Let’s talk floors. Hardwood floors. I used to wash all the floors in my house with Mr. Clean. I know. Let’s not even discuss that further. But there’s a point here. My poor hardwood floors started looking mighty dry. It’s funny, I never would’ve washed my dining room table or wood furniture with Mr. Clean, but I had this disconnect with the floors. Because they were down there, you know, on the ground, they had to be washed the same way I would regular old tile.
Fast forward to a bunch of years later and I don’t use Mr. Clean anymore (for anything. Mostly because I love my family and don’t want them to touch/inhale/ingest toxic chemicals. Sorry, Mr. Clean, I mean you’re all cool and everything with your shaved head, muscles and piratey earring: but you’re out). Now I wash my tile floors with regular old vinegar and maybe some castile soap if I’m feeling crazy, or if there’s something sticky on the floor (which, for the record, with kids is most of the time).
My wood floors though, need a little extra TLC.
Two hardwood floor cleaners for the price of one
Over the years, I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes, and I feel like these have kinda nailed it for me. Yes, it’s two different recipes, but both take only a minute to whip up, and I can toss all the ingredients right into the mop bucket. The one I use for BIG cleans, I probably only do once a month (unless we have a party or crazy children with popsicles or something). The recipe for conditioning my hardwood floors, I use every week (okay, full disclosure, every two weeks). The great thing about the hardwood floor conditioner recipe is it’s kind of a 2-in-1. You can bottle it and use it as a cleaner for your wood furniture too, if you were so inclined. Which, now that I’m thinking of it, I should be more inclined. In general.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner #1: for those BIG cleans!
This is my go-to for the whole house, tile to wood. It’s super easy and effective (and uses two ingredients, which is awesome, since it means that it’s only two things I have to scramble around the house and find!) Have you tried castile soap? Basically castile soap is just that: soap. It’s a combination of oil (traditionally olive) and sodium hydroxide (lye). That’s it. No chemicals, fragrances, byproducts or toxins. You can use it as shampoo, soap, laundry soap, and cleaner. It’s pretty amazing stuff.
Now, the only caveat with castile soap on hardwood floors is that it “can” leave streaks. I say “can” because I don’t always get streaks, but I do sometimes get a little cloudiness, usually when my mop is too wet. No big deal though. When you’re doing the big clean, just follow up with recipe #2. It’s a simple vinegar-oil mix that leaves your floors super shiny and even hides some of those dreaded scratches.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner #1: The BIG wash
(you know, when there’s child goo or spilled beer or other sticky nonsense on the floor)
2 tablespoons castile soap (I love Green Beaver Sunflower Castile Soap…it’s 100% from Canadian farmers, which is awesome!)
10 drops lemon essential oil (for extra cleaning power!)
1 gallon hot water
Combine ingredients into mop bucket and get cleaning!!
Hardwood Floor Cleaner #2: My favourite wood cleaner and conditioner
This stuff is great. It leaves the hardwood nice and shiny and will cover up some of those scratches. You just treat it like a regular washing liquid and get to mopping. No need to rinse. If you’re looking for an alternative to those waxy furniture polishes, this cleaner does a great job on wood furniture, too!
Hardwood Floor Cleaner #2: Weekly washes (or when the floors aren’t too gross)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (I use extra virgin, but that’s what I’ve got kickin’ around in the kitchen)
10 drops of your fave essential oil (my go-tos are usually lavender, orange, or even tea tree, but most essential oil will work)
1 gallon hot water*
*if you’re going to use this as a furniture cleaner, then don’t add the water. Simply bottle the first three ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well before using and you’re good to go.
Combine ingredients into mop bucket.
Mop away. (It’s that easy!)
One final word on hardwood floors: they don’t like being wet, so just make sure you wring your mop out well before cleaning!
Happy Hardwood Days!