How To Clean Linoleum Flooring Effectively

Linoleum has always been an inexpensive and practical floor covering for over a century. First patented in the 1860s, this flooring option is making a great comeback to provide more desirable qualities to upgrade the style of your home. Linoleum floors look exceptionally amazing when they are intact. However, they appear unsightly when damaged, just like any other floor types. And this could ruin your entire homes’ overall appearance. While linoleum is relatively durable and tough to stand the test of time, it still needs your TLC. But what it really takes to clean linoleum flooring? What are the most effective ways to maintain and restore its look? In this blog, we will look at how to clean linoleum flooring as effectively as possible.

clean linoleum flooring

General Cleaning and Tools for Maintenance

Cleaning your linoleum floor is almost similar to that of hardwood floor maintenance. While it isn’t daunting and difficult, you need to be meticulous as to what cleaning products and methods to apply on the surface floor. But regardless if you are deep cleaning or regular cleaning, there are several supplies and tools that you must have.


Mopping and Dusting 

When you need to clean linoleum flooring by mopping and dusting, here are the important tools you need. 


Brooms. Although linoleum is resilient flooring, you still need to prevent it from scratches. The correct broom to clean linoleum flooring is the one with a microfiber head or soft nylon bristle. On the contrary, refrain from using brooms with hard or straw bristles as they can be tough for this flooring material.


Mops. Linoleum is very prone to moisture or water damage; hence you need a mop to wipe up any excess water. If you do not have one, you can use a soft cloth to dry your linoleum up as quickly as possible.

clean linoleum flooring

Vacuum Cleaners. Like hardwood flooring, you can use a vacuum to clean linoleum flooring. However, make sure to choose the right vacuum cleaner. Brush rollers, normally used for carpet flooring, are not an ideal choice because it can be too hard on your linoleum flooring, causing scratches and damages. Use hard floor vacuum cleaners instead.  


Steam Mops. Using a steam mop is beneficial to get a nice, deep clean on your linoleum flooring. Steam is an incredible way to remove grimes, stains, and dirt. To make sure that the steam mop is suitable for linoleum, always check the manufacturer’s specifications. You can also avoid any accidental heat damage if you follow the guidelines or instructions.


Homemade Cleaning Solution

The best thing about linoleum flooring is that you can use DIY blends and homemade cleaning solutions. There are myriad benefits to clean linoleum flooring using these homemade cleaners. For one, you don’t need to expose yourself to toxic chemicals contained in a chemical floor cleaner. It is also safer to store these DIY blends at home. Plus, you are saving yourself a trip to a shop; hence, spending less money.

clean linoleum flooring

Some homemade floor solutions include baking soda, dishwashing liquid, baby oil, and vinegar, or a combination of any. They can be as effective and useful as chemical floor cleaners but less costly. Throughout this blog, we will talk about making these homemade cleaning recipes and how to apply them when cleaning linoleum flooring.


Chemical Floor Cleaners

While there are numerous ways to create homemade or DIY solutions to clean linoleum flooring, it won’t still prevent you to use commercial chemical cleaners. If you want to purchase commercial floor cleaners, always make sure that it is suitable for linoleum. Choose pH balanced products as they can remove and neutralize contaminants without damaging your linoleum floor. Most pH balanced products do not only remove dirt and grime but also make your floor shiny yet not slippery or sticky underfoot. Also, the detergent solution is not ideal for linoleum because it contains abrasive ingredients. Try not to use tile cleaner and carpet shampoo as these products can be harsh to your linoleum floor.


How to Clean Linoleum Flooring

As mentioned earlier, it is really a no-brainer to clean linoleum flooring. It’s not even rocket science to deal with all the dirt and grimes on your surface floor. There are various methods to effectively maintain and clean linoleum flooring. Here are some effective and helpful tips you can follow.

clean linoleum flooring

1. Regular Cleaning

Before you even apply any cleaning solution, the very step in maintaining your linoleum floor is to eradicate all traces of dust and dirt. Frequent cleaning is necessary to guarantee that the dust is not being pushed further into the grout of your floor. For this step, you can apply the following routine cleaning methods below.


Cleaning Up Dirt Daily. You may not want any dirt or dust hardened on your floor just because it is left unattended. To prevent this, make sure to use a dust mop or dry microfiber mop to wipe up the dirt every day.


Sweeping or Vacuuming Weekly. Even if you are cleaning the linoleum floor every day, it is still crucial to sweep or vacuum your flooring on a weekly basis. Sweeping or vacuuming is beneficial to reach any awkward crannies and nooks where dirt and dust could gather.

clean linoleum flooring

Mopping Floor Weekly. With your chosen cleaning solution, make sure to mop your linoleum floor every week. To avoid any wet debris pushed around the corners and narrow spaces, don’t forget to sweep or vacuum the floor first. Also, make sure to keep your mop dry.


2. Water and Dish Soap 

It’s an oldie but goodie, yet an effective way to clean linoleum flooring. Dish soap solution contains two ingredients: 1 gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of dish soap or mild dish detergent. The combination of these ingredients makes up a good gentle cleaning solution, which saves you from using any harsh chemical cleaners on your floor.


