How to Clean Vinyl Floors

By Harold K. Hardesty Updated September 10, 2021

Make your vinyl shine 

How to Clean Vinyl Floors

Vinyl has been introduced by Sweden during the 1930s. Later, they became a hit in the 1970s. Today they are mostly used in the kitchens and bathrooms.

Vinyl floor is popular because it resists stains and water, damages, and scratches. And it is less expensive than laminate, whereas the result looks the same. This makes it a kid and pet-friendly choice.

In this guide, I’ll discuss how to clean vinyl floors. You can use ingredients from your pantry, including baking soda, white vinegar, and water solution. No need to buy toxic cleaning chemicals.

Let’s get started.

What are Vinyl Floors?

Vinyl floor is a resilient surface made using PVC plus various other materials. You can now find vinyl flooring in different patterns and colors: vinyl floors are available as planks, tiles, and sheets.

Due to this, it’s very easy to install them. You simply have to attach them in place using mastic or a special adhesive. Vinyl flooring is also durable. It’s long-lasting, easy to clean, and can sustain more damage than other common types of floors.

Plus, if you’re on a budget, vinyl should be your top pick since you can easily find something in your price range.

Benefits of Vinyl Flooring

accordion_icon

Durability

Vinyl flooring is a practical and economical choice thanks to its durability. Sure enough, and unlike other types of floor such as laminate, vinyl may last up to 2 decades. Vinyl often exceeds expectations as it comes with a 20-year warranty. This says a lot about the confidence manufacturers have in their products.

accordion_icon

Water Resistant

The vinyl floor is water-resistant, meaning you don’t have to rush to dry it after cleaning.

If you have kids at home, you won’t have to fret over liquid spills or accidents of the sort. Unlike laminate(1) and hardwood floors, vinyl resists moisture and doesn’t lose its shine due to warm water exposure.

accordion_icon

Inexpensive

Vinyl is available in different price ranges. Thus, it’s easy to afford it.

Additionally, the installation of vinyl floors isn’t too costly either. If you’ve got a knack for taking on weekend DIY projects, you can save money by installing the floor yourself.

accordion_icon

Easy Maintenance

As majestic as hardwood floors(2) look, you have to seal and wax them to preserve their finish.

On the other hand, vinyl floors don’t require much maintenance. Although you have to clean vinyl plank flooring from time to time, no high-end maintenance is needed for the surface.

accordion_icon

Comfortable

The vinyl floor is comfortable to walk on. Along with being soft, vinyl floors also don’t get cold like natural floors during the winter months.

During installation, you’re required to place a thin felt layer under vinyl flooring. Besides cushioning the floors, this foam layer also makes the surface more comfortable under your feet.

accordion_icon

Quick Installation

If you’ve ever installed linoleum or hard floors, you’ll know that it can take up to days for the floor to settle in place.

However, it’s not the same with vinyl flooring. You don’t even have to get rid of the old flooring as vinyl planks can be laid on the previous surface.

If DIY-ing is your forte, you’ll end up installing the floor in an hour’s time.

accordion_icon

Design

Initially, there weren’t many vinyl options in the market. However, with time, there has been an increase in the color and style options for vinyl flooring.

Today, you can find vinyl floors that mimic concrete, wood, stone, and terrazzo surfaces. If you buy high-quality vinyl flooring, it would be hard to differentiate between vinyl tiles and wood.

Due to vinyl’s versatility, you can use it as a substitute for all other high-maintenance floors. Thus, you can get your desired look without having to compromise on durability or resistance.

Types of Vinyl Floors

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend on the flooring, you can find different kinds of vinyl floors. However, here are a few common types that homeowners choose.

Sheet Vinyl

sheet floor

@best4flooring_uk

As the name indicates, sheet vinyl is a single sheet of flooring that goes up to 12 feet wide. Since it’s a continuous piece of flooring, it has lesser seams than vinyl plank flooring.

Due to this quality, sheet vinyl is suitable for high-moisture areas.

For instance, if you want a marble look in your bathroom but don’t have the budget for it, opt for sheet vinyl. Also, you can simply lay the sheet on the old vinyl without tearing the previous floor apart.

