October 4, 2018

Essentials for Washing Floors

Everyone loves a clean floor, right?  We might all have different methods for cleaning our floors but finding just the right combination of products and tools is magic and makes the chore of floor cleaning just a little more enjoyable.

Before I clean the floors, I always start by vacuuming to get rid of crumbs and dirt. If you have pets or a lot of dust, you may want to follow up with a quick sweep using a microfiber based floor duster. If you follow my cleaning routine, Wednesdays are Vacuuming Day and Thursdays are Floor Washing Day.  This post shows how you can split these days up too if you are interested.

The mop that I use the most is a microfiber mop – here are 3 of my favorites.  The first one on the left is OXO and can be filled with any cleaner, the middle one is Bona – great for hardwood floors – I use the Free & Simple solution because it is safe and non-toxic, and the last one is Full Circle.  I love this one for using with a DIY spray cleaner – it works great for quick touch ups.

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Here are a few other floor mops I’ve used and recommend if you want a floor cleaner.  The Cordless Bissell Spinwave Hard Floor Mop is cordless, super convenient! Its claim to fame is how it cleans hardwood floors.  If you are looking for a steam mop, my favorite is the Bissell Steam Mop – great for tile, vinyl, linoleum – it has different temperature settings for different floor types. Bissell Crosswave – great for any floor surface, has a wet/dry vacuum, and it can clean rugs.

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HARDWOOD FLOORS:

Before using any cleaner, make sure that your hardwood floors are sealed. How to clean your wood floors is not always dependent on the kind of wood but rather the finish that is on them. If you aren’t sure what sort of finish is on your floors, check with the manufacturer. I prefer to use a refillable or microfiber mop versus a steam mop on my hardwood floors. While many people love the ease of a steam mop, my personal preference is to play it safe and use a more gentle, less moisture approach with a damp microfiber mop – just use a spray floor cleaner and spray and wipe you go.  I also use a refillable spray mop with a microfiber pad.

UNFINISHED OR BAMBOO FLOORS:

If you have unfinished, waxed, or bamboo hardwood floors, the best approach is to use a barely damp (with water) microfiber mop pad. Always check with your manufacturer’s instructions first.

COMMON ISSUES:

If you are using a microfiber pad, dampen it before starting and rinse often while washing the floors. If you have streaks with a steam mop and rinsing the mop head frequently doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to use distilled water (purchase by the gallon at your local grocery or drug store). If you have hard water the minerals in your water may be contributing to streaking and residue on your floors.

FAVORITE CLEANERS:

When it comes to just what brand or formulation of floor cleaner I prefer, I like to give a range of options and solutions. Some people love making their own cleaners while others prefer the pre-mixed, ready to go options. I only recommend products that are non-toxic and safe to use around people and pets, but these are all products that I use and love.

If you are looking for the most economical and green choice, then making your own cleaner is the way to go.

All-Purpose Floor Cleaning Recipe:

  • choose either castile soap or Sal Suds (both of the solutions I’m referencing are made by Dr. Bronner’s, but there are other brands of castile soap) – you’ll need 1-2 drops of the soap or cleaning concentrate (adjust as necessary – you want a little bit of bubbles, but you won’t be rinsing it, so you aren’t looking for a ’soapy’ solution).
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 16 oz. spray bottle (here’s my favorite glass spray bottle)
  • 1-2 drops of Sal Suds or castile soap
  • 3-5 drops essential oils if you’d like a little scent – some of my favorites are lemon + clove for the castile and pine + lemon for the Sal Suds (it has a pine-y scent already)
  • my favorite application is with a spray bottle and microfiber cloth but you can also spray and use a microfiber mop or spray mop or pour the solution into a small bucket and wipe up with a microfiber or cleaning cloth

Vinegar-based floor cleaning recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 2-3 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors)

I mix this up using the same ratio in my refillable floor mop:

  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 16 ounces of warm water
  • 1-2 drops essential oils (I love lemon or lemon and clove for my hardwood floors

If you prefer the convenience of pre-made cleaners, there are many options to choose from. These recommended pre-made cleaners are all rated an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ on the EWG.com website. My favorite brands for performance and safe ingredients are ready to use – simply use the spray and mop method or pour into your refillable mop and clean away. Babyganics makes a great floor cleaner concentrate that is unscented and easy to dilute – you can use it in a bucket and a refillable spray mop and it’s even compatible with carpet cleaners. Biokleen’s Multi-Surface  Floor Cleaner is a good pick if you have a variety of surfaces and Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Floor Cleaner is a great pick if you like the smell of vinegar (don’t use on stone).  If you like a mop and bucket for washing floors (not my preference), you might like a spin mop. A popular and well-rated one is this one.

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LAMINATE FLOORS:

One of the biggest complaints I hear about laminate floor cleaners is that all the commercial cleaners leave behind a sticky residue that attracts dirt and dust. My all time favorite laminate floor cleaner is a simple DIY cleaner using every day ingredients. Try out this recipe for an effective, economical solution to cleaning your laminate floors. Again, I prefer using a refillable mop for ease, but this solution can be mixed up and put into a spray bottle as well. The vinegar cleans and the rubbing alcohol aids in the drying and adds a sanitizing component. The combination is great for getting those floors perfectly clean. Laminate and water are not a good combination so you’ll want to use this in a spray format in lieu of a mop and bucket.

Mix equal parts of:

  • white vinegar
  • rubbing alcohol
  • water

I like to add several drops of peppermint essential oil for a invigorating and fresh scent. I mix up five ounces of each of three ingredients with 3-5 drops of essential oil to fill an average size spray bottle or to pour into a refillable mop.

Once you’ve cleaned up your little or big mess, move on to more important things! I hope this helps clear up some questions and gives you some ideas of methods and products that work!

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Cleaning