Best Way to Clean Vinyl Floors (Safe and Easy)

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way to clean vinyl floorsYour vinyl floors are going to get dirty, but using the wrong method of cleaning will do more harm than good.

Vinyl floors have a plastic sealant across their top layer that can break down under strong chemicals or abuse. That’s why the best way to clean luxury vinyl plank floors is to dry vacuum regularly, use warm water and a mop when you have to, and avoid volatile chemicals like bleach that will chew through your floor in a hurry.

Here’s a short, to the point list of our steps for keeping your vinyl floors clean.

  • First and foremost, you should sweep up dry dirt regularly. The everyday kind of dirt that accumulates in your house is damaging to your vinyl floor, so combat it with a soft-tipped broom or vacuum.
  • Use warm water and a vinyl-friendly detergent to scrub your floorscrub. You don’t need to mop your vinyl floor often, but every few months should do the trick. And of course, if you have a spill, you’ll want to mop it up immediately.
  • Use a towel or dry cloth on your floor afterwards. Vinyl isn’t meant to be soaked the way other floors are. The seal that makes it resistant to absorbing dirt also keeps out your soap and wax, so wipe your floor before these dry and create a slick layer on top of your vinyl.
  • Finally, don’t use bleach or other corrosive chemicals on difficult spills. Vinyl is made of polyurethane, and chemicals like bleach will eat right through it. When a spill is especially difficult, applying extra elbow grease is your best solution.

We know that vinyl says it is a no-wax material, but that means more than that it has no wax on it. The polyurethane the floor is made out of is resistant to wax and trying to apply it will create a slick spot on your floor when the wax fails to stick that you’ll just have to rinse off again. Vinyl comes with more built-in resilience than most floorings but also suffers because many methods to keep it well treated, like waxing, are impossible.

Sweeping Is Number One

sweeping vinyl floorOur recommended first step is to vacuum the floor on a regular basis. The floor can be scratched or scuffed if you’re not careful, and you can’t wax to smooth those scrapes out, so a vacuum with a rolling bar or tough bristles is not recommended. Consider using a broom with light bristles for small bits of dirt, and use a vacuum with a lot of suction power to clean up bigger clumps of dirt.

Keep Mopping To A Minimum

mopping vinyl floorsThe finish on vinyl floors doesn’t take well to hot water, unfortunately. When you spill something on it, or after you sweep your floor, you’ll need to follow-up by mopping your vinyl surface.

When you start mopping, you should use warm water instead of hot, and rinse out some of the water in your mop. Too much water can leak into cracks or between the vinyl, and cause cracking and damage to your vinyl.

If you use a soap or cleaning product to help wash your floor, make sure to keep it in moderation. The plastic finish on vinyl is resistant to soap the same it is resistant to wax. Cleaners can end up smeared across your vinyl floor, forming a soapy film that you have to rub away with a towel or cloth instead.

When you do use soap, use a mild product. Stronger chemicals, like bleach, can overpower the seal on your vinyl floor outright and cause permanent damage to your floor.

Alternatives Help

doormat to protect vinyl floorsFinally, consider giving your vinyl a little protection. If you’re looking for the best way to keep your vinyl floor clean in the long term, placing a doormat near any entryway into the room can help. It will give you a smaller surface area to clean in your room, and give people a chance to wipe mud off of their feet before they track it into your room in the first place.

In Conclusion

That’s our best way to clean vinyl floors. If you have a vinyl floor, remember not to try waxing it or applying a powerful soap, because these may simply form a layer on top of your vinyl when you’re done. Clean dry dirt with a powerful suction vacuum or softly bristled broom to avoid scraping your floor. And finally, use warm water instead of hot water to avoid wrinkling the material, and rinse out your mop to avoid dumping excess water into the cracks.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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