How to Clean Vinyl Floors

Vinyl floors are durable, easy to clean, and come in a wide variety of styles. However, they still require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. With the right techniques and products, you can easily clean vinyl flooring and keep it shining for years to come.

Supplies You’ll Need

Cleaning vinyl floors doesn’t require a lot of specialized tools. You likely already have most of what you need at home. Here are some basic supplies to gather before you get started:

  • Broom or vacuum: Use a broom or vacuum to remove any loose dirt and debris from the vinyl flooring before wet cleaning. This prevents you from just pushing the dirt around.
  • Mop: Choose a mop designed for vinyl floors. String mops and spin mops work well. Stay away from sponge mops, which can leave excess moisture.
  • Mop bucket: Use two buckets for the clean and rinse water to avoid reintroducing dirt and grime from the dirty mop water.
  • pH-neutral floor cleaner: Look for a cleaner specifically formulated for vinyl floors. Avoid cleaners with oils, soaps, or waxes that can leave buildup on the floor.
  • Microfiber cloths/mop heads: Microfiber glides smoothly across vinyl floors without scratching them.
  • Old toothbrush or scrub brush: For scrubbing dirt in crevices and corners.
  • Dry cloth: Have some clean, dry cloths or towels on hand to wipe up spills or excess moisture.

Sweeping and Vacuuming

The first step in any vinyl floor cleaning routine is to thoroughly sweep or vacuum. Removing the surface-level dirt and debris before wet mopping prevents pushing loose particles around.

Sweep with a soft-bristle broom or dry microfiber mop head. Make sure to get into the corners and edges. For a deeper clean, use a vacuum with a hard floor attachment. Run it over the entire vinyl floor to suck up dust, dirt, hair, and other debris.

Vacuuming is especially helpful for grouted vinyl tile, textured vinyl plank, and vinyl flooring with embossed surfaces. The suction gets into the grooves to remove dirt that a broom might miss.

Be sure the vinyl floor is completely free of debris before moving onto the wet cleaning steps.

Prepping the Mop Bucket

Proper mop bucket setup is key for efficient vinyl floor cleaning. Here are a few tips:

  • Fill one bucket halfway with hot water and a pH-neutral vinyl floor cleaner. Check the product label for the right ratio of cleaner to water.
  • Fill the second bucket halfway with clean, warm water for rinsing.
  • Immerse the mop head or microfiber cloths in the soapy bucket to let them soak while you sweep and vacuum.
  • If using string mops, make sure to rinse them thoroughly first to avoid transferring dirt to the clean water.
  • For spin mops, attach a clean mop pad before inserting into the soapy water.

Having one bucket for washing and one for rinsing prevents the dirty mop water from getting reapplied to the floor. This cuts down on streaking and filming. Change the water frequently to keep it clean.

Washing the Floors

Now comes the fun part—washing the vinyl flooring! Follow these steps for the best cleaning results:

  • Working in sections, use the prepared mop to wash the vinyl floors. Make sure to wring out excess water so it is damp but not sopping.
  • Scrub areas with stubborn dirt, sticky spills, or buildup using a brush or old toothbrush. Let the floor cleaner sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  • Rinse the mop head frequently in the second bucket to remove dirt and prevent redepositing it. Change the rinse water as needed.
  • Wipe up any puddles or excess water with a dry, clean cloth. Be careful not to let large amounts of water sit on vinyl floors, as moisture can seep in at the seams and cause damage.
  • Allow each section to dry completely before moving on to avoid slip-and-fall hazards. Use fans to speed up drying time.

Take care when cleaning around vinyl moldings and trim. Avoid excessive moisture near any expansion joints or gaps. With grouted vinyl tile, use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub dirt from the grout lines.

For textured vinyl planks, sweep the mop diagonally across the floor to get into the embossed areas. Change the rinse water frequently to remove all residue.

Stubborn Stain Removal

Though vinyl resists stains, spills and built-up grime can sometimes discolor the floors. Use the following techniques to tackle tough stains:

For grease stains: Gently scrape away any excess grease, then apply a small amount of pH-neutral cleaner. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

For scuff marks: Rub the scuff gently with a magic eraser sponge soaked in floor cleaner. Avoid excessive scrubbing, which could make the mark worse.

For ink, dye stains: Dab the stain immediately with rubbing alcohol. This can help prevent permanent discoloration.

For permanent marker: Use hairspray or nail polish remover containing acetone. Try on an inconspicuous area first, as these can degrade vinyl over time with heavy use.

For hard water deposits: Make a paste of white vinegar and cornstarch. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a soft brush before rinsing.

For tough stains, it’s always best to start mild. Test cleaner products and scrubbing pressure in hidden areas first to ensure they don’t damage the vinyl flooring. Patience and persistence usually pay off!

Periodic Deep Cleaning

For routine maintenance, sweeping plus light damp mopping is sufficient to keep vinyl floors clean. However, a periodic deep clean helps remove any stubborn dirt, embedded grime, and dulling residue.

Here are some tips for deep cleaning vinyl floors:

  • Sweep and vacuum thoroughly before wet cleaning.
  • Fill the mop bucket with the hottest water allowed for the flooring. Add double the amount of floor cleaner recommended on the label.
  • Soak several clean microfiber mop heads or scrub pads in the hot cleaning solution to saturate them fully.
  • Scrub floors vigorously with the soaked mop or scrub brush, applying plenty of pressure.
  • Let the cleaner sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing. This allows the formula to penetrate and break down buildup.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly with fans and AC. Avoid leaving excess moisture behind.
  • Repeat the washing and rinsing cycles as needed for heavily soiled floors. Change the rinse water frequently.
  • Finish by mopping with cool, clean water to remove any haze and residue.

Deep cleaning vinyl floors every 3-6 months keeps them shining like new. It’s also important to clean under movable appliances and furniture periodically.

Maintaining Vinyl Floors Between Cleanings

Proper care for vinyl floors doesn’t end after cleaning. Maintain their look and extend their lifespan between washings with these tips:

  • Sweep, vacuum, or dust mop daily to prevent dirt buildup. Spot mop spills when they occur.
  • Place walk-off mats inside exterior doorways and at entryways to capture dirt and moisture.
  • Install floor protectors beneath furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents.
  • Avoid dragging furniture or heavy objects across vinyl floors to prevent scuffing.
  • Limit direct sunlight exposure, which can cause vinyl to fade or discolor over time. Close blinds when sunlight is strongest.
  • Maintain indoor humidity between 35–55% to minimize expansion and contraction of flooring seams.
  • Avoid using rubber feet on appliances, which can cause staining. Choose feet covers labeled for vinyl floors.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, or abrasives that dull and degrade vinyl.

Regular sweeping and dust mopping takes just minutes but goes a long way for keeping vinyl floors looking their best every day.

DIY Vinyl Floor Cleaners

Store-bought floor cleaners can get pricey over time. Luckily, it’s easy to whip up effective homemade solutions for cleaning vinyl surfaces. Here are a few to try:

Vinegar and soap cleaner: Mix 1⁄4 cup white vinegar, 1⁄4 cup liquid dish soap, and warm water in a spray bottle. Shake gently before use.

Baking soda scrub: Make a paste with baking soda and just enough water to form a spreadable consistency. Gently rub onto floor using a brush or sponge. Rinse clean.

Hydrogen peroxide disinfectant: Combine 1 cup warm water, 1⁄2 cup hydrogen peroxide, and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Mop over floors as usual and let air dry.

Essential oil cleaner: Add several drops of lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender oil to a spray bottle filled with diluted castile soap. Shake before mopping.

When making DIY cleaners, always spot test in inconspicuous areas first. Make sure any oils or additives won’t damage the specific type of vinyl flooring.

How to Clean Different Types of Vinyl Floors

Not all vinyl floors are created equal. Here are some tips for cleaning a few specific vinyl flooring types:

Sheet vinyl: Avoid excessive water, which can seep beneath seams. Use a damp mop and mild cleaner instead of soaking.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP): Sweep debris from seams to prevent scratching. Use damp mopping only—water won’t penetrate planks.

Vinyl tile: Use a soft brush on grout lines. Let cleaner soak in before scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly.

Cushioned vinyl: Clean with minimal moisture and dry immediately to prevent water getting under vinyl.

Static-resistant vinyl: Check product guidelines before using DIY cleaners, as ingredients may affect static resistance properties.

Commercial vinyl: Requires commercial-grade cleaners to remove heavy dirt from high traffic. Rinse thoroughly.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s care guidelines before cleaning vinyl floors to avoid damage. With the proper methods, vinyl flooring can stay beautiful and lustrous for years.

Cleaning Vinyl Flooring: FAQs

Still have questions about keeping vinyl floors sparkling clean? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How often should you mop vinyl floors?

For light cleaning, vinyl floors only need mopping once every 1-2 weeks. Sweep or vacuum in between to remove surface dust and debris as needed.

Can you use vinegar and water to clean vinyl floors?

Yes. A 50/50 white vinegar and water solution works well for cleaning vinyl floors. Rinse with plain water after mopping. Avoid acids like vinegar on marble-look vinyl tiles, which can etch the pattern.

What removes black marks from vinyl floors?
Dampen a magic eraser sponge with a small amount of liquid dish soap. Gently rub the black marks until they lift. Avoid excessive scrubbing, which can damage vinyl.

How do you clean old vinyl flooring?

Sweep thoroughly, then mop using hot water and a pH-neutral cleaner formulated for vinyl floors. For heavy soil buildup, allow the cleaner to soak for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly.

Can you use Swiffer WetJet on vinyl floors?

Yes, Swiffer WetJet products are safe for use on vinyl flooring. Be sure to spray the solution directly on the pad instead of spraying the floor. Too much moisture can seep into vinyl seams.

How do you shine dull vinyl floors?

Restore shine by deep cleaning vinyl floors with a degreasing cleaner. Allow the solution to soak for several minutes before scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly and air dry the floor completely. Avoid wax or acrylic finishes, which cause buildup.

Keeping vinyl floors looking their best is easy with some basic maintenance. Sweep frequently, mop with pH-neutral cleaners as needed, and perform periodic deep cleaning to remove any dulling residue. With proper care, vinyl floors will stay shining for years to come.


Vinyl flooring is an attractive, durable, and easy-to-maintain option for busy homes and high-traffic spaces. By implementing routine cleaning along with periodic deep cleaning, vinyl floors can stay looking like new for decades. Sweep and vacuum frequently to prevent buildup of abrasive dirt. Always use pH-balanced cleaners and the minimal amount of moisture needed to avoid moisture seeping beneath flooring seams. For resistant stains or dulled floors, allow cleaner to soak before gently scrubbing. With the proper techniques and products, even old, worn vinyl floors can be revived to restore their former luster. Keep these tips in mind for vinyl floor care, and you’ll enjoy beautiful, sparkling floors for years to come.