7 Tips and Recipes to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar (2023)

Hardwood floors are a favorite among homeowners because of their natural colors and beauty. Cleaning hardwood floors using the wrong floor cleaner could be a mistake, however. Our cleaning tips and recipes will provide you with ways to clean hardwood floors with vinegar so that you can protect that wood naturally without using harsh cleaning products.

Hardwood floors are different than your everyday laminate flooring and need different cleaning methods to protect both the wood and its polyurethane protective coating. This type of flooring is found in just about any room in the home from the kitchen to the living room. Therefore, you need to know how to care for wood flooring properly through everyday cleaning to remove stains.

7 Tips and Recipes to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar (1)



Table Of Contents

  1. How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar
    • Prepare a Hardwood Floor For Cleaning
    • Clean the Entire Floor Using Vinegar
    • Cleaning Old Hardwood Floors Naturally
    • Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors
    • Deep Clean a Hardwood Floor
    • Clean and Condition Hardwood Flooring
    • Cleaning a Wood Floor with Apple Cider Vinegar

How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

Believe it or not, the best way to clean a hardwood floor is to use vinegar. Vinegar is a mildly acidic liquid that breaks down grime and grease with ease. When used in combination with other ingredients, vinegar can clean a floor and restore its natural beauty and shine.

The following steps show you how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar and which components to add to create the perfect cleaning solution for your floor.

Prepare a Hardwood Floor For Cleaning

Take the necessary steps to clean your hardwood floor of loose dirt and debris before you wet mop it. Sand and dirt particles can get rubbed into the wood during the mopping process. Doing this can scratch and lead to future damage to your wood flooring.

Wood Floor Cleaning Prep

Before mopping or wet cleaning the wood floor, use a broom with gentle bristles, a dust mop, or a dry mop to sweep away debris and dirt from along the walls, baseboards, and corners. Finish by sweeping the dirt from one side of the room to the other until all debris is in one area.

Sweep the dirt onto a dustpan and dispose of it in the garbage. You can also clean the floor using a vacuum as long as you have removed the beater bar.

Vacuuming a hardwood floor with the beat bar intact can cause damage to the wood. While cleaning, make sure that you get along the edges of the floor to remove dust and dirt there, as well.

Clean the Entire Floor Using Vinegar

The following process is the easiest way to clean floors made of wood using a fundamental vinegar solution and a wet mop. This cleaner recipe is ideal for weekly maintenance cleaning. You can also use this recipe for cleaning baseboards along the floor by using a microfiber cloth.


Basic Floor Cleaning Solution

  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • Microfiber mop
  • Bucket


(Video) Should You Use Vinegar to Clean Hardwood Floors ??? The Truth About the Debate

For cleaning unfinished hardwood floors, fill the bucket with warm water and white vinegar. Dunk the mop head into the vinegar solution and wring out any excess liquid. Begin mopping at one side of the room using a use a side-to-side motion to clean the floor as you go.

Make sure to rinse, wring, and dunk the mop into the cleaning solution each time it begins to get dirty. Standing water and wood are not friends, so remember to use a dry, soft cloth to dry the floor after you finish cleaning it. Wood floors can be warped and damaged if left wet and result in costly repairs.

Cleaning Old Hardwood Floors Naturally

There are many distilled white vinegar uses, and cleaning old hardwood floors naturally is one of them. The following method works well for cleaning tough stains and extra dirty hardwood floors without using a store-bought cleaner. This cleaning solution can either be used as a spot cleaner or for cleaning large areas.


DIY Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • Essential oil
  • Spray bottle
(Video) Housecleaning Tips : Using Vinegar to Clean Wood Floors


Pour the soap and water in a spray bottle. You can also add ten drops of your favorite essential oils to the solution to eliminate the vinegar smell and leave the room with a fresh scent. Give the bottle a gentle shake to mix well without creating too many suds.

For large areas that need mop cleaning, combine the solution in a bucket, or use a spray mop. Spray the dirty floor areas with the cleaner and use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to clean away grime.

