How to Clean Discolored Vinyl Flooring

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how to clean discolored vinyl flooring

Vinyl is one of the most durable and easiest to care for types of flooring.

And it’s making a big comeback.

You can now find beautiful patterns of vinyl in planks, tiles, and sheet flooring.

But that doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws. Because as easy as is to care for, over time vinyl can discolor or develop yellow spots. 

Here’s how to clean discolored vinyl flooring – the best ways to bring your vinyl back to life.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Discolored Vinyl Flooring?

To clean discolored vinyl floor, start by thoroughly sweeping and then mop with a half water and half vinegar solution. Afterward, apply a baking soda paste to the discolored spots and rub until the stains are gone. If that doesn’t work, try treating scuff marks with WD-40 and other stains with rubbing alcohol.

What Causes Discolored Vinyl Flooring?

There are many causes of discolored vinyl flooring, and unfortunately, not all of them are fixable. 

Some of the most common causes include spills, dirt build-up, left-over adhesive, and crayon marks. These are usually reversible, and you can treat them with one of the methods listed below.

Discoloration caused by heat or chemical reactions, however, is not reversible. So, if your vinyl has yellowed because you’ve dropped a heat tool (like a curling iron) on it, it’s been exposed to the sun for years, or you’ve used harsh chemicals, you won’t be able to make it look like new again.

(The only exception is that if your vinyl flooring is white, you may be able to bleach the yellow spots out of it. )

Top 5 Ways to Clean Discolored Vinyl

top 5 ways to clean discolored vinyl

Try these five methods if you want to remove stains from your vinyl flooring and bring it back to life.

Vinegar and Water

Vinegar is one of the best cleaners for vinyl. It’s acidic enough to remove dirt and grime build-up without damaging the floor. Plus, white distilled vinegar has some antibacterial properties.

So, before you go on to other more harsh methods of trying to clean your discolored vinyl, sweep your floors and then mop with a solution of half water and half vinegar.

Baking Soda Paste

One of the best stain removal methods to try on vinyl flooring is a simple baking soda paste. Since baking soda is slightly abrasive, it does a great job at lifting many types of stains.

Here’s what to do:

  • Mix baking soda and water until a thick paste forms
  • Using a rag or paper towel, rub the paste until you’ve removed the stain
  • Mop your floor with a vinegar and water solution

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is perfect for removing all types of ink stains. All you need to do is pour a little rubbing alcohol on the stain and scrub it with a soft-bristled scrub brush.

Afterward, soak up all the rubbing alcohol with a towel and thoroughly rinse the floor with water.

Depending on the intensity of the stain, you may need to repeat this process a couple of times.


WD-40 acts as a solvent, making it a good cleaner for scuff marks or stains caused by adhesives. So, if scuffs or sticky spills have discolored your vinyl floor, you can give this method a try.

Here’s what to do:

  • Spray W-D40 on a paper towel
  • Rub the paper towel all over the discoloration until removed
  • Clean the spot with water and towel dry

Soft-Bristled Brush

Sometimes, what looks like a stain is a thin layer of dirt that’s stuck to the floor. When this happens, the stain usually looks brown or brown-speckled instead of yellow or orange.

One of the best ways to remove this stuck-on dirt is to scrub the floor with a regular mopping solution and nylon-bristle brush. This will help loosen and remove the dirt.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to clean discolored vinyl flooring

How do you remove yellow spots on vinyl flooring?

Yellow spots caused by heat are not removable. The only exception is if you have white vinyl, in which case you might be able to bleach the yellow spots out.

However, if your yellow spots are caused by a spill you can remove the stain by rubbing it with a baking soda paste made of baking soda and water.

How to deep clean vinyl floors?

To deep clean your vinyl floors, sweep them with a broom and dustpan. Next, mix up a solution of half-white distilled vinegar and half water and mop the floors. This solution will break down dirt and disinfect.

What causes white residue on vinyl floors?

Cleaner build-up is often the cause of white residue on vinyl floors. To remove these white spots, mop your floor with vinegar and water and then towel dry. If the marks are still there, scrub them with a baking soda paste.

Can I use a Magic Eraser on vinyl floors?

You should never use a Magic Eraser on vinyl floors. Magic Erasers are abrasive and will remove the shiny topcoat from your floors and may even remove some pigment. 


When cleaning discolored vinyl flooring, your best bet is to clean the entire floor with vinegar and water and then spot treat the stains. If the discoloration on your vinyl floors is from spills, adhesive, or scuff marks, you should be able to remove it.

However, if your discoloration is from heat, you’ll have a much harder time making your floors look new again.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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