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How to clean vinyl floors

How to clean vinyl floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Practical and affordable flooring such as vinyl is becoming increasingly popular. However, while vinyl is known for its durability, you should still follow dedicated advice on how to clean vinyl floors. 

Luckily, vinyl is water-resistant, so you don’t have to be cautious about using wet cleaning methods. This is also great news for those who are prone to spillages, as you won’t have to act as quickly when glasses are knocked over.

Manufactured from PVC, vinyl is resilient and easy to clean, which is why it's a firm favorite for those with pets and children. As well as providing plenty of functional qualities, it comes in many different patterns that replicate natural materials, enabling you to create a stylish interior without breaking the bank. 

To keep your floors looking stylish, and not sticky, we've put together some guidance on how to clean vinyl floors and tackle stubborn stains. While there are many natural and chemical solutions available, we recommend vacuuming regularly with one of the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab) to keep on top of dust and grime.

How often you should clean vinyl floors 

What the expert says...

Tom Drake, DIY Expert at Tap Warehouse (opens in new tab), says, "Using detergent and fresh dish soap liquid will clean your vinyl floors and ensure that they smell good. This is a great way to make a more inviting space, which is especially recommended for bathrooms and kitchens."

High-traffic areas will mean that you'll need to clean more frequently to avoid grime building up. Increased footfall in hallways, kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms will mean that dust will accumulate pretty quickly – especially if you wear shoes in the home. 

The best robot vacuums (opens in new tab) are a particularly easy way to regularly remove dirt and debris from vinyl flooring, but sweeping is also very effective. This will limit the amount of deep cleaning required, saving time and effort. 

Deep cleans, including stain removal, should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For some households with pets and children, vinyl floors will quickly become sticky and muddy, so cleaning weekly with either regular mops or the best steam mops (opens in new tab) may be necessary. Others with quieter households may manage with thorough cleaning less often, instead opting to scrub as and when floors look mucky. 

What you should use to clean vinyl floors 

Vinyl is simple to clean with natural methods, so keeping mild detergents stocked in your kit will be more than good enough to tackle dirt. Resist the temptation to tackle vinyl floors with heavy-duty chemical cleaners. While vinyl isn't as sensitive to damage as stone surfaces, mild cleaning solutions will do the trick just as well. They’re also a safer option for using around animals, so you can clean without worry. 

  1. Dry sweep or vacuum to get rid of hairs, dust, and crumbs. 
  2. Mix a cleaning solution in a bucket: warm water and just a few drops of washing up liquid. Too many bubbles will make it difficult to clean up, so don’t be too heavy handed with the soap. 
  3. Using a mop and this cleaning solution, work your way around the room from corner to corner. 
  4. If your solution was quite watered down, you shouldn’t need to rinse the floor. However, if there is a sticky residue left over, simply use a microfiber cloth and water to clean away the soap. 

How to remove stains from vinyl floors

Vinyl is often favored for high traffic areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. as it stands up well to heavy footfall. However, this doesn’t mean it's completely resistant to staining. The good news is that you can bring vinyl floors back to their original condition using basic household cleaners. 

At home methods will easily cut through stubborn grease, grime, and even embedded stains. Before getting started, you should distinguish what the composition of the stain is. Most marks can be remedied with a simple baking soda and white vinegar paste, however rubbing alcohol is better when it comes to makeup and ink. 

Baking soda can be a useful tool when learning how to clean vinyl floor

Baking soda is a great tool for cleaning anything from vinyl floor to rugs to carpet. (Image credit: Getty)

Prior to getting started with the following steps, we always recommend testing any cleaning methods on an inconspicuous patch of floor. Trying products on an area underneath a rug or furniture will mean that if anything goes awry, the impact is minimal. 

How to clean stains with baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are often considered the holy grail of cheap and mild cleaning products. Use the instructions below to help remove stubborn stains from your vinyl floor. 

  1. Mix two teaspoons baking soda and one teaspoon white vinegar to form a relatively thick paste. 
  2. Spread the paste onto the stain and then use a microfiber cloth to buff into the surface. 
  3. Clean off with a damp, clean cloth. 

How to clean stains with rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can also be a good way to remove stains from vinyl flooring. 

  1. Dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol 
  2. Work from the outside in, to prevent the stain from growing. 
  3. Keep moving in circular motions until the stain has been removed. 

Top tips to keep vinyl floors looking their best

The best way to keep your vinyl floors clean is to avoid dirt from entering the home and protecting your vinyl floor from any potential damage from the start. As well as noting down ways to clean stains, follow these accessible tips to keep your vinyl floors looking good as new.  

  1. Place doormats at entrances to trap mud and debris.
  2. Add felt-tipped protectors to the feet of furniture to avoid indents in flooring.  
  3. Avoid using abrasive brushes to scrub at stains, instead stick to microfiber cloths.
  4. Don’t drag heavy items across the floor as this may cause scratches.

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Holly is the Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focuses on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from