Homemade Floor Cleaner Recipe
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Using a homemade floor cleaner provides many benefits, including being able to control the ingredients. That’s especially important if someone in your home has allergies or asthma, since many commercial products contain ingredients that can worsen their symptoms. In this article, I’m sharing a simple and effective DIY floor cleaner recipe that is environmentally friendly, gentle on your budget, and kills germs. It’s a timesaving cleaning solution, too, since there’s no rinsing required.
Ingredients for DIY Floor Cleaner
To make this homemade floor cleaner, you’ll need:
- White vinegar
- Rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl)
- Liquid dish soap
- Warm water
- Essential oils (optional)
- Spray bottle or 1-gallon bucket
Why do these ingredients matter?
White vinegar is a natural degreaser that can help break through dirt and grime.
Rubbing alcohol kills germs and breaks down dirt and grease, making it an effective cleaning agent. In this homemade floor cleaner recipe, it also helps prevent streaks since it speeds up evaporation.
Dish soap cuts through grease and dirt without harming most surfaces. Castile soap is not a good substitute in this DIY cleaner, since it is oil-based and will leave streaks. Brands like Dawn, Ajax, Sunlight, and Fairy all work well since they are detergent-based.
Water is necessary to help combine and buffer the cleaning ingredients.
Essential oils are optional and add fragrance, but it’s important to use the stated amount to avoid streaks.
Homemade Floor Cleaner Recipe
You can make this no-rinse floor cleaner in a spray bottle or a bucket. The spray bottle is helpful for smaller rooms and handy for quick touch-ups throughout the week. For larger rooms or a more thorough cleaning, combine it in a bucket.
In a spray bottle, combine:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
- 3 drops of liquid dish soap
- 5-10 drops of essential oils (optional)
Or, in a 1-gallon bucket, combine:
- 10 cups warm water
- 2.5 cups white vinegar
- 1.25 cups rubbing alcohol
- 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
- 1/2 teaspoon of essential oil (optional)
- Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket.
- Spray or mop 3-foot sections at a time.
- There is no need to rinse the floor. You can rinse your mop head to keep it clean, but wring it out well to avoid diluting the floor cleaner.
- If using a bucket, change your mopping solution if it looks dirty.
- Store any clean, unused portion of homemade floor cleaner in a cool, dark spot. Do not expose it to direct sunlight or heat. As with all cleaning products, keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Tips for Mopping Your Floors
- Sweep or vacuum before mopping to remove loose dirt that can cause streaks.
- Use an S-pattern with your mop strokes to lift away grime.
- Clean your way out of a room, not into a corner.
- Rinse your mop head as needed to avoid leaving streaks on your floors.
- Your old cleaner may leave a residue that attracts more grime. Mop your floors once with hot water and baking soda before using this recipe.
This website exists to help you. One way I do that is by updating posts to include answers to frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered below, please leave it in the comments. Others may need help with the same thing.
Is this safe for all hard floors?
You can use this recipe safely on laminate floors, tile floors, wood floors, vinyl or linoleum floors, and even cement, but must follow the measurements provided. The water in this recipe sufficiently dilutes the vinegar and rubbing alcohol so they do not etch or dry out flooring materials. If you prefer, you can omit the vinegar and it will remain just as effective. Do not use this on painted floors, however, because both vinegar and rubbing alcohol can dissolve paint.
Does this work with mopping robots?
I’ve used my homemade floor cleaner in my mopping robot for years; however, if you have a different model, your results may vary. Do not store the solution in the robot’s tank — empty it each time and remove the used pad.
See my favorite floor cleaning equipment.
Can I use this if I have pets?
Yes, you can use this if you have pets. As with any floor product, put your pets in another room while mopping and allow it to dry fully before letting them out. Also, use pet-safe essential oils or skip them altogether.
Do I dilute this before use?
This homemade floor cleaner is not a concentrated mix. Adding more water will dilute the recipe and alter the results. If you want to make a larger quantity, multiply all the ingredients, not just the water.
Can I substitute apple cider vinegar (ACV)?
Do not use apple cider vinegar in this mopping solution. Although helpful in many homemade cleaners, ACV contains pectin, a naturally occurring starch that will leave a film or streaks on your floor and may attract household pests.
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How much baking soda do I mop with prior to using your solution? A couple tablespoons dissolved in a bucket of hot water?
I’d use 1/2 cup in a 1 gallon bucket of hot water.
Just made and used this. Very impressive!
I’m so glad you liked it! Enjoy your gorgeously clean floor. ❤️
Hi I’ve got these 1 litre spray bottles. Can I put a couple more cups of water into the solution? Will it still do a good job as a multi purpose cleaner or should i just make up more batches?
I’d recommend multiplying the ingredients to suit the size of container you want to use, just as you’d multiply ingredients in any recipe to change “serving sizes.”
