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Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl flooring has become a favorite for most homeowners because of its characteristics if a professional review of Lifeproof vinyl plank flooring is anything to go by. It is tough, durable and can be used even in high traffic areas. 

This flooring, however, is susceptible to damage if it is not well maintained. Cleaning it is easy and you don’t require a lot of expensive and sophisticated cleaning materials. 

With time, any flooring, including vinyl, gets dirty. You can, however, minimize this by taking the necessary measures to keep the dirt out, like placing mats on doorways and balconies. 

You can also use a mop and water to remove dirt and ensure that spills are wiped immediately they occur if you don’t want stained floors. 

What Is Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring has been there for decades and continues to grow in popularity. It is a super versatile flooring option and the fact that it is more durable than classic wood has made it a better option in construction and home renovations. 

Today, it can be installed in bedrooms as well as living rooms and other spaces that traditionally have wood flooring. 

In the never-ending battle of vinyl plank vs laminate flooring, the major selling point for vinyl plank has to be the fact that it can be installed in high moisture areas like bathrooms, basements, garages and kitchens where wood and laminate would warp when exposed to water and high humidity. 

Compared to hardwood flooring, vinyl plank is not only easy to clean but maintain as well and can be installed in homes that have pets and little kids. 

Benefits of Vinyl Plank Flooring

If you are having a hard time choosing between hardwood, laminate and vinyl plank, here are a few reasons why you may want to settle for vinyl plank compared to the other flooring options:

Highly Durable

One of the advantages of installing vinyl plank is that the planks are tough and because of that they are very durable and you don’t have to think about replacing your floors for the next couple of years.

The fact that they are highly durable makes it possible to install them in high traffic areas like corridors and living rooms.

Can Be Installed Anywhere

While hardwood flooring is expensive and gives the house a sophisticated finish, there is a limit as to where you can install it.

Vinyl plank, due to its tough characteristics, can be installed anywhere from bedrooms to high moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms. 

This is because vinyl can withstand high moisture content without warping. You, however, have to ensure that spills are wiped immediately they occur like in kitchens since this can stain the floors.

Easy to Clean and Maintain

Vinyl plank flooring doesn’t take a lot to clean and maintain. Daily sweeping and maybe weekly vacuuming help maintain a clean looking floor. 

When dirty, all you need is water and a microfiber mop to get the cleaning done just like you would use a mop on laminate floors and the fact that waxing is not required on vinyl makes the flooring very easy to maintain over time. 

Tools Needed for Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

Tools Needed for Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

As mentioned earlier, vinyl plank flooring is by far the easiest to clean and maintain. Here are a few tools that you need when cleaning it:

Broom

Any floor is bound to get dirty over time and the worst thing you can do is to allow dirt to accumulate over time. 

If you have a vinyl plank, you can use a broom daily to remove any surface dust that may be dragged from outside. 

Vacuum

A broom can only do so much in terms of cleaning your vinyl flooring which is why it is recommended that you use a vacuum that gets rid of dust and helps with allergy or any specialized vacuum for carpets and rugs at least once a week.

You can use any strong vacuum for laminate floors or check out Shark vacuums for deep cleaning reviewed online to make the most informed choice. 

A vacuum can get rid of any dirt that the broom may have left out and the good news about using a vacuum is that it gets the dirt stuck within the grout that overtime may make your floors look dingy and unkempt just like when vacuuming hardwood floors in every room.

Microfiber Mop

At the end of the day, every once in awhile your floors require that deep cleaning that a vacuum or a broom can’t offer. 

With vinyl flooring, a microfiber mop and water will do the trick. The reason why you need a microfiber mop and not a regular one is that vinyl plank flooring isn’t entirely scratch-resistant and the last thing you want is to live with a badly scratched floor. 