As sheet vinyl has limited seams, there’s no place for dust particles to hide. Therefore, you’ll only have to clean the vinyl sheet once or twice a week or as required.

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl plank

@the_jordans_forever_home

Vinyl plank is the ideal substitute for wooden floors. Although it looks like wood, vinyl plank flooring does not cost as much.

Since the top surface is soft and smooth, it’s hard to distinguish it from wooden floors. Even better, vinyl plank flooring is more durable than wood floors.

Keep in mind that you can’t use white vinegar on wooden floors(3) since it removes their finish. However, you can use it to clean vinyl plank flooring since the surface is resistant to vinegar’s acidic nature.(4)

Also, you don’t have to worry about water standing for too long on vinyl plank flooring as it won’t get damaged due to the minimal moisture.

Tiles

tile vinyl

@smcarpetandvin

Thirdly, vinyl flooring is available as tiles. Most tiled vinyl floors look similar to stone surfaces but are cheaper and water-resistant.

On one hand, tiles are easy to install. On the other, if one gets damaged, you don’t have to replace the whole floor as you can simply replace it with a new tile.

Types of Coating for Vinyl Floors

Although vinyl floors don’t need to be coated like hardwood surfaces, you can add a layer for extra protection. Here are two options to opt for.

accordion_icon

Urethane

Urethane adds extra strength to vinyl flooring. It ensures that the floors stay safe from marks and scratches. Plus, it helps maintain the floor’s finish.

If your budget allows it, you can go for enhanced urethane, which is much stronger. Most homeowners prefer using it in rooms with high foot traffic to prevent the floor from getting damaged.

accordion_icon

No Wax

No-wax floors require higher maintenance than urethane-coated floors. While the latter is more durable, no-wax vinyl flooring is glossier.

You can opt for this coating in rooms with less traffic. When you clean vinyl tile with a wax coating, make sure to polish it occasionally to restore the shine.

Tools Needed to Clean Vinyl Flooring

Like any other floor, it’s necessary to clean vinyl tile if you want it to last for a longer time. For that, you need to have the following tools at hand.

Everyday Cleaning

Depending on how much foot traffic your plank flooring gets, you can clean it daily or every second day. Here are the tools you can use to clean vinyl flooring:

  • Broom: For quick sweeping, you can use a broom on vinyl plank flooring. However, keep in mind that you should use a soft broom for sweeping since a rougher one may scratch the surface. A traditional broom works just fine.
  • Vacuums: Many people keep vacuums away from vinyl flooring because they’re worried about the possible damage. However, vacuuming vinyl floors is pretty safe. As long as you’re not vacuuming with a carpet attachment, you’re good to go.
  • Dust Mop: Dust mops are your best buddies when it comes to cleaning plank flooring since they can remove dust from tight spaces too. Moreover, a dust mop can remove pet hair and debris too. Another benefit of using a dust mop is that it’s easier to work with than a broom.

Deep Cleaning

When deep cleaning vinyl plank flooring, keep in mind that you’ll have to use a few techniques to make the surface spotless. These include vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping.

However, don’t go overboard with the spin mop. Vinyl plank, although water-resistant, is not water-proof. Thus, you shouldn’t use too much water on it.

If you frequently use a wet mop to clean vinyl flooring, you’ll end up weakening the underlying adhesive material. Plus, wetting plank flooring excessively can dull its shine.

Here are some tools to deep clean vinyl flooring:

  • Spray Mops: Spray mops, like those from Bissell or Bona, help keep vinyl plank floors clean. When using spray mops, you can spray the desired surface and then wipe it immediately to prevent over-exposure to water.
  • Spin Mops: Spin mops are also a handy tool to clean vinyl plank floors. When looking for spin mops, opt for options that have self-wringing capability. It will be easier to keep the floors dry this way.
  • Vinyl Floor Cleaners: Since many vinyl floor cleaners are available in stores, you can simply buy one to clean vinyl planks. Alternatively, use a homemade floor cleaner. Simply mix ten parts of water into one part of white vinegar. Add a few drops of jojoba oil and start mopping. Jojoba oil disinfects the floor along with being hypoallergenic.

