We Used Alka-Seltzer To Clean Our Floors And Are Now Bubbling With Excitement

No matter what I try, my floors rarely feel completely clean. Even though I vacuum daily (or rather, my robot companion does) and I dry mop weekly, my floors often feel just a bit grimy even right after I've mopped. When it comes to mopping, I use whatever eco-friendly and hardwood floor-compatible solution is available, then add a bit of it to a canister with piping hot water, using dish soap and a dish cloth to lift tough stains. But when I saw a House Digest tip saying that the key to sparkling floors was Alka-Seltzer, I knew I had to try it. 

Alka-Seltzer is that medication you probably have on hand if you've ever experienced the misery of heartburn and indigestion. It's usually effervescent tablets that can be dropped into a glass of water and then drank down to subdue any discomfort. The tablets are formulated with three active ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, and aspirin. I knew I had seen the first two in numerous cleaning product ingredient lists, but wasn't sure how aspirin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) could work as a cleaning agent. After some research, it does seem that aspirin is decent at cleaning as well! It's not totally clear why this is, but one theory is that when combined with water, aspirin produces salicylic acid, which is used in facial cleansers to remove skin oil, and has some ability to lift stains.

Gathering the supplies

To try this hack out, I gathered my supplies, which consisted of Alka Seltzer tablets, my spray mop, and a freshly washed mop head, as well as a pale-colored dish cloth that I would use to test the efficacy of the method with a spot test. The original hack from House Digest recommends adding several Alka Seltzer tablets to a bucket of water, but I only have a spray mop as I don't have space to store a traditional mop and bucket in my apartment. To compensate, I just added one tablet to my spray mop's canister which I empty, wash, and refill for every mop session. My apartment is small, so I hoped this would be enough. Then I filled the canister about ¾ of the way, to avoid the solution bubbling over. As a note, I only mixed the tablets with room temperature water, as Alka Seltzer notes that hot water can cause excessive foaming. 

I had vacuumed earlier that day, but it had been about nine days since I last mopped with a water and floor cleaning solution. With a cat who goes stomping around with litter-covered paws and as someone who treats her kitchen like the "Iron Chef" stage on weeknights, my floors were dirty and had noticeable grime. I have both tile floors and some sort of faux hardwood flooring, and I decided to try the Alka-Seltzer mopping liquid on both of them. 

Sticky messes and dirt lifted easily

Once the tablet was fully dissolved, I replaced the canister on my mop arm, attached the clean cloth mop head, and got to work. I decided to start in the kitchen because that is easily the place where my floors are always dirtiest. I had dropped a little bit of honey earlier in the day and had wiped it up, but there was still a bit of sticky residue that needed to come up. I sprayed the spot with the Alka-Seltzer and water combination and let it sit for about two minutes. After a few passes, the sticky spot was clean again. The rest of the kitchen cleaning went quickly and without event. My mop head looked quite dirty at this point, so I swapped heads over before heading into the bathroom. 

In the bathroom, I have a fair amount of grime that builds up at the base of the toilet and around my garbage can. It gets sticky thanks to the humidity of the bathroom and doesn't come off with sweeping and vacuuming alone. I sprayed these areas and the dirt and debris released instantly and swiped onto the pad with ease, which I was happy to see. After mopping my kitchen and bathroom, I still had about ¼ of the Alka-Seltzer solution remaining. With the initial mop-up done, it was time to check how well the Alka-Seltzer did at cleaning my floors. 

Time for a spot check

To test the efficacy of Alka-Seltzer as a floor cleaning solution, I decided to do a spot check with both damp and dry washcloths by wiping the floors to see how much dirt remained. The before and after in the kitchen can be seen above. I was pleasantly surprised to see no visible grime come up. Normally I have to give this area a second pass, but didn't think it was necessary this time. The bathroom also looked much better and I had no visible dirt come up on my test swipe, which is great because who wants to stand on a dirty floor straight out of the shower? Empowered, I even tried the cleaning solution around my cat's litter box, and the solution quickly broke down the dusty residue on the surrounding floor, far better than my usual solution. 

I will say that I missed the citrusy, fresh smell I get from other pre-bottled cleaners, so I might add lemon essential oils to the canister next time. However, one of the main ingredients in Alka-Seltzer, sodium bicarbonate, neutralizes odor, and I felt like this was immediately apparent in the bathroom which I appreciated. It also made me curious about the possibilities of putting Alka-Seltzer in the toilet as a cleaning aid and down any stinky drains to displace clogs. Overall, Alka-Seltzer and water made for a pretty fantastic floor cleaner, and I will use it again in the future.