Best Products for Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring Safely

If you have installed or are thinking about installing vinyl flooring, here are the best products you can use that will be safe for your floor:

Vinegar

Vinegar is a common floor cleaner, but there is a limit to what surfaces you can use vinegar on without causing damage. Fortunately, vinyl plank isn’t one of them. 

Apple cider vinegar makes for an excellent vinyl plank flooring cleaner. The acidity works for vinyl floors by removing any dirt and debris without leaving behind the residue that soap does. 

The only thing you need to ensure is that you are not using full-strength vinegar as this one ends up dulling your finish and there is no way of polishing the vinyl to bring back the original shine. 

Once ‘N Done

You can easily make your vinegar at home but if you want an already made cleaner, then you can purchase the Once ‘N Done. 

This liquid detergent is gentle and cuts through grime and grease with ease, but ensure that you rinse the floor since it leaves behind a thin layer of scum that will dull the shine of your floors with time. 

While soap scum can be removed, the process is not an easy one. Because of that, it is recommended that you save the Once ‘N Done for grease stains and oil spills and rinse the spot with water when done. 

Baby Oil

Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring - Baby Oil

Baby oil cleaner has been recommended by so many people. It’s a floor cleaner that you can easily make at home and is highly effective on vinyl floors. 

Despite this, however, this cleaner has a few shortcomings. For one, it is not soluble in water and you are going to end up with a few drops spread on the floor because it will not dispense through the solution. 

The second downside is that it makes the surface slippery and will cause anything that comes into contact with it to stick to the floor. The cleaner, however, evaporates, in the end, making it a good option for cleaning vinyl floors.

Bona Cleaner

Bona Cleaner is ready to use cleaning product that is designed for hard floors like vinyl planks. It removes dust, dirt as well as grime.

Unlike other cleansers, Bona Cleaner doesn’t leave behind any residue and it dries fast. The good thing about it is that it maintains the original shine of your vinyl plank flooring. 

How to Do an Everyday Cleaning of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Step 1 – Vacuum

To remove surface dust, dirt and hair use a broom or a shag carpet vacuum cleaner and ensure that you get under furniture, along baseboards and corners. 

Step 2 – Wet cleaning

The best cleaner for vinyl is vinegar since the acidity helps remove grime and dirt without leaving behind a soap residue. 

If you want to clean and disinfect your floor, then you can use apple cider rather than white vinegar. 

Step 3 – Removing scuffs

Use jojoba oil or WD-40 lubricant on a towel and rub the scuff until it disappears and then use water and vinegar to remove any traces of the lubricant. 

Step 4 – Food stains

For food stains like tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard or grape juice, mix baking soda in water, make a paste and rub the stain until it is gone and then use water to remove the baking soda residues. 

 

How to Deep Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

If your floors are too dirty to use a vacuum or broom, then you can do with some deep cleaning. 

Step 1 – Vacuum

Vacuum the floors to remove any surface dust, dirt and when cleaning pet hair with a vacuum. After that, do a little research to find out what cleaning products the manufacturer recommends so that you don’t damage your vinyl flooring in the process. 

Step 2 – Water and dish soap

Put water in a bucket, add dish soap and then using a microfiber mop, start the cleaning. You can also add white vinegar to the solution to get the shine back on your floors. 

Step 3 – Rinse

After you have cleaned the floors, use a clean wet mop and go over your floors again to remove any soap residues that may have been left behind. 

 

How to Clean Vinyl Floors with Vinegar (DIY Method)

You can easily make your vinegar at home by mixing a cup of apple cider vinegar with a gallon of freshwater. 

Step 1 – Mopping

Use a damp microfiber mop to clean your floors. Rinse the mop frequently with hot water while you are cleaning. 

Step 2 – Disinfecting

If you have little kids and want to disinfect your floor, use white vinegar rather than apple cider option. 

Step 3 – Grimy floor

If your floors are all grimy, ensure that you add a few drops of dishwashing soap to the vinegar mix and then proceed to mop the floor.

