How to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

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Vinyl plank flooring is a versatile flooring for people that want the look of wood without having to go through the trouble of real wood.
Image Credit: poplasen/iStock/GettyImages

Vinyl plank flooring is a versatile flooring for people that want the look of wood without having to go through construction, renovation or pay the price for wood floors. Wood flooring is a sought-after decor design choice, but vinyl has become a popular option. Although vinyl flooring may seem like it's difficult to maintain and care for, there are easy ways to clean vinyl plank flooring. Even cleaning vinyl floors with grooves is quicker than you can ask Alexa how to do it.


Benefits of Vinyl Planking

The reason why people prefer vinyl over wood is that it gives you the look of wood without the cost. It can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms or living rooms without the floor warping. Also, it's easier to maintain if you have young children or pets that are hard on your floors.


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Maintaining Your Floor

Before you attempt to figure out the best way to clean vinyl plank flooring, you must maintain it first. When dealing with vinyl floors, you have to keep any materials that can scratch it off the floor at all times. Consistently sweeping and vacuuming will ensure that dirt, small stones and dust aren't scratching the floor.


Vinyl floors are sensitive, so you should only use a mild cleanser for daily cleaning. If you're using a commercial cleaner, use one that's gentle. Also, before you even get ready to clean the floor, vacuum or dry mop before wet cleaning.

What Not to Do

Vinyl floors are temperamental, so there are a couple of things that you shouldn't do when dealing with this material. When you spot clean the floor, try not to scrub it too hard because you could rub the shine off. Never use abrasive scrubbers or a knife to scrape dried things off the floor. When you're wet cleaning the floor, try not to use a lot of water because it can damage the vinyl underneath. Most importantly, never use ammonia or bleach to clean your vinyl floor.


Other Vinyl Tips

If you have bulky furniture, chairs or tables, you should place protective pads underneath the legs because they can scratch the floor. Use felt instead of vinyl, though, because rubber bottoms can stain the floor. To stop the risk of dirt or dust from being brought inside, use doormats at any entranceway.


This will make cleaning more manageable and make it less likely for dirt to scratch the floor. If you have hot items like space heaters, ashes or coals, keep them away from the vinyl flooring. You should never clean vinyl flooring with abrasive powders, black soap, acetone, solvents, wax, varnish, oil-based products or steam cleaners.


Any of these products can severely damage the floor, even if the mess seems like it needs something heavy-duty. You have to make sure that you're using cleaning products that are safe for vinyl planks. Not using heavy-duty cleaners can help maintain the longevity of the floor.


Deep Cleaning Your Floor

Whether you have a meticulous parent coming over or just like a super clean house, sometimes a deep clean of a vinyl floor is just what the doctor ordered. When you're deep cleaning, you can add a tablespoon of dish soap to a vinegar solution. There are cleaning products that are safe for vinyl planks, but you need to use something that isn't abrasive.


This will help remove any pesky dirt that you may have missed when spot treating your floor. When you're using this solution, you only need a soft cloth or nylon-bristle brush. If you do have scuffs, try using a little jojoba oil or WD-40 with the cloth. The oil or WD-40 should get rid of scuff marks.

If you have deep stains on the vinyl flooring that the cleanser and vinegar solution can't remove, try a baking soda paste. Just be careful that you don't scrub too hard, and make sure it's all removed because baking soda is a little abrasive. When you're done cleaning, always rinse with clean water to make sure there isn't any leftover residue.


DIY Vinegar Solution

If you want to use a vinegar solution instead of a store-bought cleaner, you can make it easily at home. Fill a bucket three-fourths of the way with warm water. Then, add a cup of vinegar.

Many people like to use vinegar to clean their vinyl floor because it's something that most people have at home and it doesn't have a ton of harsh chemicals. The slightly acidic formula won't cause damage over time and is a perfect cleaner for vinyl.



Cleaning Up Stains

Any stain on a vinyl floor can feel like a life-or-death situation, but there are some hacks that you can use to prevent pesky stains from damaging your floor. As soon as the stain appears, spot clean it with a cleanser, water and a cloth.

If you have oil, vinegar or lemon spills, you need to clean those up as soon as they touch the floor because they can discolor the surface of the vinyl flooring. If you get ink, pasta sauce or bloodstains on the vinyl floor, dilute some alcohol in water and apply the solution to the stain. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse the stain without scrubbing the area.


If you have pen or marker stains, clean them with a little mineral spirits on a cloth and rinse with water. Mineral spirits is also known as white spirit, mineral turpentine, turpentine substitute, petroleum spirits, solvent naphtha, Varsol and Stoddard solvent. It's a petroleum-derived clear liquid. If you have rust, use an anti-rust sponge and rinse thoroughly with water, making sure you don't scrub the spot roughly.

Vinyl Tile With Grout Lines

Many contractors install vinyl tiles with grout lines because they look like real tiles. The benefit of vinyl tiles is that they're easier to clean compared to real tiles. When cleaning vinyl tile with grout, sweep or vacuum the tiles. You should only mop the floor when it needs refreshing.

Grout tiles are water-resistant, but try not to soak the floor with water because grout isn't waterproof. When you want to get your grout really clean, scrub it with a toothbrush and warm water. This will get all of the dirt out that the mop didn't catch and make the grout look brand new.

Waxing Vinyl Floors

When vinyl floors are sold to the consumer, they're "no-wax" tiles. That means you don't need to wax the floors. All you have to do is wash the tiles to maintain the high shine. If you have older tiles, that's when you may need to wax the floor. This helps the tiles retain their luster. When you buy the wax, make sure it's specially formulated for vinyl floors and follow the instructions carefully.



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