What Do You Clean Vinyl Floors With?

Vinyl floors require medium-level care since they are strong and resilient. However, the wrong cleaners can damage them, requiring extensive repairs. Luckily, you can use most home cleaners with excellent results.

Clean general surface dirt from vinyl floors with a mixture of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (without the mother) and water (1:10). They remove grime and stickiness from the floor. You can also use a mixture of mild soap dish and warm water or a commercial cleaner.

Below, I take a detailed look at the best cleaners for vinyl floors. I use mild dish soap with water, which has served me well.

Cleaning a vinyl floor

What do you clean vinyl floors with?

Vinyl is one of the best living room flooring thanks to the ease of maintenance required. Harsh cleaning agents can damage your floor. As such, you need to use gentle ones such as the following:

1. Warm water and mild soap

Add a few drops of mild dish soap to warm water, then stir to make a few bubbles. Dampen a soft cloth or mop with the solution, then use it to clean the floor. Avoid excess water as it can damage the floor.

2. Commercial vinyl floor cleaner

There are many floor cleaners specifically designed for vinyl floors. Cleaners such as Bona Multi-Purpose Floor Cleaner do a great job of cleaning vinyl floors. Ensure the product is rinsed off after cleaning to avoid damaging your floor.

3. Vinegar solution (occasionally)

Vinegar is a harsh cleaner on vinyl floors. However, if you make it a light solution (1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water), you can clean stubborn stains and rinse it off afterward.

4. Isopropyl alcohol solution

For tough stains such as markers or ink, mix a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol (1:1), apply it to the stain, gently rub it off, then rinse with a damp cloth. 

Isopropyl alcohol also removes glue from surfaces and should only be used where no glue is on the floor panels.

How do I keep vinyl floors clean?

If you keep vinyl floors clean, it helps maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan. You can achieve this in the following ways:

1. Regularly sweep and vacuum

Sweep or vacuum your vinyl floor at least once weekly to remove dust, dirt, and debris. When doing so, use a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging the floor’s surface.

2. Mop with warm water

If you clean your vinyl floor regularly, you can mix warm water and mild dish soap on a mop to keep it clean and without stains. Avoid saturating the floor with water as you clean.

3. Avoid harsh chemicals

While vinyl is durable, harsh chemicals such as vinegar, bleach, and ammonia can damage and discolor its protective layer. Ensure you check the label on every product you use on a vinyl floor for this reason.

If you have to use a vinegar solution, use it sparingly, with the mixture made of 1 part vinegar and 10 parts water. Use it only on stubborn stains, and always rinse the floor afterward.

4. Clean spills immediately

Clean up any spills on your floor to prevent stains and damage. Simply put, avoid stains on the vinyl floor as much as possible. Each time you clean or wipe dirt off the floor, rinse the mop to avoid reapplying the dirt back to the floor.

5. Add mats and rugs to the floor

To further protect the vinyl floor and keep it clean, put mats in areas with high foot traffic, such as entryways, to trap dirt before it reaches your floor. Be careful, however, not to use rubber-backed mats as they stain and discolor the floor.

6. Use furniture protectors

You should place felt pads under the legs of your furniture to protect the floor. You can also place the furniture legs on floor mats or a carpet. Don’t drag the furniture on the floor, with or without felt pads.

7. Spot clean stains

If the stain is stubborn, use a sponge or soft cloth with a floor cleaner that is specific to vinyl floors. Test it on an inconspicuous part of the floor before using it since it might discolor the floor.

8. Maintain adequate ventilation

Good ventilation is important when cleaning vinyl floors to allow it to dry fast before it’s stepped on and to keep the house aerated when using cleaning products.

9. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines

Various types of vinyl floors may require unique maintenance due to the materials used or manufacturing methods. Follow their maintenance and repair instructions to enjoy a long life from the floor.

How to clean vinyl floors

Once you have identified the right cleaner for your vinyl floor, gather a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, warm water, a soft mop or microfiber mop, and microfiber towels (or soft cloths). Put aside items such as furniture before cleaning to make it easier. You’ll have less work doing this with an open floor plan.

Follow these steps:

1. Remove dirt and debris

Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove loose dust, dirt, and debris. Avoid scratching the floor by using a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with one.

2. Prepare the cleaning solution

If you’re using dish soap and water, mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water, then stir to make bubbles. If it’s a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions to prepare it for cleaning.

3. Clean the vinyl floor

Dip the soft cloth or microfiber cloth in the cleaning solution, wring it to remove excess solution, then mop the floor with it. Repeat this until you cover the whole floor. 

Excess water can damage vinyl floors by seeping into the seams as they aren’t completely waterproof.

4. Spot clean stubborn stains

If you encounter a stubborn stain, apply the mild dish soap directly to it, then repeatedly rub it off with the cloth. You can also use a solution of vinegar and water (1:10) for such stains.

5. Rinse the floor

Rinse the mop and the floor using clean water in the place of a cleaning solution. Ensure the floor dries by allowing ventilation, turning on a fan, and drying up any pools of water or cleaning solution.

This should be done on a routine, such as weekly, to keep the floor clean and in good shape. Having heated vinyl floors is an added advantage if you live in a cold area.


Vinyl floors are easy to live with, given the ease of cleaning and maintenance. With the right cleaning solution and routine, you can have clean floors welcoming you home each time. If you encounter a problem during the cleaning process, always consult an expert on the matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you not clean vinyl plank flooring with?

You should not clean vinyl floors with steel wool or abrasive scrubbers, products intended to add shine to the floor, wax or solvent-based polishes, ammonia or ammonia-based cleaners, or steam cleaner.

What is the proper way to clean vinyl plank flooring?

Wet a piece of microfiber clothing into a mixture of dish soap and water, then clean the floor with it. Rinse the floor with a mop or clean microfiber clothing. Use Goo Gone or WD-40 on stubborn scuffs.

Can I use Pine Sol on vinyl flooring

You can use Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner on vinyl flooring to remove dirt. However, use small amounts of it to avoid damaging the floor.

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