How to Clean Linoleum Floors (5 Tips for Maintaining Linoleum)

By Harold K. Hardesty Updated January 4, 2021

Use homemade and commercial cleaners together to clean linoleum floors

How to Clean Linoleum Floors (5 Tips for Maintaining Linoleum)

Sourced from nature, linoleum is a durable and eco-friendly flooring material. Some components of the flooring include wood dust, linseed oil, cork, and limestone. Together, these natural substances impact toughness and resilience to linoleum floors.

Despite being durable, the floor isn’t completely resistant to staining. Due to this, you have to use the right technique for cleaning linoleum – one that will remove the stains without erasing the floor’s finish.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to clean linoleum floors in your house.

Table of Contents

How Often To Clean Linoleum Flooring?

The frequency of cleaning will depend on a few factors, foot traffic being the most important one. If your floor gets high traffic, it’ll need to be cleaned more often. In contrast, if you live alone, deep cleaning the floor once a month is enough.

Plus, you have to consider the sources of dirt coming into the house. Do you have pets that may bring in muddy paws and debris particles? Are there children in the house spilling drinks and food frequently?

Depending on these factors, you may have to clean the floors every two days or thrice a week. Most importantly, you have to consider the floor type too. Is the floor made of layered linoleum, or is it an older form that gets scratched by grit and dirt pretty easily?

Modern linoleum floors have a wear layer, keeping them safe from scratching and staining. If your floors are layered, you should clean them twice a week.

However, if they’re unlayered and get high traffic, you may have to clean them daily. As a cleaning expert, I only have one mantra: if the floor is visibly dirty – with evident stains – it’s time for cleaning even if you just cleaned it yesterday.

The Benefits Of Linoleum Floors

Linoleum is a popular flooring material today and for all the right reasons. As opposed to hardwood, which is sought-out but expensive, linoleum is easier on the pocket and is just as classy as wood.

Quite interestingly, you must thank Frederick Walton for discovering linoleum flooring(1). Back in 1855, he forgot to cover the linseed oil he was working with. When he came back to the desk, he saw a solid layer on the oil’s surface.

That’s when he started brainstorming different ways to use the material. His efforts bore results, and in just five years, the floors were available in the market.

The linoleum you buy today is more advanced and tougher. It has other ingredients, including wood flour, flax, pigments, and cork. These materials are combined to give a wood-like effect at a fraction of the hardwood flooring’s price.

But the style and low cost aren’t the only things that make linoleum flooring a preferred choice among homeowners. The floors also have plenty of other benefits:


Many people falsely think that linoleum isn’t durable. Contrary to this belief, the material is quite durable and lasts long. Since it has a higher resistance than wood, it can withstand more wear and tear. Also, linoleum does not scratch or get blemished easily.

It’s a win-win situation. On the one hand, you get linoleum floors at a much lower price than the hard floor. The cherry on top is the floor’s longevity that frees you of the worry of reinstallation for a good part of a decade.


Likewise, some people also perceive linoleum to be a synthetic substance and consider it unnatural. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. Sure enough, some linoleum floors may have engineered substances, but the major part of the surface is plant-based.

Even better, linoleum is 100% biodegradable(2). That means the material returns to the Earth instead of sitting in the landfills for centuries. Unlike other flooring materials, it does not harm the environment(3) in the long run.

Apart from that, linoleum is also safe for your family. It’s free of toxic chemicals and does not release VOCs or volatile organic compounds(4). Today, these chemicals are being released by many products in your home(5), including cosmetics, carpet flooring, upholstery, paint, and air fresheners. By choosing eco-friendly flooring, you protect your family from harm.

Ease of Maintenance

Finally, it’s much easier to maintain linoleum, especially when compared to hardwood. All you’ll have to do during regular cleaning is sweep or vacuum.

The surface doesn’t require special cleaners, nor do you need to buy expensive tools to clean linoleum floors. For the most part, you can work with the basic cleaning supplies you have at hand.

How To Clean Linoleum Flooring?

Now that you’re familiar with a few basic things about the floor type, let’s discuss the cleaning method. Quite conveniently, linoleum isn’t too demanding. You can pretty much use your regular mop to clean the floor.

Tools and Materials

1.Sweep the Floors

If you’re using a mop, I shouldn’t have to explain how to deep clean loose debris from the floors. It’s pretty straightforward. As for a hardwood vacuum, set it to the ‘hardwood floor’ setting for cleaning linoleum floors.

