Homemade Floor Cleaner

Clean

You probably already have all of the ingredients needed to make homemade floor cleaner. This DIY mopping solution gets your wood, tile, laminate, or vinyl just as shiny and streak-free as the commercial stuff without introducing irritants to your home.

Female using homemade floor cleaner, mop and bucket to clean hard floor

Why Use This Homemade Floor Cleaner?

One of the great things about homemade cleaners: you don’t need a lot of different products that only clean one kind of surface. So, once you’ve got your standard cleaning ingredients on hand, it’s easy to mix up various homemade cleaning products. (Want to get started making your own cleaning products? Check out this explanation of supplies you need for homemade cleaners and why they’re useful.)

Safer for Indoor Air-Quality

Commercial cleaning products contribute significantly to indoor air pollution. For people with allergies or asthma, indoor air quality is critical to good health.

Companies that manufacture cleaning products aren’t required to disclose their ingredients on the label. As a result, there’s no way to tell at a glance whether a product contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may cause irritation or even cancer.

Switching to homemade natural cleaners lets you know exactly what you’re using in your home so that you can avoid dangerous combinations of cleaning products.

Easier on Your Budget

If that’s not enough to convince you to switch to a homemade floor cleaner, consider how much money you’ll save. The cost of commercial floor cleaners is crazy!

Using a Swiffer mop, for instance, runs about $0.32 per wet pad — and you have to use two or three of them in even a small kitchen or bathroom. Even bottles of commercial mopping products run anywhere from $4 to $15, depending on the brand.

Over time, those expenses add up. Cleaning shouldn’t cost a fortune, and it doesn’t when you use this homemade floor cleaner recipe.

It’s Safe for ALL Hard Flooring

This homemade mopping solution is safe homemade cleaner for any kind of hard flooring.

✓ It works on laminate.
✓ It works on hardwood.
✓ It works on vinyl, linoleum, and tile.
✓ Yep, you can use it on marble or granite.
✓ It even works on cement.

Have I mentioned that, after powering through grime, it also leaves a gorgeous shine?

It Works With Mopping Robots, Too!

I’ve written before about my search to find the best floor cleaning robots. One of my requirements was being able to use a homemade floor cleaner.

After spending that kind of money on a robot, I didn’t want to be stuck buying a special floor cleaning solution or wet mopping pads all the time. I’ve been using it in my mopping robot for over two years now, and I’m always thrilled with the results.

Tips for Making Homemade Floor Cleaner

Remember, there are reasons for using specific ingredients in homemade cleaning recipes. If you change them, you’re changing the formula, and that may alter your results.

What These Ingredients Do

  • Water: Loosens grime and acts helps the other ingredients combine.
  • White vinegar: Degreases and provides mild disinfection. It’s safe for natural stone surfaces at this dilution because it’s not acidic enough to cause etching. I’ve been using this on marble and granite for years without a problem. If you have any concerns, don’t use it.
  • Isopropyl (70%) rubbing alcoholSpeeds up evaporation to avoid streaks. Degreases and helps disinfect. (In the UK, if you can’t find it inexpensively at the chemist, it’s available online.)
  • Liquid dish soap: Dissolves bonds between dirt and floor, degreases, and cleans. Don’t use a dish soap that contains moisturizers, antibacterial ingredients, or “oxygen bleach.” I use Dawn Original (Classic). (Fairy is the UK substitute.) Please don’t swap Castille soap for the dish soap. Castille is an oil-based soap and will leave streaks and smears.
  • Essential oils: Optional ingredients to offset the smell of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. If you have pets or children, verify the safety of any essential oil you use. Be sure they aren’t compounds (i.e., those with fragrance added to grapeseed or some other form of oil). I buy these from Amazon.

Homemade Floor Cleaner Recipe

Time required: 2 minutes to prep

Makes 22 ounces

This inexpensive but powerful mopping solution cleans all types of hard floors. Works on wood, tile, laminate, vinyl, even marble, and stone.

Equipment

  • Spray bottle or bucket
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup isopropyl (70%) rubbing alcohol or 120-proof clear liquor
  • 1/8 tsp liquid dish soap 
  • 5-10 drops essential oils (optional)

Instructions

  1. For use in a spray bottle: Add all of the ingredients and gently swirl to combine. Lightly spray 3-foot sections and wipe with a mop. Store unused portion in the bottle but away from flames or heat and out of the reach of children or pets.
  2. For use in a bucket: This recipe makes 22 fluid ounces as written. Multiply it by 4 to use in a bucket. (So, 8 cups water, 2 cups distilled white vinegar, 1 cup isopropyl alcohol, 1/2 tsp. liquid dish soap and about 20 drops of essential oils.) Discard any homemade floor cleaner remaining in your bucket after use.