Best Way to Clean Hardwood Floors

The best way to clean hardwood floors is with a vinegar based cleaning solution. This method uses a combination of vinegar, soap, and water to loosen grime in a small area of the floor for easy spot cleaning. This recipe can also be made ahead of time, labeled, and stored away for future uses.


Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray

  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber pad or cloth


Mix the water, soap, and vinegar in a spray bottle and give it a gentle shake. If you plan to use the cleaning solution more than once, be sure to label the container for easy and safe storage. Spray the solution onto the dirty or stained area of the wood floor.

Use a soft cloth to work the solution into the grime with a circular motion. Rinse and wring the cloth using clean water, and wipe the remaining soap and dirt residue away. Finish up by drying the area with a clean towel.

Deep Clean a Hardwood Floor

To deep clean hardwood floors, you need something other than vinegar and water to remove dirt. This cleaning recipe utilizes the degreasing action of white vinegar with the deep cleaning action of dish soap. This technique is ideal for cleaning high traffic areas as well as kitchen and bathroom wood floors.


Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mild dishwashing detergent
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft sponge


(Video) How to Clean Hardwood Floors Naturally + Make them Shine! 💥 (Pro Cleaning Tips)

Pour the vinegar in a spray bottle and add the dish soap. Gently shake the bottle to mix without creating too many suds. Spray the vinegar solution onto those extra dirty areas of the floor and use a soft sponge to wipe away dirt and debris.

Rinse and wring out the sponge using cold water and wipe away any soapy residue. You can also use a damp mop to remove cleaning solution in larger areas. Finish up by drying the section with a clean towel.

Clean and Condition Hardwood Flooring

This DIY floor cleaner with vinegar is also a great way to condition your wood floor to prevent the wood from drying out. Since cooking oil can become rancid over time, do not prepare this recipe ahead of time for storage.


Hardwood Floor Cleaning and Conditioning

  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
(Video) How to Clean Hardwood Floors Naturally - Pro Cleaning Tips


Mix the water, oil, and vinegar in a spray bottle and give it a good shake. Begin in one area of the floor and work in sections. Spray the floor with the cleaning solution and use a cloth to wipe away dirt.

The vinegar breaks down the grime, while the oil prevents the wood from drying out. Use a dry, soft cloth to buff the floor using a circular motion to bring out the shine.

Cleaning a Wood Floor with Apple Cider Vinegar

If you like the idea of cleaning wood floors with a natural hardwood floor cleaner but prefer to use something a little different than white vinegar, you can get the same cleaning job done using apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is not as potent as white vinegar, so it can be used regularly to protect your wood floor’s finish.


Apple Cider Vinegar Floor Cleaner

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Mop


Mix the water and apple cider vinegar into a bucket and dunk the mop head into the solution. Wring the mop well to remove excess liquid. Begin at on end of the room and work your way to the other by cleaning the floor using a side-to-side motion.

Rinse and wring the mop as needed while cleaning the floor. Once the floor is clean, go back over the wood with a dry towel to wipe away any wet areas.

You could always purchase a Bona cleaning system to clean wood floors, but why do that when you can use natural products that you already have in your home to do the job? While hardwood floors need a little more TLC than a laminate or vinyl floor, it is well worth the extra effort.

Knowing how to clean wood properly is the first step. Caring for a wood floor using the right cleaning methods and know-how go a long way in rewarding you with those rich wood tones, luster, and natural beauty for years to come.

7 Tips and Recipes to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar (2)

We hope you enjoyed learning how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar to bring it back to its natural beauty, and we hope that you share these floor cleaner tips with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook.


What is the best homemade cleaner for wood floors? ›

A combination of olive oil, hot water, and lemon juice does a great job of removing stains from floors while also living them looking rich and shiny. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/3 cup white vinegar and five cups of hot water. Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice (or lemon essential oil) to add a fresh citrus scent.

Is it OK to clean hardwood floors with vinegar? ›

Don't use vinegar or baking soda.

