Is Using Witch Hazel To Clean Vinyl Floors A Good Idea?

Vinyl floors are a nice addition to a home, offering the charming aesthetic of hardwood at a fraction of the cost. However, cleaning them weekly can be stressful, especially if lacking the proper materials. If you're short on standard vinyl cleaner for your floors and are in immediate need of a substitute, a mixture of warm water and witch hazel is capable of removing dirt from hard surfaces without leaving behind a sticky or greasy residue.

Witch hazel is an astringent that comes from a medicinal plant of the same name and has evolved into a household staple that's been passed down for centuries. Commonly used as a treatment for acne and skin irritation caused by rashes, insect bites, and sunburn, the product is mostly credited for its remedial properties and not so much for its versatility, given the many ways witch hazel can be repurposed for use all around the home. Most simply, when combined with other natural ingredients, witch hazel can be transformed into an all-purpose cleaner capable of tackling dirt and grease buildup on a variety of surfaces. Witch hazel also safely cleans vinyl floors without damaging the glue holding the strips in place, so long as you administer it correctly. And if you don't have vinyl floors inside your home, this cleaning hack should work on tile and linoleum floors as well. Here's more on the cleaning power of witch hazel, including where it works best and how it falls short when held against traditional disinfectants.

Pros and cons

Witch hazel makes for a beneficial cleaner in that it's relatively cheap, accessible, and easy to use. A 16-ounce bottle is priced around $4 to $7, and the solution is sold virtually anywhere you can purchase skincare products, including beauty retailers, grocery stores, and pharmacies. Witch hazel's astringent, or constricting, properties make it adept at penetrating dirt on surfaces, making messes easier to wipe away while leaving behind a streak-free finish. The formula's natural qualities also make it gentle on household surfaces and leave an earthy, refreshing scent in its place, as opposed to an overpowering, synthetic odor often caused by chemical cleaners. And witch hazel's cleaning capacity doesn't have to be limited to floors. Use the product on window sills, mirrors, glasses, or when cleaning jewelry to achieve a similar effect, save for opals, pearls, and pieces that are plated or feature soft, porous stones.

However, witch hazel does have its limitations as a household cleaner. While the product is efficient at picking up dirt, the formula misses the mark when it comes to keeping the rooms of your home bacteria-free. Witch hazel is not a disinfectant, meaning it can't sanitize your floors to the degree of chemicals and chemical-based products like hydrogen peroxide and bleach. So, only resort to this cleaning method when your goal is to remove grease, dirt, and grime from your floors, not when you want to decontaminate any surfaces that may have been exposed to live viruses or bacteria.

How to clean floors with witch hazel

Cleaning your vinyl floors with a homemade witch hazel solution is simple, time-efficient, and only calls for a handful of products and tools that are probably already located somewhere around your house. To prepare, grab a bottle of witch hazel, a bucket of warm water, some gloves, and a mop, cloth, or sponge. Mix ½ cup of witch hazel into 1 gallon of water and proceed to mop or scrub your floors as normal. For floors needing a bit of extra care, add 1 tablespoon of borax to the solution to enhance the mixture's cleaning power.

If your floors don't need a full-fledged mopping, try a light dusting instead, pouring some concentrated witch hazel into a spray bottle and spritzing it lightly across the boards or tiles. Go over the floors with a clean microfiber mop or cloth and allow them some time to dry. Given that most formulas of the product contain at least 14% alcohol, witch hazel dries pretty quickly following application, whether applied to vinyl floors or human skin.