How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring? (6-Step Guide)

Cleaning your vinyl plank flooring is a necessary process that needs to be done periodically to keep your flooring looking new, regardless of whether there is a spill that needs to be cleaned. 

There are multiple different approaches to this process, but what is the best way to clean vinyl plank flooring? The answer is going to vary depending on how deeply your floors need to be cleaned. Luckily, all of the best methods are easy to do. Let’s dive into the best ways to get your floors looking like new again!

What You Need To Know About Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

Just like with other types of flooring, there are methods that will work better for one type of floor than others. With vinyl planking, we need to be careful not to ruin the finish by using harsh chemicals. These industrial and commercial cleaners can make quick work of messes on other types of flooring, but the finish on vinyl floors can get stripped off so that the plank can be damaged by traffic and moisture. This is why we need to start slow and work our way up to stronger cleaning solutions. It is better to take the time to be gentle with your vinyl flooring so that you don’t have to replace it after cleaning.

It is always best to clean your floors on a regular basis to avoid a build-up of unwanted grime. Periodically mopping your floors with warm water and immediately drying them afterward is a great way to keep them clean. If you’ve neglected to clean for a while, that’s OK. We have compiled some of the best cleaning techniques

Supplies You’ll Need For Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Soft broom or vacuum with a soft brush attachment
  • Microfiber mop
  • Microfiber towels or cloths
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves

How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Step 1: Prep The Flooring

Before we get into a deeper clean, we need to remove all of the loose dirt and dust. This will give us a better idea of problem areas, plus it will ensure that we don’t scratch the flooring while scrubbing. Use a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum with a soft attachment that won’t damage the finish. 

Step 2: Use A Gentle Cleaner

Now that the loose dirt is gone, we can use a gentle cleaning solution. It’s best to start with soap/detergent and warm water. You will want to use gentle products that are free of oils and scents if possible because we don’t want anything getting left behind that can eat away at the finish. If you are cleaning the entirety of the floor, use a microfiber mop to save time. If the problem is consolidated to a small area, it makes more sense to use microfiber cloths.

Use ¼ cup of dish soap or detergent for every gallon of water in the solution. This ratio will be strong enough to clean up most messes without leaving behind a soapy residue that will collect dirt.

Make sure you wring out your mop or cloth thoroughly when cleaning. Although vinyl plank flooring is water resistant, excess water can seep into the smallest of cracks if left untouched. After a round of applying your cleaning solution, be sure to dry the floor quickly. The less time that water has to sit on the flooring, the better.

Step 3: Cleaning Heavy-Duty Stains With Liquid

If soap and water didn’t work, don’t fret. Using a solution of white vinegar and warm water will act as a stronger cleaning solution for those stubborn stains. Start with a solution of ¼ cup vinegar per gallon of warm water. You can even add a few drops of dish soap to give the solution a boost in the strength departments.

Apply this solution in the same way as before, wringing out your mop/cloth and periodically drying the wet areas. You may have to repeat this process a few times, so don’t worry if it doesn’t work immediately. Just rinse and repeat until the floors are clean.

Step 4: Cleaning Heavy-Duty Stains With A Paste

This may sound odd, but give it a chance because it can work wonders. If you are dealing with a spill that has had time to dry, then using a solution of baking soda and warm water just might do the trick. 

You might have to experiment a little to get the perfect consistency, but start with one part of warm water for every three parts of baking soda. You are shooting for a thick paste, so don’t go overboard with the water because you will just have to keep adding more baking soda.

Since baking soda is a solid, it acts as an abrasive cleaner that can help lift stubborn spills. We have to be careful using this method, as we don’t want to scratch our floors. This method is best for spot-treating your vinyl floors because it takes extra time to clean.

Use a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth to gently scrub the grime off of your floor. Periodically rinse and dry the area to check and see if it is working. It may take some time, but repeating this process will almost certainly remove any unwanted materials from your vinyl floors.

Step 5: Using A Name-Brand Cleaner

This is the most risky approach to cleaning your vinyl plank floors, so save it for a final effort if the above methods don’t work. If you must buy a commercial cleaner, be sure to check its ingredients before buying so that you can research them. It should always be a pH-neutral solution. Some all-in-one cleaners claim to work on all flooring types, but they can actually contain ingredients that may damage your floor’s finish over time. Make sure to follow the directions on the bottle closely and thoroughly rinse and dry after using.

Step 6: Let The Floor Dry

You should have done most of the drying as you cleaned the floor, but there may be some moisture left behind. We want the flooring to dry completely before walking on it so that it doesn’t collect more dirt and grime.  You can speed this process up with a fan or by opening some windows. Be patient, and before you know it, your floors will be restored to their former glory!

Final Thoughts

For the most part, cleaning floors is a very easy project. Sometimes a simple sweeping or mopping will do the job, but other times we need to turn to heavy-duty cleaners to do the job. Always make sure to start gently and work your way up the ladder of cleaning solutions to ensure that you don’t do any unwanted damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to plan out your project so that you receive the best results.

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

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