Many DIY home cleaning solutions involve the use of vinegar or baking soda, but these are, in fact, the worst things you can apply to your wood floors. They actually damage and dull the polyurethane, which can irreparably ruin them.

Can I use Dawn and vinegar on hardwood floors? ›

Don't use straight ammonia, alkaline products or abrasive cleaners. They'll dull or scratch the finish. Don't rely on lemon juice or a vinegar-and-water solution to clean hardwood floors. "I don't recommend using vinegar or lemon juice, at least not in large quantities, as these can damage the floor's seal," said Wise.

How do I get my hardwood floors to shine again? ›

Daily: Dry mop floors with a microfiber dusting pad and mop. Clean spills immediately. Weekly: Clean deeper with a vacuum designed for wood floors or use a microfiber spray mop and cleaner formulated for hardwood floors. Monthly: Polish wood floors every 2-4 months for extra shine and protection.

How do I make homemade hardwood floor cleaner? ›

To clean your floors with this DIY mixture, combine equal parts olive oil and white vinegar, a few teaspoons of lemon juice, and five parts hot water. Dip your mop or rag into the solution, wring gently, and then wipe down your hardwood floors with this homemade wood floor cleaner that shines.

What not to use on hardwood floors? ›

Vinegar and Ammonia: Cleaning products that have a base of vinegar or ammonia eat away at the dirt on your floor - and also the floor's finish itself. Overtime, the acid will wear down your hardwood, leaving you with splotchy patches that are difficult to revive.

Can you use Dawn dish soap on hardwood floors? ›

Dish soap is a gentle cleaner that won't damage the natural wood, and it's perfect for light jobs and daily upkeep alike. In a large bucket, mix two to three tablespoons of dish soap with one gallon of warm water.

How do you mop wood floors with vinegar? ›

The cleaning process itself couldn't be easier. Better Homes & Gardens recommends adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to a gallon of lukewarm water. Then drop a sponge or rag mop in the mixture, wring it until it's almost dry (it should feel damp to the touch), and mop your floor.

Is Murphy's oil soap good for wood floors? ›

Do NOT clean your floors with Murphy's Oil Soap, Mop and Glo, Orange Glo, Swiffer Wet Mop, furniture polish such as Pledge, vinegar, ammonia, or any pine cleaners! All of these cleaners, over time, will dull and damage the finish.

Why are my hardwood floors still dirty after mopping? ›

Your Cleaner/Water Ratio Is Off

Too much water means that the cleaner won't penetrate and cleanse the dirty floors like it's meant to. On the other hand, if you use too little water and a higher concentration of cleaner, the cleansing materials will stay on top of your wood floors after they've dried.

What is the best oil for hardwood floors? ›

Tung and Linseed oil are the best natural penetrating oils for hardwood floors. The technical term for these oils is drying oils because they polymerize, forming a long-lasting protective layer on wood and stone. Tung provides the most durable finish of the oils and linseed is not far behind.

Does Murphy Oil Soap make floors shine? ›

It is marketed as a wood floor cleaning product that has the ability to both clean and shine your floors. This is a major appeal to many people because it does multiple things at once. It cleans your floor AND leaves it looking shiny again.

How do you remove cloudiness from hardwood floors? ›

Use an ammonia solution: An ammonia solution of about 2.5 dl (1 cup) of ammonia per 4 litres (1 gallon) of water can be used to dissolve the build-up that's causing the haziness of your floors. Remember to use this solution carefully, so that you don't further damage the floor with excess water.

How often should wood floors be redone? ›

Depending on a floor's thickness and the experience of the flooring professional, a floor can be sanded around 4-6 times in its entire life. Hardwood floors can be refinished every 7-10 years, making the 4-6 refinishes more than enough.

What is the best solution to mop floors? ›

Aslett recommends an easy cleaning solution: a quick squirt of dish detergent in a bucket of water. “Dish detergent is made to cut through grease and grime. Just don't use too much or the floors will be dull.”

Does hydrogen peroxide clean hardwood floors? ›

Used properly, hydrogen peroxide is not one of the damaging solvents. It is, in fact, a very effective stain remover and a reliable cleaner for hardwood flooring.

