Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring Maintenance and Care

If pouring time and effort into floor care isn’t your idea of a good time, then linoleum and vinyl flooring will definitely appeal to you.

Practicing just a few basic tips will keep your floors looking great over their expected lifetime – 10 or more years for basic vinyl, 25 or more years for luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and as many as 40 years for linoleum.

vinyl and lino flooring maintanence and care

Daily Care of Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

It’s pretty simple. Debris such as dirt, sand, sugar and flour act like sandpaper on the wear layer of your flooring, scuffing the surface and dulling the shine. For prevention:

  • Trade shoes for socks or soft slippers indoors
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor every few days or as needed, though do not use a vacuum with a rotating brush
  • When you see dirt on the flooring, clean it up immediately
  • Use lukewarm water and a sponge or soft mop to remove dirt that has adhered to the flooring
  • Never use harsh chemicals or scrubbing agents, even “mild” ones like soft scrub products
  • There is no need to wax your vinyl flooring
  • Avoid mop and shine products because they’ll dull your flooring
  • Cleaner formulated for linoleum along with a damp mop can be used on linoleum but not on vinyl
  • When mopping floors, change your water frequently to avoid mopping with dirty, gritty water
  • Put pads on the feet of any furniture including chairs to help prevent marks and gouges in the flooring
  • Avoid dragging heavy objects over the floor, or at least put the object on a blanket to slide it across the floor

Additional Care Tips for Vinyl Flooring

Just a few more vinyl flooring maintenance tips will help you handle any issues that arise.

  • If a seam or edge comes loose, keep the area clean until it can be repaired because dirt hinders glue adhesion (see our repair guide for details).
  • The same principle holds for flooring that is cut or gouged.
  • Only use floor mats designed for placement on vinyl, since others can cause discoloration of the flooring.
  • If you use mats, keep them dirt-free as much as possible and get dirt out from under them to avoid the “sandpaper” effect that will scuff and cloud the surface.
  • Vinyl flooring should be replaced when it has noticeably lost its shine, has more deep, discolored scratches than you care to look at or when it has lost its appeal to you.

Additional Care Tips for Linoleum Flooring

The care and maintenance of linoleum flooring is a bit more involved. These linoleum maintenance tips are important.

  • If a seam or edge comes loose, keep the area clean so that the glue will adhere well during the repair.
  • Only use cleaners formulated for linoleum.
  • Linoleum requires a polish for continued good looks, but only use one specifically formulated for linoleum and follow the directions closely.
  • After some years of standard care, normal cleaning won’t restore the shine, and the floor polish will need to be stripped and re-applied. Only use products designed for the flooring you have, so consult your retailer, installer or the manufacturer’s website for details.
  • Linoleum flooring should be replaced when even stripping and polishing doesn’t significantly improve its looks or when you’re ready to move on to something else.

Maintenance and Care FAQ

My linoleum was just installed, and it looks yellow compared with the sample I chose. What’s wrong with it?

The good news is that nothing is wrong, and everything will come right shortly. Mild yellow shading might be present in your linoleum when first installed, and this is a normal phase of the linseed oxidation process. This yellowing fades and disappears when the flooring is exposed to light, especially natural light.

I’ve heard that hot water is not good for vinyl and linoleum. Is there truth in that?

Yes, hot water will cloud the surface of some vinyl and linoleum flooring. Lukewarm is about as warm as water should be for floor care.

How can I sanitize my flooring?

An excellent method for cleaning and disinfecting your flooring is to mix one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of water and use it with a sponge mop to clean floors. Rinse the floor with plain water when finished.

Does my vinyl floor need waxing?

Most vinyl flooring does not require waxing. If you have an old floor and want to wax it as a “last resort” to try to make it shine, go right ahead. Another method for adding a bit of shine to any vinyl floor is to put a cap full of baby oil in the rinse water during cleaning.

Can anything be done about the bad scuff mark on my floor?

It’s possible. Spray WD-40 on a clean towel, and rub it into the scuff mark. Wipe off the excess, and clean the area with a water and vinegar solution. This might help. Jojoba oil works well for this too.

Can I vacuum my vinyl and linoleum floors?

Yes, but not with a vacuum that has a rotating brush. Use suction only with no brushing.

I’ve heard that ammonia is bad for vinyl. Am I right?

Ammonia can make vinyl brittle which can lead to cracking, so yes, avoid ammonia or cleaners with ammonia.

I’ve got a grape juice stain on my vinyl. Can anything be done?

Try making a paste out of water and baking soda. With a soft cloth, rub the paste gently into the stain. This might reduce or remove it. Clean the area thoroughly afterwards to remove any trace of the baking soda.

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