Mother Earth Living

Heed Your Hardwood: Nontoxic Hardwoord Floor Cleaner

Damp-clean floors weekly using this super-simple cleaner that costs pennies and won’t pollute your indoor air with toxic chemicals.
By Ken Hoyt
January/February 2008
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This nontoxic hard wood floors cleaner will save you money and keep harmful chemicals out of your home.
Photo By Fotolia/Graça Victoria

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Regular cleaning can add longevity and beauty to your hardwood floors. Dust, dirt and grit abrade and dull the floor’s surface; vacuuming removes most of that dirt, but be sure to use a brush attachment—a rug beater is too rough. You can damp-clean floors weekly using this super-simple cleaner that costs pennies and won’t pollute your indoor air with toxic chemicals.

Nontoxic floor cleaner

8 parts hot water
1 part white vinegar

1. Mix the water and vinegar in a nonreactive bucket.

2. Damp-mop the floor; there’s no need to rinse.

3. If you have a particularly stubborn spot, place a solution-dampened cloth directly over the area and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently rub the softened debris with the cloth.

4. If soaking doesn’t loosen gunk off the floor, use an old credit card as a scraper. Avoid abrasive pads that may scratch the surface.

Attention underfoot

• Spare hardwood floors from the sun's damaging glare by hanging curtains or blinds.

• Never leave water spills standing on a wood floor. Liquids can damage the finish or warp the boards.

• When moving heavy items, lift whenever possible. Pushing furnishings can create permanent scars.

• If dirt or oily deposits are beyond the help of the vinegar solution, clean with a biodegradable, pH-balanced soap according to manufacturer's directions.

• Place felt pads under furniture to prevent scratches. This is especially important for furnishings that scoot frequently, such as dining chairs.

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