Homemade Floor Cleaner For All Types Of Floors

How to make homemade floor cleaner from HousewifeHowTos.com
You probably already have all of the ingredients needed to make your own homemade floor cleaner, one which gets your floors just as shiny clean as the commercial stuff, without the harsh chemicals.

So, why would you want to? Simple: it’s for your own good. Commercial cleaning products contribute greatly to indoor air pollution. For people with allergies or asthma, indoor air quality is critical to good health. Now, add in pets or young children (or even teens like mine) who spend a lot of time n the floor. Do you really want their paws or pacifiers having that much contact with chemical residue?

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Given how much of the surface area in our home consists of flooring, and it’s not hard to see how commercial floor cleaners aren’t a smart choice. But if that’s not enough to convince you, then consider this: it costs just pennies to make enough homemade floor cleaner to clean your floors for a month or more. That’s right: pennies. So why shell out $3 or more for a commercial cleaner that’s bad for you and your family when you can whip up your own with ingredients you already have?

Even better: you only need this one homemade floor cleaner to clean every hard flooring surface in your home. It works on laminate. It works on hardwood. It even works on vinyl, linoleum and ceramic tile, too. Not only does it get rid of smears and grime, it’s strong enough to cut through food spills without harming your floor’s surface AND it leaves a gorgeous shine!

How To Make Homemade Floor Cleaner


      • 2 cups warm water
      • 1/2 cup white vinegar
      • 1/4 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol (methylated spirits in the UK)
      • 3 drops liquid dish soap (See Note below)
      • 5-10 drops essential oils (optional)

        TIP: Use peppermint oil to deter ants and mice!

UPDATE: Due to problems people have encountered with streaks, I want to emphasize that you must NOT use a dish soap that contains moisturizers, anti-bacterial ingredients, or “oxygen bleach”. Do NOT swap castille soap for the dish soap, and if you use essential oils be sure they aren’t compound oils (i.e., those with fragrance added to grapeseed or some other form of oil). I use Dawn Original (Classic), which is similar to Sunlight or Fairy in the UK.

How To Use Homemade Floor Cleaner: Follow the recipe above. This works equally well regardless of whether you use a bucket or spray bottle to dispense your floor cleaner as you mop. Of course, you’ll have to dump out what’s left in the bucket after use, while anything left in the spray bottle can be stored in a dark, cool place for future cleanings.

Scented Homemade Floor Cleaner: Use the same mixture, then add around 15 drops of your favorite essential oils, or a mixture of them if you prefer. I like equal parts peppermint and orange in the summer, while in the winter I use cedar and lavender. And remember, once you find a fragrance combination you like, you can use it in homemade air freshener and homemade laundry detergent, too!

So now what will you do with those different bottles of cleaning products taking up space on your shelves? Use them up if it bothers you to have spent money on them, or get rid of them now and make the switch to homemade floor cleaner. Just, please, dispose of them properly.

Equipment I Used For This:


  1. Sue says

    Well, I’ll be darned!

    I was reading your latest post and thought, okay, the furniture polish, air freshener and vinegar tips have been amazing, but alcohol and vinegar (mixed together) on my floors…well, let’s say I was skeptical.

    Mixed up a trusty spray bottle of this concoction, and lo and behold, it is fantastic! You are right, it dries to a beautiful shine and the kitchen smells delightful. If it works this well on my hardwoods I will be ecstatic.

    Thanks for another huge money saver, especially one which honestly does what is advertised.

    I hope you and your family are having a wonderful summer.

    • Katie B. says

      I’m so glad you gave it a try, Sue! I love the way it cleans my white ceramic tile floors. Those things are the bane of my existence! How’d it work on your hardwood?

      • Sue says

        I did the hardwood floors this afternoon and this mixture did a beautiful job.

        These floors are light oak and no matter the care, they pick up everything that comes down the pike and with a house well used by family and friends the everything adds up quickly.

        Hubby thought the kitchen and hallway tile I did last night looked great but after I finished the hardwood today, he was even more impressed.

        Having used the peppermint oil in this mixture, I was curious if the combination you mention above gives the same fresh scent, or does the citrus in the orange overpower the peppermint? Thanks!

  2. Ana says

    Thank you for the wonderful website and for your tips and advices. One question, what is your opinion about steamers, steam mops and similar products? They also don’t use chemicals, only pure steam. But do they really desinfect? Anyway, I will start using your home made products with vinegar. Thank you again.

    • Amy says

      I just gathered up 4 (yes 4) “steam cleaners” to throw away. They all worked great for a couple months and then would clog even though I used distilled water. I would put them in the garage and buy another. Now I am trying to be frugal as well as green. I bought an O Cedar mop with spinning basket and am going to try this floor cleaner. Steam cleaners are a waste of money.

  3. Jill says

    Thank you for the idea! Just wondering how much of each item in the recipe do you use? I know it says equal parts, but not sure how much exactly. Please let me know. Thanks!

  4. Karen says

    Hi Katie, the reviews for this floor cleaner are exciting, as it is so discouraging to try a new product, homemade or commercial, and get poor results. My question is, is this a no-rinse recipe? I really don’t like the idea of mopping twice, once to clean and then again to rinse. The use of dishsoap is what makes me question this. Please let me know. thanks for your tips.

    • Katie Berry says

      Yep, it’s a no-rinse solution IF you only use the small amount of soap called for. Too much soap will actually attract dirt if you don’t rinse it off, but this recipe involves very little. Just enough to help lift dirt.

      • Katie Berry says

        Castile soap is a base, and so it shouldn’t be used with an acid like vinegar (or lemon juice) because they’ll cancel each other out. The vinegar will just turn the castile soap into its original oils, and those will leave streaks on your floor.

