Stripping linoleum floors is an idea that gives most homeowners nightmares. While it is true the process can be a messy and time-consuming project, it is necessary if you want to remove the dirt and residue that has gotten trapped underneath the polish of your linoleum floor. Linoleum floors should not be confused with vinyl floors, which are often referred to as linoleum despite being chemically different. While vinyl flooring can be stripped with any type of floor stripper, linoleum floors should only be stripped with strippers that are designed for linoleum. Brand names, of authentic linoleum, include Marmoleum, Marmorette, Linoplan and Linosom.
Dust mop or sweep the floor to remove loose debris.
Mix linoleum floor stripper according to the directions on the bottle.
In an inconspicuous area of the floor, test the stripper to ensure that it won't damage your linoleum.
Apply the stripping solution to a 3 to 4-foot section of the floor with your old mop. If you apply the solution to a larger section of the floor, the solution could dry before you get a chance to scrub and you will end up having to strip the same section twice.
Wait five to ten minutes (or according to the directions on the bottle) for the stripper to work. When the floor becomes milky, indicating that the polish has softened, you know that the floor is ready to be scrubbed.
Scrub the floor thoroughly with a scrub brush or green stripping pad. If doing a large floor, you may want to rent or purchase an automatic scrubber. Brown, black and Hi-Pro stripping pads can damage linoleum as can brushes that are too stiff.
Remove the stripping solution and old polish with a clean mop or a wet/dry vacuum.
Rinse the stripped area with clean water and a clean mop. Change the water frequently to avoid redepositing polish onto the floor.
Repeat Steps 4 through 8 until the entire floor has been done. If your stripping solution becomes cloudy with polish residue, make sure to throw it out and make new solution.
Repeat the entire process if the floor has a lot of polish accumulation. Properly stripped floors should look faded and dull.