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73 Responses to “DIY Laminate Floor Cleaner Your Grandmother Would Be Proud Of”

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  1. I just tried vinegar on my laminate a few hours ago. I had not read this first. Weird…
    I was so very pleasantly surprised at how clean my floors became. Loved it!

  2. Same as you, vinegar and hot water. I add a splash of Eucalyptus oil and a few drops of Lavender Oil. I do have to carry it all in a bucket still, though, because our floor gets too dirty to utilize just a spray bottle (truck driver grandfather).

    At work the cleaning lady sometimes uses vinegar/water on the hardwood floors, but that’s only when we ask her to. She has an affinity for strong, harsh, chemical smells. We sneakily threw out some air freshener rocks that she brought in because no body could breathe with the things around. Not a good thing, for a medical clinic.

    Anywho, back in Feb she cleaned the floors with some chemical or another that makes everybody’s shoes squeak really loud on the floor. Still. Months later. -_-

    Sometimes, I wonder if she’s just oblivious, or really obnoxious.

    There was something I added to the combination of water/vinegar/eo’s a while back (something natural), but for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was. Which is a shame, because it worked really well.

    • Janette

      Was it Baking Soda, Borax, or Dr. Bronner’s(sp?) ?

      • It might have been a little Borax. I know it wasn’t baking soda, because I didn’t want to cause an explosion when I mixed it with vinegar, and I know it wasn’t Castile because I didn’t have any back then.

        Probably Borax then; but it was only a small amount (a couple of tea spoons) in 2 gallons of the vinegar/water/eo mix.

        Make sure it dissolves though, or it’ll leave your floor gritty and probably scratch hardwood. In fact, I probably wouldn’t add Borax for hardwood at all. Best to stick with just hot water and vinegar for that, but it should do okay on laminate/tile.

  3. Laura

    I use a mixture of vinegar and water, with a splash of Murphy’s Oil Soap, on my hardwoods. The floors are a little streaky if I don’t add that little bit of soap. I think I tried plain dish soap, and it did leave a film (but that could be a false memory). It works better than any other cleaner I have tried!

  4. I just use vinegar/water in a spray bottle. But…my son likes to mop for me as long as he uses a Swiffer. I know it’s not green, but if he’s happy about mopping and that’s the only non-green cleaner we use – I’m willing to let it slide. :0)

  5. We have pine floors. Not exactly a hardwood, but the guy who finished them for us said vinegar and water only. Admittedly, they’re cruddy more than they’re clean. But, the vinegar and water does wonderful. We use it in the bathrooms on the tile too.
    It’s amazing how heavy marketing really leads us to believe we need the stuff that’s being pushed at us.
    I think if vinegar weren’t already discovered and common, it would be very, very expensive. It does so much. Some marketing firm would be selling it to us for ridiculous $$$$.
    I know this isn’t the place for this, but I’m lazy. Made your coconut butter. Couldn’t find the right kind of coconut, but tried it anyway and it was fantastic. Sam’s girlfriend Caroline(6 yo) was over yesterday and they got into it when I wasn’t looking. She told her mom that she needed to learn to cook like me. “‘Cause that stuff in that bowl tasted like 3 angels.” lol Never heard that one before. It did though. I’ve ordered some unbleached. The bleached wouldn’t quite turn to butter. Even after an hour in the food processor. It was tasty though.

  6. I just use water and some of that elbow grease you mentioned. I’ve had hardwood floors at times and my very competent floor refinishing crew said anything else would damage the finish. I do the same on the porous tile floor in my kitchen now. I’ve read that a little vinegar can be helpful, but I haven’t seen any need and I’m afraid of damaging the tile. The floor only has to look clean, it doesn’t have to be sterile in my house. The only time anyone eats off of it is when a chicken breaks in to steal the cats’ food.

  7. I use my steam cleaner! It has a washable pad that I just throw in the laundry when I’m done. And it cleans my vinyl kitchen/bathroom floors, laminate living room, and even has attachments to do windows, tile/grout. It does carpet as well and even my couches. Best investment ever. I do like the water/vinegar method for spot cleaning though!