Make sure you get into the nooks and crannies of your room. Often, the grit on the floors gets swept around with your feet and ends up scratching the surface.

2.Wipe the Linoleum Floor

Now, take a dry microfiber cloth and use it to wipe the whole floor. Doing this will remove smaller dust or grit particles, preventing scratching.

3.Form the Solution

Add a gallon of hot water to a bucket. Mix about seven to eight drops of your regular dish soap in the hot water. Stir the solution gently to mix the ingredients together.

Do not use an acidic floor cleaner on linoleum as it will leave marks. Instead, just use dish soap or one cup of vinegar.

4.Dip the Mop in the Bucket

Now, dip the mop in this solution. Wring out the extra water as linoleum is prone to damage due to excessive moisture. After wringing, the mop should be damp, and water should not be dripping from it.

5.Mop the Linoleum Floor

Depending on the size of the room, you can break it up into smaller sections. Now, start working from one area and continue to the others. After cleaning each block, dip the mop back into the bucket, wring, and repeat.

After cleaning the whole floor, get rid of the soapy water in the bucket. Wash the damp mop with clean water to remove the dirt and grime.


Add clean hot water to the bucket. Now, use a damp mop to rinse the floor in the same way as you did earlier. The only difference is you won’t use any soap this time. Instead, your aim is to get rid of the soapy residue from the previous step.

7.Dry the Linoleum Floor

Even after the second round of mopping, some moisture is left behind. Take a dry cloth and wipe the entire floor using it, lifting the extra moisture. You can also use old towels to dry the floor as they’ll cover a larger surface area at once.

8.Scrub the Stains

These steps are suitable for daily cleaning but if you’re dealing with stubborn stains, use a scrub brush to remove them. Again, don’t use acidic cleaning products to break up stains as it will do more harm than good.

Instead, you can use a homemade floor cleaner made by mixing white vinegar, baking soda(6), or baby oil to clean water. All these cleaners are natural and won’t harm the floors’ finish.

To deep clean stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Add just enough baking soda to the vinegar to form a mixture with high consistency. Apply the vinegar-baking soda paste to the stain, let it dry, and then scrub off. Besides cleaning, baking soda also has other uses, like deodorizing the floors.

Alternatively, you can use vinegar for breaking up tough stains(7). In one cup of vinegar, add a cup of baby oil. Mix the ingredients and pour this mixture into a bucket. Fill the bucket with a gallon of hot water. Apply this vinegar solution to the floor as soon as you spot a stain.

Tips For Maintaining Linoleum

Following the cleaning tips and methods in this guide will make your floors shine. Meanwhile, you can follow some maintenance tips to ensure the floors’ longevity.

iamge icon

  • Tend to liquid spills immediately: Linoleum is porous like any other natural floor. Thus, you shouldn’t let water pool on the surface. If there’s a liquid spill, mop it immediately. You can either use a soft mop or a dry towel to soak the moisture.
  • Leave waxing to the pros: If the floors need to be waxed, don’t take on the job yourself. It’s a tedious task, and you’ll have to remove the older wax first. Let the professionals take care of this.
  • Homemade cleaners are handy: As mentioned earlier, linoleum wouldn’t last long if you use harsh chemicals on it. Instead, use vinegar or baking soda for deep cleaning the floor.
  • Don’t polish: Although there’s no need to polish the linoleum floor, even if you want to do it, only use linoleum-specific polishes. Or, you can buy cleaners that leave a shine behind.
  • Replace as needed: Yes, linoleum is a tough material, but it can only last so long. If your floors have been subjected to excessive water damage or have deep-set food stains, it’s time to let go of them. Make sure to hire professionals for flooring.

Let’s Clean, Shall We?

From years of hotel cleaning experience, I’ve learned not to use the same cleaning method for different floor types. For instance, standing water may be harmless to other floorings but will leave a linoleum floor soaked to the verge of irreparable damage.

Likewise, you can’t use the same cleaner or mop on every surface. That’s why you need to use a floor-friendly cleaning method.

By now, you should have learned aplenty about linoleum floors, cleaning tips, and their maintenance. Besides discussing an easy-peasy method to clean your linoleum floors, I’ve also mentioned some floor cleaning tips to make your flooring last a long time.

Share your cleaning tips with me in the comments.

About the Author

Harold K. Hardesty

Harold is a Flooring Specialist at TheHouseWire, educating people on the flooring by writing guides about the topic. He is a well-seasoned flooring specialist with experience in the industry for nine years.

Related Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *