6 Tested & Effective Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner Recipes

Return your hardwood floors to the perfect grime-free shine with our effective DIY hardwood floor cleaner recipes.

Updated April 4, 2024
clean wood floor with mop bucket

We love how beautiful our wood floors are, and they're a lot easier to care for than carpet. Once sealed, wood floors are stain resistant, and they just require dust mopping or sweeping and a once-every-week or so damp mop in high-traffic areas to be at their best. 

Sure, you can buy a premade wood floor cleaner, but why spend the money? You can easily make a super-effective homemade wood floor cleaner for pennies on the dollar that'll keep your floors in great condition for years to come.

Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner Ingredients

Wood floors aren't super persnickety when it comes to ingredients, although you do want to be at least a little careful that you're using something that will lift dirt and help the floors maintain their shine. Too much of the wrong ingredient can stain or damage your floors, and nobody wants that. Fortunately, it's easy. One of the easiest homemade wood floor cleaners is a solution of water and vinegar on a damp mop to keep your wood floors looking their best. 

DIY Basic Vinegar Hardwood Floor Cleaner

I use vinegar to clean almost everything in my house. It's cheap and plentiful, and it does the job as well as expensive products. (If you're new to cleaning with vinegar, don't worry. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly.) To make a great natural homemade wood floor cleaner, you'll need:

  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • Bucket
  • A few drops of essential oil (optional)
  • Sponge mop or microfiber hardwood floor mop you can wring out
  • Dry microfiber cloth

How to Use Vinegar to Clean Your Hardwood Floors

  1. Combine white vinegar and water in a small bucket.
  2. Add a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil to the solution if you want a scented cleaner.
  3. Dip the sponge mop in the solution and squeeze it dry.
  4. Wipe it across your floors while rinsing the mop out frequently.
  5. Use a clean, dry cloth to dry any damp areas that remain.

Related: Cleaning With Vinegar: An Everyday Guide to a Spotless Home

DIY Hardwood Floor Cleaner With Black Tea

If you think your floors need a little more polish than you can get from the vinegar and water, turn to black tea. The tannic acid in black tea removes dirt and leaves a beautiful shine on wood floors. To do this, you'll need:

  • 4 cups water
  • Large pot
  • 3 black tea bags
  • Hardwood floor mop with a clean pad
  • Clean, dry microfiber cloth

How to Mop Your Hardwood Floors With Black Tea

  1. Pour the water into the pot.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Add the 3 tea bags and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the tea bags and submerge a soft cotton cloth or hardwood floor mop cleaning pad into the solution. Wring it out.
  5. Attach the pad to the hardwood floor mop and mop your floor.
  6. Wipe any damp spots dry with a clean cloth.

Homemade Hardwood Floor Spot Cleaner

If it's just a spot or two you need to clean, no need to do the whole floor. Use this DIY hardwood floor spot cleaner, instead. You'll need:

  • ½ cup linseed oil
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth (2)

How to Use the DIY Cleaner to Spot-Clean Your Hardwood Floor

  1. Combine the vinegar and linseed oil.
  2. Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and rub over the spot.
  3. Buff dry with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

DIY Hardwood Floor Cleaner for Greasy Floors

If you have hardwood floors in your kitchen, chances are you have greasy hardwood from time to time. This simple cleaner uses blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (the most miraculous of all the cleaning products) to lift the grease. You'll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Warm water
  • 2-3 drops of Dawn dish soap
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Microfiber hardwood floor mop
  • Clean microfiber cloth

How to Use Homemade Hardwood Floor Degreaser

  1. Fill a spray bottle with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of Dawn and the white vinegar. Shake well.
  3. Mist the areas that need cleaning, then quickly mop or wipe the floor with a microfiber mop.
  4. Use a clean, dry cloth to dry any damp areas.
Helpful Hack

I'm a dedicated convert to using a vinegar/water/Dawn combo as a go-to cleaning solution, particularly for greasy stains. I've used it successfully as a laundry pre-treater, to clean chicken fat spilled on my microfiber couch and more. If you have a tough greasy stain that isn't responding to other things, try it. I'm betting you'll become a convert, too.

Homemade Hardwood Cleaning Floor Polish

Two-in-one homemade floor cleaners not only cut grime, but they leave your hardwood floors with a rich shine. So, if you want to polish your floors, our cleaning expert, Jennifer Betts, recommends this simple floor polisher. You'll need:

  • Bucket
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • Hardwood floor mop

How to Use Homemade Cleaning Floor Polish

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water.
  2. Add the olive oil and lemon juice. 
  3. Dip in your mop and wring it out well.
  4. Mop and go. No need to dry.

Homemade Hardwood Floor Polish

polish wood floor with cloth

You can do the same thing with olive oil and vinegar if you don't have lemon juice on hand. You'll need:

  • Plastic bowl or container
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Microfiber cloth (2)

How to Polish Your Floor With Vinegar & Olive Oil

  1. Combine the vinegar and olive oil in a plastic bowl or container.
  2. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and wipe it over the floor.
  3. Buff off with a dry cloth.

Making Hardwood Floor Cleaner vs. Buying Cleaner

So, you may have noticed it's not super hard to make your own floor cleaner. But are there benefits to spending more cash to buy something commercially made? 

Pros & Cons of Homemade Cleaner

Homemade hardwood floor cleaners do have pros and cons. Looking at both can help you decide if this is a method for you. The pros include:

  • Natural ingredients are more environmentally friendly.
  • You probably have the ingredients in your kitchen.
  • You can save money even if you have to buy the ingredients, which can also be used for other household projects.

However, there are some downsides:

  • You assume all the risks when using a homemade cleaner.
  • The cleaner you make may not be as effective as a professional product.
  • Ingredients that include water could warp the wood.

Pros and Cons of Store-Bought Cleaner

Just like a DIY wood floor cleaner method, commercial products have benefits and drawbacks. First, the benefits:

  • Cleaners specifically designed for cleaning hardwood floors may work better than homemade cleaners.
  • The manufacturer of the product may have to assume some or all liability if the product damages the floor when used as directed.
  • The cleaner could also be non-toxic or eco-friendly.

But they're not without their disadvantages:

  • The chemicals in the cleaner may be toxic (this is a biggie in our book).
  • The cost could be significantly higher than a homemade remedy.
  • The product might only be suitable for cleaning hardwood floors and nothing else.

Choosing a Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Choosing the best wood floor cleaner depends on your floors and the type of mess you're cleaning. Experiment with small sections of the floor until you find the one that makes your floors look their best.

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6 Tested & Effective Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner Recipes