I’m confused because you said use dish detergent (not dish soap), then you listed dish soaps to use (Dawn, etc). My liquid soaps I use for hand-washing dishes say “Dish Soap”, and the Dawn says “Dishwashing Liquid”. Dish DETERGENT, in my opinion, is automatic dishwasher detergent like Cascade. I just looked up what Seventh Generation has and on their site they split “Dishwasher Detergent” and “Dish Soap”. So, which do I use? None of the bottles I have for hand-washing dishes say “detergent” anywhere….
Dawn is a liquid dish detergent. They call it “dishwashing liquid” to differentiate it from dish soap. In the section “dish detergent vs. dish soap” I specifically recommend using Dawn.
I have a Shark Steam mop that I can no longer get cleaning solution for. Is this suitable to use as a replacement?
I wouldn’t recommend using it in a steam mop. Those are designed to work well with plain water, but turning rubbing alcohol into steam is not a good idea.
This works fantastically in my Libman spray mop. I was a little concerned the smell of the vinegar or alcohol would be pretty strong but it’s not. I didn’t add any essential oil the dish soap I use has a little lemongrass essential oil in it already. Floors look terrific!
That’s great to hear, Steve! I love lemongrass. I bet your home smells fantastic!
I really wanted to like this. It smells good. The floor doesn’t feel sticky or weird. But it did leave streaks. I’m sad. I used dawn dishwashing liquid, 70%alcohol. I think I used sweet orange oil and peppermint for the essential oils. The only thing might be the mop pad, so I switched to a new, totally clean one. And remopped the wood floors. Still streaky.
I’m sorry it didn’t work for you.
Hi there, would using distilled or purified water make a difference? Thank you in advance. I’m really excited to use this new concoction on my tile floors!
No, it doesn’t affect this homemade floor cleaner recipe for tile floors.
I have a robot vacuum/mop which doesn’t allow me to use a solution in it, but spraying cleaner on the pad works well. I am using up the last of the wood floor cleaner I bought at the moment and then I think I’ll give this a try. I’m hoping that I can substitute the Aware detergent for the Dawn (we have allergy issues, but also animal testing concerns). Given the small quantity the recipe uses, I think that should be fine.
Can you use cleaning vinegar- stronger acidity (6%) than vinegar, (5%) in cleaning solution for floors? I use it in my homemade cleaning solutions with no problems noted.
I wouldn’t. Since this is a no-rinse floor mopping solution, using more acidic vinegar may damage some types of flooring over time.
Do you use a specific brand of essential oil?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Tracy! I’m not too particular about which brand. I just make sure they’re 100% essential oil, not a synthetic “fragrance oil”.
I’ve tried this recipe a few times on my laminate floors and it always leaves them dull with a Matt film on them. It’s really hard to get it off! What am I doing wrong? I’m in the UK using washing up liquid (non dairy). Ingredients are:
15-30% Anionic Surfactants, Less than 5% Amphoteric Surfactants, Perfume, Also contains: Benzisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol
Is this the issue? Or would using too much essential oil cause this?
The only other cause I can think of is that I’m using white vinegar that isn’t distilled. Would this be a factor?
Would love some help or advice!
Sounds like you’re using ASDA’s Zesty Lemon washing up liquid. In that case, yes, essential oils are redundant since there’s already fragrance, and the oils in addition to the surfactants would leave a soapy residue. 🙂
Thanks so much!
Hi – can I use Dawn Ultra or do you recommend just Dawn Original?
I haven’t tried Dawn Ultra in this, but it’s my understanding that it is much more concentrated. If that’s true, then you may want to use much less to avoid a film or streaks.
Is there a recipe that could be premade by the gallon and has a shelf life to use in a spray/mop type tool?
You can multiply the recipe as needed to make a gallon. The ingredients don’t expire, so there’s no shelf-life time limit.
My entire apartment is laminate flooring and we have new puppy. I’ve been using natures miracle and urine gone to clean up accidents immediately and to clean the crate tray. I want to do an overall deep clean and have a Shark steam mop. Should I spray the solution then use the mop or just the steam?
Most laminate manufacturers advise not to use steam mops.
Can I use white vinegar that is not distilled white vinegar? I don’t know where to get distilled white vinegar but I have 3 bottles of white vinegar at home (and the bottle does not say “distilled).
Substituting undistilled white vinegar for distilled white vinegar in a cleaning recipe can cause damage. Most white vinegar sold in the U.S. is distilled white vinegar and says as much. If yours does not, then it’s acetic acid content.
I’m using the distilled water and alcohol, drop of dawn liquid. It’s working fine! When should I change out the mop water? I have a puppy.
All mop solutions should be changed out when they start looking grimy, or you’ll wind up with streaks and smears since you’ll be redepositing dirt on the floor.
i used EXACTLY as directed on a new mop, which i pre rinsed in case of residue. This was not streak free, my laminate floor looks just as bad as before i decided to look into youe recipe, very disappointed
I’m sorry it didn’t work as well for you as it has for others, Marlene. There are many reasons that could be, such as if it’s been a while since your floors were vacuumed or thoroughly mopped or the fact that rinsing a mop right before use adds additional water to the formula which affects its results. Hopefully, you’ll find one you like.