When you vacuum vinyl floors, there’s no moisture to worry about. On the contrary, mopping leaves water on the vinyl plank.

Make sure to dry the floor after using a mop on it. Otherwise, some cleaning solutions, like dish detergent, may leave residue behind that can settle on the surface as hard stains.

How to Clean Vinyl Flooring? Step by Step

By now, you have a clear idea of the tools you can use to clean vinyl tile. Keeping that in mind, let’s move ahead and discuss the method of cleaning vinyl planks.

1.Remove the Dust and Debris

First of all, clean all the dust from the vinyl planks. You can do so by sweeping or vacuuming the floor.

Look under the furniture and the places close to the doors because this is where most dust comes from. Although vacuuming is the easy way to go about it, you can also use a broom for the job.

Keep the vacuum at soft settings and make sure to switch off the carpet attachments.

2.Select a Floor Cleaner

Now, find a cleaner that you think works best for your floor. If you clean your floor every day, opt for a mild cleaner, such as vinegar.(5)

For deep cleaning, go ahead and pick a commercial cleaner. Keep in mind that waxed surfaces should always be cleaned with special commercial solutions made for the material.

If there’s nothing else, you can just use the dishwashing soap from your kitchen as a floor cleaner. Mix it with water or apple cider vinegar, depending on the availability.

3.Mop The Floor

Once you’ve picked a floor cleaner, start mopping. Remember not to use too much water as the vinyl floor is not water-proof.

When cleaning, start from one corner of the room and move towards the door. Remember to wring the string mop as you’re done cleaning a surface. If the water gets murky, make a fresh mixture.

If you have textured vinyl planking, be more attentive when cleaning them because dust tends to camouflage on this surface.

4.Rinse And Dry

Lastly, rinse the floor with clean water. Since dish soap and other cleaning solutions often leave a film behind, it’s important to rinse off the floor cleaner residue to prevent stains.

Use a towel to dry the floors. Alternatively, you can let the floors air dry or open the windows on a sunny day for quick drying.

How to Remove Tough Stains From Vinyl Floor?

While sweeping a quick cleaning method, it’s not the best way to remove stains on vinyl flooring. For that, you’ll have to go in with some elbow scrub and potent cleaning agents.

1.Dirt Stains

Dirt stains can be easily removed using baking soda. Since baking soda is a slightly abrasive (6)cleaner, it can easily break through the messes left behind by wine and coffee spills.

Plus, baking soda also cuts through grease.

More importantly, it helps deodorize all surfaces. For instance, if you’ve dropped something smelly on the floor, baking soda can remove the smell along with ridding the surface of the stain.

Here’s how to use baking soda for breaking stains:

  • Mix a tablespoon of baking soda in an equal amount of water.
  • Form a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the stain.
  • Use a soft cloth to rub the surface.

2.Scuff Marks

You may leave scuff marks while cleaning vinyl flooring if you use a rough broom. However, it’s easy to remove these marks. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take some WD-40 and apply it on a soft cloth.
  • Rub the cloth on the scuff marks.
  • For older marks, rub gently.
  • If you can’t seem to get the scuff marks out, you may have to replace the tile.

3.Makeup Stains

If you’ve ever left makeup stains on the floor or spilled a skincare product, you’ll notice that a microfiber mop won’t remove the stain.

Instead, you need to use rubbing alcohol to clean the area. Apply the required amount to the affected area. Then, wipe the surface with a soft cloth.

If you don’t have to rub alcohol at home, you can also use an acetone-free nail polish remover. Never use an acetone-based nail polish remover for cleaning vinyl flooring as it damages the material.

4.Hair Spray

Along with makeup stains, most powder room floors also have a hairspray buildup on them. If you’re facing the same problem, grab your shampoo from the shower.

Dab some shampoo on the affected area and rub using a soft cloth. Then, rinse the surface with clean water.

5.Mystery Stains

Everyone comes across mystery stains on their floor that they can’t seem to remember the source of. If you’ve found something like this, you can make a vinyl floor cleaning solution immediately to tackle the issue.

Make a vinegar and water solution. Apply it to the stained area and scrub with a nylon brush. Make sure it has soft bristles, or you may end up scratching the floor.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you learn more about cleaning vinyl flooring.

