Originally invented as an affordable alternative to linoleum flooring, vinyl flooring was lauded for its durability and temperature resistance. With vinyl, there are tons of designs that can mimic all sorts of materials, including wood and stone. But often unlike the materials it is designed to look like, vinyl is notoriously easy to clean.
Wondering just how easy it can be to keep your vinyl floors looking clean and scuff-free? In this article, you’ll find some of our favorite natural cleaning options, along with some tips and tricks for keeping your floors shiny and sturdy for as long as possible. Keep reading for more information!
What Exactly Is Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Vinyl is a popular flooring medium because of its increased density, rigidity, and durability. Vinyl plank flooring, which can also be sold as vinyl tile or vinyl plank, usually comes in large tiles or planks and can be even more realistic-looking than linoleum and older flooring types.
Vinyl plank flooring is also easy to install because each piece clicks and locks together like puzzle pieces. All that said, we’re not here to sell you some new flooring. We want to help you learn how to clean and care for flooring so your vinyl looks its best for as long as possible.
What Are You Going to Need?
Luckily, vinyl flooring is super easy to clean and maintain, and you won’t even have to break out professional-grade cleaners or expensive tools. Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand for proper cleaning and care:
- Microfiber or regular cleaning cloth
- Soft bristle brush
- Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- Gentle dish soap
- A bucket or basin
How to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring
Cleaning and caring for your vinyl plank flooring is actually really simple. Vacuuming, scrubbing, and mopping are the best ways to keep your floor in good condition, so here are some tips for each method before you get the cleaning ball rolling:
- One of the most damaging things for vinyl flooring is the lack of regular surface cleaning. It’s recommended to always vacuum, sweep, or dry-mop your floors every day or two. According to the World Floor Covering Association, doing this regularly can keep all kinds of debris, dust, and dirt under control so they can’t create any scratches or dull the finish of your floor.
- Thankfully, vinyl is pretty easy to clean, but stains can still appear in the most inconvenient places. Whether the stain is fresh or old and set in, a soft-bristled scrub brush can loosen and remove it without scratching your floor. Just dip your scrub brush in a solution of baking soda and water, then scrub at the stain gently. If that doesn’t work, you can use a bit of isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to treat and remove the stain.
- Mopping is the best way to keep your vinyl flooring looking amazing. One of the most effective vinyl flooring cleaners can be made by mixing a cup of apple cider or white vinegar in a gallon of hot water. Use this solution to mop as you regularly would, remembering to mop with the grain of the planks. The vinegar mix will tackle dirt, grime, and stains and even disinfect your floors without leaving any annoying streaks or soap scum.
Fixing Scratches & Scuffs on Vinyl Flooring
Even when you keep up with regular cleaning, scratches can appear around the surface of vinyl flooring fairly easily. When it comes to vinyl plank flooring, there are a couple of options for treating the scratches and scuffs that have accumulated on the surface.
- There are a few ways you can treat scratches on your vinyl floors. Put a bit of olive oil onto a microfiber towel, and then buff the area for more shallow scratches. If the scratch is deeper, consider shopping for a vinyl floor sealer as these can hide the scratch and protect the floor from further damage. If the scratch is too deep and obvious to be repaired or hidden, you may need to fully replace the affected plank.
- For light scuff marks, there are some simple tricks for easy removal. One weird old trick is to rub a tennis ball or pencil eraser over the scuff until it has been removed. You can also simply dip a soft cloth in a bit of rubbing alcohol or baby oil and hold the cloth on the mark for a few seconds before wiping it away.
Do You Need to Wax Your Vinyl?
This is actually a super common question that can be answered with a simple NOPE!
Vinyl plank flooring is usually made and sold with a protective coating already covering each plank, giving it a shiny finish and protective seal against moisture and damage. Applying wax or wax-based products can actually eat away at that protective vinyl coating or just slide around on the surface and create a big mess around the home.
If you’re looking for a way to repair and improve the appearance of your vinyl plank flooring, you can consider looking around for and applying a protective coating of vinyl floor sealer instead so that your floors will be refreshed and ready for your regular cleaning routine.
More Vinyl Plank Flooring Cleaning Tips & Tricks
- Always wipe up spills as soon as possible, and treat stains with an appropriate cleaning solution. Some substances with drastic pH levels, like oil, vinegar, or lemon juice can actually cause discoloration and rough-looking stains. Catching and cleaning spills can save you time and effort when cleaning your vinyl flooring regularly.
- Many common abrasive products like scrubbing sponges, steel wool, and other similar materials can easily scratch and even eat through the protective coating on your vinyl plank flooring. We highly suggest sticking with a mop or soft-bristled brush when you need a deeper and more effective clean.
- Due to its synthetic nature vinyl flooring can, on occasion, fall prey to rust. But this can be easily fixed by simply wiping it away with a microfiber cloth dipped in a solution of baking soda and water. Just remember to treat any rust stains as quickly as possible so that there is no long-term staining or damage!
- When cleaning, keep in mind that ammonia and vinyl flooring’s synthetic coating do not mix well. Ammonia actually breaks down the finish and damages the flooring.
To protect your vinyl floors, add some felt pads on the feet of heavy furniture, and avoid furniture with rolling feet. Similar to hardwood floors, vinyl plank flooring can easily be scratched and scuffed by sliding heavy furniture around, so remember to lift it off the floor to move it.
Check out our How to Clean Vinyl Flooring guide from Home Depot:
For more regular cleaning tips and tricks or to find out how our team can help you keep your whole home looking and feeling clean, check out our blog for more information!