How to Clean Vinyl Flooring Properly


Vinyl flooring gets a bad reputation, and it doesn’t deserve it. Sure, there are cheap and tacky looking versions out there, but many of them could easily fool those who come to visit. 

Regardless of whether or not you like vinyl, the fact remains that you have to take care of it. 

You might be relieved to know that taking care of vinyl flooring is not particularly difficult. All it needs is a gentle touch and careful instructions – which you will find below in our handy guide. 

So, why not take pride in your vinyl floors and see what your friends and family think? We reckon you will be quite pleasantly surprised.

How to Clean Vinyl Flooring

We know you don’t want to be stuck on your hands and knees scrubbing the floor for hours on end, and that’s why our cleaning guide is quick and effective. It gives your floors the clean they need, while also ensuring that it doesn’t take up your whole day.

1 Step One: Prevention 

Your floors are stepped on every single day, and so keeping them in perfect condition is absolutely impossible. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help prevent the build-up of dirt and grime on your floor. 

Getting a doormat at the entrance is a great way to ensure shoes lose a good amount of dirt before they are brought into the house. Additionally, they also trap allergens like pollen to help protect those with allergies from reacting inside their own home. 

It’s important to remove grit and debris because it acts a lot like sandpaper when it comes into contact with vinyl – scraping the surface and allowing dirt to stick in the scratches and grooves that it creates, making cleaning more difficult. 

Another great way to prevent dirt from building up is to sweep the floors regularly and use the vacuum cleaner at least once a week. If it is possible, you should also avoid bringing your shoes in or have a rack where you can place them to avoid chemicals from asphalt that can yellow the vinyl.

2 Step Two: Make use of your cleaning tools

If your vinyl floor has become discoloured, you might not need to bring out the heavy-duty cleaning products and tools to get it clean. Instead, you can try some methods that are gentler on the floor. 

As previously mentioned, regular sweeping and vacuuming have a massive impact on the overall cleanliness and longevity of your flooring. However, the little things are also important to remember. Things like wiping up water immediately after it is spilt will keep your floor in top condition.

clean vinyl floor

You can also use a mop for the stubborn areas – just a regular mop and bucket style mop with warm water (never hot or it will warp the floor). You can also add a very mild soap or detergent that has been designed for use with vinyl. Just make sure you dry the area thoroughly after.

3 Step Three: Find the right cleaner for your floor

Different types of vinyl require different cleaners and methods. A lot of the time, just using a classic mop and bucket is more than enough to keep your vinyl floors clean and free from grime. 

Older forms of vinyl will normally require waxing in order to get back in shape, and you can use a combination of warm water and vinyl-safe detergent for this. 

All you need to do is apply this mixture to the floor with the mop so that it loosens the dirt. If it doesn’t require waxing, you can go straight with the vinyl cleaners and only need to follow the instructions on the back of the packet. 

If your vinyl floor has accumulated hairspray residue, all you need to do is mix a small amount of shampoo with warm water before applying it to the floor and then rinse it. This will get rid of that awful sticky feeling.

Some people also use apple cider vinegar and water on their vinyl flooring. Combined with baking soda for those really tough stains it can be highly effective as well as gentle on your vinyl flooring. The video below goes through the process in a quick and easy manner.

4 Step Four: Rinsing is key

Even if the cleaner says you don’t have to rinse it, you absolutely do. If you leave it on the floor, it will only create a slow accumulation of residue and chemicals that will potentially ruin your vinyl flooring over time.

Once you have applied your soap and cleaners, you can remove the scum using a manual mop. This will also prevent dirt from sticking to the dried soap. It’s a good idea to have two mops available when you clean using soap – one for washing the floor and the other for rinsing it.

vinyl flooring before and after

5 Step Five: Keep it dry

It’s easy to over soak a vinyl floor, and this can be damaging to vinyl flooring – even going so far as to promote mould growth or warp the floor. This is especially true if you do not have waterproof vinyl, and so special attention must be made to ensure the floor is dried after cleaning and kept that way. You don’t want to wreck your vinyl floor.

6 Step Six: Use casters on furniture

Furniture that is big and bulky can be very damaging to vinyl floors, especially since they tend to occupy one space in the house without being moved often. 

This is why it is important that you fit casters to the feet of your furniture – it helps prevent damage. 

Additionally, if you decide to move the furniture or it slides across the floor, the feet will prevent scratching and gouging; allowing it to move smoothly across the surface. The best choice is to use the felt ones that stick to the furniture feet as they are soft on the floor. 

You can also use plywood sheeting as an option instead of casters, allowing furniture to be pushed smoothly. However, this isn’t nearly as attractive and it can be a little impractical.


Can You Use Bleach on Vinyl Flooring?

No, you shouldn’t use bleach on vinyl flooring. This is because bleach is a corrosive substance that can cause permanent damage to your vinyl floors. The same goes for cleaning products that contain ingredients like ammonia – they have a high pH that can be very damaging.

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Floors?

No, you cannot use a steam mop or steam cleaner on vinyl flooring. This is because the extreme heat from the mop can end up warping the flooring, or even soaking it to the point that it ends up becoming mouldy or the glue is loosened and the floor separates from the ground.

Can You Put Heavy Furniture on Vinyl Flooring?

No, you should avoid putting heavy furniture on vinyl flooring. This is because it can cause dark marks that are either difficult or impossible to remove. Additionally, it may cause the flooring to bend and dip, or even cause a hole. Either way, this kind of damage will result in the floor needing to be replaced.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning floors is not the most exciting chore in the world, and it often feels like it’s going to take forever. However, our quick and easy guide to vinyl cleaning should put a little skip in your step as the process becomes faster than ever. If you follow our advice, you’ll be well on the way to gorgeous vinyl floors. 

We’d love to know how you got on with our vinyl cleaning guide. Did it help you bring your floors back to life, or are they still a little lacklustre? Your feedback and experiences are important to us, so make sure you leave us a message in the comment section below. Protection Status