How often should you mop the floor? It depends. As a general rule, however, you want to clean at least once a week. Of course, the more frequent the better—especially for high-traffic areas. After all, the floors can get filthy. Aside from dirt, which can be tracked in from your shoes, there are other things as well such as dust, hair, and food crumbs that can wind up on the ground.
What happens if you don’t clean that up? Well, for one thing, it’d be unsanitary—bacteria can and will grow given the opportunity. Not only that, but it’s harmful to your health. For example, dust and dirt can trigger allergies and other symptoms if inhaled.
Mopping Your Floors With Cleaner
Don’t just wipe the floor with a wet rag and call it a day—that won’t be enough to get rid of the stuff that’s accumulated over time. What you want to do instead is to invest in a good mop. Make sure that it’s compatible with your floors; the last thing that you want is to get something that’ll make the situation worse. From there, get a cleaner. After all, plain water won’t be enough to lift the grime off the floors. You’ll need a soap of sorts.
As it is, there are various kinds that you can get. Walk down the cleaning aisle at any store and you’ll see dozens of products. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get something that’s formulated for your floors. Just look at the label—it’ll tell you what you can and can’t use it on.
The Downside of Commercial Cleaners
While convenient, however, they do have a few drawbacks. First and foremost, many contain chemicals. In other words, you’ll be exposing yourself to these substances while you’re cleaning. As you can imagine, that’s not ideal from a health perspective. The chemicals can easily cause irritation on your skin, or even worse, trigger respiratory symptoms. This is especially true if you have young children as they tend to spend a lot of time on the floors.
Not only that, but they can harm the environment—that is, the chemicals can easily enter the waterways. In some cases, it can even leech into the oceans. Not only would that pollute the waters, but it can also have a negative effect on aquatic life. Put it simply, it’ll end up killing fish and other animals. Over time, this can extend to other tiers of the food chain, such as the birds who eat the fish.
Hidden Toxins in Cleaning Products
Various toxins may be lurking in your cleaning products. Here are some of the most common ones that you might encounter.
These compounds are typically found in fragranced household products. Studies have shown that they can damage the lungs, kidney, liver, as well as the reproduction system. While exposure mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also occur through skin contact.
Perchloroethylene is a neurotoxin that’s often found in carpet cleaners and spot removers. A possible carcinogen, exposure of the compound can lead to various symptoms including headache, dizziness, kidney dysfunction, and behavioral changes.
This ingredient is often found in multipurpose cleaners. Known for its “sweet smell”, it can contribute to pulmonary deem and, narcosis. In some cases, it can also cause severe kidney and liver damage.
Naphthalene is commonly found in cleaning products. Research has shown that the fumes from these chemicals can cause liver damage and some cancers. Not only that, but it can also lead to nausea, sleepiness, dizziness, disorientation, and loss of appetite.
8 Homemade/DIY Cleaning Solutions That You Can Use Instead
The good news is that you don’t have to use these commercial cleaners. You can just as easily make your own. If anything, that’s the best way to protect yourself. Not to mention that you’ll save money as well!
Anyway, we’ll be going over a few easy “recipes” below.
Vinegar is one of the best things that you can use to clean the floor. Not only is it cheap, but it works extremely well. It might not smell the best but it’ll get rid of any grime or residue that might be on your floor. The scent will dissipative over time as well, so you won’t smell anything by the time you’re done mopping!
Generally speaking, all you have to do is mix the vinegar with water. As for the exact amounts, you want to mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water. For extra cleaning power, you can also add a couple of tablespoons of mild dish soap, however, it’s not necessary. Consider adding a few drops of scented oils if you want something with a little fragrance.
Note: Always use white vinegar. Avoid using apple cider vinegar or other varieties.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda is similar to vinegar in that it’s great for cleaning. In fact, the two are often used together. A mild alkali, it not only gets rid of dirt easily, but it also has a mild abrasive effect that you can use to clean stubborn spots. On top of that, it helps to neutralize odors. Given that it’s used for baking, you won’t have to worry about contaminating your space with toxic chemicals either!
To create the solution, mix a tablespoon or two of baking soda with a cup of white vinegar in a container or bowl. Don’t worry if you see a big fizzy reaction—that’s normal. Just don’t put a lid on it; that can cause it to build up too much pressure, which can lead to disastrous results. Remember, you can always use the ingredients separately if mixing the two doesn’t work.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can provide a little extra cleaning power. The great thing about it is that it evaporates quickly, which means that you won’t have to worry about there being streaks or lines on the floor. You won’t have to manually dry it with a towel either!
As far as the recipe goes, all you have to do is mix a cup of rubbing alcohol with one gallon of warm water (it’s best to do so in a bucket or container). If necessary, you can also mix in one cup of white vinegar—that’ll make it more effective against odors.
4. Dish Soap
Who says dish soap is just for dishes? It works great as a floor cleaner as well. For the best results, use an all-natural product—that way, you won’t be exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals. Given how mild the soap is, it won’t leave any sort of residue on your floor.
To make the solution, mix 1/4 cup of mild dish soap with a gallon of warm water. You can also add a bit of white vinegar if you want it to remove odors.
Borax aka sodium borate is a naturally occurring mineral that’s often used for cleaning. Cheap and affordable, you can find it in most grocery stories—just look at a cleaning aisle. Not only is it a great cleaner, but it’s also an excellent deodorizer. Did we also mention that it helps to keep the pests away?
To create your cleaner, mix three tablespoons of borax with three cups of warm water (1:1 ratio). It’s important to use warm water, otherwise, you might have a hard time dissolving all of the powder. A cup of vinegar can also be added if you wish.
6. Castile Soap
Castile soap is a type of soap that’s made from vegetable oils. Slightly basic, it does a fabulous job of grabbing grease molecules. In other words, you’ll be able to remove messes with ease. Not only is it great for the floor, but you can use it to clean other surfaces as well such as countertops, sinks, and bathtubs. What’s more, is that it’s both non-toxic and biodegradable!
While you can use it by itself (assuming that it’s a liquid), it’s best to dilute it with water. That way, you won’t have to worry about using too much, which can leave a sticky residue. More specifically, you want to mix 1/4 cup of Castile soap with two gallons of hot water.
Pro-tip: Do not combine it with vinegar or other acids. The resulting solution can leave a white film on the floor that’s difficult to get rid of.
7. Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
Believe it or not but you can also use olive oil to clean your floors (it’s especially great for hardwood). Simply mix 3/4 cup of olive oil with a gallon of hot water in a bucket. Next, add half a cup of lemon juice. Not only will it help kill bacteria, but it’ll also give your floors a nice, fresh scent. There’s no need to rinse the solution when you’re done mopping either. Just let it air dry and you’re good to go.
8. Ammonia and Dish Soap
Ammonia can be used to create a safe and effective cleaner. Just don’t mix it with bleach as that’ll cause it to release toxic fumes! What you want to do instead is mix one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of water in a bucket. Once it’s combined, add a tablespoon of mild dish soap. You can use the solution to clean the floor, as well as countertops and appliances. Similar to olive oil and lemon juice, there’s no need to rinse it with water when you’re done. Simply let it air dry—there should be minimal streak marks.
Pro-tip: Not a fan of ammonia’s pungent scent? You can always dilute the solution further by adding more water.