  8. Julie

    I’ve been using the water and vinegar in a spray bottle for years and love it! I have to say I prefer using a spray bottle and dust mop to a bucket of water with an old-fashioned mop head, because if you don’t wring out the mop head really, really well it can still leave streaks when it dries.

  9. Jeanette

    A dog that likes to eat markers + kids that leave markers strewn about the house = a big black Sharpie mess on my medium-beige carpet yesterday. Can you say UGH?!!? The spot came out totally by wetting it with water then dousing it with rubbing alcohol then using my carpet shampooer (I had just a bit of watered-down Simple Green in the soap dispenser of the machine). Maybe not the most crunchy or green (but I think Simple Green isn’t all that bad) and mainly the rubbing alcohol took the Sharpie out. I was pretty amazed.

    For my vinyl floors in the kitchen and baths, I use a steam mop. Doesn’t get more crunchy than plain old water :)

  10. KarinSDCA

    We have cork floors throughout our main level. I sweep or vacuum far more than I mop. When I do mop, I use a flat microfiber mop and hot water. We live in the desert on the beach called San Diego. It is always dusty! Sometimes I add a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s citrus-orange soap. I use the dishpan in the kitchen sink (an inch or two of hot water) and leave it right there. I have two microfiber covers and only need to use them both (in one mopping session) when I seriously neglect the mopping or if we are doing home improvement projects.

    I spot clean messes with a rag and hot water; breaking out the vinegar/water spray bottle when necessary (mine’s 40% vinegar 60% water).

    We have good quality vinyl flooring in our upstairs bathrooms. We just use a rag and hot water to clean those. The installer told us to only use hot water to keep ‘em nice for a decade. It has been over a decade now and they still look GREAT!

  11. Theresa

    I still bet I’ve cleaned more strangers’ puke than all of you put together.

    We may have a tie here…I was an RA. For 3 years. I can’t count the number of times I cleaned up someone else’s puke (…among other bodily fluids…).

    On topic, I started cleaning with vinegar when I had my rats. I used vinegar and peroxide on the cage, and it worked wonders. I can’t think of anything in my house I wouldn’t use vinegar on! I love that I’ll never have to buy cleaning solution. :D

  12. Sue

    What is a bona mophead? I’m looking for a new mop and was interested in what you use. From now on, it’s vinegar and water for me!!

    • Bee

      Libman makes a mop that’s similar to the Swifer WetJet in that you put your solution in and pull the trigger to spray the floor ahead of the mop. It has a removable/refillable reservoir for whatever cleaning solution you want to add to it and a washable cleaning pad.

  13. I have always just used water on my laminate floors. But I am definitely going to try it with the vinegar. My floor could really use some shine!

  14. Twylia

    I have old linoleum tile…think early ’90′s white and blue…and I hate dirty floors…but I also can’t stand the chemical stuff. For a while, I used the swiffer, but it failed me. So now, I mix vinegar and water with some lemon oil in a spray bottle. i sweep. I spritz the floor with the spray bottle. I finish with a bucket of hot water and a tablespoon on coconut oil to give it just a little shine…and then I put a towel on the floor, and I dry the floor with my feet on the towel. I get a nice little workout of my butt and legs too. That’s how I do. :-)

  15. Nina

    I hope I don’t sound like a complete fool, but… Exactly what type of vinegar should be used?

  16. Annette

    I am going to try that vinegar/water trick on my laminate floors today! Thanks for the tip. I have severe arthritis so I clean my kitchen and bathroom floors with a little upright steamer (can’t be used on laminate). It only uses water in the form of steam, is easy to move back and forth on the floor, very lightweight, and it only cost $29.99! I love it especially for the bathrooms which I know when I finish is sparkly clean. I have heard one caution about the little steamers, that you need to be careful that they don’t take the finish off your floor but so far I haven’t had any problems!