  5. Tammy Wright says

    Great advice! I am just wondering if this works well on vinyl wood planks. Over time my floor has built up a film that I hate. The shine is gone. I feel it never looks clean even though I just mopped it. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • says

      It should definitely clean them, but whether it removes that film or haze depends on its cause. Sometimes that film is the result of detergent buildup, and this formula would definitely remove that. You could even skip the liquid dish soap for the first mopping or two if you’re concerned.

      • Marta says

        Cats and dogs can absorb toxins through their paw pads, they don’t actually have to ingest stuff to get sick from it

      • says

        Again, we’re not using chocolate or onion oil. The ingredients in this floor cleaner are MUCH less toxic than anything you’d buy in the store. They’re less toxic than bleach, for that matter, which EVERY VETERINARY PRACTICE USES.

        So, er, are you ladies using your pets as an excuse to get out of mopping floors or something?

  6. Leah says

    Unfortunately this left a horrible haze on my dark hardwood floors. I will say it cut the marks easily on my floors like nothing else. Usually after I mop I can still see like foot prints or paw prints that just look darker then the rest of the floor while they’re wet…hard to explain. anyhow, I think for that reason I’ll definitely give this another shot but leave out the soap. I used a cup of water, a cup of vinegar and a cup of rubbing alcohol and only 1/2 tsp of soap.

    • says

      I’m at a total loss as to why it left a haze on your floor… unless you’re using a dish soap with moisturizer or Oxyclean in it? I’ve used it on our dark hardwood in the bathroom for years with no problem. That said, to remove the haze try mopping with 1 gallon of HOT water and 1 cup white vinegar. Change the mop water with each room so you’re not spreading whatever you lifted up. That should remove the haze.

    • Dee says

      Try a equal mixture of just water and rubbing alcohol. Worked for me after my laminate floors went all sticky after my boy spilled soda.

  7. BC says

    Not sure what the problem is… I used 2 cups of water, 2 cups of alcohol and 2 cups of white vinegar and the 1/2 tsp of dish liquid and my floors look duller than before I did and they also have streaks.

  8. rachel says

    I loved your original recipe. I thought there was much more essential oils? I cant remember how much I was using. how many drops was in the original?

  9. Rosa says

    Can you please tell me specifically about how much water, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and liquid soap to use? I know that the amount of water, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol must be equal, but what about the liquid soap? Does it have to be only three drops or more? Does it depend on the amount of water, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol used?

  10. Rokz Ross says

    LOve the recipes for cleaners. I use the floor cleaner but I still get a haze and streaks on my laminate floors. I use a micro fiber cloth and use the cleaner in a spray bottle. I need to buff it with a dry cloth to remove the haze. Bummer! I will still use it but alas…haze and streaks.

  11. Anne B says

    I just tried this on my ceramic tile floors and it’s great! I also did the peppermint & orange essential oils…which smelled nice! My floors look very clean, clean, clean! Thanks for this non-toxic cleaner.

  12. Michelle says

    I’m confused. The ingredient list gives specific amounts of water, vinegar, and alcohol, but the instructions say to combine equal parts. Which is it? I tried it with the amounts on the ingredient list and it seemed to work fine. My only problem is it smelled like straight vinegar and I couldn’t smell the essential oils at all. Anything to help with that?

    • Katie Berry says

      My apologies, Michelle. I’d posted the “equal parts” recipe to begin with then, as people with flooring types other than my own began to have problems, tinkered with the recipe — and used it on different flooring types — until I came up with a specific one, which has worked well for me in trials on ceramic, porcelain, laminate, linoleum, vinyl, and hard wood.

      As for the vinegar smell, there are a number of factors to consider. First, vinegar always gives a strong scent initially but that disappears as it dries; by the time you’re done mopping it won’t be noticeable. If you’d prefer not to smell the vinegar at ALL you can add more essential oil, but keep in mind that when you do you are adding additional oil which might affect the shine and lead to streaking.

      I personally just ignore the vinegar smell and get on with the mopping. Thirty minutes later there’s no trace of the vinegar in the air. (I’ve had company confirm this.)

  13. Carolin Flores says

    Great recipe! I like using essential oils my home cleaning products and I’m trying this recipe right next weekend. Thank you for sharing it!

  14. Anne says

    I know this was posted up quite awhile ago but I just found it now and its genius, I am ditching all my chemicals… chemicals to clean..oxymoron there! Anyways my question is, does this have to rinsed off floors once used to clean the floors?

    • Katie Berry says

      Your enthusiasm about natural cleaning methods is commendable, Anne, but it’s not realistic to get rid of all chemicals to clean. Water, for instance, is a chemical: two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen molecule through a covalent bond. So I think what you mean is you’re getting rid of harsh commercial cleaning products. :)

      To answer your question: no, you don’t need to rinse the floor cleaner.

  15. James Wilson says

    Sorry. I’ve seen another recipe which contains the following:
    1 gallon hot water,
    1 cup vinegar,
    2 tablespoon castile soap,
    optional: 8-12 drops essential oil

    However you say the vinegar will cancel the castile soap out, correct? Does that mean the above recipe will not work?


    • Katie Berry says

      I haven’t tried that one, James, but in general the acidity of vinegar will neutralize the castile soap, which is a base, so they cancel each other out.

  16. Katie B. says

    Thanks. Btw, there’s no point in leaving your company’s URL. My links are “no_follow” and I routinely delete commercial URLs.

  17. Katie B. says

    Thanks. Btw, there’s no point in leaving your company’s URL. My links are “no_follow” and I routinely delete commercial URLs.

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