How to Clean Vinyl Floors

How to Clean Vinyl FloorIf you have vinyl floors, you probably bought them for their style, durability and simple upkeep. Indeed, vinyl flooring is incredibly resilient, and very little effort is required to keep it looking spic and span. Still, that doesn't mean you can forgo cleaning it entirely. By knowing how to do it properly, you'll avoid inadvertently damaging it, and you'll be able to keep it looking like new for a long time to come.

Basic Vinyl Flooring Tips

Wax versus No-Wax

Before you can clean vinyl floors properly, you need to determine whether yours are wax or no-wax. Generally speaking, if your vinyl floors were installed within the last 10 years or so, you can be fairly confident that they're of the no-wax variety.

No-wax vinyl floors have clear polyurethane coatings that keep them looking shiny, so there's no need to wax them. In fact, waxing them is a bad idea. The wax won't stick, and you'll end up with a huge mess on your hands. If your no-wax vinyl floors lose their luster, purchase a sealant or polish that's specifically designed for no-wax floors; Mop & Glo Floor Polish is a solid choice. Apply two thin layers to clean no-wax vinyl flooring, and you'll be good to go.

If you have older, wax vinyl floors, occasional waxing is required. For general cleaning, though, warm water and mild detergent does the trick. Using a damp mop or cloth, rub the floor gently and just enough to loosen away dirt and grime. Take care not to remove the wax. Rinse the floor with a different, clean, damp mop or cloth and let it air dry.

Basic Care and Cleaning Tips for Vinyl Floors

You're going to want to vacuum or dry mop your vinyl floors at least once a week. Tackle high-traffic areas more frequently to prevent dirt, grit, dust, hair and other debris from building up. If it's not cleared away regular, such debris can work its way into the cracks and even slowly but surely damage the protective coating on the vinyl floor tiles.

A special note about vacuuming vinyl floors: Don't use the beater bar or agitator. They can damage the vinyl floor. Rather, use a soft bristle attachment.

A great way to minimize the amount of debris that ends up on your vinyl floor is by placing floor mats at entryways and exits. As people step into or out of a room, debris on their shoes or feet will be caught by the mat, so less of it will be tracked onto the vinyl.

Consider using furniture pads to prevent tables and chairs from leaving scuff marks or even potentially scratching or otherwise damaging your vinyl flooring. When moving large, bulky pieces of furniture, slide them onto pieces of plywood first to keep them from making direct contact with the floor.

Vinyl Floors - General Cleaning

Vinyl flooring is wonderfully low-maintenance. As long as you vacuum or dry mop your floors one or two times per week, you shouldn't have to worry about washing them too often. Most people can get away with giving their vinyl floors one basic washing per month. For a basic washing, plain, hot water, a sponge and/or a sponge mop are all that you'll need. Just take care not to soak the mop too much. Wring it out so it's just damp to prevent excess water from damaging the floor.

How to Give Your Vinyl Floor a Deep Cleaning

Regularly vacuuming, dry mopping and cleaning your vinyl floor with hot water should keep it looking great for months at a time. Every now and then, though, it pays to give the floor a more thorough cleaning. Chances are you already have what you need.

For general purposes, mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one gallon of hot water. The acidity of the vinegar works to gently remove grime and dirt with leaving the film or residue that's typically left by soap- and wax-based cleaning products. Using a damp sponge mop, gently wipe down your vinyl flooring. Rinse the mop frequently to avoid spreading around dirt and grime.

If your vinyl floor is especially grimy, add a couple drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the solution. In a separate bucket, keep the regular mixture of vinegar and water. Clean the floor first with the mixture that includes soap, and then go over it again with the water-and-vinegar-only mixture. Finally, finish off by wiping it down with a clean mop soaked and then wrung out with clean, cool water.

Another option is to use a commercial cleaning product that's specifically designed for vinyl floors. Pledge Tile & Vinyl Floor Cleaner and Armstrong Shinekeeper Polish work well.

Tackling Special Stains on Vinyl Floors

Remove common stains from vinyl floors using the following techniques:

  • Scuffs - Apply WD-40 or jojoba oil to a clean towel. Rub the stain gently, and then clean it with water and vinegar.
  • Hairspray - Mix a couple squirts of shampoo with one gallon of water. Apply it to the stain using a cloth, and then rinse with fresh water.
  • Nail Polish - Use an acetone-based nail polish remover to remove the stain.
  • Ink, Hair Dye and Lipstick - Gently rub the stain with a rag that's been daubed with rubbing alcohol.
  • Marker, Crayon or Paint - A soft cloth dampened with mineral spirits should do the trick.

There you have it! With these tips in mind, you'll have no trouble keeping your vinyl floors looking clean and new.

Have questions? Ask our expert on Google+