10 Unexpected Floor Cleaning Hacks

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated September 3, 2021
A vintage living room with wooden floor
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/ iStock via Getty Images

You'll be surprised at how much your floor sparkles with the help of a few common household items

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Washing the floors is often a lengthy, tedious process, but a few smart floor cleaning hacks prove that it definitely doesn’t have to be. A mop and store-bought floor cleaner may not be able to handle your toughest scuffs or your worst carpet spills, but there’s sure to be something in your house that can. Use these smart tricks and surprising household objects to save yourself time and energy the next time cleaning the floors is on your to-do list.

1. Clean Grimy Bathroom Tiles by Turning On Your Shower

Letting your shower run at a hot temperature for about 10 minutes before you start cleaning the floors will make it significantly easier to remove gunk and grime throughout your bathroom. Be sure to leave the door closed so that the steam can collect and loosen up whatever is stuck on the ground. Once the floors are sufficiently moist, use your go-to floor cleaner and mop to get everything cleaned up.

2. Remove Scuff Marks With a Tennis Ball

Tired of seeing the same old scuffs on your linoleum or vinyl flooring? Rubbing the damaged area with the green part of a tennis ball will remove it in a jiff. You can use a shelled walnut on wood floors for the same scuff-removing effect.

3. Use Olive Oil To Restore the Shine to Wood Floors

Close-up of hardwood floor in a kitchen
tomazl/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

When your wood floors are scratched or they’re starting to look a little dried out, head to your pantry and grab a bottle of olive oil. Mix two parts of olive oil and two parts of white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray over your floor in small amounts. Then, use a microfiber mop to buff the mixture into the floor. This trick works just as well as store-bought alternatives, minus the harsh chemicals.

4. ...and Tea Bags To Hide Any Stains or Scratches

Tea isn’t just great for its health benefits—it can also work wonders on your hardwood floors. Cover up stains and scratches by brewing five to six tea bags in boiling water. Let it steep and cool, then use it to wet a cloth or fill a spray bottle for coating the floor. Mop up as you normally would with a microfiber cloth. Don’t let the tea sit on the floor for too long if your wood is unfinished as this can cause moisture damage.

5. Give Vinyl Floors a Polished Look With Baby Oil

Combine a few drops of baby oil, one cup of apple cider vinegar, and a gallon of hot water and use the mixture to mop your floors. You’ll be amazed at how bright it shines when you’re finished.

6. Get Into Dusty Cracks With an Old Toilet Paper Roll

Sometimes it seems impossible to get rid of dust and dirt from tight corners in the floor. But all you need is a leftover cardboard toilet paper roll to fix that problem. Attach one to the tip of your vacuum with masking tape and use your flexible new nozzle to get in anywhere you normally can’t reach. It works like a charm, and now you finally have a use for those leftover toilet paper rolls.

7. Remove Gum and Other Gunk With Ice

Instead of battling stuck gum or glue with a mop, ice is the perfect secret weapon. Fill a plastic or reusable silicone baggie with several ice cubes and let sit on the sticky spot until the gunk is fully chilled. Then, use an old credit card or a bench scraper to easily lift the frozen remains. You’ll never want to do it any other way again.

8. Make Grout Sparkle with Lemon Juice and Shaving Cream

The interior of a house’s hallway with tiled floor
John Keeble/Moment via Getty Images

Skip the chemical grout cleaner and use a bit of shaving cream and lemon juice to make an all-natural option that works just as well. Combine a few tablespoons of lemon juice and about a cup of shaving cream (multiply to suit your space) and coat thoroughly over grout. Let soak for a few minutes then use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean.

9. Soak Up Carpet Spills with Salt

The next time a carpet spill happens, reach for your salt shaker. Pouring salt on the wet area pulls the moisture out so that fewer stains are left behind and the mess is easier to vacuum. Don’t hesitate to use a lot of salt if the spot is large. And be sure to take action as soon as you notice the spill, because this trick won’t work if it’s already dry.

10. ...and Remove Odors from Carpet with Baking Soda

A combination of baking soda and essential oils is a great way to make your carpet or large rug smell as good as new. Mix the two ingredients together and sprinkle lightly throughout the carpet. Let sit for an hour before vacuuming to ensure the best results.

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