How To Deep Clean Vinyl 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 April 27, 2023

Cleaning vinyl floors is a breeze with these top tips

Cleaning vinyl floors is a breeze with these top tips

How To Deep Clean Vinyl Floors
Vinyl flooring is a great solution for bathrooms, kitchens, and basements thanks to its waterproof abilities. With a variety of styles available, from vinyl tiles to sheets, you can imitate wood, ceramic tile, and stone floors to match any decor.

But it doesn’t take much to damage vinyl, and scratches are the last thing you want after going to all that effort of mopping.

Here we’ll explore the best ways to deep clean vinyl floors.

How Often Should You Deep Clean Vinyl Flooring?

Cleaning vinyl flooring starts with regular sweeping or vacuuming. And seeing as modern vinyl floors are way more resilient than they used to be, you can also mop frequently to prevent layers of dirt from building up.

But how often is “regular” and “frequently”?

Well, it depends on how much use the vinyl flooring gets:

  • High-traffic areas or homes with pets: Daily sweeping or vacuuming with weekly wet mopping.
  • Medium-traffic areas: Vacuum or sweep twice a week and mop once every two weeks.
  • Low-traffic areas: Weekly sweeping or vacuuming with monthly mopping.

What You’ll Need


01 Prep Your Floor

Vacuum or sweep your floor to remove any loose grit and surface dirt. Debris can rub and act like sandpaper, causing scratches on your vinyl floors.

Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar, or make sure you can turn it off. You need a delicate touch, so opt for soft felt or brush vacuum heads instead of a hard head.

Remove any clutter or large objects out of your way. But lift heavy furniture rather than dragging it to prevent any tears.

02 Clean Spills Straight Away

If you do notice a stain, act quickly. Use a gentle soap and water and work from the outside in to prevent the stain from spreading further.

Some vinyl floors can tolerate diluted rubbing alcohol, bleach, lemon juice, or cream of tartar. But always check with the manufacturer first and only use them for treating stains and scuff marks.

After cleaning stains, rinse the affected area thoroughly with water to remove any residue.

03 Mopping

Start with plain water for wet cleaning, making sure it’s warm water rather than hot.

If warm water isn’t enough, add a few drops of a cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer. Then mop with the mixture.

If it’s still not working, use pH-neutral cleaners to make a cleaning solution. Dilute it for your needs, with a stronger concentration for heavy soiling and a weaker one for less-soiled vinyl flooring.

You can make a DIY cleaning solution by mixing an ounce of gentle detergent or ammonia per gallon of water. Mop the floor with a damp mop rather than a soaking wet mop.

04 Leave it to Work

Give the floor cleaner time to work and cut through dirt and food stains. Around 5 minutes is enough for lightly-soiled floors, but you can wait as long as 15 minutes for heavy soiling.

Stick to the time advised on the label for commercial cleaners.

05 Rinse and Dry

Use the second mop to rinse the floor with clean water to remove any residue.

A quick rinse is fine if you’ve used plain water or a mild cleaner to treat stains. But if you’ve used a high concentration or any commercial cleaners on your floor, rinse with plenty of warm water.

When you’ve rinsed, leave the floor to dry completely before you walk on it. Use a dry microfiber cloth if water pools anywhere to prevent water stains or spotting as your sheet vinyl flooring dries.

Tips to Keep Your Vinyl Flooring in Top Shape

Floor Care:

  • Use a soft nylon brush for sweeping, and a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar. Rotating brushes may help with a thorough clean, but they can also damage the top layers of your vinyl.
  • Also keep an eye out for larger debris, like pebbles. Remove larger objects before you begin.
  • Don’t use steel wool, scouring pads, or other abrasive cleaning tools. They will scratch vinyl flooring and dull the finish.
  • Stay away from harsh and abrasive cleaners. Anything like acidic white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, abrasive baking soda paste, and mineral spirits are not suitable as a vinyl floor cleaner. They leave residues, which then dull the finish of a vinyl floor.
  • No-wax flooring doesn’t need any waxing, polishing, or sanding. And it certainly doesn’t need a lacquer applied to it. You should also leave any “mop and shine” products on the shelf. If you want to restore the natural shine to your vinyl floor, stick to a product recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not use a steam mop to clean vinyl floors. They’re not suitable due to the excess water and high heat, which can leave a dull film.

General Household Tips:

  • Keep pet paws manicured. It’s all too easy for them to scratch vinyl flooring.
  • Remove stilettos and spiky sports shoes before walking on vinyl floors. They can leave dents and scratches on the surface.
  • Protect your vinyl flooring by placing doormats at any entrance. It helps to stop you from tracking dirt in from the outside world, causing tiny scratches and stubborn scuffs. You want to do this over winter, in particular, to keep moisture off the floor.
  • Pop area rugs down in high-traffic areas, or in front of the kitchen sink. But stay away from rugs with solid rubber or vinyl backings, as they can harm the finish.
  • Lift and carry furniture and large objects instead of dragging or sliding. Otherwise, you risk tearing your vinyl floor. And using heavy load-bearing carts with tiny wheels is another sure-fire way to damage them.
  • Pop felt pads on the bottom of furniture legs to prevent scuffs and dents. Check the felt protectors for damage or debris, and replace them when they’re looking worn.
  • Rolling casters look pretty on sofas, but you should swap these for floor-friendly feet wherever possible. If you want to keep the caster look, use soft rubber ones that are at least 2” in diameter.
  • Install curtains and blinds to limit the amount of direct sunlight on your vinyl floor.

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