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Is Vinegar Safe on Hardwood Floors?

Effective maintenance of a hardwood floor is important for its beauty and durability.

Though this primarily involves regular cleaning, the use of commercial products can damage your hardwood floors by interfering with the protective finish.

The products are loaded with harsh ingredients and free radicals which can wreak havoc on your precious wood.


There are only specific hardwood floor cleaners that are gentle on the floor, safe to use, and tough on dirt and grime.

They can be costly and it takes time to get the best for your household cleaning.

Vinegar is one homemade cleaner that many families use to clean their hardwood floors.

White vinegar is an excellent, natural alternative for cleaning dirty hardwood floors, removing stains, and sanitizing floors.

White vinegar kills bacteria, viruses, and molds. More importantly, it is effective in dissolving dirt and grime while deodorizing surfaces.

Also, you can use white vinegar to clean without exposing your family to dangerous toxins. Perhaps best of all, it's cheap.

How Do You Clean your Hardwood Floors with Vinegar?

To clean your hardwood floors using vinegar, follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove all the furniture or objects from the floor to create adequate space for effective cleaning.
  2. Sweep or vacuum your floor. Vacuuming or sweeping removes all dust particles, lint, hair, and debris that can scratch your floor during cleaning. Use a dust mop after sweeping or dusting to remove fine dust particles.
  3. Make a solution of white vinegar and warm water by mixing 1/2 cup of white vinegar with one gallon of warm water in a bucket.
  4. Immerse a cleaning mop this solution and wring out any excess water until the mop is damp-dry. Avoid using a soaking wet mop on the floor.
  5. Mop the floor from one corner to another. Always mop in the direction of the wood until you’ve covered the whole floor. Change the vinegar and water solution if it gets too dirty while you mop.
  6. Don’t let the floors to get too wet because excess water can soak and damage your floor. Avoid commercial cotton mops because they make the floor very wet. Try a sponge mop instead. Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle and microfiber mop, whereby you spray the vinegar and water solution on the floor and wipe it with a mop.
  7. In case you realize after mopping that your floors look wet, you can use a clean, dry towel to dry your floor and further let it air dry.
  8. Block off the room so that pets and children do not walk across the floor for some times until the floor dries completely.

How to Remove Stains from Hardwood Floor with Vinegar 

Acid stains 

There are many stores that sell a whole range of special cleaners to remove all types of stains, including acid stains on floors. 

However, before you use them you will need to take into account the material and finishing of your wood flooring because acid stains are very stubborn to clean.

Now, instead of having to go through all that hard work of having to identify the best store product, the best and most effective way to remove tough stains from wood floors is by use of vinegar and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda).

The vinegar will help to soften the stain for easy removal while baking soda will neutralize the damage caused by the acid to the wood floor.

To remove stains from your wood floor, you will need to:

  • Prepare a vinegar solution and mop your entire floor with this solution.
  • Wipe off any extra moisture left on your floor after you mop with the vinegar solution, and further allow it to air dry.
  • Open the doors and windows to accelerate the drying process. Do not allow anyone to walk on the floors till they are dry.
  • After drying, make a thick paste of baking soda and then use a scouring pad to rub the paste onto the areas with stains for at least 5 minutes.
  • Clean off the baking soda and allow the wood to dry completely before applying a protective finish if you so wish.

Water stains

Water stains on hard wood floors are usually due to water or liquid spillage and seepage into the underlying wood and uppermost layers of the flooring wood.

Removal of these stains can restore the beautiful appearance of your wood floor. Use the following procedure to remove these stains:

  1. Sweep or vacuum your floor. Vacuuming or sweeping removes all dust particles, lint, hair, and debris that can scratch your floor during cleaning. Use a dust mop after sweeping or dusting to remove fine dust particles.
  2. Soak a clean mopping cloth (or rag) in a vinegar solution and place it onto the stains for at least 10 minutes. In case it’s a bigger area that is affected, you will need to work in sections and apply vinegar multiple times to see the stain lighten.
  3. Also consider applying hydrogen peroxide on dark spots and stains on the floor. Successive application of hydrogen peroxide will lighten the stains.
  4. Now, add white spirit (Mineral spirit) to the dark stained areas. Make sure you wipe up any excess spirit together with stains. Avoid scouring the hardwood floor surface with steel wool or sandpaper. This can remove the original protective wax finish.
  5. Apply a protective finish to the areas where stains have been removed. A protective finish may include things like a layer of wax appropriate for hardwood floors.

Pet stains 

Whether you’re dealing with poop, urine, or vomit, the best way to easily avoid staining is by cleaning them immediately.

However, if the pet mess is not removed on time and left to form stains, you will need to remove them with vinegar.  

The deodorizing and disinfectant nature of vinegar makes it effective in removing such stains.

Prepare a homemade hardwood floor vinegar cleaning solution by mixing a cup of white vinegar and warm water in a bucket.

Add a few drops of lemon, lavender oil, or grapefruit oil to help get rid of the bad odor. Then use this solution to scrub and wash away all pet stains.

Alternatively, mix white vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste on the stains and let it sit until it dries — then wipe the area clean with water.

Conclusion

You can use vinegar in different ways to wash hardwood floors. No matter which way you choose, vinegar will eventually be effective and safe.

Other than being free from harsh chemicals and allergens, cleaning your home with natural vinegar or vinegar-based recipes will always leave your home clean and smelling fresh.

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