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Natural Wood Floor Cleaner

Derek Hales

Written By: Derek Hales

Updated on:

If you’ve got wood floors, chances are that want to keep them looking their best. Cleaning wood floors using natural ingredients helps them to retain their shine, resist scratches, and prevent fogging.

Roidmi F8 Value

While there are many “natural” wood floor cleaners on the market today, this is a product you can easily make on your own.

Making cleaners by hand helps to reduce costs, not to mention you know exactly what you’re putting in it.

How to Make a Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner

This guide is going to feature a couple different recipes for natural wood cleaners, but they all have the same basic outline.

An effective wood floor cleaner is going to be made up of four parts:

  1. cleanser
  2. protectant
  3. fragrance
  4. base

To be completely honest, the fragrance isn’t all that necessary, but it never hurts, especially when it’s natural ingredients, like essential oils or fresh fruits.

Kitchen with hardwood floors
Most DIY natural floor cleaners have just 4 basic parts. Cleanser, protectant, fragrance, and base.

But how easy is that?! A minimum of mixing two products and you can be well on your way to a cleaner and newer looking hardwood floor.

So what exactly does each part of the formula do? Let’s find out!


The cleanser is arguably the most important part of any natural wood floor cleaner. The cleaning agent cuts through grease, grime, dirt, or any other sticky goo that is on your hardwoods.

Popular choices for cleaners include:

distilled white vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is an incredible cleaner to use around the house


The protectant is part of the cleaner that provides shine and helps to moisturize the wood. It’s like the wax cycle after washing your car or the conditioner after the shampoo.

Some may argue that it’s not necessary either, but without a protectant you may notice your hardwoods dulling or becoming foggy over time.

Olive oil
Olive oil is a simple and effective protectant for hardwoods.

Examples of popular protectants include:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Linseed Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Tung Oil


The fragrance part of this cleaner is completely optional, but let’s be honest… if I’m going through the work to have a clean house, I want it to smell like one! In addition, many natural fragrances carry anti-bacterial properties that could help to disinfect your home.

essential oils
Essential oils are great for adding a fresh fragrance to most any natural cleaning recipe.

Popular fragrances for wood floor cleaners include:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Lemongrass
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Almond

When selecting a fragrance, remember to think outside the box. Fragrances can be combined or used independently.

Organe for fragrance
Orange peel or other fruit peels are great for adding a fresh scent to any cleaner.

The three most popular ways to use a fragrance include:

  1. fresh elements (like orange peel)
  2. dried elements (like dried lavender)
  3. or as essential oils

Essential oils are oils that are obtained by distilling the natural plant or fruit that it comes from. Depending on the size of cleaning batch you’re making, you could add 5-30 drops of essential oil to your recipe.

RELATED – Have tile in your home? Check out this natural grout cleaner recipe.


The base is almost always water.

Depending on how thick you want your cleaner, you may or may not want to add water for dilution.

And believe it or not, this part is optional as well. Depending on how concentrated you want the cleaner to be, you can choose to add or skip the water.

Recipes for Natural Wood Floor Cleaners

Recipe #1 – Vinegar, Olive Oil, & Essential Oil

  • 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar (cleanser)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (protectant)
  • 15 drops Lemongrass essential oil (fragrance)
  • 2 cups warm water (base)

Recipe #2 – Soap, Vinegar, & Coconut Oil

  • 8 Tbsp. liquid Castile soap (cleanser)
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (cleanser)
  • 1/4 cup fractionated coconut oil (protectant)
  • 30 drops Lemon essential oil (fragrance)
  • 1 gallon warm water (base)

Recipe #3 – Vinegar and Olive Oil (no scent)

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (cleanser)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (protectant)
  • 2 quarts room temperature water (base)

RELATED – Always feel like you’re falling behind on cleaning? Grab our printable cleaning schedule infographic for help staying on track.

How to Clean Wood Floors Naturally

Once you’ve selected the recipe you would like to use (or created your own!), you’re ready to get going.

These four steps will outline how to restore your tired floors and end up with a clean shine!

1. Sweep It Up

First things first, be sure to sweep or vacuum up any debris that may be on your floors (check out our Dyson V10 and Dyson V8 reviews, both are great for quick cleans).

Always sweep before you start doing the serious cleaning.
Always sweep before you start doing the serious cleaning.

Take a minute to wipe down baseboards using a damp rag and remove any extra furniture or chairs that you would like to clean under.

2. Spray It On

To apply your homemade cleaner to the wood floor, I generally recommend using a spray bottle. Spray in small batch as you work your way across the room, making sure to keep your mop damp and flexible as you go.

If you don’t have a spray bottle, you could also pour it directly on the floor in small areas and work your way across the floor that way.

3. Let It Dry

Ideally, each section of your floor should be dry in 30 minutes or less. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, you likely used too much cleaner. If it’s dry in 5 minutes or less, you probably could have used a bit more cleaner.

4, Wax It In

For a deeper clean, you can make an ultra-concentrated version of these cleaners that use just the fragrance and protectant. Using a microfiber cloth or rag, put a little of the oil directly on the rag and work the oil into the floor, making small circles, as if you were waxing a car.

cleaning hardwood floors
Microfiber mops are an easy way to wax floors.

Be careful not to add too much oil at once, which may leave your floors feeling greasy or slick.

You’re Done!

It’s really just as simple as that! 4 quick steps and you’re done. Now you can enjoy beautifully cleaned and great smelling hardwood floors.

hardwood floors
After a quick clean you’ll have stunningly beautiful (and protected) wood floors!

Have other tips that you think we should include? Let us know in the comments down below!

NEXT – If you’d like to add even more DIY cleaner recipes to your list check out these 12 natural cleaning recipes for cleaning all over the home.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider,, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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11 Comments on “Natural Wood Floor Cleaner”

  1. We are getting ready to sell our home. After cleaning our wood flooring, with the light from an open door in front of me, I’m able to see the edges of the wood floor are starting to lift a little. I did use a steam cleaner when we first got the house, but read it is bad for it, so I quit. I don’t know if I did the damage or not but I’m glad I quit using it. That’s just my experience.

  2. Good to know, thanks.

    In the 1970’s, I lived in a house with red oak floors, gorgeous. I had a custodian’s big rag mop and bucket with an apparatus that would squeeze the extra water out of the mop after rinsing. It was the best. I did the floors in quick fashion and thoroughly.

    • As long as the water can air dry in a few minutes I think you’re fine.

      You don’t want to soak your floors. But outside of that, it’s pretty hard to damage them, in my opinion.

  3. I have a Hoover Twin Tank Steam Mop I used for the first time yesterday. Very impressed and satisfied with its cleaning abilities

    Actually the article online I read didn’t mention a particular brand nor type of steam mop. The author said that floors cannot be completely sealed and there are microscopic areas where the sealants do not completely seal.

    • I’ve seen that argument made in a number of places.

      I tend to fall on the side of it’s fine to use steam mops and other damp floor cleaners on hardwoods.

      I’ve been using a variety of damp mops on my hardwood floors for 3 years. Zero issues. says it’s fine on hardwoods (I don’t think they would take on extra liability from homeowner’s if they truly didn’t believe it was safe on hardwoods).

      Today’s modern hardwoods and seals are more than sufficient, in my view.

  4. I just read you shouldn’t use this Hoover steam mop on laminate floors and, in fact, wood floors. The reason is any moisture that might get into the wood or faux wood product will cause swelling and expansion. Comments?