

    Vinegar strips the finish on the wood only use if you have build up and that would only be on a year at most. Will strip sealant on grout also. Just how chemistry works.

  • Pamela
    on Apr 20, 2012

    My sister just bought a house and she thought she would have to refinish the hardwood floors. As a stopgap measure she bought something from Solutions for hardwood floors (don't know what it's called). Now she thinks she won't refinish after all, she was that pleased.

  • KMS, what do you think about the Bona floor cleaning products for a wood floor with polyeurothane on it.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 22, 2012

    Lee Anne ...I have a few client who swear by it...but I have found simple water to be just as effective for 95% of my cleaning. We have three dogs and occasional kids who track in dirt...unless you have gobs and gobs of grease balls falling on your hardwood water is all you really need. we never apply any liquid directly to the floor...only the towel or swiffer type pad we use. I use a damp ( fully wrung out towel) that we wet in the kitchen sink to clean our floors...then this towel get tossed in the laundry Water is free compared to the 18 bucks or so for a quart of the bona kemi...which is supposed to clean 500 sq feet.....at that rate I would be out $50 every time I clean my floors....

  • Rivka I
    on Apr 23, 2012

    I use white vinegar in water to keep my hardwood floors nice and shiny. That is what the installer told me to use and it has worked very nicely. Grease can be cut by the vinegar as long as there is not a great build up.

  • Otay, thank you !!!!

  • Roxy D
    on Apr 24, 2012

    The problem with using just water is it doesnt kill germs, especially with pets and all the germs coming in from outside.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 24, 2012

    Roxy D ...In my previous career I worked as an engineer in the Pharmaceutical industry. Our facility was scrubbed down twice a day with some pretty harsh cleaning agents...even then it still had "germs" albeit at a much lower quantity than what would be found in a typical home. The widespread use of "bacterial soaps" actually do more harm, as they cause the most resistant strains of bacteria to survive. Studies have shown that "farm" kids who are exposed to higher levels of "challenges" (eating dirt and walking in cow poo) have much more robust immune systems and are better off fighting colds and such, than those "city" kids who's parents run about continuously with a "Clorox sanitizing" wipe. Thousands and thousands of years of evolution have fine tuned the human body to deal with day to day "germs". Simple common sense practices are all that are needed to maintain this level of protection.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Apr 25, 2012

    CND...so true. Grass feed Beef is great...better still Bison. We regularly eat Bison as "by law" it is organic. Unfortunately other people are catching on and the prices have gone up. We used to get ground bison at about $5 a pound now it is close to $8

  • Brenda R
    on Apr 25, 2012

    Have to agree with Terri M. Bona is the best ever! No residue

  • Rivka I
    on Apr 26, 2012

    @KMS you forgot swimming in the irrigation canals, drinking from the tubes and eating freash fruits and vegetables without washing them. By the way, DDT was still used until I was in high school.

  • Tami Mishel L
    on Apr 27, 2012

    Joy dish detergent mixed like you were doing dishes!

  • Pam
    on Apr 28, 2012

    Then I found this recipe which mixes equal parts water, vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol, with a few drops of dish soap. Ahh, Eureka! The alcohol helps create that streak-free shine because it evaporates so quickly, and the dish soap gives it some extra grime-fighting oomph! After testing out a small area, I was in love. I proceeded to clean the ENTIRE house in one go – yep, that's how happy I was. I was so proud of my gleaming laminate floors, I literally couldn't stop smiling :) Even the hubby noticed how clean and shiny they were, and he never notices anything – so I took that as a huge compliment!

  • Rivka I
    on Apr 29, 2012

    I use that same recipe for washing my windows, Pam

  • Susan S
    on Apr 29, 2012

    @ Pam D & Rivka - so even w/using a few drops of dish det. no rinsing is needed and there's no film or residue??? Definitely will have to try this. Also, can this be used on mirrors, windows etc?? OOPS - you just SAID that didn't you Rivka??? HELLO . . . . . . ; ~ )

  • Rivka I
    on Apr 30, 2012

    When I say a few I mean 2 or 3 drops per large milk jug.

  • Stephanie M
    on Apr 30, 2012

    I have never had the opportunity to try this method myself, but I've heard for years that tea bags work very well to clean hardwood floors. The tannin in the tea is the key ingredient. Steep a couple of family-sized tea bags in boiling water, pour tea into bucket, clean floor with soft tea-dampened cloth. If you try this technique I'd love to hear your opinion!

  • Susan S
    on May 1, 2012

    @Stephanie M. But it was YOUR idea so you get to go first!! NO NO, really, I insist!! You're just up the road from me - yeah!! Another Virginia neighbor!!!

