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How to Clean Hardwood floors with Vinegar

Simple Tips on How to Clean Wood Floors with Vinegar and Water!

If you are looking for tips on how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar, then you are in the right place. Learn how to clean wood floors with vinegar the right way.

Knowing how to wet mop hardwood floors with vinegar correctly is very important if you want to avoid ruining your wooden floors.

It is likely that your grandmother or great grandmother used vinegar and water to clean many things in their homes from windows and stoves to those wood and tile floors.

Then your parents likely began using those bottled floor cleaners believing they did a better job than those old fashioned cleaners that their parents used.

But the good news is, now more and more people are going back to using vinegar for cleaning.

And you can even use vinegar for cleaning your mirrors. In fact, it is one of the best ways to clean a mirror without Windex.

How to clean hardwood floors with vinegar and water

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Why Use Vinegar for Cleaning Hardwood floors?

There are several reasons for returning to the old way of cleaning floors, which include:

Saves Money

Vinegar and water are far cheaper to use than those store bought food cleaners, saving money for those who are on a budget, especially since vinegar and water can be used for a number of different cleaning applications.

Toxin Free

Cleaning your floor with vinegar and water is toxin free, so there are no fumes that can affect you or your children’s respiratory health or that of any family pets you may have.

Removes Dirt and Grime

Vinegar is acidic, making it perfect to remove dirt and grime from your wood floor. When used correctly, cleaning your floor with vinegar should not damage the finish on your floor.

Doesn’t Leave Any Streaks or Residue Behind

Unlike those chemical floor cleaners, mopping your floor with vinegar and water won’t leave behind any streaks or residue.

(You may also want to read this article on tips for cleaning unfinished wood floors).

The Correct Way to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

In order to clean your wood floor with vinegar without causing any damage to the floor, there is a correct way to clean your floor.

The proper way to clean those wooden floors begins with sweeping or vacuuming your floor.

If you vacuum your floor use a soft brush attachment for your vacuum in order to prevent scratching the floor.

And if you are using a broom, use one with those soft tips again to avoid scratching the floor.

The next step is to mix the vinegar and water correctly. You need to pour ½ cup of white vinegar into a bucket. Then add a gallon of warm water and mix well.

You may also want to read this article for more information on the ratio of vinegar to water for cleaning.

Different Ways to Mop Your Hardwood Floor

Bucket and Rag Method

One of the ways to clean a wood floor with vinegar and water is to use a microfiber cloth, dip it into the bucket of vinegar water (1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water) wring it out almost dry and clean the floor on your hands and knees.

You can add a few drops of essential oils for cleaning to the vinegar and water if you choose to. I use essential oils because they help to reduce the strong vinegar smell.

My favorite essential oil for cleaning is lemon because of its fresh and uplifting aroma.

Bucket and Mop

Truth be told, most people these days are simply not going to clean their floor on their hands and knees so, another way to use a microfiber mop with a built-in wringer and wring out water until the mop is barely damp.

I really like this spin mop, it has a hands free in-built wringer that controls spin wringing.

O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop, Bucket Floor Cleaning SystemO-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop, Bucket Floor Cleaning SystemO-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop, Bucket Floor Cleaning System

Keep a clean dry microfiber cloth handy to wipe up any water spills or dribbles immediately since a wet floor can damage your wood floor and the finish.

Spray Bottle and Mop

You can also use a spray bottle and a microfiber mop. Just pour the mixture of vinegar and water into a fine mist spray bottle. Add 3 tbs of vinegar to 16 oz of water. You can also add 1-2 drops of essential oil. Spray and mop, a small portion at a time.

Refillable Spray Mop

A spray mop is one of the easiest ways to clean your hardwood floors with vinegar and water. Use the same recipe as above.

Keeping Your Wood Floor Cleaner Longer

After you have cleaned your floor, to help maintain it between cleaning, spray a wood polishing spray on your sponge mop and use it to dust the floor.

This will help to protect the finish as well as keep your floor clean and shining for longer.

Make sure that you wash your dust mop head after each use so that you have a clean dust mop every time you dust the floor.

You can also use Butcher’s wax (also known as Bowling Alley wax) to polish and protect your wooden floors. Learn how to protect your floor with Butcher’s wax, plus other uses for Butcher’s wax in this article.

You May also want to read this article on how to prevent scratches on hardwood floors.

Is It Safe to Use Vinegar to Clean Hardwood Floors?

It should be noted that there are contradictory opinions about whether or not cleaning your wooden floor with vinegar is good for your floor or not.

The reason for this is the fact that most wooden floors have a finish over them and the acid from the vinegar may cause the finish to wear off faster.

However, you do need to keep in mind that many of the other floor cleaners also contain chemicals that can also wear down the finish as well.

So there is really no way to tell whether or not vinegar or that floor cleaner is better for protecting your wooden floors finish. You will need to decide which type of cleaner is best for your wood floors.

What Kind of Vinegar Do You Use to Clean Wood Floors?

You must have noticed that there are different types of vinegar out there on the market. However, the best type of vinegar to use for cleaning wood floors or for cleaning, in general, is white vinegar.

You can also use cleaning vinegar, but note that cleaning vinegar has a higher acid concentration than the regular white vinegar.

Avoid using red wine or balsamic vinegar for cleaning your wood floor.

Final Thoughts on How to Clean Hardwood Floors with Vinegar

Cleaning wood floors with vinegar helps keep your floors clean without using toxic chemicals. However, you need to do it right to avoid ruining your floors. So, I hope you found the tips in this article helpful.

Did you find the tips on how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar helpful? Leave your feedback in the comment section.

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How to clean wood floors with vinegar

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Monday 14th of November 2022

These are such great cleaning hacks! I am wanting to deep clean our floors before putting our Christmas decorations up. We are doing some professional carpet cleaning this week but I will have to use these tips for the rest of the wood floors. Thanks for sharing!


Sunday 7th of November 2021

Thanks for the tips on cleaning wood floors with vinegar. I have three cats who occasionally cough up hairballs. I’m in a wheelchair so I used a spray bottle with vinegar and water and a wet cloth to clean up the leftover stuff after disposing of the hairball. It works great.


Saturday 13th of November 2021

Hi Tina, I'm happy to hear that you found the tips on how to clean wood floors with vinegar helpful.


Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Thank you for this post! I used your spray bottle and mop method on the floors in my new apartment and it worked very well, but one of these days I might have to buy a spin mop because those look so handy! Is the O-Cedar spin mop the best one you have purchased? In my old apartment, I got my wood floors cleaned by a professional and they did a great job. But, I'm glad I can use this DIY method now! Thanks again.


Thursday 11th of June 2020

Hi Sarah, I'm happy to hear that the spray bottle and mop method worked well for you. And yes, the O-Cedar spin mop is great and I highly recommend it.

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