How to clean vinyl plank flooring?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 3, 2024

Vinyl plank flooring has become a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability, water resistance, and aesthetic appeal. However, maintaining its pristine look requires proper cleaning techniques. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about cleaning vinyl plank flooring, from routine maintenance to tackling stubborn stains.

1. Understanding Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring consists of multiple layers, including a wear layer, a design layer, and a backing layer. The wear layer is crucial as it protects the floor from scratches, scuffs, and stains. Understanding the composition of your vinyl plank flooring helps in choosing the appropriate cleaning methods and products.

2. Routine Cleaning

Routine cleaning is essential to maintain the appearance and longevity of your vinyl plank flooring. Here’s how you can keep it looking new with daily and weekly maintenance.

Daily Dusting

Dust and dirt can act like sandpaper on the wear layer of your vinyl plank flooring. Use a soft-bristle broom or a microfiber dust mop to remove loose dirt and debris. For high-traffic areas, consider vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner that has a setting for hard floors to avoid scratches.

Weekly Mopping

Once a week, mop your vinyl plank flooring to remove stuck-on dirt. Use a damp mop and a gentle cleaner specifically designed for vinyl floors. Avoid overly wet mops as excess water can seep into the seams and cause the planks to warp. A mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap works well as a homemade cleaner.

3. Deep Cleaning

While routine cleaning keeps your vinyl plank flooring looking good, deep cleaning is necessary to remove built-up grime and restore its shine.

Using a Vinyl Floor Cleaner

For deep cleaning, use a commercial vinyl floor cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and application. Apply the cleaner with a damp mop and scrub gently, focusing on areas with more dirt buildup.

Steam Cleaning

Although steam cleaning is effective, it is generally not recommended for vinyl plank flooring due to the risk of moisture damage. If you decide to use a steam cleaner, ensure it’s on the lowest setting and move it quickly over the floor to minimize water exposure.

4. Removing Stains and Spills

Accidents happen, and knowing how to handle spills and stains promptly can prevent long-term damage.

Food and Beverage Spills

Wipe up spills immediately with a damp cloth to prevent staining. For dried-on spills, use a mild cleaner and a soft cloth to gently remove the residue.

Ink and Makeup Stains

Stains from ink, makeup, or other pigmented substances can be more challenging. Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol or a non-abrasive cleaner and blot the stain gently. Avoid scrubbing as this can spread the stain and damage the wear layer.

Scuff Marks

Scuff marks can be removed using a soft cloth and a small amount of baking soda. Gently rub the scuff with the cloth until it disappears. For more stubborn marks, consider using a vinyl floor eraser.

5. Preventive Measures

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to maintaining the beauty of your vinyl plank flooring.

Use Doormats

Place doormats at entrances to reduce the amount of dirt and moisture tracked onto your floor. Ensure that the mats are non-rubber-backed as rubber can cause discoloration over time.

Furniture Pads

Attach felt pads to the bottom of furniture legs to prevent scratches when moving pieces around. Avoid dragging heavy furniture across the floor.

Regular Maintenance

Regularly inspect your vinyl plank flooring for damage or wear. Replace worn-out sections promptly to avoid further damage.

6. Dos and Don’ts

Understanding what to do and what to avoid is crucial for maintaining your vinyl plank flooring.


  • Do use a pH-neutral cleaner.
  • Do mop with a damp, not wet, mop.
  • Do clean spills immediately.
  • Do use protective mats and pads.
  • Do sweep or vacuum regularly.


  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers.
  • Don’t use wax or polish on vinyl floors.
  • Don’t use steam cleaners frequently.
  • Don’t flood the floor with water.
  • Don’t drag furniture across the floor.

7. Choosing the Right Products

Choosing the right cleaning products is vital for maintaining the integrity of your vinyl plank flooring. Always opt for cleaners specifically designed for vinyl floors. Avoid products with harsh chemicals, abrasives, or a high pH. When in doubt, test a small, inconspicuous area first.

8. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

If you prefer eco-friendly options, several household items can be effective in cleaning vinyl plank flooring.

Vinegar and Water Solution

A mixture of one cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water can serve as an effective, eco-friendly cleaner. The acidity of the vinegar helps break down grime without leaving a residue.

Baking Soda Paste

For spot cleaning, a paste made from baking soda and water can be used to scrub away stains. Apply the paste, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth.

9. Handling Specific Issues

Certain issues may arise that require specialized solutions.


Discoloration can occur from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or rubber-backed mats. Use window treatments to block direct sunlight and replace rubber mats with non-staining alternatives.

Scratches and Gouges

Minor scratches can often be buffed out using a soft cloth and a vinyl floor repair kit. For deeper gouges, consider replacing the affected plank.

10. Seasonal Maintenance

Different seasons bring different challenges for vinyl plank flooring.

Winter Care

During winter, salt and moisture from snow can cause damage. Use absorbent mats and clean up any salt or moisture promptly.

Summer Care

In summer, increased foot traffic can lead to dirt buildup. Sweep and mop more frequently to keep your floors clean.

The journey to a spotless and well-maintained vinyl plank floor is ongoing, with each step ensuring the floor remains as beautiful as the day it was installed.

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