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Home / Getting Started / Your Home Care Guide: How to Clean Vinyl Flooring

Your Home Care Guide: How to Clean Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is very durable and suitable for any room in the home. But when it comes to home care, what are the best cleaning methods to keep them looking new? How can you ensure they’ll resist the dreaded dull? 

Fortunately, vinyl flooring is one of the most simple, low-maintenance flooring types available for homeowners. With some day-to-day upkeep and regular cleaning, you can keep the sheen on your vinyl floors lasting for a long time. 

From day-to-day care to long-term maintenance, here are tips and steps on how to clean vinyl flooring. 

How to Clean Vinyl Flooring: The Everyday Approach

 

Even though vinyl floors are quite durable, capable of taking on busy households of rowdy children and pets, they still need some everyday cleaning. Tracked in dust and debris, no matter how fine the particles, will scuff the surface of vinyl flooring like sandpaper. So if you intend to keep your vinyl flooring planks or tiles looking polished and new, you need to keep a daily sweeping routine, at the very least. 

A good old-fashioned sponge mop and water work quite nicely to clean vinyl flooring. Vacuum and mop regularly, approximately once or twice a week, and address any spills, wiping them up pronto with a pH neutral cleaner. 

How to Clean Vinyl Flooring: The Deep Clean Method

Aside from the day-to-day sweeping, your vinyl floors need a deep clean from time to time. Every so often, vinyl floors need to be mopped to get up any sticky grime. 

Always be sure to double-check your flooring specifications and manufacturer recommendations before cleaning. Some cleaning products may be too harsh for vinyls, and it’s best to know beforehand! However, here is a basic guide to cleaning vinyl floors.
  1. Sweep or vacuum before mopping–always! Small particles of dirt can scratch the vinyl’s surface, much like sandpaper. Be sure to get those hard-to-reach places beneath furniture and in nooks and corners. 

  2. Choose a proper mop–preferably one with a non-abrasive microfiber head and a built-in scrub brush to buff up sticky gunk. (Take a look at more tips below for specific stains.)

  3. Add a pH neutral cleaner to a bucket of warm water. Better yet, consult your manufacturers' Care and Maintenance Guidelines for recommended cleaners. Many manufacturers make their own cleaners. Regardless, check your cleaning product label to ensure it is "pH" neutral. A pH level of 7 is neutral. The use of cleaners other than those recommended by your manufacturer may void your warranty and dull the finish of your floor. 

  4. Using a damp mop (but not soaking), clean the area. Rinse the mop frequently. 

  5. Go back over the vinyl flooring with a clean wet mop to remove any excess cleaner.

    Mopping the floor

Here are some specific tips for deep cleaning your vinyl floors that could come in handy:

  • Use a soft nylon brush head to remove certain gunk and hard to remove spots.

  • If you come across stubborn scuffs, use a buffing product recommended by the manufacturer. 

  • For food stains, such as spilled wine droplets from parties or mustards from your weekend barbecue, make a gentle, non-abrasive paste of baking soda and water to rub across the stain. Remove any traces of the baking soda once the stain disappears. 

  • Rubbing alcohol removes lipsticks, hair dyes and inks but will dull the surface of the area.

  • Mineral spirits tackle crayons, paints and markers from your kids’ craft projects but may also result in a dullness in the area cleaned.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Vinyl Flooring

 

While the above instructions are good to reference, there are, however, a few things to avoid when it comes to cleaning vinyl floors. 

  • Avoid using a vacuum “beater bar” attachment, which could damage the surface.

  • Never steam clean vinyl flooring.

  • Avoid abrasive scrubbing brushes or steel wool. 

  • Avoid detergents and abrasive powders and soaps that leave vinyl floors filmy and dull.

  • Never use paste-like wax or a solvent-based polish with acetone.

  • Never use ammonia cleaners or solutions with any trace of ammonia, as it breaks down and causes cracks in vinyl.

Extra Care Tips for Vinyl Flooring

Beauflor Boardwalk, Path Breeze

Beauflor Boardwalk, Path Breeze

Besides learning how to clean vinyl flooring, do yourself a favor and learn some extra care tips as well. Here’s a breakdown of how to properly care for vinyl flooring. 

  • Never steam clean vinyl flooring. Luxury vinyl planks and tiles are often waterproof; however, this does not imply steam! Only use a mop or Swiffer-like tool. 

  • Position furniture legs and feet on felt pads to eliminate accidental scratches and indentations.

  • Avoid furniture on rollers (like bar carts, office chairs, etc.) unless placed over a rug to protect against scratches. 

  • When moving heavier items (like appliances or bed frames), put down plywood to handle the impact. 

Ultimately, even though it’s durable, vinyl flooring still needs proper care and a bit of caution. Vinyl is relatively softer than other hard-surfaced floorings, which means it can be penetrated by sharp or heavy objects if not careful. 

Also, if you are choosing a vinyl flooring to install, make sure it’s treated with a UV-resistant coating to prevent color fading from sunlight. 

Find your perfect floor with our Floor Genius Quiz and be sure to check out our virtual flooring showroom. And should you decide on vinyl flooring, have a professional installation to ensure to lay vinyl plank flooring correctly


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Twenty & Oak Experts
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast. 
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