How do you clean wood naturally? ›

You can use commercially prepared lemon oil. You can also make a simple polish by mixing 1 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Pour it on a soft cloth and work it into the wood, wiping with the grain. Buff till shiny.

What will ruin hardwood floors? ›

8 Ways You're Destroying Your Hardwood Floors
  • Using the Wrong Cleaner & Supplies. ...
  • Using a Steam Mop. ...
  • High Heels & Things That Squeal. ...
  • Using a Vacuum Without a Wood Floor Attachment. ...
  • Area Rugs with Rubber Backing. ...
  • Too Much Sunshine (Yes, It's a Thing) ...
  • Applying Wax to a Urethane Finish. ...
  • Waiting Too Long to Refinish.
Sep 22, 2016

Which is better Bona or Murphy's oil soap? ›

Overall, the best hardwood floor cleaner is the Murphy Original Formula Oil Soap, as it's affordable, effective, and compatible with multiple surfaces. If you're looking for a spray option, the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner is safe and easy to use.

Can you wet mop wood floors? ›

Do not wet mop wood flooring. Damp is good. Dripping wet is bad. If you can ring out the mop or pad, you're working with too much water.

Is Dawn and vinegar a good floor cleaner? ›

After trying different commercial cleaners, we decided to mix one part Dawn dish soap and to two parts white vinegar, which I had on hand, in a bucket and mopped the floor with the soapy mixture. How it actually worked: The combo was a winner and brought the floor (almost) back to its original glory.

What is the easiest way to clean hard floors? ›

To clean, simply mix a quarter cup of mild or pH-neutral soap with water in a bucket. Then grab a microfiber mop that makes quick work of the chore, like Libman Wonder Mop. It's easy to wring out, making it ideal for hardwood floors that work best with a barely damp (not soaking) mop.

What to mix with vinegar to clean floors? ›

Vinegar + Water is the safest combo for cleaning. If you're facing a tough spot while you mop, sprinkle a little bit of dry baking soda onto the area and scrub at it by hand. Undiluted vinegar will have some reactions to the baking soda, though not enough to cause an issue. Never add vinegar to your steam mop.

Does vinegar make wood floors shine? ›

Since vinegar is an acid, it will actually break down the finish on the surface of your floor, and over time it will reduce the shine, and leave a dull appearance. Using vinegar and water to clean floors can also lead to an excessive amount of water on the floor, which can cause swelling and discoloration.

Is it OK to mop floors with vinegar? ›

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.

How much vinegar do I use to mop a floor? ›

Mix ½ cup of vinegar with one gallon of hot water to create your mopping solution. Wring out your mop thoroughly so that it is only damp and doesn't saturate wood floors with moisture to avoid damage.

Do you have to rinse Murphy's oil soap? ›

For heavy cleaning, dilute 1/2 cup Murphy per gallon. Clean well with wrung-out mop, and mop any excess water. No visible residue, no rinsing required.

Is Bona good for hardwood floors? ›

Bona Polish is NOT a hardwood floor cleaner. It is a cheap thin finish that you apply to your floors. Over time and repeated use the film gets thicker and it scuffs and scratches easily making the floors look unsightly. The only remedy to restore your floors is to strip the Bona Polish off.

Is it better to mop floor with hot or cold water? ›

The best thing you can use to clean your floors is cold water and vinegar. Cleaning vinegar is safe for all floors (except marble or stone floors). It helps keep them clean, prevents them from getting sticky, and kills any bacteria harboring there.

Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar to clean wood floors? ›

You can even clean your wood floors with apple cider vinegar to add an extra shine and leave your floors looking brand new and polished. All you have to do is sweep or hoover the floor first before making a cleaning solution of apple cider vinegar and water (typically 1 cup to 1 gallon) and you'll be ready to go!

Is white vinegar good for cleaning floors? ›

The only vinegar that works for cleaning floors is distilled white vinegar. The simple kind. It has an acidity of 5 percent which is perfect for cutting through grease, grime, and dirt. It is also cheap enough that you can use tonnes of it in cleaning all your surfaces, and still not break the bank or your budget.