Questions about Substituting Ingredients

Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about this homemade floor cleaner recipe.

Spin mop and bottle of homemade floor cleaner on wood floor

Can I Use this If I Have Pets?

As with any floor cleaning product, you should put your pets in another room while using this and allow it to dry fully. Once it’s dry, your floors are safe for your pets. If you choose to use essential oils in the recipe, make sure you opt for pet-safe ones.

Can I Use a Stronger Version of Rubbing Alcohol?

If you have a stronger form of isopropyl alcohol on hand, like 90%, you can use it, but your results will change. At that concentration, the rubbing alcohol will evaporate so quickly that it may leave streaks. Before you mix up the full recipe, try making a small batch of homemade floor cleaner to see how it does on your floors. Then, add more water as needed until it cleans but doesn’t leave streaks while it dries.

Do I Dilute this Before Use?

This isn’t a concentrated mix — it’s used at the exact strength described in the recipe. So, if you want to make a larger quantity, you need to multiply the ingredients, not add additional water.

Can I Substitute Liquor for the Rubbing Alcohol?

If you can’t find rubbing alcohol at the grocery store, pharmacy, or chemist, you can substitute specific liquors for it instead. When using liquor to disinfect, it must be 120-proof, containing at least 60% alcohol. Vodka is not the best choice. Most vodkas are only 80-proof, and some are even lower.

Look for what’s known as a “neutral spirit” or “rectified spirit” since these contain very high concentrations of ethanol alcohol. Everclear is one brand that meets the 120-proof requirement and is available in most liquor or package stores.

When substituting liquor for rubbing alcohol in a homemade cleaner recipe, you need to select unflavored, clear varieties. Flavorings may contain sugars or other substances that attract pests, while colorings may stain the surfaces you’re cleaning. Both can leave streaks.

Can I Substitute Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

Unfortunately, no. Apple Cider Vinegar contains pectin, which is a naturally occurring starch. This would likely leave a film or streaks on your floor. Worse yet, it will attract household pests.

83 Comments

  1. 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.

    1. Katie Berry 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?

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. I am curious why you can’t use Castille soap?

    3. 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.

  3. 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

    1. Katie Berry 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. I made a concentrated version of this and it works beautifully.
    Basically, I tripled the recipe, excluding the water and using mandarine essential oil, and wherever I need it I just dilute it in a bucket of warm water and mop away.
    Also, I used my homemade citrus vinegar ..just because šŸ™‚
    Thanks for this great tip /recipe that does wonders.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Aly! Mandarine is one of my favorite scents. I bet your home smells amazing now. šŸ™‚

  8. Can you use this in a steam floor cleaner?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      No, you should never use anything but plain water in a steam floor cleaner or you risk damaging the machine. Also, since rubbing alcohol is flammable it’s not a good idea to heat it like that.

  9. Could This be used on engineered hardwood floors? Apparently there is a difference in what types of things you can use on them vs real hardwood floors.
    Thank you for the reply, and thank you so much for the recipe. šŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, this is safe for wood floors. Just be sure that you use a dish soap that doesn’t contain moisturizing or oxygenating ingredients, or it will leave streaks.

  10. marianna giugni says:

    You did not mention grade of rubbing alcohol. 50%, 70% or 99%

    1. Katie Berry says:

      While there are different strengths, you’ll most commonly find 70% grade at grocery stores and pharmacies. That’s what I use.

  11. Carol Tedford says:

    I found this today!! I have tile floors and grout and the tiles have places that pool…so hard to clean but I made this and put it in a spray bottle…I did put some peppermint oil in it…I love how it looks and isn’t sticky and doesn’t smell pepperminty at all. Thanks for posting this!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it, Carol! I use it on my tile floors all of the time and, like you, love the shine it gives them. šŸ™‚

  12. Can you use fresh lemon juice instead of oil?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      No. The lemon oil is just there for fragrance. It doesn’t change acidity, which fresh lemon juice would do — and not for the better.

  13. Sandra Williams says:

    Can you put this cleaning solution in the steam floor cleaners??

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Definitely not. Rubbing alcohol is flammable.

  14. Does this have to be rinsed?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Nope! šŸ™‚

  15. I just found this today and my floors were awful. They were awful when I moved in. But after mixing this up and going over the kitchen floor and greasy splash wall behind my stove? It’s amazing!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it! This is the only way I clean my floors now.

  16. Can you use thus on laminate wood floors

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, though as with all cleaning methods for laminate floors you don’t want to get them soaking wet.