To create a dish soap solution, pour one gallon of water into an empty pail or bucket. Add a tablespoon of dish soap or mild dish detergent. Dip the mop into the pail or bucket and swirl it around to make sure that the solution is mixed thoroughly. Wring your mop out until the dripping stops, so it prevents the floor from soaking. Start mopping at the edges of the floor, then work backward. You can begin in small sections of the room, then let it completely dry when you are finished mopping. Refrain from walking in the area that you just cleaned. Once the solution dries up on the floor, use clean water and go over the linoleum floor once more. Rinsed off any residue. Lastly, allow your linoleum flooring to air dry.


3. Vinegar Floor Cleaner

Another household product used in homemade mopping cleaner is vinegar. A vinegar floor cleaner is a combination of four cups of white vinegar and four cups of warm water. This cleaning solution is effectively used to deep clean linoleum flooring. Also, it does not leave any residue and evaporates very quickly.  

clean linoleum flooring

In making a vinegar linoleum floor cleaner, combine an equal ratio of vinegar and warm water in an empty pail or bucket. Dip the mop into the pail, then wring thoroughly. Start mopping the same process as a dish soap cleaning solution. If you want to deep clean linoleum flooring, get a scrub brush, and use it to further reach dirt in between the grout spaces or lines.


4. Castile Soap

clean linoleum flooring

Using castile soap is another way to clean linoleum flooring. Castile soap is made from vegetables and olive oil, making it natural and safe. It is available in liquid form and bar soap. You can create your own castile soap linoleum floor cleaner by adding 2 tablespoons of liquid Castile soap to a gallon of warm water. Apply the mixture to the linoleum floor with a dampened cloth or a mop. Let the mixture soak into the grout and tiles for a couple of minutes. Once done, rinse the floor with water, then let it dry completely.


5. Homemade Baking Soda Floor Cleaner

Baking soda is another excellent ingredient in cleaning. This additive absorbs excess moisture and loosened particles, making it a perfect component to deep clean linoleum flooring. Baking soda has fine particles that can scrub hidden dust or dirt between grout lines without leaving scratches on the floor. To create a homemade baking soda cleaning solution, you need these ingredients: 1 tablespoon of dish soap, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 2 gallons of hot water, and ¼ cup of baking soda.  


Prepare all the necessary ingredients. Begin by adding baking soda into gallons of water, then dissolve it. Once done, pour the vinegar and dish soap into the same mixture. After everything is combined completely, apply the cleaning solution on a scrub brush, damp mop, or a dry microfiber cloth.


6. Spot Cleaning

To prevent stain formation, spot cleaning is the answer. Rinse the area with cool water, then let it dry completely using a towel. For stubborn stains and tough debris, you can use the homemade baking soda cleaner over the stained area. You can also apply a baking soda paste to the spots and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Baking soda paste is a combination of baking soda and vinegar but a thicker version. After 15 minutes, you can wipe up the spots using a microfiber cloth.  


7. Water and Borax

Borax is a powerful floor cleaner that fights stains and removes all dirt. It can be applied on its own or combined with other ingredients such as dish soap and vinegar. Just be cautious when using borax as it can be harmful when ingested or absorbed. Make sure to keep it away from children and pets.


To make a Borax floor stain remover, just simply combine 2 tablespoons of Borax and a gallon of water in a pail or bucket. Dip the mop and use it to stir the mixture until it completely dissolves. Wring out your mop to prevent your linoleum floor from soaking up. Start mopping while applying light pressure to stained or soiled areas. If you will use the solution as a spot cleaner, scrub the spot areas with a soft bristle brush. Once done, rinse the floor with clean water to avoid streaks. Let it dry when finished.


8. Baby Oil for Additional Shine

Adding baby oil to a vinegar solution can provide extra shine to your linoleum flooring. For this cleaning recipe, you only need 1 cup of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of baby oil, and 5 gallons of water. Combine all the ingredients in a large empty pail or bucket. This solution can be used both as cleaner and linoleum polish. The same with other cleaning options, dip the mop and wring it out to discard any excess water. Start mopping the floor. The vinegar from the mixture will remove stains, grimes, and grease, whereas the baby oil will create a glossy finish. Just make sure not to put too much oil as it can make your floor greasy.


9. Steam Mopping

clean linoleum flooring

If your goal is to deeply clean linoleum flooring, a steam mop is the right solution. As simple as using a vacuum cleaner, steam mopping is effective in sanitizing and cleaning floors. Unlike the regular mopping in which you need to rinse the floor with water and let it dry to avoid any water spots, steam mopping leaves no soapy water on the floor. Any remaining moisture will dry quickly when you use a steam mop.


10. Lemon Juice Paste For Yellow Discoloration

Linoleum flooring is prone to yellow discoloration as it gets older. There are several factors why discoloration happens. For one, lack of exposure to sunlight creates a yellow appearance on your linoleum. This flooring material contains linseed oil, which can oxidize and become yellow without any exposure to sunlight. It normally manifests in areas where rugs or mats cover the linoleum floor. To mitigate this, remove the rug or floor mat and let the linoleum flooring absorb sunlight by opening your curtains or windows. In addition to lack of sun exposure, yellow discoloration appears when you normally apply products that contain ammonia or alkaline to your linoleum floor. With continuous use, the floor will eventually turn yellow.


