How to Clean Very Dirty Vinyl Floors: A Complete Guide

Vinyl floors are not only durable, but they also require minimal maintenance. Vinyl is a low-maintenance surface that can be easily cleaned with household products. However, if you have neglected to clean your floor for weeks or months at a time and it’s become filthy, there are some steps you should take to ensure the cleaning process goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Clean Very Dirty Vinyl Floors

Step by Step Guide:

Step 1: Sweep the Floor

Start by sweeping or vacuuming your vinyl floor, using gentle strokes to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. Be sure not to dig too hard with the vacuum brush—it may cause damage.

Step 2: Apply Bleach (Optional)

If your floor is especially grimy or has an odd smell, add ¼ cup of plain bleach to a bucket filled with 1 gallon of warm water. Use a sponge or microfiber mop to distribute the mixture evenly over your floor and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Make sure you test it in an inconspicuous area before you apply the mixture on the entire floor.

Note: Too much bleach may damage the vinyl floor.

Step 3: Scrub and Rinse

Using a soft bristle brush or nylon scrub, begin to wash the dirt away from your floor gently. Pour fresh water into a bucket and rinse the floor with clean water. Empty the mop water when you’re finished to prevent any leftover bleach or chemical residue from harming your vinyl flooring.

Step 4: Allow the Floor to Dry

Give your floor about two hours to dry. Once it’s scorched, you can vacuum or sweep up any remaining dirt or debris. If you’re still seeing streaks once the floor has dried, try wetting a microfiber towel with water and scrubbing in small circles until the marks are gone.

What is the best way to clean vinyl floors?

The safest way to clean vinyl floors is with a commercial household cleaner. A solution of 5 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon of warm water can also be effective. Another good choice is distilled or boiled linseed oil diluted by half with turpentine or mineral spirits. These create a protective surface film on the floor that resists grime but wipes up easily.

How do I clean vinyl floors with vinegar?  

Vinegar is a good choice for cleaning and polishing your vinyl floors because it’s safe, non-toxic and inexpensive. However, it would be best if you diluted vinegar before using it as a cleaner. Use equal parts water and white distilled vinegar to make enough solution for one or two mop bucketsful of cleaning solution.

Use the following process to clean vinyl floors with vinegar:

Rinse the floor with water and dry it using a towel or squeegee to reduce the possibility of streaks. Spray ½ cup white distilled vinegar onto your mop and wring out the excess (be sure not to over-saturate your mop). Use circular motions to scrub away grime, then wipe up the residue with a clean, damp towel. Rinse the floor with clean water and squeegee off excess moisture.

What shouldn’t you use to clean vinyl floors?

Never use ammonia-based products to clean vinyl floors. They can discolor and dry out the surface, causing it to crack and peel away. Avoid using abrasive brushes or sponges when cleaning your floor, as they may scratch the surface.

How do you clean a sticky vinyl floor with oil on it?

To remove an oily film from vinyl floors:

  1. Sprinkle dishwasher detergent powder on the area and allow it to stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Sweep or vacuum the powder up.
  3. Mix ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a bucket filled with warm water.
  4. Use a soft bristle brush to wash the cream onto the floor in small circles, then wipe away with a clean, damp towel.

What is the cleaning equipment required for a deep clean of the vinyl hard floor?

  • Mopping bucket
  • Detergent or dishwashing liquid
  • Soft bristle brush or scrubber sponge
  • Wet/dry vacuum (optional)
  • Mop microfiber pad, cloth, or soft mop head (optional)

How often should you clean your vinyl floor?

Vinyl can be mopped with warm water or a floor cleaner at least once a week. If you have pets, you may want to vacuum your vinyl flooring every day to remove hair and dander. If the dirt is hefty, use a wet sponge mop, but make sure it’s wrung out well, so there isn’t too much water on the floor.

What is the best type of mop for vinyl floors?

A microfiber mop is a good choice for vinyl floors. The microfiber can trap dirt and debris to prevent them from scratching or dulling the floor. Be sure to wash the mop head frequently, as dirty mops will likely leave scratches on your floor’s finish. We have a detailed article about the best mop for vinyl floors if you would like to learn more.

What causes an oily sheen on vinyl floors?

If you have vinyl floors, the oily sheen may be caused by wax used to polish the floor during installation. The best way to remove it is with a commercial degreaser or wood cleaners. Never use abrasive chemicals on your vinyl flooring because they can damage the surface.

Conclusion…

After learning about the best way to clean filthy vinyl floors, be sure to apply it in your home. Use the right equipment and cleaners, and then enjoy your beautiful vinyl flooring.

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