I’m really not a big DIY person.
Yes, I make all my food homemade and from scratch. Well, almost. But I’ve never gotten into greasing up my pots with beeswax and coconut oil to make homemade lotion bars or figuring out much beyond this simple homemade deodorant, which honestly I don’t really bother with anymore.
I just felt like it was too overwhelming.
Ironically, I’ve always made homemade cleaners but I think it’s because that’s literally a 30-60 second task.
Can You Wash Hardwood Floors with Vinegar?
When I was growing up, you could always tell when it was kitchen floor cleaning day because everything smelled like vinegar. My mom was just a simple, frugal gal who didn’t really understand a lot about toxins and the environment but knew that diluted vinegar water worked fine. So why use anything stronger?
For years I used diluted vinegar water for everything, especially cleaning floors, and then we moved into a house with hardwood floors.
Somehow, (Luckily, before I had completely ruined them!) I read that vinegar is not safe for hardwood and strips off the finish.
Oh, no! What was I to do? Just stop mopping? As tempting as never cleaning my floors sounded, I figured I should probably find a non-toxic solution for hardwood floors that would work just as well.
I needed something that my kids could just grab from under the sink and squirt when they made their own mess because it’s important for me to raise kids who are responsible for themselves. Cleaning up your own mess is a huge part of that.
I’d been experimenting for a few years with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water as a mild disinfectant spray that was still very budget-friendly.
But I wanted to figure out if it would be safe for hardwood floors, and as our default all-purpose kitchen cleaner.
It turns out hydrogen peroxide treats hardwood floors just fine. So I upped my game with an additional 10-15 second investment in this homemade all-purpose kitchen cleaner.
Here’s what goes into it.
- 1 c. hydrogen peroxide
- 1 c. water
- ½ tsp. Branch Basics concentrate (or less)
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil. I like to use orange, lemon, or tea tree for their cleaning properties.
Important note: Hydrogen peroxide degrades under light. So you need to make sure that you can find an opaque container for this homemade cleaner. You might be able to find some brown glass bottles, or just use the bottle that the hydrogen peroxide came in, in the first place typically brown plastic.
Why Add a Soap Concentrate to All-Purpose Cleaner?
One day someone dropped a bowl of chicken rice soup with homemade broth on the floor. We all learned something about my 50/50 hydrogen peroxide cleaner.
You see – I make chicken rice soup on the first day of chicken broth, which means that it has a pretty high-fat content in the broth. We cleaned up the huge mess on the floor, and, of course, used our spray from under the kitchen sink to make sure that things weren’t sticky or greasy or whatever.
The next day, my son walked through the kitchen in socks and nearly fell down on his rear end. He was thrilled! He started running and sliding – like it was the best ice rink ever! But I was perplexed. Why is my kitchen floor suddenly so waxed? After some exploration, I realized that it was actually greasy. 😮
Oh yes, my friends! That greasy chicken broth, that is so nourishing to our bodies, was wreaking some crazy havoc on my kitchen floor!
In order to cut grease, you need a little bit of soap in your cleaning solution. That’s when I started regularly adding a bit of soap concentrate, like Branch Basics, to my all-purpose kitchen cleaner. If you don’t feel like you need soap to cut grease, or for the extra cleaning power of soap, you can leave that out or cut it down to just a few drops.
Why Include Essential Oils in my Kitchen Cleaner?
I like when things smell good and so do my kids, so a little lemon or orange scent goes a long way to help motivate people to use the spray.
Tea tree has antimicrobial properties and can be a nice addition when we think about cleaning up germs,1 although hydrogen peroxide in itself is already a 1.5% solution at the 50/50 mixture and should do a pretty good job at killing germs on its own.
Remember that in order to really disinfect the surface, the spray needs to sit or “dwell” on the surface for at least 10 minutes. When my kids make a little mess on the floor, we just squirt it on and wipe it off fairly immediately so it’s probably not disinfecting.
However, we know that a surface needs to be cleaned before it can be disinfected anyway, so the best way to use this spray is to squirt, wipe, then squirt again and allow for dwell time if you’re really trying to kill germs.
How do I Clean my Hardwood Floors Naturally?
Ironically, I actually rarely mop the entire floor anymore. It feels like too much work to keep everyone out of there for an hour.
But we often spot mop by sending a kid around with this squirt bottle as the superhero to knock out all the bad guy spots that they can find on the floor.
Usually we have to help them find the spots but then the little ones enjoy squirting and wiping them away. I figure with four kids and myself making messes all the time, over the course of a month, my entire floor surely gets mopped well!
Other Uses for This All-Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner
Of course, having a bottle of hydrogen peroxide spray under every sink is a great idea. This is a good, mild disinfecting solution for cleaning bathroom counters, toilets and floors as well.
I also appreciate being able to use it to spray down cupboards and not worry about something like vinegar interfering with the surface seal on the wood there either.
You can go around and spray light switches and doorknobs for a mild disinfecting solution. I tend to take a cloth with me because it will run down the wall a bit, and I’ll try to catch the drips, but allow as much spray as I can to sit for the dwell time.
Get all my natural cleaner recipes here!
- Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006