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How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar and a Damp Mop

By Edited Jul 9, 2015 0 2

Flooring can make or break the look and functionality of a house, so taking care of them is just as important as picking and installing them, so just how do you clean hardwood floors easily?

How do you take care of them so that they always have that perfect gleam without that milky look or stickiness that you can get from some expensive cleaning products?

There is a way and it will surprise you with the results and just how cheap and easy it is to do.  You probably have this ingredient in your house right now, so just get yourself a decent sponge mop and let’s get started.

How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar with Surprising Results

All you need is vinegar, warm water and a good sponge mop that you can wring out well.  (Many sponge mops have handles to pull on to wring out the sponge head)

The trick is to not use too much water as this can be an enemy to any hardwood floors especially if it gets down the seams of older floors.  So, you need a sponge mop that you can mechanically wring out by pushing a lever or pulling a handle or something similar.

Do not use a swabbing mop, or those rope style mops as you simply cannot wring them out enough and this is not good for the hardwood flooring.

Take 3/4 cup of white vinegar and add to a gallon of warm water in a bucket or simply in the kitchen sink or a sink big enough to fit the head of a sponge mop. Mix well.

Make sure you sweep your floor first of any crumbs or dust, maybe go over it with a vacuum to get rid of bits.

Now take your sponge mop and soak in the vinegar/water and then wring it out twice until it is just damp (there should be no water dripping off the sponge at all) then take a section of the flooring and mop quickly but firmly.

Quickie Automatic Sponge Mop
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(price as of Jul 9, 2015)
get yourself a good quality sponge mop like this one, it can be wrung out better with a lever and lasts longer.

Since you hardly have any wetness you will see it dry quickly.  Then rinse your mop out if the floor was really dirty in another sink and then you can then repeat the process until you have the floor all done.

If the floor was really dirty you can repeat the above procedure a few times, but if it is just normal traffic dirt you will find it works well the first time.  The best part is that you do not need to rinse this at all.  It will dry back to its clean shine.

Note:  If you have very hard water without a softener then you may need to use a jug of bottled water as very hard water will tend to leave a dull or milky gleam, so keep that in mind when washing any floors.

How to Clean Old Hardwood Floors

You can use this same process.  If you find the mop is really dirty when you rinse it, then you may need to repeat a couple of times, especially if they have not been washed in a very long time.

Many people tend to sweep and dust the floors and even vacuum them using a vacuum cleaner that works on hardwoods, but you still tend to build up dirt that sticks to the floor especially if it is a high traffic area. 

How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

Why is Vinegar so Good for Cleaning Hardwood Flooring?

It is natural and the slight acid that it creates in the water will cut through grime and grease without harming your floors. 

If you decide to have your floors re-sanded at some point then using vinegar to clean is perfect as there will not be the gummy buildup that some cleaners create that needs to come off when being refinished.

Plus it is environmentally friendly, affordable and a quick and easy way to bring back the shine.  You can even go one extra step and go over your floors with a soft padded polisher to bring out an even shinier surface.

Just remember to really wring the mop out, you don’t want puddles of water forming, it will do its job with minimal wetness.  So, get a big jug of white vinegar and keep it around the house, there are so many uses for it, and it is much better for your nose and skin!

If you find your floors are to the point of needing new varnish and you simply can't afford to get them re-sanded or maybe they have no more sanding ability left, you can get floor products that will renew them and bring them back to life.  Check out Hardwood Floors How to Renew Them on the Cheap and see if this would work for your floors.

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Comments

Apr 15, 2013 3:34am
JudyE
Great article. Vinegar has so many uses, doesn't it? I think because it isn't expensive people don't believe it will work.
Dec 17, 2013 7:13am
rhornauer
I have tried so many commercial cleaners and have not been happy with the results . Can't wait to try this!
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