The Best DIY Mopping Solution For Shiny Wood Floors

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors - collage: woman's hands putting tea bags into a mop bucket, blond woman mopping a hardwood floor

New And Improved Natural Cleaner For Wood Floors

I’ve written a lot of blog posts over the years about cleaning floors, from my grease-cutting floor cleaner to keeping wood floors clean and beyond. Some of those posts are nearly a decade old at this point, and while some of them need no tinkering, others could use an update, including my all natural wood floor cleaner.

Wood floors are an investment you probably want to keep in the best condition possible, and using the right cleaning solution can go a long way. But rather than spending a small fortune on name-brand cleaning solutions for your wood floors, why not make your own easy DIY mopping solution for pennies instead?

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors - woman's hands measuring Dawn dishwashing liquid into a mop bucket

What’s In This Homemade Floor Cleaning Solution?

In addition to updating the cleaning solution itself, I’m also updating the method for using it. Instead of putting it in a spray bottle, I recommend making this homemade floor cleaning solution in a bucket. (It doesn’t keep well, so it’s better to mix it up fresh when you need it (which, thankfully, is super quick and easy to do).

As you’ll see below, my updated cleaning solution uses warm water, black tea, and a bit of soap and oil. (Did you know that black tea has been used for generations to clean wood floors? The tannic acid in black tea not only cleans wood flooring, but helps restore its shine too.)

Related: 13 Surprisingly Useful Reasons To Keep Your Old Tea Bags

A bit of dish soap helps cut through grease without harming wood floors, while a bit of oil helps condition the wood so it doesn’t dry out. Now that you know what’s in this natural cleaner for wood floors, all that’s left to do is make it!

Related: 9 Practical Ways To Use Fractionated Coconut Oil In Everyday Life

How To Make A DIY Mopping Solution For Wood Floors

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors ingredients: Dawn, fractionated coconut oil, black tea bags.

You’ll need:

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 3 black tea bags
  • 1 teaspoon dish soap*
  • 1 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil or vegetable oil

*I use Dawn dish soap here for its grease-cutting ability, but it does rather negate the “natural” aspect of this recipe, so feel free to leave it out or use a natural soap, if you prefer.

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors - closeup of woman's hands putting tea bags into a mop bucket


Pour the warm water into a small bucket, add the tea bags, and let them steep for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove and discard the tea bags, then add the soap and oil. Stir to combine.

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors - woman mopping a hardwood floor

Using Your DIY Mopping Solution

Start by vacuuming, sweeping, or dry mopping your wood floors to pick up any loose dirt and debris. Then dip your mop into the solution, wring it out, and mop — no need to rinse! It’s the perfect natural cleaner for wood floors.

Best DIY Mopping Solution For Hardwood Floors - closeup of O Cedar Spin Mop in bucket

What Kind Of Mop Should I Use?

When you use this homemade floor cleaning solution, it’s important to use a mop you can wring out well. Too much water is bad for hardwood floors, so you definitely don’t want to have water dripping all over the place. Personally, I recommend a Cuban mop or something like the O-Cedar Microfiber Spin Mop. Cuban mops use a towel (easy to wring out by hand), and the O-Cedar Spin Mop has a bucket with a built in wringer that gives you full control over how damp the mop head is.

For other wood floor care and cleaning tips, check out:

What kind of cleaner have you been using to clean wood floors?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • We put our hardwood floors in about 20 years ago. I think they have a poly finish on them. They are now dull with a light film. Will vinegar and water cut through this? Thank you.

  • This is great, but I also have some LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) flooring and wonder what you think is the best way to clean those that adds / restores the shine? It’s clean, but duller now than when new. (I just use water with a bit of vinegar now.)