How do you get dog urine smell out of hardwood floors? ›

Mix one cup of vinegar into a warm water-filled bucket and the add some drops of grapefruit oil to the solution to get rid of the odor. Scrub the floor with this safe cleaning solution, concentrating on the most prominent spots. As you scrub, the odor and stains should be disappearing.

Why do you mop with vinegar? ›

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.

How long to let vinegar and dawn sit? ›

How to clean shower doors with Dawn + Vinegar.
  1. Spray the Dawn + Vinegar solution liberally on dry shower doors. Wet shower doors dilute the mixture. ...
  2. Leave it on for at least 2-3 minutes. ...
  3. Wipe shower doors with a wet washcloth. ...
  4. Rinse shower doors with warm water. ...
  5. Wipe the doors down with a squeegee.

Is Murphy oil good for wood floors? ›

Do not clean the floor with furniture polish, vinegar, ammonia, pine cleaners, or Murphy's Oil Soap. Those cleaners may dull or even damage the finish and will create problems when your floor needs recoating.

How do you mop hardwood floors without damaging them? ›

Saturate a rag or sponge mop in your cleaning solution. Wring it out thoroughly so the mop is damp, not wet. Mop the floor with the cleaner, being careful to not put too much liquid on the floor. Rinse the mop with clean water, wring out excess, and damp mop the floor to remove the cleaner.

What not to clean with vinegar? ›

  • Clothes Iron. Never add vinegar to the tank; it could permanently damage the inside of the appliance. ...
  • Countertops. If you want to keep your stone countertops looking beautiful, don't reach for vinegar. ...
  • Dishwashers. ...
  • Electronic Screens. ...
  • Flooring. ...
  • Knives. ...
  • Ranges. ...
  • Small Appliances.
Dec 2, 2020

Do you have to rinse after cleaning with vinegar? ›

Do You Have to Rinse after Cleaning with Vinegar? Rinsing is not necessary! If you're simply using a vinegar and water solution to wipe and disinfect, you won't need to rinse. However, if there's also plenty of dirt and grime you're wiping away, you may also want to rinse with some extra water.

What is the most powerful odor eliminator? ›

The 17 best odor eliminators for every gross smell, from cat pee...
  • Ozium Air Sanitizer Spray. ...
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray. ...
  • DampRid Moisture Absorber With Activated Charcoal. ...
  • DampRid Fresh Scent Hanging Moisture Absorber, 3-Pack. ...
  • Harris Cleaning Vinegar. ...
  • Zero Odor Laundry Odor Eliminator.
Feb 3, 2023

What kills urine smell on floor? ›

Hydrogen peroxide works best for floors and carpets. The product is more oxidizing; therefore, it removes the ammonia smell from the urine. Trisodium phosphate is essential in removing bacteria and pee stains. Scrub the stained area with strong Trisodium phosphate.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove urine stains on hardwood floors? ›

Hydrogen peroxide (3%) mixed with water is often the cheapest and most effective solution for animal urine cleaning. Simply moisten the rag or soft absorbent cloth like felt and apply to the spot. Allow the rag to sit \for few hours to thoroughly remove the urine stain and odor from the hardwood floors.

What can you mix with vinegar to mop? ›

Vinegar + Water is the safest combo for cleaning. If you're facing a tough spot while you mop, sprinkle a little bit of dry baking soda onto the area and scrub at it by hand. Undiluted vinegar will have some reactions to the baking soda, though not enough to cause an issue. Never add vinegar to your steam mop.

Why is my floor sticky after mopping with vinegar? ›

Sticky floors happen when you have not passed the mop to remove too much cleaning solution or the wrong cleaning solution. It can also be due to dirty water used in rinsing your mop.

What is the ratio of vinegar to water for cleaning wood floors? ›

Mix Water and Vinegar

Clean wood floors with vinegar by adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to a gallon of lukewarm water.


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