March 18th, 2012

DIY Green Floor Cleaners

by Rebecca Morley

My family was coming to town and I didn’t have time to clean the house, so I hired a cleaning crew using a “groupon” that I bought online. A crew showed up while I was getting ready for work and I caught a whiff of ammonia and other chemicals. I decided to intervene and let them know about my preference for greener products. I was prepared for some eye-rolling but was pleasantly surprised when the crew happily agreed to swap their standard chemicals for vinegar. They told me that vinegar is actually preferred for wood floors since it doesn’t leave a build-up like chemical products.

I thought the result was great and decided to try making my own concoction the next time the floors needed cleaning. I had never tried making cleaning products at home, because I didn’t have handy recipes and it seemed easier to buy the green products at one of the organic food markets. Now that baby Cole is crawling around on the floors, I began to second-guess even the “green” cleaning products. Sure, they might be better for the environment, but what chemical substitutes are they using? If he gets them on his hands and in his mouth, will he be ingesting something harmful? It also seemed more economical to make my own products at home.

A quick internet search revealed two recipes for floor cleaners – one for wood floors and the other for vinyl, stone, and tile. I tried the wood floor recipe and was quite pleased. Here are the recipes:

Damp-Mopping Wood Floors

Step 1: Pour a half-gallon of warm water into a mop bucket. Add a half-gallon of distilled white vinegar.

Step 2: Measure 15 drops of peppermint oil into the bucket of vinegar and water to counter the odor of the vinegar. Swish the mixture around with a gloved hand or wooden spoon.

Step 3: Dunk your mop or sponge in the bucket and wring it out thoroughly. Scrub the floor, rinsing the mop in either a utility sink or a separate bucket of rinse water.

Cleaning Vinyl, Stone, and Tile Floors

Step 1: Fill a mop bucket with one gallon of warm water. Pour a half-cup of white vinegar into the water.

Step 2: Stir the mixture with a gloved hand or wooden spoon. For vinyl and linoleum floors, add one teaspoon of baby oil as an option for polishing the floor while cleaning it.

Step 3: Dunk your mop or sponge in the bucket and wring it out thoroughly. Scrub the floor, rinsing the mop in either a utility sink or a separate bucket of rinse water.


Rebecca MorleyRebecca Morley directed the National Center for Healthy Housing from October 2002 to December 2014. While at NCHH, she led efforts to create safer and healthier environments for all people, with a special focus on children and communities that are disproportionately burdened by environmental public health risks. Ms. Morley is an experienced leader and manager with nearly 20 years of experience working in the government and nonprofit sectors. Ms. Morley earned a Master of Science in public policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated from the Achieving Excellence executive fellowship program of the Harvard Kennedy School. Skilled in strategy development, policy analysis, program evaluation, organizational development, communications, grant seeking, and grant making, she now serves the public health community as a professional consultant.

March 18th, 2012 | Posted By | Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,