The Complete Guide to Homemade Floor Cleaners

Cleaning your floors can seem like such a huge task—after all, they do cover, well, your entire house—it can sometimes be tempting to skip it altogether. But unless you are ok with dust bunnies, dirt, and permanently wearing shoes around the house, cleaning your floors is a necessity.

So how do you tackle this mountain of a chore? Well, when you know what you are doing, you will soon find that it is actually a lot easier than you might have previously assumed. And we are here to help you to know what you are doing. First, some general tips:

  1. Consistency is key. Yes, it is annoying to have to keep cleaning such a large surface area of your house, but the job will be significantly easier if you keep it up. Sweeping and mopping your floors regularly will spread the work out, meaning you end up doing far less at one time, and professional or deep cleans are needed less often.
  2. There are a lot of companies trying to sell you fancy cleaners and their newest clean floor “solutions,” but the reality is that a well crafted homemade floor cleaner will do the job just as well.
  3. Don’t overuse soapy cleaners. Soap can tend to leave a residue behind, and attract dirt build-up. Your regular cleaning can often just be a mop with warm water.
  4. Buy a doormat. Most of the dirt and damage done to your floors comes from the shoes of visitors. Buy a doormat that will allow people to clean their shoes off before entering your house proper.

Maintenance and general care of your floor should, of course, differ according to what kind of floor surface you have. Read on for tips that are specific to each floor type.

Vinyl

  • Hairspray can build up on vinyl floors. You can create a homemade floor cleaner out of a solution of shampoo and water to clean up the residue.
  • Be careful when moving furniture in order to clean harder to reach areas. Dragging furniture can leave scratches on your vinyl flooring.
  • Don’t wax. Your floor should already have a natural shine, and any wax will only do damage, rather than improve that shine.
  • Avoid heady duty floor cleaners. For vinyl flooring, the gentlest possible methods should be used.

Linoleum

  • Linoleum is one of the toughest surfaces, so you can get away with most cleaning methods for it.
  • The best cleaner to use is a homemade floor cleaner—just a simple 50/50 water and white vinegar solution.
  • You can read more tips for heavy linoleum cleaning here.

Laminate

  • The most important thing to remember when cleaning laminate flooring is that too much water will cause the flooring to warp.
  • As a result, the best way to clean it is with a dry, microfiber mop.
  • You can also use a vacuum to suck up dust bunnies and so on.
  • For when you need more than a microfiber mop, you can make a homemade floor cleaner for laminate, by following the recipe here.

Hardwood

  • Hardwood floor is often expensive, so you want to make sure that you care for it properly.
  • Hardwood is another type of flooring where most of your cleaning will be dry, whether dry mopping or vacuuming.
  • When you do use water, wring out the mop thoroughly and go with the grain of the wood.
  • However, if your floors are lacquered or shellacked, do NOT use water, as it could stain the wood.
  • Buff the floor with a soft cloth when you are done.

Ceramic Tiles

  • A lot of the hard work when you have ceramic tiles comes with regular maintenance—this prevents dirt from sticking around.
  • Washing regularly with water is a great way to do this.
  • Make sure that you take care of your grout, as this is where dirt and age will really show. Seal it after installing your tiles, and reseal about twice a year.

As you can see, whatever kind of floor you have, there are usually plenty of cleaning solutions that require neither too much money, nor excessive amounts of effort. If you keep maintenance as a priority, you will find that the rest of the time your floors seem to take care of themselves—well, almost!