  17. becky

    On hardwood floors I have always used white vinegar and water, but I also add a few drops of olive oil to my bucket because it shines them and conditions them nicely. I use a wringer type mop. BTW, this water/vinegar/olive oil solution is FANTASTIC for cleaning any wood surface – especially kitchen cabinetry! It cuts grease, deodorizes, gets off dirty finger prints and shines – it is fabulous and cheap and definately crunchy!

    • What’s your ratio, if I may?

      • becky

        I am kind of a “dumper” rather than a “measurer” :-) but I know you can use up to the same amount white vinegar as water, I would guess that I usually use about 1/2 to 1/3 as much vinegar as water, unless I need extra cleaning/grease cutting power, then I use more. Then for the olive oil, a few drops to a tablespoon is probably what I would use, depending on the job. It has never left a film or anything for me. Sorry I can’t be more precise – I get myself into trouble with my non-measuring ways, when I bake or cook something great and then can’t duplicate it! Hope this helps!!

        • It’s okay – you’re among friends! I don’t measure either, just go with what feels right. If I can ever get all this dog hair off the floor, I’ll mix up a batch and mop the floors before the in-laws get in. Thanks becky!

          • becky

            Yikes – dog hair! The bane of my existence! Have fun mopping. FYI, a number of years ago I bought a small shop vac with wheels and went to a local vac shop and bought a central vac floor attachment – it works like a charm with the dog hair! It always seemed that the brooms would repel it as I swept, but the hair can’t escape the shop vac!

        • becky – We have four dogs in the house, so I push dog hair around pretty regularly. I do have a 6-gal. shop vac on wheels that I bought when I was living at a boarding farm but it’s since been relegated to the husband’s shop and forgotten about. Thanks for reminding me so I don’t burn out the house vacuum on hair!

  18. We have vinyl flooring in the kitchen and both baths. The kind with light brown shading printed on it and textured with little nooks and crannies to make it look like… I don’t know, stone? tile? But it just catches dirt like crazy and then looks dirty even when it’s clean.

    I use the 50/50 vin-water solution with some drops of EO in a spray bottle for the floors. Then I “mop” with a swiffer fitted with a microfiber cloth on it. Works great and is super cheap!

  19. I always use Murphy’s Oil (diluted with water, 75/25) on the hardwood in the house, preferably fresh-mixed in a spray bottle. However, I don’t mop that often, mostly because the husband works as a landscaper and we have four dogs and it’s just not worth it. (Read: trauma.) I mostly do clean-up with the Bona dust mop, which seems to leave the floor shiny enough on its own, or a handmade Shaker broom that manages to leave a lovely scent behind.

    My (new) office has ash floors installed in ’28, and the landlords are very particular about how we are to clean them – they used Bruce, which made everything look dull. Murphy’s Oil made a nice sheen for a while, but with roofers tromping in and out it’s back to dull-ish. We’re having a couple of weeks of interior restoration done soon, and maybe when that’s over, I’ll try the vinegar & water trick!

  20. My kids love scrubbing the floors so we’ve been using hot water and vinegar for years now. Sometimes with a little tea tree oil. Pretty much what I use for all my cleaning!

    @Pam – I still use a swiffer sweeper and a swiffer duster. I’ve just made washable cloths instead of buying the refills. Flannel works great for the duster and I have terry cloth pads for the sweeper!

  21. Margie

    I have a multi-purpose cleaner called Ecover. I use a maybe a 1/2 tablespoon in a 1 litre bottle of warm water. The bottle attaches to my mileda mop. It’s like a Swiffer but comes with washable cloth pads instead of disposable. The mop’s handle has the spray trigger on it so I don’t have to lug anything around with me. I have been noticing the need to do a rinse wipe afterwards because it almost feels sticky if there’s too much cleaner in it. I might just leave the cleaner for other things and use vinegar and water with EO for the floors.

    As for cleaning up puke, I worked in a preschool briefly, and had the good fortune to be the nearest adult to a little girl who had finished her snack of crackers, cheese and grape juice, stood up, turned white and just quietly retched it all back up. Purple puke. oh yeah. I think that should be a prerequisite to parenting. If you can handle mopping up someone elses technicolor yawn, you’re good to go.

