How to Clean Linoleum Floors

Dog on linoleum floor
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Linoleum is a tough, low-maintenance resilient flooring material. However, it is not as durable as some similar surface covering options, such as vinyl. Because of this, you have to take a little extra care when cleaning linoleum, avoiding harsh chemical mixes and taking precautions not to ruin its shine or harm its surface.

Quick Cleaning Linoleum Flooring

Here is a quick method for routine cleaning of linoleum flooring: 

  1. First, remove any loose particles or debris that may be on the surface of the material. This is done by thoroughly sweeping or vacuuming using the “hard floor” setting on your vacuum cleaner. As you work, be sure to pay special attention to corners, crevices, and underneath furniture and fixtures.
  2. Fill a bucket with a gallon of hot water, and then mix in about 6 to 8 drops of normal, over-the-counter dish soap. Avoid using anything that is particularly harsh or acidic. Rather, just stick to the same soap that you use on your dishes. This solution should then be stirred slightly.
  3. Dip your mop in the soapy bucket, then wring it out thoroughly. Linoleum can be susceptible to damage from standing water, so use as little liquid as possible when cleaning the floor. The strands of the mop should be just barely damp and soapy.
  4. Divide the room up into sections that are roughly 6 x 6 ft. in size. As you complete each section dip the mop back in the bucket, wring it dry once more, and start over in the next section. Do this until the entire floor is complete. Once you’re done, dump the bucket of soapy water out, and wash both it and the mop in clean water.
  1. Fill the empty bucket with hot, clean water. Then mop the entire linoleum floor again, once more in 6 x 6-ft. sections. The goal is to remove any lingering soap residue that may be left on the floor.
  2. Once the floor is washed clean, you need to get rid of any excess moisture that remains behind. Standing water can be very dangerous to a linoleum flooring installation. To do this, take old cloths or towels and pat down the floor's surface to dry it The cloths should absorb any excess moisture rather quickly.
  1. If necessary, the above methods can be employed with a scrub brush in order to get a more thorough, rigorous cleaning. Some tough stains, such as pet stains, may need a more rigorous approach. 

"Green" Cleaning a Linoleum Floor With Vinegar

Commercial detergents are often harsh, abrasive substances that can fill the air with foul smells and chemicals. At the same time, the more acidic cleansing agents in these products can actually strip the finish from a linoleum floor. Because of this, many people are turning to natural floor cleaning practices using materials that they often already have in their home.

The most common natural cleaning substance is vinegar—which is inexpensive, widely available, and can clean your floors without filling the home with nasty chemical smells. At the same time, its low acidity ensures that the finish of the linoleum will not be worn away.

You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar mixed with water; if you choose, add a splash of lemon juice to the mixture to fill the air with a pleasant citrus smell.

Vinegar can be combined with baking soda to get a linoleum floor really clean. Spread the baking soda on the surface of the floor dry. Then, dip a mop or scrub brush in the vinegar or vinegar solution and swiped it across the surface.

The cleansing power of the vinegar combined with the grittiness of the baking soda powder creates a powerful scrubbing mixture.

Once you have the floor thoroughly scrubbed, a damp cloth can be used to pad away any loose remaining baking soda particles that are left behind.