Home Clean Expert is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earns a commission on qualifying purchases.

How To Clean And Sanitize Hardwood Floors With White Vinegar And Water

Using vinegar for household chores is one of the best-kept secrets in housekeeping. In my house, we have a long hardwood floor when you come in the front door. With two kids, two dogs, and a cat, this hardwood floor can get pretty messed up.

I have used overpriced products to clean it before. They stink, one of the dogs tried to lick the floors once I used it (no joke by the way) and as I said just before, they are overpriced. However, vinegar came to my rescue and allowed me to keep my hardwood floors clean at a fraction of the price.

Do I Need A Specific Brand Of Vinegar?

This is the first question many people have and I can tell you the answer is no. All you need is the most basic white vinegar, always make sure it is white. It does not need to be a fancy brand, the cheapest you can find is going to get the job done.

You want to use white vinegar as it is not going to stain your hardwood floors. Also, you will notice that white vinegar tends to be the cheapest vinegar around.

Why Should I Use Vinegar To Clean Hardwood Floors?

Some people have a hard time getting their heads around the fact that white vinegar is such a good cleaning product….. and I was one of these people. However, over the years I have learned that there are many reasons that vinegar is good for cleaning hardwood floors.

How To Clean Hardwood

So if you have a prized hardwood floor that the kids and pets keep messing up, here are the reasons as to why white vinegar can be your knight in shining white armor!

  • It Is Cheap: I have said this a few times already, but white vinegar costs way less than any hardwood floor cleaning products that you are going to find in your local store. The more money you save on cleaning products, the more money you have to spend on fun things like cake and wine!
  • White Vinegar Is Safe: Some of the cleaning products I have used in the past have literally had a skull and crossbones safety logo on the back. At best, they stink! White vinegar, on the other hand, is 100 percent non-toxic. If you have kids and pets, you can give your hardwood floor a real good swabbing with the mop and not have to worry about it harming your family or pets in any way. I actually found (and this has been reported by others too) that one of my dogs hated the smell and kept away from the area until it was dry so that is a nice added bonus.
  • The Job Gets Done: People do not use white vinegar as a cleaning product just because it is cheap and non-toxic. People use it because it is so good at cleaning many different areas of the home. It is acidic so it can break up any nasty stains or really stubborn spots.
  • It Can Keep You All Healthy: White vinegar also has anti-bacterial properties. So if you have any issues with mold at the edges of your hardwood floors, white vinegar can help get rid of it. Mold and bacteria are no match for the might of white vinegar! Getting rid of nasty mold and bacteria will make sure the air you, the kids and the pets are breathing is much healthier.
  • White Vinegar Is Good For The Environment: Ok so this may be exaggerating just a little bit. However, by using white vinegar to clean hardwood floors, you are using an organic substance and not one that is created by mixing together a bunch of crazy chemicals in a witches pot!

How Do I Use White Vinegar To Clean Hardwood Floors?

So you have your bottle of white vinegar and you have your mop, but what now? Well, do not just pour the bottle of white vinegar onto your hardwood floors! Instead, you need to follow these very simple instructions.

How to Clean Wood Flooring

  • Before you even want to start, you want to give your hardwood floor a really good sweeping or even a vacuuming. You are doing this to make sure there are no little rough bits like stones and other things the kids and pets have dragged in with them on the floor. These little things can scratch up your hardwood floors when you are mopping so get rid of them first.
  • Using your mopping bucket (or really any bucket, but not one with a hole in it!) you want to go for a mixture of one-half cup of white vinegar for every gallon of warm water that you use. Use as much as your particular hardwood floor needs. You have to make sure you dilute the white vinegar as it is acidic after all.
  • Now it is time to mop! We all have our own styles of mopping, but for me when it comes to hardwood floors, going with the flow of the hardwood floors is best. You always end up with streaks when you mop a hardwood floor (even when using white vinegar) however, if you go in the same direction as the hardwood floor, you will notice there are far fewer streaks.
  • checkIf the floors are really dirty, for example, if the kids and pets have been out when it is raining and now there is more mud on your hardwood floor than in your garden. Make sure you are changing your white vinegar/water combination as it starts to get dirty. Chances are you will very rarely have to do this, but keep an eye on how clean the water you are using is.

That is all there is when it comes to how to clean hardwood floors with vinegar. Some people will make it far more complex than it needs to be, but if you follow those first three steps, you will have sparkling clean and pretty nice smelling hardwood floors in no time at all.

So before you pick up that hardwood floor cleaning product, give white vinegar a shot and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Declutter your home once and for all (Even if you have no time and don't know where to begin)! Learn More.


I'm obsessed with cleaning (maybe to an unhealthy degree) and want to share all of my best tips and hacks with you.

Recent Posts