  22. Terran

    This is completely off topic but its driving me nuts, I want to read the whole blog, but it’s backwards by date. I see all the new stuff first (which is convenient IF I was up to date, but Im reading things like the farmer’s market week backwards!) PLEASE tell me you’ve got a button that will take me to the first post so I can read it the way it was all posted (the way it all began!) that I just haven’t seen… the idea of clicking all the way through then working back is kinda daunting!

  23. Noaa

    would it be safe to have “special bottle” of vinegar with rosemary or thyme or some similar smell herb and use that for cleaning? OR might those cause residue? If i weren’t afraid it would ruin the floors i would suggest cinnamon. Cinn. really covers the vinegar smell, making it almost smell like rum extract.

  24. MamaLovey

    @Lisa–You beat me to it! I use the kids old cloth diapers for the swifter and give them each a small spray bottle of straight vinegar and let them go to town. They’re two and four years old. I still use the bucket and mop with vinegar and water for our hardwood and tile.

    • DesignerGirl

      You’re a genius! Seriously, I mean that. I just packed away a whole tote of new-baby things, including cloth diapers (waaaaaay better for spit-up than anything else!). And I have a swiffer. Brilliant idea to use the cloth dipes on the swiffer. And my kids love to swiffer, so this might just mean I’ll let them do it every day… ;-)

  25. Stacey

    We always cleaned our windows with vinegar & water when I was a kid. Now that I’m all grown up, I hate to admit that I’ve not done a good job of cleaning my windows AT ALL but if I were to do it, I’d simply do the vinegar/water trick! Oh, and you need two towels, one to wash, one to dry, then they end up squeaky, streak-free clean!!

  26. Anna

    When we first moved into to our house 3 years ago, I bought several different kinds of cleaner made specifically for hardwood floors. It was all new (my husband built our house over the course of a year) and I REALLY wanted to take good care of it from the start. However, all of those things left a light film on my floors, no matter what I did. So, I put vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle – along with lemon or peppermint oil- and spray my floors and wipe up with a damp bar cloth. Sometimes I use a mop and bucket, but still only water and vinegar and a little oil. The smell of vinegar doesn’t bother me – like you said, it’s gone in no time. I just add the oil becuase that is the secnt that is left after the vinegar evaporates. Nothng cleans my hardwood floors any better – and I use it on my ceramic tile, too (we have no carpet in our house). Works great!

  27. Rhonda

    Great tip, but what I really, really wanted to check into say is that I LOVE your writing! Your blogs crack me up and you always paint a really vivid picture. I hope that at least some of your income from your many odd and sometimes glamorous jobs come from writing! Cuz your really good!

  28. Pamela

    My house has 100% tile floors, and they are WHITE. Yep, I’m mopping all the time. I love cleaning with vinegar and water. I mix it up in the sink and apply it with my crunchy little Cuban stick mop (google it!) and old towels. I’m telling you, this mop is the easiest, cheapest, greenest method I know for cleaning floors. I can’t believe more people aren’t using this simple little mop! It’s the best thing to come out of Cuba since… my husband. Seriously.

  29. Chris

    I use 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol on my laminate. I put the solution in my Libman mop resevoir and mop away. I use this on the tile floor in my bathroom also. BTW I just found you while surfing the web for a more natural and economic way to clean my home. Learned alot about many different things. And you’re funny, girl!!!! Keep up the good work.

    • lacy

      I use the same recipe, with a few drops of essential oil to help with the smell.

    • Tracy

      Do you get any streaks on the laminate when it dries with this method? I am THE WORST at cleaning this darn floor I “inherited” when we bought this lovely town home. I hate them because they are always looking dirty and never clean nicely. I like your idea and want to try it. Also, does it work on ceramic tile? We have that in the kitchen and I’m ready for some of my elbow grease to pay off and for this place to look spic and span! Thanks so much.

      • chris

        Tracy No I do not get any streaks on my laminate or my ceramic tile floors.

        • Tracy

          Thanks, Chris.
          I actually just came home with my supplies and will give this a try. I sure appreciate your advice and am happy with your great results. Best.