Without the need to bleach your linoleum floor, an incredible way to remove yellow discoloration is to make a lemon juice paste. For this recipe, you only need two ingredients: ½ cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of baking soda. The combination of these two components is so powerful. Baking soda acts as a stain-fighting agent to remove stains, while lemon juice is known to reverse certain discoloration such as in nails and teeth.


Simply combine these two ingredients. You may notice some bubbles, but that is really normal. Let the bubbles subside, then blend them well. Once done, spread the lemon juice paste over the grouts and tiles of the linoleum floor. Allow the paste to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes, but you may increase the duration depending on the depth of yellow discoloration. Using a bristle brush, gently scrub the affected area. Remove all the yellow coating before you rinse it with clean water. Lastly, allow your linoleum floor to dry.


11. Drying Your Linoleum Floor

When cleaning your linoleum, we can’t stress enough the importance of allowing your floor to dry completely. Be it in deep cleaning or routine maintenance, drying your floor is necessary to avoid water spots or soap residue on the surface. Since linoleum floors are susceptible to moisture and water, you may not want to allow standing water on the floor. Prolonged exposure to moisture or water will cause staining and mold or mildew formation.


12. Polishing Your Floor

Manufacturers and linoleum floor contractors recommend polishing the floor, so it gives your linoleum added protection. To do this, start with your usual cleaning routines: clean linoleum flooring, rinse with water, and let it dry completely. Once done, apply one or two coats of floor polish designed for linoleum. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in polishing the floor. Like hardwood finishing, make sure to allow the floor polish to thoroughly dry between coats.


Aside from the linoleum floor polish that you can purchase in the market, you can also create your own polish. A homemade linoleum flooring polish contains four ingredients: 2 cups of warm water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 15 drops of lemon essential oil, and 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl or small bucket, then blend well. Apply the polish across the linoleum floor using a soft sponge or mop. Let it dry when finished.


Tips in Cleaning Linoleum Floors

With proper care and maintenance, your linoleum flooring will last for decades. To guarantee that it really serves its purpose, make sure to know what requires you to do, and what are the things to avoid in cleaning your linoleum floor.

clean linoleum flooring

DO’s of Linoleum Flooring Maintenance

DO wipe up the detergent or cleanser thoroughly. When you apply any cleaning solutions or detergents to your linoleum floor, it is important to remove them thoroughly when finished. This is to prevent any sticky residue on the surface, which normally allows more opportunity to attract dust and dirt. 


DO add protectors or furniture pads. A little slide of your furniture may cause stains and scratches over time. With this, you should always place felt floor protectors or furniture pads on the bottom of the furniture in your house. With no protection, expect that there will be a lot of scrapes or scratches on your linoleum floor. 


DO always place rugs or doormats on entryways. Grit and grimes are among the biggest enemies of the linoleum floor. When they are tracked in from the outside, these grimes will scratch the surface floor and damage the finish.


DO always check your manufacturer’s instructions before steam cleaning. While steam cleaning is beneficial on the linoleum floor, it can also cause water damage when not used properly. It always pays to read and follow your manufacturer’s specifications to make sure that the brand is suitable for linoleum. This also makes your cleaning process safe. 


DO allow ample time for sun exposure. Linoleum turns yellow when not exposed to sunlight. Make sure to always open your windows and give you flooring enough time for sun exposure. 


DO use cool or warm water. In cleaning your linoleum floor, it is best to use only warm or cool water instead of hot water. This is because hot water typically causes water or moisture damage much faster.


DON’Ts of Linoleum Flooring Maintenance

DON’T let standing water on your linoleum. Like hardwood flooring, water and moisture is the biggest enemy of linoleum flooring. Make sure to wipe up any spills or splashes quickly to prevent any water damage. 


DON’T use latex or rubber-backed rug on your linoleum flooring. While it is advisable to put pads or protectors to avoid surface damages, using latex or rubber-backed products will cause stains on your floor. 


DON’T apply ammonia-based cleaners on your linoleum flooring. Cleaning products with ammonia can impact the pH balance of your flooring. They may eradicate dirt and debris, but it will also strip the polish of your linoleum flooring and damage it underneath. 


DON’T use vacuum cleaners with beater bars. Vacuums with beater bars have a high-speed rotation that can be abrasive to your linoleum flooring. This will eventually cause scratches on the surface floor. 


Maintaining Linoleum Floor Has Never Been So Easy

The process of cleaning and maintaining your linoleum floor does not need to be daunting and tedious. It is just a matter of following the correct methods, knowing what products to use, and understanding what to avoid. Taking all these into consideration, you can safely and effectively clean linoleum flooring at home. However, if you have done everything you can to restore the look of your linoleum floor and you think that replacement is the right solution, do not hesitate to contact us. Carpet Ready is here to provide you a free in-home consultation today!