How To Deep Clean Linoleum Floors: A Step by Step Guide

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.
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Updated May 4, 2023

Keep Your Linoleum Floor Looking Brand New For Years To Come.

Keep Your Linoleum Floor Looking Brand New For Years To Come.

How To Clean Linoleum Floors Guide
Linoleum is a natural variety of flooring, made from a mix of mainly linseed oil. It’s usually installed in sheets or tiles, which are flat, smooth and easy to maintain.

But when it comes to cleaning, did you know that certain methods will actually help preserve your linoleum?

When it comes to cleaning linoleum floors with water, linoleum is not as withstanding as other types of flooring. Once water gets underneath a sheet of linoleum, it can cause serious water damage to your floors.

With this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you ways to clean linoleum that will prevent any long-term damage.

Our methods will help keep your linoleum clean, durable, and looking beautiful.

How Often To Deep Clean Linoleum Flooring?

A daily sweep or vacuum is all you need for everyday linoleum cleaning.

A microfiber dry mop will do the best job at removing daily dust and debris. For a deeper cleaning, go over the linoleum with a stiff bristle broom or a vacuum.

Your regular cleaning routine should include a weekly mop with warm water and soap.

Of course, this is dependent on the amount of traffic in your house. When in doubt, follow this cleaning routine:

  • Busy households or houses with pets: Sweep and vacuum daily, mop weekly.
  • Medium traffic areas: Sweep or vacuum twice a week, mop every two weeks
  • Areas with less foot traffic: Sweep or vacuum once a week, mop monthly.

What You’ll Need


01 Remove Dust and Debris

Use a dry microfiber dust mop, broom or vacuum to remove everyday dust and debris.

A vacuum with an attachment will help get the dirt that builds up in corners. This will leave you with a clear cleaning floor’s surface.

02 Clean Any Spills

If there are any stains on your linoleum floor, tackle them first.

A juice spill seems harmless, but the longer it stays on the linoleum floor, the greater chance it will permanently stain.

The best way to remove a stain is with warm water, a few drops of dish soap, and a light scrub brush if necessary.

03 Use Rubbing Alcohol to Spot Treat

For stubborn stains, you can sometimes use a diluted rubbing alcohol solution as a spot treatment.

Avoid cleaning the entire floor with this technique, and always rinse thoroughly. As always, check with your flooring manufacturer before you use any harsh cleaning solution.

04 Mop with Warm Water

For weekly cleaning, a damp mop and warm or hot water is enough to wash away everyday dirt from linoleum tiles.

If water doesn’t do the trick, use a floor cleaner recommended by your flooring manufacturer.

05 Mix a Cleaning Solution

If you decide to use a cleaning solution for your linoleum floors, always stick with pH-neutral cleaners.

The dilution ratio will usually depend on how soiled your floors are. Always follow manufacturer recommendations to avoid causing damage to your linoleum floors.

Alternatively, you can make your own homemade deep cleaning solution. Mix 1 ounce of dish soap, ammonia or ammonia based cleaners in a gallon of warm water.

06 Mop with Cleaning Solution

Use a damp mop to apply the cleaning solution to your floors for a deep clean.

Use the least amount of water possible. Never flood the floor with water, as this may cause seepage between any crevices.

07 Leave the Cleaning Solution

For a deep clean, let the cleaning solution dwell on the floor for 5-10 minutes. This lets the cleaning solution soak up the dirt.

How long you should leave the cleaning solution to sit depends on how soiled your floors are.

As with most flooring, avoid letting standing water dwell for extended periods of time. Most flooring materials will be damaged by large amounts of water or excess moisture.

08 Rinse Floor

Rinse the cleaning solution using regular warm water and a clean mop head. Rinsing is important, because leftover cleaning solution can dry and leave a dull finish on your linoleum floor.

09 Dry Floors

After using water on your linoleum floor, always be sure to let it dry before walking all over it.

You can use a clean microfiber mop to quickly dry the area, or set up a fan and let the excess water dry this way.

Tips to Make Your Linoleum Last Longer


Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Remember when we said linoleum was created from linseed oil?

Well, those oils can be stripped away by harsh or high pH cleaners and damage the floor. High pH products include most strippers and degreasers, and bleach.


Be aware that acetone and mineral spirits can also damage your linoleum floor.

Although it is a common deep clean solution, avoid acidic cleaners. In other words, do not use lemon juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar and baking soda as they are too harsh for linoleum.

Scouring pads and steel wool are also a big no, as they can scratch and dull the finish.


Remove Grit Right Away

If you’re walking in from outside, it’s easy to dismiss some loose gravel or sand that gets on your linoleum floor. However, if bigger pieces of dirt happen to drag against the floor, they can cause visible scratches.

Grit and debris should always be swept or vacuumed right away.


Use Area Rugs

One solution for this problem is to place floor mats at doorways to trap any dirt from boots and shoes.

It’s also a good idea to have area rugs in high traffic areas to avoid uneven wear on your linoleum floor. Avoid mats with rubber backings, as these can damage linoleum flooring.


Avoid Oils and Polishes

As tempting as it can be to use waxing or polishing products, these will cause damage to linoleum. That includes lacquers and sanding products as well.


Any “mop and shine” or baby oil products will only leave your floors slippery and cause damage to linoleum floors.

If your floors are missing that shine, use a dry buffing solution. This will help improve luster, and get rid of small dents and marks.

Always consult with the manufacturer before using any buffing products, to ensure they are safe for your floor.


Maintain Pet Nails

Linoleum is a softer flooring material than something like ceramic, which is great because it is comfortable to walk on. The downside is that sharp objects are more likely to pierce and damage the floor.


If you have dogs or cats, make sure their nails are trimmed short so that they don’t touch the floor. Use a dremel to round off the edges so there are no sharp points that can create scratches.

For the humans of the house, try to avoid walking on linoleum floor with sharp shoes like high heels or sports cleats. They can cause indents which are very difficult to remedy.


Do Not Use Steam Cleaners

A steam mop is a way to deep clean dirt and bacteria from your floors. They use high temperatures and steam to do so.

While this method is great for hard surfaces like ceramic, steam cleaners should be avoided on linoleum.

Linoleum floors are susceptible to water damage and regular use of a steam cleaner can cause damage to occur under the flooring, and even warp the flooring.

For these reasons, steam cleaners should be avoided.


Install Felt Pads on Furniture

As mentioned before, linoleum is a softer material than something like vinyl or ceramic.

Heavy furniture can leave indents in the linoleum. Moving this furniture is also likely to cause dents and scratches.

You may think the solution is to install wheels on heavy furniture, but even this can damage linoleum floors.


The best solution is to install felt pads on the areas of the furniture that touch the floor. This means the ends of table legs and chairs, and the bottom of any large appliances.

These felt tips will wear over time, so it is a good idea to change them out when you start to notice them flattening. Also check these felt tips for grit, so you can make sure there won’t be any scratches when you move the furniture. For heavy furniture like dressers, try to rearrange your furniture periodically, so that the floor wears evenly.


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