        • Tracy

          Sadly, I may have not have done something right in that the floors are totally streaky, :(. I think these floors are faulty in that they are never not streaky. Are you down on your hands and knees with a towel drying them as you go? Because this seems to be the only way to perhaps avoid such a situation. Ugh….

          • chris

            Tracy, I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. No I do not dry the floor with a towel on my hands and knees. Make sure it is 1/2 white vinegar, 1/2 isopropyl alcohol, and 1/2 water. Try HOT water. I have done this also instead of tap water. What are you using to actually mop the floor? The Libman pads are like microfiber. If you are using the Libman, when you attach the pads make sure they lie flat on the mop. So put one end on the little teeth thingees and hold it while you pull the pad taught and press flat. I had streaks the first time I did this cause the pad was not flat against the mopping device. If none of this works, I see a trip to the flooring store in your future!!!!! Good luck.

  30. lacy

    I add just a little rubbing alcohol to mine. It really helps to ensure a streak free shine (the alcohol evaporates really quickly). I also add some essential oil (lemon and lavendar is my favorite) and it truly does help with the smell. I posted about it here: http://www.1plus1equals9.com/?p=73. I just found your blog and love it. I am becoming crunchier by the day. :)

  31. Meagan

    I have always used vinegar and hot water on my tile floors. I NEVER mop my laminate because I am scared of water getting in between the planks. I have a Swiffer and I just stick a rag sprayed with vinegar water on there and wipe them down once in a while. This isn’t really related to floors but my favorite scrubby cleaner (other than plain old baking soda) is Bon Ami powder cleanser.

  32. Sherri Coutain

    Thanks for posting this. I just tried it today and it works great! I used to use just water and that seemed to work fine. Then my husband started using store bought laminate cleaner and ever since then, I’ve noticed the floor is so much more messier than before. The prints was horrendous. I would mop, even with just water and not even 5 minutes later, it’s as if I never mopped. We are a family of 6 so it’s hard enough to keep the floor clean. This remedy works great. Not as much prints would appear after the kids rant rack through the house. This is now my go-to floor cleaner.

  33. murphy

    After much frustration with cleaning my new laminate, with all suggested cleaners and mops, I decided to try something different. I used hot water with a microfiber cloth, and used a dry microfiber cloth to dry. Although this is down on the floor cleaning, the results are great! It didn’t take me too long, and the results are worth it. I think the key is to rinse out your cloth frequently, and dry as you go.

  34. Marg

    how does one remove scuff marks from a laminated floor????????

    HELP

  35. Pamela

    I just tried this method on my laminate floors and where I squirted the mixture (used my old floor cleaner bottle) it left a white residue streak. Now I can’t get rid of it!!!!

  36. I recently learned about soaking orange/ lemon/ grapefruit peels in Vinegar for 2 weeks and decided to it for my floors, (1/2 water 1/2 vinegar) and I LOVE it! Smells great and cleans the floors better than anything.

    NOW I find your post! lol :D wish I’d found you last year when we first got our floors done!

    But I don’t use hot water, just regular tap water :) easy peasy! :)

  37. This post really helped! So did all the comments. Always used “laminate cleaner” for my floors. But water and vinegar sounds easier, cheaper, and greener! Thank you!

  38. Lisa

    Hi, just stumbled upon your site while searching for ways to clean my wood laminate floors that won’t leave a residue. We just bought a place and this is my first time having them. So far I have tried everything and then end up with the film and footprints as soon as you walk on them. I’m about to go try the vinegar/water method. Another question if you know anything about this, it appears that the previous owners had an area rug in the dining room(which also has the wood laminate) and you can see the square when you look at the floor on certain angles, is there anyway to bring the shine back to that area? I have one dog, you would think I had 4 with all the hair that blows around on a daily basis, I do a lot of sweeping, but she’s worth it, gonna start singing while I sweep, sounds like a good idea:)Thanks for any help.

  39. Lori P L

    Soooo glad to see your recommendation…I added vinegar to my Shark steam mop since per tile guy needed to put on tile floor…and now going to use throughout whole house since wood laminate.

