How to clean vinyl floors properly without damaging them

It's important to know how to clean vinyl floors properly to maintain their condition—luckily a little specialist care goes a long way

vinyl floor in a stylish grey kitchen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Learning how to clean vinyl floors is important if you want to retain their quality. Vinyl flooring is water-resistant, attractive, low maintenance, and durable. And, fortunately, keeping it spick and span with a little specialist care is inexpensive and straightforward.

Regardless of the type of vinyl flooring in your home—be it tile, plank, or sheet—you can't go wrong with a broom or a dust mop for a quick spot clean. However, you may have to use some special techniques and detergent to deep clean your vinyl floors for a sparkling finish. 

If you're planning to deep clean your home, you might also want to check out our guides on how to clean walls, the best kitchen cleaning routine, how to clean a bathroom thoroughly, and how to clean aluminum around the home. 

Your vinyl floor cleaning kit 

vinyl floor with dust mop

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to cleaning, preparation is key, and having the right cleaning kit can make all the difference. The tools you need vary depending on how deep your clean will be—whether it's a light daily or weekly clean or a monthly deep clean. 

Tools for a quick spot clean

Light cleaning is most effective when performed daily or weekly for wiping and tidying up everyday spills. Below are some common tools you may use for light cleaning:

  • Brooms and dust mops—ideal for quick sweeping of dry spills. Make sure to use soft bristle brooms to avoid damaging your floor. Vinyl isn't resistant to scratches, so be careful about the choice of broom you settle on. Mops are often easier to use than traditional brooms since they are very efficient at picking up smaller bits of hair, dust, and dirt.
  • Vacuums—some people have concerns about vacuuming vinyl flooring because of scratches that may occur, but it is generally safe to do so when used carefully.

Tools to deep clean vinyl floors

Deep cleaning entails vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping. If your home is busy, frequent deep cleaning is recommended. It is also worth noting that while vinyl is water-resistant, it is not entirely waterproof. As such, excessive mopping can weaken its adhesive or even dull its finish, so only mop when it is necessary. Some tools you may need to deeply clean your vinyl floor include:

  • Vinyl floor or handmade cleaner—there are many special formulas such as Bona Stone Tile and Laminate Cleaner for cleaning vinyl floors. Be sure to check the label for the recommended amount needed for a tool like a spray mop. For a DIY option, mix vinegar, water, and your favorite oil to keep your floor sparkling.
  • Spin mops—a popular home-cleaning tool, spin mops are an excellent way to clean floors without the issue of excess water everywhere. 
  • Spray mops—just like spin mops, spray mops are also easy to use. They help reduce the amount of water left standing when mopping by only spraying the immediate area.

How to clean vinyl floors

With all your tools handy, you can clean your floors in four simple steps for a deep clean that can be carried out fortnightly or monthly. Daily sweeps with a broom or vacuum should also help maintain the condition of the floors. 

If you enjoy making DIY formulas, you don't even need to invest in expensive commercial cleaners, either. Dish soap, or even shampoo, can come in handy for deep cleaning vinyl floors. 

1. Remove dirt and dust

The first step in working out how to clean vinyl floors is to start by getting rid of dirt and dust. Doing this will give you a dust-free floor that is ready for a deep clean. It's important to do this step as, when your vinyl floor is walked on or touched, small grains of dust or dirt can leave minor scratches, thus damaging the integrity of the floor. You can use whatever you want to complete this step—be it a broom, dust mop, or vacuum. 

This is also a good step to employ on a more regular basis than just your deep clean—try to sweep or vacuum your vinyl floors clear of dust and dirt daily if you can. 

2. Choose a suitable cleaner

Once your floor is dust and dirt-free, it's time to pick the most suitable cleaner to actually give it the deep clean it needs. The type of vinyl flooring in your home will help determine the type of cleaner to use. For example, if your vinyl floor is waxed, you may need to use commercial products to ensure that you aren't damaging the material. If you clean your floor regularly, something milder like apple cider will work well. It does a decent job without dulling the finish. 

Another popular cleaner is dish soap because of its ability to cut through grease and dirt. You could even replace this with shampoo or shower gel (just as long as it's not an expensive cosmetic purchase!) if you're running low on soap in the kitchen. 

3. Mop carefully with minimal water

Mop your vinyl flooring as you would mop any other floor, but remember to use as little water as possible. Wring your mop as you go and refresh your water when it starts to look dirty.

When you're mopping a textured vinyl floor, you may need to be more attentive to avoid leaving dirt behind. This may mean mopping multiple times to ensure all the dirt is removed.

4. Rinse with clean water

Immediately after mopping, empty the bucket, fill it with clean water and start the rinsing process. Alternatively, pour a small amount of clean water on the floor and wipe immediately with a clean cloth. Sometimes rinsing may not be necessary, like with rinse-free detergents, but it's best not to skip this step even when your floor looks clean. You may catch some dirt you missed as you rinse, and it will ensure all soap residue is removed.

Vinyl floors are low maintenance. There's no need to buy expensive cleaning tools and detergents, and most importantly, they are easy to clean. When properly cared for, they will still look lovely, even after years of use.

And if you're looking to clean the rest of the floors in your home, see our guide to how to get stains out of carpet here, too.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on