We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Keep Your Floors Sparkling with These Easy Cleaning Hacks

A mop on hardwood flooring; a mop next to baking soda bag; a pile of brushes on a white backdrop
Microfiber Wholesale/Arm & Hammer/OXO

Maintaining your floors doesn’t have to involve detailed routines and tons of harsh chemicals or pricey cleaning products. As it turns out, you probably already have everything you need to maintain your floors right in your pantry.

Whether you have carpet, tile, or hardwood floors, keeping them clean is a must to maintain a healthy, beautiful home. It’s also much easier than you’ve probably been told. From ridding your carpet of odors to maintaining that gleaming finish on hardwoods, here’s how you can save money and time, and still have gorgeous floors.

Carpet and Rugs

A bag of baking soda next to a mop and bucket; a liter bottle of club soda
Arm & Hammer/Canada Dry

Carpets and rugs can be particularly tricky to keep clean. Between the dust and debris that accumulate on the soft surface and the dust and shedding from the carpet fibers themselves, it’s hard to avoid a buildup. Even if you vacuum regularly, there’s almost always a new layer of ugh.

If your carpet or rug has started to develop a bit of an odor, you don’t necessarily need to buy an expensive cleaning product or rent a carpet cleaner. Actually, all you need is a box of plain old baking soda and your regular vacuum.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Naturally deodorizes your carpets.

Just follow these easy steps to refresh a smelly carpet or rug:

  1. Vacuum once to remove any major debris, like tracked-in dirt or pet hair.
  2. Liberally shake baking soda directly onto the carpet.
  3. Use your finger on deep-pile carpeting or rugs to work the baking soda throughout.
  4. Let it sit for at least three hours or overnight (8-10 hours).
  5. Vacuum the baking soda, and then repeat if necessary until the odor is completely gone.

If you’re dealing with carpet stains or a bit of discoloration, another ordinary household item can be a lifesaver. You’ve probably heard about club soda’s amazing stain-removing properties, and it works for spot-cleaning carpets, too. It’s especially good on water-soluble stains.

Canada Dry Club Soda

Removes stains on clothes and carpeting.

To spot-clean with club soda, follow these steps:

  1. Soak a clean rag in club soda.
  2. Dab gently at the stain or discolored area.
  3. Rinse the cloth, re-soak it, and then keep blotting until the stain is gone.

Removing spots and stains can be trickier with a chemical remover because some might strip the color out of your carpet or rug, not just the stain. Another surprising (and handy) hack is to use a plain, unscented baby wipe.

They’re actually quite good at removing a lot of different kinds of stains, whether they’re visible, or the sticky, gummy residue from things like glue or food. No in-depth process is required: just blot with a wipe until the offending stain or stickiness is gone.

Pampers Baby Wipes

Can remove stains without damaging carpet fibers.

Hardwoods

A blue flat mop being pushed across a wood floor; a jug of vinegar next to cleaning supplies
Microfiber Wholesale/Lucy’s

Cleaning hardwood floors can be a delicate balance. You need something that will get them clean without causing any damage.

The most important thing you can do to properly care for your hardwood floors is to sweep and/or dust them at least a few times a week. You don’t have to do a deep clean every time, but a quick sweep will keep the worst of the dirt, debris, and dust from building up.

The less dirt that builds up, the less likely it will be that you’ll need to use a harsh chemical cleaner. In fact, a simple vinegar and vegetable oil solution is all you need to clean, condition, and add some shine to your hardwood floors.

Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Vegetable Oil, 48 Fl Oz

Conditions and adds a natural shine to hardwood flooring.

Follow these steps to keep your hardwood floors looking brand-new:

  1. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and plain vegetable oil.
  2. Spritz floors in small sections.
  3. Mop in gentle, circular motions.

If you need a proper mop for your hardwood floors, your best bet is a manual style with microfiber cloth attachments. The microfiber will attract dirt, dust, and cleaning liquid, while also being gentle enough not to scratch.

The Cinch Mop is a good choice because it’s ergonomic and comfortable to use. It’s also super-easy to switch the reusable, machine-washable microfiber mopping pads.

Cinch Mop Microfiber Mop for Hardwood Floors

The reusable microfiber pads are perfect for hardwood.

If you drink tea, you’ll likely already have the secret ingredient for this next floor-cleaning hack, as well. Black tea’s mild acidity works as a perfect, gentle cleaner on hardwoods. It’ll leave them shining, without damaging the surface.

Newman's Own Organic Black Tea - 100 Bags,7.1 OZ.

A black tea solution lifts away grime and leaves wood floors sparkling.

Warning: If you have particularly pale flooring, test the black tea method in a less-visible area first. It shouldn’t stain at all, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Follow these steps to clean your hardwood floors with black tea:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water.
  2. Add three bags of black tea.
  3. Remove from heat and let steep for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the tea bags from the solution.
  5. Soak your mop head or cleaning cloth in the tea solution, and then mop as normal.

Tile

Close-up of a grout brush working on tile; a pile of grout brushes on a white surface
OXO

Need to get your tile floors clean? The most affordable (and super-effective) option is probably already in your pantry. Yes, we’re talking about white vinegar again!

It’s safe to use on most types of flooring, from ceramic and porcelain, to linoleum, vinyl, and even laminate. It’s also nontoxic and will thoroughly clean your tile flooring.

Follow these steps to use this cleaning hack on your tile flooring:

  1. Fill a one-gallon bucket with warm or hot water.
  2. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and mix until thoroughly diluted.
  3. Mop your floors with the vinegar solution.
  4. Mop again with clean water to rinse.

Lucy's Family Owned Natural Distilled White Vinegar

Cleans tile without leaving a smelly chemical residue.

On tile floors, avoid using the spray-type mops that come with their own floor cleaner. Instead, look for a wet mop that gives you plenty of control over how much liquid and grime it soaks up. The O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop will allow you to use the vinegar and water cleaning solution we covered above. Plus, it’s sturdy enough to tackle anything.

Vinegar is also a key ingredient if you need to clean the grout on a tile floor. The other thing you’ll need is that other cleaning staple, baking soda. You just make a paste, combine it with some vinegar to activate it, and it’ll lift away even the most stubborn grout stains.

Follow these steps to get squeaky-clean grout:

  1. Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water until it forms a paste.
  2. Spread the paste on the grout.
  3. Spritz with white vinegar and let it sit for 15-30 minutes, depending on how deep the stain is.
  4. Using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub away the paste.
  5. Rinse with clean water.

OXO Good Grips Grout Brush

Scrub away those grout stains.


Keeping your floors clean doesn’t require a bunch of expensive, harsh chemicals. Make the most of what you already have with these easy cleaning hacks for carpet, hardwoods, and tile, and then protect your flooring so it stays clean for longer.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?