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  41. Terri

    We just finished building and moved in to our new home. I love it except not sure I live the laminate floor. It is pecan with not a lot of shine. However it is very dull and dusty looking. I have been using Bona because that what I wAs told to use. It is expensive and leaves it very dull looking. Will the water and vinegar help with this. Frustrated with floors. Please help.

  42. Barb

    I love your website! Lots of good tips and the vinegar and water is super on my laminate floors. Never had them so clean. Thanks Crunchy Betty.

  43. Irritated

    Hi, I recently tried this and am now my house is smelling dank and stale. Immediately after there was quite a bit of a residue. Ive also noticed my mop has mold on it after trying this, which has never happened before. So I’m positive this method is the culprit.

    I read more about this and found a few sources warning against this method since it will strip your floor. Im all about not using chemicals in my home, but buying a nice safe natural floor cleaner is a lot “greener” than using vinegar and inhaling mold spores and eventually having to replace destroyed flooring…

    • Vinegar does have a strong smell, but it actually helps to eliminate other odors. Furthermore, vinegar actually inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold….it does not cause it. Was your mop wrung out completely and dried afterwards?

  44. Joy

    The best cleaner for laminate floors is bucket of hot water and shaving cream. …. Works wonders streak free and smells fresh!! works on windows also keeps them from fogging up :-)

    • Tracy

      We were told not to use vinegar on the laminate, :(, as it would ruin the floor and void the warranty. I’ve struggled so much with this floor, I’m rather traumatized. Truth be told, I’m so fed up with it never looking clean and streaking that I avoid cleaning it until there’s absolutely no choice. One comment did say they had issues with the method, but it sounds like most of you haven’t looked back. So I’m putting this out there….have many of you had success without ruining your laminate flooring after using this vinegar/water trick for some time? If so, I think I need to go for it because I was truly inspired by most of what I read here! Needing help in IL, ;)! Thanks.

      • Irritated

        Dont do it! It will with out question ruin some floors. It did to mine and Im renting so I cant replace is and I’m positive this has cost me my deposit.

        There are a lot of brands and qualities of laminate flooring. Some of these guys might have nicer flooring that can withstand more. I clearly don’t have that – I wouldn’t take that chance.

        a nice natural approved cleaner used sparingly is a lot cheeper and greener than losing a deposit on an apartment or having to replace flooring.

        Also, everything I read about cleaning laminate floors says to use a “damp cloth or damp mop” because excessive water will be absorbed into the fake wood boards and make then buckle.

  45. marial

    Willfily enlighting.

  46. Lyn

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  47. Francene

    So… I did the half and half in my spray mop with a micro-fiber pad and I have water spots and streaking and dullness. I wonder if I used too much of the solution? I have a large floor space so I can’t hand dry the floors. Any suggestions on what to do now? Should I just go over the floors with hot water??? HELP! :)

    • Sherry

      I apologize, for some reason my comment didn’t reply under yours. Look two down and you’ll see my reply to your problem!!

  48. I own a cleaning company and there is no better cleaner for the floors than hot water, vinegar, and a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil. It is Eco-friendly and an excellent germ buster because vinegar inhibits the growth of bacteria, as does lemon/orange essential oils. Thanks for the great post!

  49. Sherry

    You likely did use too much vinegar because a strong vinegar based solution will make the floors dull and ugly. Don’t feel bad because I have the t-shirt from that trip. I would guess a 10 to 1 ration of water to vinegar, maybe a touch more but not much! I also add orange or lemon essential oil to give it a lovely scent. A very easy way to handle the mopping is to use a discarded wet mop that has the refillable bottle on it. Refill it with the vinegar/water mixture and you don’t need to have a spray bottle or run to the sink! Also use micro fiber towels, found cheapest in the auto section and use those instead of the replaceable mop clothes they sell. So many people have these discarded wet Swiffer type mops that you’d probably find one just by asking around! Most people don’t like them enough to keep using them but since they’re costly they don’t throw them out either!! Good luck on you floors!

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