After you are done, use a clean wet mop to remove any soap residues that may have been left behind as this can end up dulling your floors with time.

How to Maintain Vinyl Plank Flooring

Keeping your vinyl floors looking new will take a lot of work but in the end, it will be better than replacing the floors. 

Rather than allow dirt and debris to accumulate, use a broom regularly to clean your floors and then you can deep clean them maybe once a month. 

Additionally, you should make sure that you use furniture pads under heavy furniture to avoid scratching and denting your floors over time. 

Step 1 – Mopping

A soft mop works wonders on vinyl flooring. When you are buying a mop, ensure that the one you get doesn’t have a scrubber attached as this can end up scratching your floors.

While you can maintain tiles with a steam mop, they aren’t recommended for vinyl flooring since they soften the adhesive sheet. The steam can also damage the substrate below the surface if it is made of wood. 

Step 2 – Stain removal

Stain removal from vinyl plank flooring

Stains on vinyl flooring are caused by spills that are left to sit for too long. The best way you can prevent this is to wipe spills immediately they occur. You could also use baking soda to remove acidic stains from foods like wine and tomatoes. 

WD-40 lubricant and jojoba oil are also used to remove scuff marks on vinyl floors. Apply some lubricant on a towel and rub the scuff until it disappears.

Follow that up with a quick cleaning with water and liquid soap and then rinse with water to remove any soap residues. 

Some stains can be removed with a soft bristle brush and solvents like mineral spirits, rubbing alcohol and acetone. The only thing you need to ensure is that you use these solvents sparingly as too much can dull the floors. 

These solvents can easily get rid of stains from makeup, crayons, markers and nail polish. 

Step 3 – Waxing

Most vinyl floors today don’t require any waxing to maintain the shine. Older floors, however, may require to be waxed once in a while.

When that is the case, ensure that you buy wax that is specific for your kind of floor and follow the instructions of the manufacturer. 

One thing you will note, however, is that most waxes will say that you don’t need to rinse the floor after cleaning but you don’t have to follow this.

This is because a majority of soaps including the mildest ones tend to build up on the wax over time and can rob your floors of their shine. 

Be careful when you are cleaning these older floors as too much scrubbing will remove the wax and you will be forced to reapply again. 

How to Polish and Restore Shine to Vinyl Plank Flooring

Over time, vinyl flooring will lose its shine depending on how it is maintained but this can be corrected with a little polishing. 

Step 1 – Removing the soap film

Begin by cleaning your floors with vinegar and a solution of water. You can also use commercial strength cleaning solutions, but ensure that your choice of cleaner doesn’t add a layer of wax. 

Make a paste using equal parts of baking soda and vinegar and then gently scrub your floor. If that doesn’t work, use ammonia rather than vinegar. 

Step 2 – Polishing

A mixture of baking soda and vinegar makes a great polish for vinyl too. All you need to ensure is that you don’t scrub the floor too much. Just let the baking soda do its work. 

You can use the mixture on a small portion of the floor to see if it restores the shine. 

 

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

When you are buying cleaning products for vinyl, in some way more spending does mean more quality.

Floor installation is an expensive process and you want to install flooring that will serve you for years. How you maintain your floors will, however, determine their durability and it all begins with choosing the right kind of cleaner.

Avoid going for cheap products no matter how tempted you are as these may end up damaging your floors in the long run. If you are in doubt, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the products that you can use. 

Most of the time, you can easily make your cleaning products at home if you are on a budget. 

Do’s and Don’ts When Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Don’t use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar when you are vacuuming vinyl flooring as this can damage your floor.
  • Don’t ever use highly abrasive scrubbers to clean your vinyl floor as this will leave scratches that may make your floor look dingy.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaner, detergents or mop and shine products as these tend to leave a dull film on vinyl flooring.
  • Do use a microfiber mop to clean your laminate flooring.
  • Do rinse the floor with water after cleaning to remove any soap and vinegar residues.

