OK, so I know I said a few weeks ago I’d let you in on my “secret” formulas for making my own cleaning products. The real secret is that they’re not at all secrets. Today I’ll tell you how I’ve discovered the wonders of vinegar for cleaning floors and windows.
I’ve been using vinegar and water to clean my hickory hardwood floors since our house was built 3 years ago. The guys who installed the floors are actually the ones who recommended it. They told me the store-bought floor cleaners are a waste of money, not to mention contain chemicals bad for hardwood floors when used over the years.
Here’s the recipe, which I mix in a spray bottle I bought at Target for about $3:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 gallon water
You never want to get hardwood floors very wet (eg. don’t soak and then mop) or else the water can soak in and cause damage. Instead I spray a small portion of the floor and then go over it with Swiffer type mop, the kind with the soft fabric head that pulls off and can be thrown in the wash. For spot cleaning I just spray the dirty area and wipe it with a cloth on my hands and knees. My floors are gorgeous and my wallet’s happy.
For windows I use the same mixture but with a slightly different ratio of vinegar to water (slightly more vinegar). The recipe I use is:
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups of water
I keep a separate spray bottle marked “glass cleaner” so I know which is which. I use a soft cloth followed by newspaper to keep the windows streak-free. If you find your windows get streaky from this mixture, it’s not the mixture itself but a build-up of product left behind by the Windex you were using. Care2 recommends adding a drop of dishwashing liquid to the above recipe to cut through the residue. By the way, Windex contains ammonia which is harsh on your lungs, hence the warning to have plenty of ventilation while using it. Vinegar smells strong for a few moments but it won’t hurt you, ever.
For both of these recipes, I love how well they work, I love how cheap and easy they are, and I especially love that when Grace (my 19-month old) decides to lick the floor or a window (yes, it happens), I don’t have to worry a bit…unless I haven’t cleaned for a while!
If you have another green recipe for floors and windows, fill me in by leaving a comment here! I haven’t tried any of the “green” store-bought brands but if you have a favorite, let us know here for those readers who don’t feel like making their own but want to clean up their act too.