  • I forgot about Castile soap. I used the one part vinegar and one part water with some lavender ess oil. did clean the old wood floors up some. Next project is hanging pictures on old walls. right now im using the old holes. then the biggy. blinds for 11 windows. there has to be a better way than almost $200 for blinds f house I am renting:(

  • Our current home and the one before both had laminate wood floors. I always used vinegar and water to clean them. I tried using Method floor cleaner, Mr Clean and all of them ended up leaving a dulling residue over time. The only thing that cut it was straight vinegar cleanings.

    With our new house, I now use a mixture of rubbing alcohol, water, vinegar and Dawn dishsoap. It has worked wonderfully. The vinegar disinfects, which is important for me with a little one roaming around. The Dawn helps cut any messes.

    I am VERY particular about our floors. We built both of our homes and I work hard to make sure things stay nice. I have always been very happy cleaning with vinegar and have had no dulling or bad side effects from doing so. I do a lot of cleaning with vinegar around our home, LOVE the stuff! I buy it by 2-pack gallons at Sam’s Club for way cheaper than in grocery stores.

  • We bought our hardwood floors directly from the manufacturer. They sell to many national retail chains. The ONLY thing they recommend is vinegar and water. Absolutely no soap or any hardwood floor cleaner.

  • make sure you know exactly what your floors can be cleaned with before using vinegar. Some finishes will be ruined if you use vinegar or any other acid on them

  • I have a cleaning service and most people use the “more is better” with regards to cleaning liquid. Those microfiber pads that many of us own were meant to be used with warm water and nothing else. The trick is to make sure they are clean and free of any residue. After each cleaning they need to be removed and laundered. After every few uses they should also be scrubbed. Wet your pad with water water and then place a few drops of plain old dish soap on the pad now scrub all that in using either a very soft scrub brush or you can fold the pad in-half so the microfiber is touching each other, now rub. Work that soap into the fibers, let sit a few minutes and rinse, rinse until no residue is left. Launder as usual using no fabric softener and air drying will prevent the fibers from wearing down and adhering to each other even if you can’t see it, it’s happening. I went on a tour where these are made and that was the instructions given to us.

  • I used to use vinegar on my hardwood floors but when we recently had them refinished the installer said not to use vinegar because it is acidic and can eat away at the finish. I do use the castile soap and that seems to work fine.

    • When our wood floors were installed, I asked the best way to clean them. I was told, 1 C. white vinegar to 1 gallon water.

      NEVER use products like Mop ‘n Glo, this only causes a build-up that takes a LOT of elbow grease to get it up.

      I would think using any kind of soap would either need to be rinsed or would dull the floor. But, if you are saying the Castile doesn’t have to be rinsed & helps with the shine, I would try using a whisk to mix it.

  • Vinegar should never be combined with Castile soap, it unsaponifies the soap and turns it into an oily curdled mess! Just check on the Dr. Bronner’s website, it explains it better. One could try washing with diluted soap, and then doing a vinegar rinse to get rid of any soap residue maybe, I’ve found that it works well. But it was probably a good idea by trying to combine two already powerful cleaning agents in hopes of making a super duper cleanser!

  • I use half vinegar, half water in a spray bottle on laminate floors. I have tried other cleaners but they leave streaks. I may try some soap but not really needed at this point. Thanks for the post!

    • My hardwood floor guy told me this about vinegar and water years ago. His formula was 1 part vinegar, 4 parts water. This is for honey or golden colored floors. For dark floors, add dark brewed coffee. By the way, he said Murphy’s also builds up grease.

      Always great to see your emails.

      • the coffee!!!!!!!!what a wonderful idea. I rented an old house built in 1938, just a nightmare. But sometimes we take what we can get. The woodwork is plain but beautiful once I get down to the last coat on the stuff. real brass door knobs etc. I gave up on them. tryed every trick I could find. Then found out the door knob its self is not brass. :( nope, brasso or tomato ketsup wont clean them up. Maybe I will sell them and replace them with the newer “brass”. sigh…………………

      • No need to, Vicky! But if you’re worried about it, you can use less castile soap or leave it out altogether!

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