  17. Thanks for the recipe! I had all of the “ingredients” on hand. So much easier than navigating the maze of cleaning products & no harsh chemicals. I doubled the batch to mop my kitchen floor. It worked great!
    I’ll be making more to keep in a spray bottle for all-around clean-ups.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you liked it!

  18. I too would like to know what type of mop you recommend. We have tile floors, and a flat sponge mop doesn’t get into the grout lines. There are so many different types of mops that whenever I go shopping for one, I just stand there staring at them, wondering which one to get…..

  19. Hi! I just loved using your recipe! Clean, fresh and good smelling, without all the harmful ingredients Iā€™m used to. I mixed more than I needed. How long will this stay fresh before I need to dump and mix a new batch? Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you liked it, Jessica! If you store it in an air-tight container, away from heat and light, it will stay good for at least two months. That’s the longest I’ve kept it, so I can’t speak to any longer than that.

  20. 9/3/2018

    I said to my self You Never know.. Plus I always Try to use/find NonToxic methodology.

    Yes i was Pleasantly Surprised

    Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad to hear it!

  21. Thank you so much. Worked amazing on laminate floor and best of all no streaks.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Glad to hear you liked it!

  22. Very happy with this recipe, love that I can just mix it up whenever I need it with household staples. Left out the essential oils due to cats. Hardwood and tile floors look great.

  23. Koni Purscell says:

    Is this safe in a household with a small dog? I’ve been reading about essential oils harming dogs.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I have a French Bulldog and two cats, and they’re fine with it. It’s true that some essential oils can be harmful to animals, so you should research any you plan to use.

  24. Hope this is still an active blog!
    I just purchased a Braava 380t, love it, and am experimenting with a few strategies. Also have an older Romba. At night, I’m alternating one on one side of the house and one on the other. Doing bathrooms and small den during the day.
    None of the ingredients in your homemade mix will do any damage to the wheels? I’m thinking that even if it damaged the mophead, it would be inexpensive to replace that. I have run it in dry mop mode with the (manufacture’s wet) cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide and I found that it goes too fast to remove some spots and left streaks. May try rubbing alcohol in dry mop mode for quick, targeted areas.
    Do you have more than one cube? I have a very open floorplan with some angles to it and I’m thinking that I should get a second cube.
    Thank you so much for your help.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I use this in my Braava 380t without a problem. From what I can tell, the mop head has to be replaced every few months regardless of what solution you use. I don’t store the mop with any cleaner remaining in the head having learned about the design flaw early on.

      If you put it into mopping mode, the Braava goes slower and in a Y-shape, so it also scrubs the floor while it mops. The rubbing alcohol in my floor cleaner helps it to dry faster, so it doesn’t streak. Also be sure to change your pad every 15 minutes or so — a dirty pad will leave streaks, which is true of any mop.

      TBH, I don’t even bother with the cube anymore. My bedroom and kitchen open off of the great room, so I usually block the Braava from doing the kitchen one day, then use it in the kitchen but block off the other two rooms the next.

  25. Carolyn Bjorner says:

    I’ve read that your not supposed to use vinegar on granite. What am I missing?

    Carolyn B

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Straight vinegar, no, nor even a 50:50 mix. The amount of vinegar in this recipe is diluted so greatly, however, that it does not cause etching. If you’re very concerned, you could try using my DIY granite cleaner but I have not tried using that on floors.

  26. Nancy Summers says:

    Have tried a number of DIY floor cleaner recipes, THIS one is the best! Was also pleasantly surprised that this quantity was enough to clean my whole (very dirty) big kitchen floor ! Thank you! I’ll be checking out everything else on your site!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked it. It’s my favorite, too!

  27. I have ethyl rubbing alcohol, will that work the same?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      No.

  28. UnbelIevable! This formula cleaned my grout!! And floors are nice and shiny! Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  29. Katie Berry says:

    Hi Joanna,
    This isn’t a concentrated mix — it’s used at the exact strength described in the recipe. So, if you want to make a larger quantity, you need to multiply the ingredients, not add additional water. šŸ™‚

  30. Vicki Moore says:

    I was under the impression you could not use water on wood laminate floors. Is it truly safe?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Vicki,
      Most modern laminate is water-resistant, which means you can use a damp mop to clean it — like with the spray bottle method I’ve described. You don’t want to slosh water everywhere, obviously, just as you wouldn’t with a hardwood floor or even vinyl.

  31. Bobby Powell. says:

    5 stars
    I just bought a Vorfruende spray mop with a refillable bottle.
    I used your recipe, (cut it in half), and added a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil.
    Just mopped the kitchen floor, and WOW!
    It worked fantastic. My how how mopping has changed!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      So glad to hear it, Bobby!