Quick Tips on How to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

The durability of your vinyl flooring will be determined by the kind of maintenance you have. Here are a few tips to follow:

Use Doormats

If you don’t want to keep cleaning your vinyl flooring every day, then you need to ensure that dirt and debris don’t make their way into the house and the best way to do that is to use doormats. Grit acts like sandpaper and may scratch the floor removing the shiny finish over time.

Frequent Sweeping

If you want to keep your vinyl floor looking clean and in good shape, then you need to remove surface dust and the best way to do that is through regular sweeping. 

Low Impact Cleaning Techniques

Avoid using heavy-duty cleaner to remove dirt on your vinyl floors. Instead, learn how to clean using the mildest methods like sweeping and vacuuming every evening or using a wet mop if you want to do a thorough cleaning. 

Ensure That You Use the Right Cleaner

The secret to keeping your vinyl floor looking new and shiny is to ensure that you use the right kind of cleaner. You can use vinegar and water or any commercial cleaners that are recommended for vinyl floors. 

Don’t Drench the Vinyl

While vinyl flooring is the best flooring for kitchens and bathrooms compared to premium laminate flooring, water isn’t always the best cleaner since it can seep through the cracks and seams destroying the glue that holds the vinyl causing planks to become loose and the corners to curl. 

Rinse Soap Well

When you are done cleaning, use a wet mop to remove any soap residues that may have been left behind since this can dull the shine of your vinyl over time. 

FAQ About Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

FAQ About Cleaning Vinyl Planks

Can I use a stiffer mop when cleaning vinyl plank flooring?

The answer is no. Most of the time, scrubbing with a stiffer mop will scrape away the shiny surface of your vinyl floor making it lose its shine. 

Can a rubber backed rug be put on top of luxury vinyl plank flooring?

Avoid using rubber backed rugs on vinyl flooring as they end up staining and discoloring the floor and you may require to replace the planks in that section. 

Can a cleaning solution be used to treat scuffed up areas, wet paws and spots?

Most of the time, to remove scuffs, wet paws and spots, use jojoba oil or WD-40 lubricant on a towel and scrub the scuff until it disappears. 

What temperature should the water be when I’m cleaning my vinyl plank flooring?

Just use warm water. Avoid using very hot water as it can damage the glue holding the vinyl planks to the subfloor. 

Can I use a steam mop on a luxury vinyl plank flooring?

No. Avoid using steam mops on vinyl flooring since the steam may seep through the cracks and seams causing the planks to warp. Over time the steam will also dull the shine of your vinyl flooring. 

Should I wax my vinyl plank flooring?

Most vinyl floors made today don’t need to be waxed to maintain the shine. Simple cleaning will do all that. Older versions, however, can be waxed but ensure that you follow the instructions of the manufacturer to the letter. 

How to prevent scratches, dirt, damage and scuffs on a vinyl plank flooring?

You can prevent all these by using mats on doorways to prevent dirt from being dragged into the house. You can also use furniture pads under heavy furniture and ensure that you lift and move furniture rather than dragging it on the floor. 

Can I use a neutral pH floor cleaner for my vinyl plank flooring?

The best way to maintain the natural look of your vinyl floor is through regular sweeping of debris that builds up. As for cleaners, it is highly recommended that you use a pH neutral cleaner that is designed for vinyl flooring. Most manufacturers will recommend a specific cleaner that you can use. 

Conclusion

Vinyl flooring has been there for years and continues to be an ideal choice for homeowners on a budget who are looking for flooring that can be installed anywhere. Vinyl flooring is versatile, strong and durable and can be installed in high traffic and high moisture areas like the bathroom and kitchen.

It is easy to maintain compared to hardwood flooring but how long your floors serve you will depend on how well you maintain them.

Photos from: AndreyPopov / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com, annabieniek / depositphotos.com, annieeagle / depositphotos.com and urfingus / depositphotos.com.