Water and Vinegar Solution for Cleaning Wood Floors

If you’ve ever worked in a service-related or general labor-kind of job, you know the appeal of a good ol’ water ‘n’ vinegar concoction when it comes time to clean the floors. Especially in those environments where large square footage is covered by hard surface like tile… heck, the water-to-vinegar ratio should practically be on the periodic table of elements.

But, now that hardwood floors are the new hot thing, the crowning jewel to your beautiful home, you can’t help but wonder, can you… is the simplicity of three-parts water one-part vinegar really good enough to give your whole home-wood-floors a once-over?

Let’s Weigh The Pros and Cons


  • Cost effective: There’s no doubt about it, tap water ain’t a commodity in most households. Add just a little bit from that big ol’ jug of white vinegar that you can get for a VERY good price at any grocery store, and presto. You’ve got yourself a bucket of floor-cleaning solution, without fail, every time.
  • All-natural, and pure: We’re talking here about two clear liquids that have been around for longer than your grandma can remember. In these days of genetically-modified this and organic-that, is it just me, or does it feel like the only products that can really be trusted are the ones that have stood the test of time? Using the simple water ‘n’ vinegar solution eliminates the risk of smelly chemicals that can irritate… even as the issue of smell does bring us to our first ‘Con.’


  • Stink. Can’t deny it: vinegar’s just got that stank. Even if it’s a natural stank, it will permeate through your entire space even on the days when your floor-cleaning isn’t at its most diligent. Even a little touch of vinegar in your water bucket will have your entire home smelling like… that summer you worked as a waitress/waiter? Perhaps not something you want to CONSTANTLY be reminded of every time you clean your floors. Not a pleasant or relaxing smell you want in your home, in general… a smell that’s difficult to associate with the idea of “clean”, even if that’s the reason for it.
  • Tough on dirt… NOT: The reason a water-and-vinegar cleaning solution is great for coffee shops and restaurants is because they’re required to wash down those floors AT LEAST once per day. But let’s be honest; you simply do not have the time to break out the mop ‘n’ bucket system every single day, like clockwork. Dust and dirt particles do indeed accumulate upon your beloved hardwoods, and if your default cleaning method is water-and-vinegar, you’re gonna find that the crowning jewel just isn’t shining as bright as you know it could.

So, what’s a guy/gal to do? File that perfect water-to-vinegar ratio away in your recipe file, and use it in moderation. The truth is, your beautiful, shiny, PERFECT hardwood floors need a real professional clean, a really precise cleanse, to keep them sparkling. Hey, the water and vinegar thing is definitely a great substitute for the times when you need to be quick and efficient. Perhaps only during the spring and summer, when you can open the window to let the smell air out.

See also: How to Find The Best Hardwood Floor Vacuum

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