  32. JodiAnnie says:

    I bought a floor mopping robot. How much of the cleaner would I use in this.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi JodiAnnie,
      There’s no need to dilute it, so just fill the robot’s tank. Mine takes about a cup for a full tank, and I save the rest for the next mopping session.

  33. The manufacturer of my new laminate floor says not to use vinegar on them….any thoughts. I have always used vinegar to clean, but I am not sure at this point. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Dd,
      If it’s against the manufacturer’s advice, then I’d try something else. Sam’s Club makes a fantastic, affordable laminate floor cleaner. It’s the pink one.

  34. Hi, can you use different percentages of rubbing alcohol? Or does it need to be the 70%? So in other words would a 91% work?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Julie,
      I recommend using 70% rubbing alcohol because it’s what’s most commonly available in stores. It’s also more affordable. If you have 91% on hand, you can certainly try it — but I’d recommend mixing up a small amount of the homemade floor cleaner to test whether the higher percentage causes such rapid evaporation that it’s too difficult to clean with.

  35. Ruth Lanton says:

    If you have stronger alcohol (90% instead of 70%), it’s easy enough to use slightly less alcohol and slightly more water. I haven’t done the math on paper to confirm it, but I’d guestimate that using 7 ounces 90% alcohol and 1 ounce water should be about the same as one cup of 70% alcohol.

  36. What type of dish soap do you recommend? I have seventh generation will this be okay?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried Seventh Generation dish soap in this since I use Dawn Original. I looked it up and saw that Seventh Generation is fragranced with citrus oils, so if you have pets you should consider using a different soap to avoid health risks. It also contains glycerin (as a foam stabilizer) and that might leave streaks.

  37. Laurie E. says:

    How do I use this cleaner with my Braava Jet Mop? Do I use it straight up or just a couple of cap fulls of the solution?

    Also I couldn’t find distilled vinegar so I sutstituted a equal amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Lemon juice is not an acceptable substitute. It’s citric acid while vinegar is acetic acid. Citric acid can damage some types of flooring, and will probably damage your Braava. It will also leave streaks and may attract pests.

      When you are able to find distilled vinegar — which is just white vinegar that’s available in grocery stores — you can fill the Braava reservoir with the mixture undiluted. After your robot mop has run, drain the reservoir instead of leaving the mixture in there.

  38. If this can be used on laminate and wood floors, could I make a spray bottle to wipe down my kitchen cabinets?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Holly, you could use it for that. But, since it contains rubbing alcohol, it’s dangerous to use around flames. I’d recommend my homemade all-purpose cleaner instead.

  39. 5 stars
    recipe works well , however I found it a little slippery when walking on tiled surface while just wearing socks.. I added half cup more water to the mixture and this worked well and was no longer slippery…

    thank you for the recipe

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Denise!

  40. Do I have to worry about using the isopropyl alcohol if I have any open flames in the house? I.e., we have a gas stove and gas furnace. Also, in the winter, we use a gas fireplace to help heat our home. It’s a small house so the kitchen floor isn’t very far away from any of these things.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You should always exercise caution using any form of alcohol around open flames. Presumably, your pilot lights for the furnace and stove aren’t sitting out in the open, since most people’s aren’t. So, don’t pour this directly onto them. And if you did, chances are the water and white vinegar used in the recipe — which greatly dilute the isopropyl — would put out the flame, anyway, though I wouldn’t test that theory.

      I mean, you don’t avoid using hairspray or first aid remedies just because you have a gas stove, furnace or fireplace do you? Exercise the same caution when using this.

  41. Would it be acceptable to use apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar for this floor cleaner?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Unfortunately, no. Apple Cider Vinegar contains pectin, which is a naturally occurring starch. This would likely leave a film or streaks on your floor. Worse yet, it will attract household pests.

    2. Makes sense. Thank you!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome! šŸ™‚

  42. Question. Could this be used as an all purpose cleaning spray or should it just be used for the floors?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Due to the rubbing alcohol (and optional essential oils), it’s not suitable for food preparation surfaces. It’s also not safe to spray around pilot lights. Plus, the ingredients are a bit overkill for most household surfaces, which is why I suggest just plain soap and water, or my homemade all-purpose spray, on things that don’t require disinfection.

  43. Hi, could you use this to make DIY wet mops (putting some rags in a container soaking in the solution until you need them)? TIA!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I suppose you could, although the liquid dish soap (and essential oils if you use them) might separate from the other ingredients if stored for long. For quick touch-ups, I use homemade cleaning and disinfecting wipes instead.

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