Learn how to naturally clean nearly every surface in your home with this non-toxic homemade floor cleaner.
When I was growing up, the only thing we used for cleaning our tile floors was a certain pine-scented concoction with a mop and bucket. In fact, I’ll bet if you grew up in North America, you probably just got flashbacks of that weird “pine” scent just as you read that last sentence!
And although Pine-Sol® is still around today, we also have organizations like the Environmental Working Group to help us make confident choices when it comes to ridding our homes of toxic chemicals.
So what’s the verdict on Pine-Sol®?
Well, the EWG gives it a score of “D” on their A-F scoring range, i.e. definitely not a passing score.
We can do better than that, can’t we?
Of course! So that’s what I set out to do.
How can we clean nearly every surface in our homes without worrying about bringing toxic chemicals near our families?
By going back to the basics and using simple, trusted, time-tested ingredients.
People have been cleaning their homes with water and vinegar for years, but when I tried that on my wood floors, I was left wanting more. More grime-fighting power. More “streak-free shine.” And let’s face it, more nice scent (vinegar can be quite strong and overpowering, although the scent does dissipate once it dries).
In my search for a stronger homemade cleaner, I found a recipe which mixes equal parts water, vinegar, and alcohol, with a few drops of dish soap.
After testing out a small area, I was in love. I finally found something that really cleaned my floors and didn’t leave any streaks on my dark colored wood!
Oh God, the smell… It was so strong. Like “hurry and crack a window before you get light headed and possibly pass out” strong. Yeah, that strong.
So my work wasn’t done yet. But that’s ok, because I like a good cleaning challenge. 🙂
I played around with the recipe and came up with what I lovingly refer to as the ultimate all-purpose cleaner. Yep, it’s that good.
After changing the ratios a bit and adding some essential oils – which I carefully chose based on their antibacterial properties – I’m now very happy with my all-purpose cleaner.
And it really is an ALL purpose cleaner!
This is now the only cleaner that I use on nearly every surface in my home. Sometimes I’ll use it along with a homemade scouring scrub, but mostly I use it on its own to clean things like:
- Floors – laminate, tile, linoleum
- Glass – Windows, mirrors, tables, etc.
- Cabinets and countertops (vinegar is too acidic for granite, so use this homemade granite cleaner instead)
- Stainless steel – appliances, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Walls, baseboards, window sills
- Porcelain and acrylic – toilets and sinks
- Add all ingredients to spray bottle and shake to combine.
- Sweep/vacuum the floor.
- Spray cleaner on the floor (or other surface).
- Wipe up with a microfiber cloth.
- Visit the full FAQ section for tips, tricks, and most questions about this recipe.
Where can I buy the cleaning equipment?
Make sure to use microfiber cloths so you get a nice, streak-free clean on surfaces that need it. Sometimes it helps if you dampen the microfiber cloth just a bit before using it to clean.
Microfiber cloths are also great for scrubbing and lifting up dried, stuck on spots from pretty much any surface. Read more on microfiber cloths here.
For floors, I use a microfiber spray mop like this one, which comes with a refillable compartment for your own homemade cleaner, and washable pads. Make sure to get some extra pads, because you’ll need them!
I just manually spray the cleaner on the floor, then wipe it up with the mop. I found that if I don’t remember to remove the refillable compartment before storing away the mop every time, the spray nozzle gets clogged and it’s a pain to clean out and get it working again.
Lots of readers have also tried this cleaner in their Shark steam mop with great results!
Is this cleaner safe to use around pets?
The base of the recipe (water, alcohol, vinegar) is perfectly fine for use around pets, but some have voiced concern that essential oils may be harmful if ingested by pets, especially cats.
Although essential oils, when used properly, have been used to treat many ailments in pets and humans alike, you should take precaution when using them around your furry friends, especially if they have compromised immune systems or other health issues.
As always, please do your own research and consult with your pet’s veterinarian or a licensed aromatherapist, if you have any concerns.
If you’d rather use this with a mop and bucket:
Several people have asked this question, and although I haven’t tried it myself, I did find a recipe online that seems like it would be comparable to this one. So if you want to use a mop and bucket, try this recipe:
For a gallon of water, add:
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1/3 cup of alcohol
- a few drops of dish soap
- essential oils, if you’re using them
Have more questions, but don’t feel like reading through the comments?
I’ve created a new page with all of the most frequently asked questions about this all-purpose cleaner, as well as some extra tips and tricks to help you get the most out of it! Check it out here: Ultimate All-Purpose Cleaner – Tips, Tricks and FAQs
Some of the questions/tips you’ll find there include:
- Can this cleaner be used on hardwood floors?
- Can I use this on other surfaces around the house?
- Do you have to use essential oils in the recipe?
- …and more!
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