Should You Use Steam Mop for Cleaning Vinyl Flooring?

Keeping the floor’s characteristics in mind, I wouldn’t suggest cleaning vinyl flooring with a steam mop. Since these mops use high temperatures to disinfect the surface, they can damage the adhesive underneath.

If you use too much heat, the vinyl floor may bend or warp due to the temperature. In that case, you’ll have to replace the affected tiles. That’s an extra expenditure that no one wants to add to their monthly budget.

Thus, it’s better to stick to a sponge mop and broom.

Is Vinegar Safe for Cleaning Vinyl Floor?

Yes, vinegar is a safe cleaning solution for a vinyl floor. In fact, it’s better than some other cleaners, such as the commercial ones. Since it’s non-abrasive, it does not leave scuff marks on the tiles or sheet.

Plus, it disinfects the floor(8), making your home bacteria-free. Another reason to use vinegar and water for cleaning vinyl flooring is that the solution makes your floors shinier.

Although white vinegar is most people’s first choice, you can also use apple cider vinegar instead. Both are safe for the surface. Dilute them by adding warm water, and you’re good to go.

What Is the Best Homemade Vinyl Floor Cleaner?

Although many commercial floor cleaners are available in the market, it’s better and more convenient to opt for homemade solutions.

Mix white vinegar and apple cider vinegar to a gallon of warm water and use this solution for all sorts of stains on vinyl. Alternatively, add a few drops of dish soap to warm water and use it to remove dirt particles from the floors.

When buying commercial cleaners, make sure that they’re according to the floor type. For instance, if your vinyl tiles are waxed, buy a polish-friendly cleaner. Likewise, for an unwaxed surface, go for no-polish cleaners.

To remove foul odors from your vinyl floor, always have baking soda at home.

How to Make Vinyl Floors Shine?

In order to add shine to vinyl flooring, put a few drops of baby oil in vinegar. Add water to complete the solution. If you’re dealing with stubborn and old scuff marks, put some WD-40 or jojoba oil on a clean cloth and use it to rub the scuffed area.

Then, apply the vinegar solution to the surface. It will help remove lubrication.

Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Vinyl Flooring

Till now, I’ve covered everything you need to know about cleaning vinyl. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind for cleaning and maintaining the floor.

  • Limit Water Usage: Sure, vinyl is water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean it’s fully waterproof. Therefore, you shouldn’t use an excess of water for cleaning vinyl. Use warm water as it will remove stains quickly.
  • Choose Cleaners Wisely: When selecting the cleaning solutions(7) for vinyl flooring, make sure not to pick abrasive ones. They’ll leave scuff marks when you clean the floor. Plus, they may also dull the floor’s shine. Instead, use a vinegar and water solution.
  • Lay Rugs: Cover your floor with rugs, especially in areas with high foot traffic. For instance, you can put doormats or a rug near the entrance of the house or rooms.
  • No Abrasive Tools: Keep steel wools away from vinyl. When cleaning vinyl flooring, always use a soft cloth. Also, don’t scratch the surface with a sharp tool or knife to break a stain. Instead, let apple cider vinegar work its magic.
  • Furniture Padding: To prevent denting in the vinyl plank floor of your home, put felt pads on the furniture legs. Otherwise, long-term pressure from the couch or chairs’ feet may leave a depression in the vinyl flooring.
  • Clean Spills Instantly: The best thing you can do for your floor is to prevent spills. However, if they do occur, make sure to tend to them immediately. If it’s a stain-forming spill, apply a white vinegar and water solution quickly to the surface.

Hello, Clean Vinyl!

With that, I’ve come to the end of this guide. Vinyl floors are water-resistant, and their durability is much better than other surfaces. Furthermore, maintaining vinyl floors is a breeze as compared to wood or stone flooring.

With regular sweeping and vacuuming, you cannot only make your house look clean but also increase the longevity of vinyl planks. As for deep cleaning or removing liquids, vinegar, and dish soap are your go-to cleaning options.

Now, I want to hear from you. Did you find this vinyl cleaning guide helpful? Do you have any cleaning tricks up your sleeve? Share them in the comments.

Harold K. Hardesty

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 *