Q. My husband and I just had our first child, and we’re already anticipating the day when he starts crawling around. We want to make sure our tile kitchen floors are clean and safe before kiddo starts roaming — what’s a good non-toxic cleaner recipe to use?

– Janet, MI


A. There’s not much you can’t do with a bottle of good old white vinegar. Make salad dressing and kill athletes foot (not at the same time, please), reduce the glycemic index of carb-heavy foods and make you feel more full, get chewing gum off clothes or out of hair, deactiviate jellyfish venom after a sting … and, yes, clean your floors! You’re smart to be thinking ahead about ways to spruce things up without toxins — studies have shown that tots and pets pick up far more dangerous grime than do adults (just think how often hands and paws go into mouths after touching the floor). So chuck those conventional cleaning supplies and get in the habit of giving your floors a thorough swipe with a bucket full of white distilled vinegar and hot water (one cup vinegar per gallon of H2O). The mixture will gently disinfect, cut odors from spills, pick up anything grody that happens to be lurking down there, and leave your tiles gleaming. 

Story by Tobin Hack. This article originally appeared in Plenty in September 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008.

Non-toxic recipe for cleaning tile floors
White distilled vinegar and hot water will disinfect floors.