Popular methods of cleaning wood floors naturally include:
- Black Tea
- White Vinegar and Vegetable Oil
- Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, and Water
- Water, White Vinegar, Liquid Soap & Baking Soda (stain removal)
The timeless visual appeal of a well maintained wood floor can increase the asking price of your property. With that in mind, there are clear short term and long term benefits to regular maintenance – but what is the best method of cleaning your wood floor? Let’s take a more in depth look at each natural cleaning solution. But first, why choose natural cleaning solutions above commercially available chemicals?
Why Choose Natural Cleaning Solutions?
Biodegradable Opting for natural cleaning methods offers a more gentle option for both your wood floor (especially in relation to protecting the finish) and for the environment. In contrast, non-biodegradable cleaning chemicals that are not disposed of correctly could pollute local streams and damage any surrounding wildlife habitats.
Health Reasons The absence of toxic chemicals in the home reduces the immediate risk of respiratory issues caused by breathing harmful substances. Other issues such as allergic reactions and skin complaints can also be largely avoided by opting for natural cleaning methods.
Finances Typically, the ingredients involved in natural cleaning solutions are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of commercial cleaning products.
Wood Floors – Natural Cleaning Methods
Your wood floor enjoys a brew just as much as you do – although, perhaps not quite so often. Fill a bowl with around 1.5-2 litres of boiling water. Add up to 10 tea bags and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Clean your entire wood floor using a sponge or a microfibre cloth/mop that has been soaked in the tea and wrung out until damp – this helps to avoid water spots. Why does it work? Tea contains tannic acid that cuts through grime and adds a shine to your finished wood floors.
White Vinegar and Vegetable Oil
Mix equal parts white vinegar and vegetable oil in a spray bottle and apply directly to your wood floor. Proceed to clean your floor with a soft cloth, using circular motions. Use a second cloth to wipe clean and dry the floor. This method is particularly good at buffing your wood floor surface. Top Tip: ensure all dirt is removed beforehand, as this may scratch the floor during cleaning.
Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, and Water
You may be familiar with the citric acid contained within citric fruits such as lemons. What you may not be aware of is the fact that citric acid is a chemically weak natural preservative that can be further diluted with water to produce an excellent all round disinfectant. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water to create this cost-effective cleaning solution. Add a small amount of olive oil to give a deep and healthy finish to your floor.
Water, White Vinegar, Liquid Soap & Baking Soda
This method is best used for stain removal. Create a solution that’s one cup water, one cup liquid soap, and two cups baking soda. Next, add a splash of white vinegar. You may notice a slight effervescent reaction when you begin to mix the ingredients together – this is normal. The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create a carbonic acid that is excellent at cutting through grime. Apply with a sponge to help remove difficult stains (this method can also help to unblock sinks and erase difficult-to-shift stains on other household surfaces).
Dealing with Scratches
As we can see, choosing environmentally friendly methods of cleaning your wood floor has many benefits – but what if that surface is scratched? Cleaning alone won’t help. But there is a way of reducing and eliminating the unsightly appearance of scratches to your hardwood floor that is quick, effective, and surprisingly long lasting.
First, take a crayon that is as close as possible to the colour and shade of the affected area of your wood floor. Next, press the crayon into the scratch – pressure will help to ensure that the scratch is filled. Using a hair dryer, heat the crayon filled scratch to further ensure that as much of the crayon as possible has been applied to the problem area (the crayon will melt into any gaps). To finish, simply wipe away any excess and buff the area with a damp microfibre cloth or sponge. Note: You may need to apply any finish (e.g. lacquer/varnish) that has been disturbed in this process.
Dealing with Water Spots
Water spots are a common affliction concerning wood floors. First, there are two types of water spots: dark and light. Dark water marks are water stains that have penetrated deeply into the wood floor. White water marks are water stains on the surface of a wood floor.
Dark Water Stains To remove dark water stains, you will first need to consider whether your floor is finished with a varnish or lacquer – you will need to make sure you have the same finish on hand to complete the repair. Depending on the depth of the stain, you may need to sandpaper the stain, followed by steel wool. Complete with the appropriate lacquer or varnish.
Light Water Stains Light or white water spots are much easier to remove. Apply mineral oil in circular motions using a soft cloth. This should significantly lighten the stain over night without the need to refinish your floor. However, if the stain is not entirely removed, you may apply a small amount of mineral spirit to the affected area – however, be aware that you may need to refinish the area with lacquer or varnish depending on how your finish reacts to the spirits.