How to Clean Linoleum Floors With Vinegar

Wondering how to keep your linoleum floors clean and shiny? The best way to clean linoleum floors is with a product that's probably already in your pantry: vinegar. This versatile cooking ingredient does an excellent job of cleaning the linoleum material and protecting its beauty while also preventing wax from building up on the flooring.

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The best way to clean linoleum floors is with a product that's probably already in your pantry: vinegar.

Basics of Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum is a distinct flooring material made from linseed oil that oxidizes the other materials, which often includes pine resin, ground cork dust or wood flour. It goes onto a backing made of canvas or jute to create the flooring material. Linoleum is a durable flooring material with natural cushioning and a hypoallergenic quality, which makes it a popular addition to many homes.

Taking care of your linoleum floor can make it last 30 to 40 years. A solid cleaning routine is a basic part of that care, and a linoleum floor cleaner recipe using vinegar is an effective way to do that. Linoleum is similar to wood flooring in that too much moisture can cause damage. Alkalinity can also ruin the flooring, so avoid cleaners with ammonia.

Linoleum Floor Cleaner Recipe

Prepare the cleaner by pouring 1 cup of distilled vinegar into 1 gallon of hot water. Stir to combine the ingredients. You can also squeeze in a couple of drops of dish soap for a little extra cleaning power.

Mix up the cleaning solution right before you're ready to mop so it stays warm. You may need to make a new batch of the solution part way through cleaning if your mop water gets dirty. Using dirty water can leave residue on your floor and doesn't clean as effectively.

Cleaning the Floor

To clean linoleum with vinegar, start with dirt- and dust-free floors. Sweeping or vacuuming using a hard floor setting regularly helps keep dirt from collecting. Do a thorough sweep before you start cleaning with your vinegar solution so it doesn't turn the dirt into muddy streaks.

Damp-mop the floor using the vinegar cleaning solution. You don't want your mop to be soaking wet as the moisture can damage the linoleum. Wring out most of the water so your mop is just damp.

Work in small sections, moving the mop back and forth across the flooring. Rinse the mop regularly, again squeezing out most of the water so it's just damp. Change the water as needed to keep it clean.

Rinsing the Floor

Doing another pass over your floor helps remove any remaining vinegar. Rinse the mop well first or get a fresh mop for this step. Work your way around the room, damp mopping all surfaces to remove the vinegar cleaner residue.

If there's any standing water or excess moisture on the linoleum floor, wipe it up immediately to avoid damaging the surface. You can towel dry the entire surface, but it's also fine to let the flooring air dry as long as there's no standing water. Avoid walking on it until it's completely dry.

Other Linoleum Floor Cleaner Options

If you don't have vinegar on hand or you want to try alternative options, other simple ingredients also work safely on linoleum. Always go over your floors with fresh, plain water no matter what cleaning agent you use to remove the remnants and prevent streaks.

Adding about five drops of dish soap to 1 gallon of water is a simple solution. Another option is mixing 2 tablespoons of Borax into 1 gallon of water. Castile soap is also a safe cleaner. Mix 2 tablespoons of it into each gallon of hot water.


Shelley Frost

Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.