Vinyl is extremely durable, versatile, and easy to care for, making it one of the most common floor covering in kitchens and bathrooms. New floors and old floors alike are made from various forms of vinyl. Many of the new vinyl floors have a protective no-wax coating for built-in shine. Older vinyl floors may benefit from occasional waxing after they have been stripped.
To clean vinyl floors, sweep and vacuum regularly. Regular sweeping is important to prevent dirt from scratching the finish and being ground into the floor. Dry mopping with a microfiber cloth quickly and effectively picks up dirt large particles, pet hair, and dust. Wipe up spills with a damp soapy cloth as soon as they happen.
When dirt doesn’t vacuum off, the floor should be mopped the gentlest cleaner possible. Always use warm or cool water, never hot, for mopping. Most everyday dirt will come off with plain water. For tougher stains, add a drop of dish liquid to the mop water. Wring-out the mop thoroughly to prevent pools of water from seeping through cracks in the vinyl tiles. If the floor doesn’t look shiny after mopping, rinse with cool water and vinegar to seal to pores of the vinyl and promote a nice shine. Carbonated water also helps to lift up grime. Pour a little bit over the affected area and let the bubbles work for a minute, before wiping up.
Even on the best maintained floors, build-up does occur. Be weary of one-step cleaners that claim to clean and wax at the same time. Wax products build-up and yellow over time, creating a dingy yellow film over the whole floor. Stripping may be necessary if the floor feels sticky after drying, or if vinegar doesn’t seem to help.
Stripping a vinyl floor is a real hands and knees task. The good news is vinyl floors should only be stripped once a year, no more. Assemble a mop bucket, large sponge, scrub brush, rubber gloves, and a few cleaning cloths to strip the floor. A wax stripping solution can be made from one cup of ammonia, half a cup of laundry detergent, and a gallon of water. An alternative and less fumy solution is to sprinkle pure washing soda, found in the laundry aisle, on a wet floor. Washing soda has an extremely high pH, capable of stripping paint. For best results, allow the stripping solution to sit on the floor for ten minutes before wiping off. Test in an inconspicuous area to see if the wax comes off. After resting for a few minutes the solution should look foggy that is the old wax. In areas with tough build-up, a scrub brush or synthetic scouring pad should be used. Synthetic scouring pads also work great for removing shoes scuffs from the floor. After stripping, seal the floor with a commercial vinyl floor sealer or two coats of wax.
Commercial floor cleaners and strippers are also available. Purchase from a reputable brand and read all directions, making sure it’s approved for the correct floor type. Certain no-rinse floor cleaners are approved for no-wax floors. A dab of floor stripper can also be used between moppings to remove stains. Cleaning kits for no-wax vinyl floors are available from the leading brands and include a terry cloth mop and a bottle of once and done floor cleaner.