Earth-friendly cleaning in the home: Natural floor cleaners

Many floor cleaners contain compounds such as acids, solvents, pthalates, ammonia, bleach, aerosols and formaldehyde. Now think about your children and pets crawling around on floors that contain these residues. Does it make you a little nervous? Here are some ways to get your floors clean without these harmful chemicals.


Vinly and linoleum can be damp mopped with warm soapy water. Use a mild detergent free of phosphates and other harsh chemicals. You can make your own detergent with 1/4 cup Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), 1/4 cup borax or 1/4 cup vinegar mixed in 1 gallon of warm water. A few drops of vinegar will remove grease. 1/2 cup vinegar in 1/2 gallon of water will brighten no wax linoleum. Rinse with clean water. Club soda can be used to polish floors after cleaning.

Linoleum can be preserved by adding a capful of baby oil to the wash water. Add shine to linoleum without polishing by adding sour milk to the rinse water.

To remove wax from a linoleum floor make a solution of three parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol. Scrub the floor with a stiff brush and rinse well. Remember to wear protective gloves and keep the area well ventilated until the floor is dry.

To remove wax from vinyl tile, clean in small sections using club soda. Scrub in, let soak for several minutes and wipe up.


Make a solution of oil and vinegar in a 1 to 1 ration and apply a thin coat to the floor. Rub in well. You can also use a damp mop with a vegetable oil soap such as Murphy’s Oil Soap, but make sure to dry immediately after cleaning.

If you have painted wood floors, mix one teaspoon of washing soda in 1 gallon of hot water. Use a damp mop or rag to clean the floor. Rinse with clean water and dry immediately to prevent the paint from bubbling.

Ceramic Tile

Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar in 1 gallon of warm water and damp mop. If you are using hard water this combination will leave a film, so make sure to follow up with a clean water rinse. Using soft water leaves no residue.

Stone and Brick

Mix 1 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of water and apply with a scrub brush or broom. Rinse immediately after cleaning with clean water.

Carpets and Rugs

Clean up spills immediately with club soda. To clean up red wine spills, pour a thick layer of salt on the spot. Once the liquid has been absorbed, use a damp sponge to remove the salt and the stain.

Spot clean with a mixture of 1 quart water, 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap or trisodium phosphate, 1 teaspoon borax, and a splash of either vinegar or lemon juice. Apply with a damp sponge. Blot with a clean cloth to remove the stain.

When shampooing your carpets, choose a shampoo that is soap-based and free of harsh chemicals like Earth Friendly Carpet Shampoo.

All of these cleaners are readily available in your local grocery store. Cleaning with natural products can take a little more effort. But eliminating toxins from the surfaces where your pets and kids spend most of their time is well worth it.

 Images courtesy of Blend Stock Photos and Wikipedia.

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