How to Create a DIY Floor Cleaning Solution
When your floors are clean, it’s almost as if no one sees them. But if the dog tracks mud through the house and your mother-in-law rings the doorbell before you have a chance to mop, your floors are on full display. Keeping your home clean without using dangerous chemicals seems like a challenge. Your home might look and smell clean after using manufactured products, but some of the chemicals you use could be harmful.
The chemicals and fragrances left on your floors after cleaning have a still unknown impact on your health. If you have to rewash your floors after cleaning them with chemicals to remove any residue, you’re doing twice the work.
Here are five safe floor-cleaning solutions you can make yourself and feel good about using.
There are many different types of wood flooring, from hardwood, floating tiles, laminate, composite, bamboo and more recently, recycled wood from old barns or other buildings. Whether buying or making a cleaning product for your wood floors, make sure the ingredients won’t damage or stain the wood. Consider testing a new cleaner on your floor in a closet or other area where a stain won’t be easily seen.
If you’re concerned that water might stain the wood, a 50/50 solution of vinegar and vegetable oil in a spray bottle works great for cleaning and adding a luster to your floors. You can also add a few drops of essential oils for a pleasant scent, but make sure to mix the solution fresh each time, so the vegetable oil doesn’t become rancid. Shake the bottle frequently because oil and vinegar will separate naturally.
Granite and Stone Floors
Granite tiles on your floors are beautiful, and you’d love to keep them that way. Buying cleaning products made exclusively for granite is expensive, especially if you have a large floor space to clean, but using less expensive products not made for granite can damage the finish on the stone.
Here’s a recipe for a simple cleaning solution you can make using only a few items in your kitchen. A clean spray bottle, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol or inexpensive vodka, 3 drops of dish or Castile soap and water makes an effective granite cleanser. You can also add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.
Granite and marble floors are the hardest types of stone, but others such as sandstone and limestone are softer and can show stains. Know what type of stone you’re preparing to clean, and be sure the floor is properly sealed.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Although the floors are easy to clean, the grout in ceramic and porcelain can stain and be hard to maintain. Create a paste using water and baking soda, and add it to stained grout. Let it sit for at least a few hours — preferably overnight — before scrubbing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water.
Let it air dry, and consider adding a grout sealer (silicone-based) to fight future staining. If your grout was stained with coffee, tea or red juice or wine, wash with hot water and a dishwashing detergent. Blot the stains with hydrogen peroxide. For grease stains, wash them with a 50/50 mix of water and club soda.
Vinyl or Linoleum
Be careful not to cut the surface of your vinyl or linoleum flooring. Mops with sharp corners can damage the flooring if used incorrectly to scrub stains or scuff marks. To clean any built up dirt or grime on a vinyl floor, mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with a gallon of hot water, rinsing the mop often with hot water.
For linoleum floors, mix ¼ cup vinegar, three gallons of hot water, ¼ cup baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. You can also mix one cup of vinegar with a capful of baby oil in five gallons of hot water. Always be sure to rinse your mop frequently with hot water to avoid transferring grease or dirt back onto the floor.
More and more homeowners are experimenting with DIY options to create unique flooring. Whether it’s painted concrete, thousands of pennies, bottle caps, torn brown paper bags, wine corks or leather belts, you should test any homemade cleaners on a small, out-of-the-way area before using them on the entire surface. Be sure your floors are sealed appropriately before using anything on them. In most cases, your safest bet for cleaning your unique floor may be hot water and a little bit of elbow grease.
As we become more aware of the possible dangers that come with using commercial cleaning materials, we’ll continue to look for the most effective natural cleaning options. There are plenty of safe options for your floors, but remember to test an area before using a new cleaning solution.
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