Vinyl is one of the most popular flooring types and an affordable alternative to hardwood or tile. It consists of multiple layers, including a photographic and protective coating. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring replicates the look of hardwood, while Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) copies the look of tile or stone. However, despite their similar appearances, cleaning luxury vinyl flooring differs from cleaning hardwood, stone or tile.
While some cleaning methods can damage vinyl flooring, you can keep yours looking its best by learning how to clean LVP flooring properly.
How Is Cleaning an LVP Floor Different From Other Floors?
While you can sand and refinish hardwood to remove scratches, that isn't an option with vinyl. Since scratches might be there to stay, it's vital to sweep or vacuum vinyl flooring frequently to prevent them.
Unless your flooring is waterproof, you should only use a small amount of liquid when you mop the floors. While you can use a steam mop on many other types of flooring, you should avoid that method with LVP or LVT flooring.
What to Use to Clean LVP and LVT Flooring
You can keep your floors clean and shiny with a few essential items. Here's what you'll need:
- Broom and dustpan: Use a broom to loosen and sweep up debris and dirt. Choose one with an angled head so you can reach the corners.
- Vacuum: You can also use a vacuum — instead of or in addition to a broom — to clean dirt and debris.
- Mop: String mops can hold too much water, so it's best to opt for a microfiber or chamois mop.
- White or apple cider vinegar: People frequently use vinegar as a household cleaner, as it's inexpensive and environmentally friendly. If you want your floors to have a fresh, clean scent, use apple cider vinegar.
- Cloth: You can use microfiber cleaning cloths or simply repurpose old towels, clothes and other rags.
- Soft-bristle brush: You'll want a brush in case you need to scrub a stain — a soft-bristle brush is best to prevent scratches. Old toothbrushes also make great tools for cleaning smaller areas.
- Bucket: You'll fill the bucket with warm water and your cleaning solution for mopping, so make sure it's one you can move, carry and empty easily.
You can also add these optional items:
- Herbal tea: Adding herbal tea to your cleaning solution can give it a pleasant scent.
- Dishwashing liquid: Mix dishwashing liquid into your cleaning solution if your floors need extra cleaning power.
- WD-40: If there are any scuff marks, WD-40 can help you buff them out.
- Baking soda: A baking soda paste can help remove stubborn food stains.
- Rubbing alcohol: Using isopropyl alcohol with a soft-bristle brush can also help you remove tough stains like ink, lipstick and hair dye.
The Best Way to Clean Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Make your floors spotless by following these four steps.
- Remove dirt and debris: In high-traffic areas, aim for sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming daily to remove debris and dirt. If you're using a vacuum, ensure it doesn't have a beater bar, as this can damage the flooring.
- Mix your cleaning solution: Mix warm water and 1/2 cup of vinegar — white distilled or apple cider — in a gallon bucket. If you want a scent other than apple cider, use distilled vinegar and add 1/2 cup of herbal tea. Add 1/8 cup of dishwashing liquid if your floors need extra attention.
- Mop your floors: Place your mop in the bucket and wring it out. You want it to be damp, not dripping. Start in one corner of the room and work your way around — remember to leave yourself an exit point so you don't walk over your wet, clean floor. Rinse your mop with water and distilled vinegar before allowing it to dry.
- Remove stubborn stains: Dip a soft-bristle brush in the cleaning solution and gently scrub the floor to remove stubborn stains. If that doesn't work, mix a small amount of baking soda and warm water to create a paste or apply rubbing alcohol and a cloth.
Tips for Cleaning Your Vinyl Flooring
Now that you know the basics, here are a few additional tips for keeping your LVP or LVT floors looking their best.
What Can Help Keep Your Floors Clean?
When caring for your vinyl flooring, you want to:
- Clean up spills: Pooling liquid can seep through and damage the subfloor. Additionally, oil and other substances can cause discoloration and tough stains. It's best to wipe up spills as soon as possible and treat the floor with an appropriate stain remover.
- Protect it: Use felt pads under furniture legs to protect your flooring. Rolling furniture can scratch your flooring, so use a protective mat under it.
- Use a doormat: Place a doormat near the entrances to prevent household members and guests from tracking in dirt.
- Rinse your floor: Rinsing your floor after mopping removes soap residue, helping to prevent streaks.
What Should You Avoid?
You'll also want to avoid some things when caring for your vinyl floor, such as:
- Using a floor wax product: Polish can damage vinyl floors and create a buildup of residue that reduces shine. It's also unnecessary because most vinyl flooring has a no-wax finish that keeps it shiny.
- Scrubbing the floor too hard: Scrubbing the floor too hard can damage and scratch it.
- Using ammonia or ammonia-based cleaners: Ammonia can break down vinyl and cause cracking.
- Leaving the floor wet: Using too much water when you mop can leave the floors wet and let water seep through.
- Mopping with a steam cleaner: Vinyl can't handle the intense heat and water from a steam cleaner.
- Using a beater bar on your vacuum: Beater bars can damage and scuff vinyl flooring.
- Pushing furniture across the floor: Always lift your furniture to move it or use furniture sliders to prevent scratching.
- Using steel wool or abrasive scrubbers: Stiff and abrasive scrubbers can scratch your flooring.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Floors?
Different tasks will have varying frequencies in your cleaning schedule:
- Try to sweep, vacuum or dry mop your vinyl flooring daily to remove dirt and debris, especially in high-traffic areas.
- You'll want to set aside time to mop the floors each week so you can remove grime and stains.
- If there is a spill, wipe it up as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming a stain.
How Do You Fix Scratches?
Since you can't refinish vinyl flooring, it might seem impossible to fix scratches. However, a microfiber cloth and a small amount of WD-40 or olive oil will let you buff out minor scratches.
Need to Replace Your Vinyl Flooring?
While vinyl flooring lasts for many years, it doesn't last forever. When it's time to replace yours, you want the best.
American Carpet Wholesalers is the world's Carpet Capital in Dalton, Georgia. Our extensive inventory includes carpet, vinyl, laminate, hardwood and many other flooring options. We work one-on-one with manufacturers to get you the lowest prices possible.
All our staff members have years of experience and training in the flooring industry. Your satisfaction is our priority and we pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service. We make it easy to request a price quote when you need new flooring and you can contact us online with any questions!