Cleaning wood floors with vinegar is not only easy, it's the best way to get the job done.
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If you're wondering the best way to care for your wood floors, the key is to clean them often and methodically. After all, floors take the greatest amount of wear and tear in our homes. Think about all the dust, dirt, grime, and debris you bring in from the outside. But allowing your wood floors to get too dirty is not only unclean, it can also be damaging to the wood itself, which is expensive to repair, refinish, or at the very worst, replace.

Melissa Witulski, the business operations manager for Merry Maids, suggests quick regular cleanings a couple times per week to keep your floors from getting too dirty. "The best way to clean hardwood floors is to use a microfiber dust mop to remove dust, dirt, and whatever other particles were brought into your home," Witulski says. "The microfiber dust mop will not scratch your floors as some vacuums might."

Once a month (or more often if necessary), wood floors should be mopped to deep clean the wood and make them shine. Residue from many commercial floor cleaners, however, can make wood floors look dull. To make wood floors shiny without leaving a film, the answer is vinegar.

The Best Way to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors

Cleaning wood floors with vinegar is not only natural and easy, it's one of the best ways to get the job done. When used properly, vinegar is completely safe on hardwood floors—but there are a few things you need to know.

First, make sure you are using the right kind of vinegar. White vinegar is ideal for cleaning wood floors. You can also buy cleaning vinegar, which generally has a higher concentration of acid than regular vinegar. If you need to clean your wood floors and don't have either one of these types of vinegar on hand, you can use apple cider vinegar as an alternative, but never use red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Next, invest in the proper mop. The O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop is perfect for this purpose. The mop is soft and won't scratch floors because it's made of a microfiber blend. The triangle shape also helps to clean corners and other small areas. Additionally, it comes with a bucket that features a built-in device with a foot pedal to wring out the mop.

How to Clean Wood Floors with Vinegar

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1 Clear the Floor

Move all the furniture in the room out of the way before starting to clean. Furniture pads are the best way to make this step as easy as possible and ensure you avoid scratches.

2 Remove Dust and Debris

Once the floor is clear, clean the surface of your wood floors to remove any dust particles. The safest way to do this is with a microfiber dust mop. If you choose to vacuum, before you start cleaning, it's important to check the underside of the appliance and make sure there isn't any stuck-on debris that can potentially cause scratching. If there is, make sure you it's unplugged and clean it off entirely.

RELATED: The 9 Best Robot Vacuums for Hardwood Floors, According to Thousands of Reviews

3 Fill a Bucket With Homemade Vinegar Solution

Jennifer Gregory, the brand manager of Molly Maid, suggests filling a bucket with a solution that contains one gallon of hot water and one cup of white vinegar. Don't forget to mix!

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that finished wood floors don't necessarily need to be cleaned with vinegar. You can use water only, but be careful that too much doesn't seep in or it can remove the finish.

4 Mop in "S" Motion

Dip a microfiber mop into the water mixture and begin cleaning. "Work the mop in an "S" motion, leading with the same side every time to catch the dirt, instead of spreading it around," Gregory says. Replace the dirty solution every time you move to a new room for maximum effectiveness.

Be careful not to overload your mop with the vinegar solution. "Never saturate your wood floors with water," Gregory says. "Make sure to wring out the mop each time you dip it into your bucket."

RELATED: The 9 Best Mops for Squeaky-Clean Floors, According to Thousands of Reviews

5 Polish or Wax

Once the floors are clean and dry, you can use a floor polish or wax to make them really shine.

Natural Vinegar Alternatives for Cleaning Wood Floors

While cleaning wood floors with vinegar and water is ideal, it isn't the only natural option. If you like the cleaning power of vinegar but want to cut the smell, just add an essential oil, such as lemon. Lemon oil also helps to cut grease, which may be very useful if you're trying to clean wood floors in a kitchen. It's also a great disinfectant, which is something you may want to consider if you have pets that make your floors dirty.

Another way to clean wood floors naturally is with castile soap. Dr. Bronner's is a great alternative to vinegar and has many other uses beyond household surfaces. It can be used in the shower in place of shower gel or traditional bar soap. You can also use castile soap to wash your laundry, instead of traditional detergent.

Another advantage of castile soap is that it smells great. Dr. Bronner's is available in many different scents, including peppermint, cherry blossom, lavender, and green tea, along with an unscented version.

To clean floors using castile soap, mix 1/8 to 1/4 cup into a bucket of hot water. Then mop as you normally would. There's no need to rinse. Just be careful about using castile soap on waxed floors because it can potentially remove the wax.

Are Your Floors Unsealed?

Unsealed wood floors are different from finished hardwood floors because water can be easily absorbed through the wood, having a greater impact on the life and condition of the flooring. "I suggest using a dust mop regularly, so there is never too much build-up. When you need to do a deeper clean, use a damp microfiber cloth (as needed) and dry immediately with a dry microfiber cloth," says Witulski.