Barnes and Nobles have a Book called “The Organically Clean Home” Written by Becky
Rapinchuk. Becky also has a popular website (www.cleanmamma.net). Over the past few
months, I’ve tried many of Becky’s recipes in our own home and I am extremely happy with the results. The book is chock-full of great simple and safe formulas that actually work as well as anything found in the cleaning aisle of the market.
With hardwood flooring through much of the main level of my home I especially love Becky’s “Lemon and Clove Hardwood Floor Cleaner-Spray Mop formula from page 162. I’m sharing Becky's hardwood formula and some tips of my own to help make your hardwood cleaning hassle-free.
Things you’ll need are:
An ordinary one-quart picture with lid containing an easy pouring spout
Two cup glass microwave-safe measuring cup (Pyrex works great)
Teaspoon utensil for measuring liquid
One-gallon distilled water (optional)
Container of white cleaning vinegar
Bottle of Lemon essential oil
Bottle of clove essential oil
Once 16oz spray bottle
18 by 24-inch terry cotton face towels
Soft bristle scrub brush with screw hole
To begin heat 2 cups distilled water for I minute 30 seconds in the microwave. You can
substitute tap water by increasing temperature to a hard boil (3 minutes in the microwave).
This step prevents microbial contamination and provides an extended shelf life up to one
Next, pour heated water directly into the quart picture. Add six teaspoons of vinegar, four
drops of lemon essential oil and 4 drops of clove essential oil. Mix with a large spoon and the solution is ready to be put to work. The best part is since all the ingredients are organic and non-toxic there is no need to wear gloves, mask nor worry about ventilation while mixing or using it. In fact, you can throw the stuff right in the dishwasher and it won't harm any person, animal or plant. When it gets rinsed down the drain everything biodegrades quickly so the those downstream need not worry about petrochemicals and hydrocarbons with their known and unknown effects accumulating in the bodies of all living things including people!
This volume of the solution will entirely fill a 16oz spray bottle so be sure to leave a bit of room for air. Screw the top on and you are now ready to begin cleaning.
To apply, Becky suggests using a refillable spray mop with washable microfiber pads. I opted to use an ordinary cotton terry towel which I slid across the surface under a scrub brush on a pole. I found that this method makes navigation very manageable and since the pole has other uses makes the whole process more portable. Although a large microfiber would also do a nice job, I found the terry towel worked sufficiently.
One thing Becky didn’t mention in her process that I find important is that the area should be dry dust mopped first. This only takes a few extra minutes, but I find that the dust mop is best to gently remove grit and larger insoluble particulate soils while they are dry rather than grinding those onto your floor finish with greater scrubbing agitation. It also helps keep those suspended solids out of your drains and the storm sewers. Next, simply spray the solution onto the surface and begin mopping.
Becky’s slightly acidic cleaning solution will leave your hardwood floors shiny and completely residue-free. This means that the floors will never become sticky nor will it attract dirt. The only caution is to avoid using the solution on marble, granite or other natural stone surfaces. For those floors, Becky has other great formulas that will save you money and make your home a safer place for the little ones who crawl around on those floors.