  • Ruth K
    on May 1, 2012

    and I still say wwood and water do not mix. Unless your wood floors are really sealed you should not use water. ask any good craftsman that lays good wood floors and they will tell you the same eventially the water will cause the floor to split,discolor,think rings on your wood tables or a grand piano.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 1, 2012

    @ Ruth K...exactly. The less water the better. The towel method I use is so "dry" that no "drops" can be wrung from it. any one who uses a "bucket" and a mop is asking for an early demise.

  • Rivka I
    on May 1, 2012

    OK, well, this is true but I go over my floor with a microfiber cloth. I forgot to mention that. Plus I use a 'rag' mop from Libman which I can squeeze out much dryer than I ever did my sponge mops. @Stephanie - I have never heard of using tea but all but herbal teas are nothing more than tannic acid. I suppose that the tea would cut any oily/greasy substance on the floor. The water will get the dirt.

  • Venna Juve G
    on May 3, 2012

    steam cleaner

  • Designs by BSB
    on May 13, 2012

    our hardwoods are 20yrs old.. and yes, they could use a refinish.. I use Orange Glo polish/cleaner - which I have not yet seen mentioned here! For everyday/week cleaning I have tried just about everything and they all seem to leave streaks. I just accept it .. until I use the orange glo (1x a month typically) They make my dull floors shine! Guessing its all just build up. Hoping to get out of this house w/o paying for a refinish..

  • Pam
    on May 13, 2012

    Becky, Jennie H. said Orange Glo is what she used, but added it left floors a little slippery.

  • Jane A
    on May 14, 2012

    ha! after reading these posts, it seems that cleaning wood floors is a little of a pest and maybe we shouldn't be installing them LOL yes i have them too : )

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 15, 2012

    Jane A...if you want super low maintenance...go with tile.

  • Dee W
    on May 15, 2012

    I too, had used Orange Glo for a short time( one bottle) because it can build up and then needs to be stripped just like mop and glo for tle. I didn't want to deal with that so I use the vinegar/water solution as well as a "tea wash" every 3 months.

  • Debbie E
    on May 19, 2012

    BONA Is BEST!!!

  • Kelly S
    on May 20, 2012

    I cut the vinegar in half with water; the doggie drool, coffee, and soda pop dribbles are a thing of the past! Don't use dish soap because it will leave a residue. I put it in an O'Cedar spray mop with a microfober pad, like a Swifter only it's refillable with whatever you want to use. @Pam D, the alcohol makes sense. We use it at work to cut clean electrical connectors any many other parts. Everything is de-energized of course. @Stephanie M, I'll give it a try on the stuborn area where the dog waits for her treats.

  • Janice H
    on May 21, 2012

    being an amway distributor I love LOC 1 capful into a gallon of water does the trick.does not streak the floors.I love my wood floors

  • Sandie P
    on Jun 7, 2012

    ok, I love Bona, but I have run out & need to get some so I just tried the water, vinegar, alcohol, dish soap recipe. I just put some into a spray bottle got a rag & got on my knees so I can see up close how well it works & I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I have 2 boys that play lacrosse & football, a daughter that is a competitive gymnast, a husband, a dog & I work for my dad. Many times I am just happy to get the floor swept & right now it looks like the day it was installed. Now to keep everyone off the floor downstairs ;-D

  • Designs by BSB
    on Jun 10, 2012

    i finally gave and cleaned my floors with warm water and vinegar today. i will agree that it cleans just as good as household cleaners ... but if I want a shine on my 20yr floors I have to use Orange Glo. Yeah.. they need to be refinished but I am going to let the next homeowner do it! Anyone else have my dilemma? Im guessing Orange Glo is just building up .. maybe I need to strip them, or is that a big/professional job?

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jun 11, 2012

    Becky sue...the dullness is two fold...the first has to do with the wear and tear in the floors finish. I you can imagine a brand new shiny piece of furniture....then rub that surface with some super fine sand paper....the finish will no longer be shiny...this has to do with the "abrasion" of the finish where the light rays no longer reflect. This same process happens to a floor but instead of the sand paper is is normal dirt and grime over many years. The second area is cleaning residue...imagine that same shiny piece of furniture now add some dilute dish soap and let is dry on the surface hear you will be left with a sticky dull residue...this residue will attract more dirt and contribute to problem no 1 above.. In the soap residue dept a though a complete "rinse" can make it look better.

  • Joanne williamson
    on Jun 10, 2015

    I use a cap full of Murphys Oil soap to a quart spray bottle of water..Spray it on and wipe up with a micro fiber cloth on my mop....Cleans really well and leaves a sheen also..Love it..

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