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How To Clean and Maintain Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring offers a fabulous alternative to hardwood floors. Vinyl plank flooring is not only much cheaper than hardwood flooring, but it is also much easier to maintain. When you take a few simple steps, you will be able to enjoy your vinyl plank flooring for several years. So, how to clean and maintain vinyl plank flooring?

Cleaning

Use a lightweight vacuum or broom to remove fine dirt and debris that builds up on flooring throughout each day. Depending on how much traffic your flooring endures, will determine how often you will need to sweep. Your vinyl plank flooring will maintain its natural look and beauty, when you take the time to sweep off the debris that can build up on a daily basis.

Everyday dish soap and water work great with a damp mop. Use a mop that you are comfortable using and if you’ve got a mud room with dirt buildup; it is OK to use a mop with a little scrub brush. However, be sure there are no wires or aggressively stiff bristles as it can damage your floor. This will allow you to remove the dirt that has been tracked in. This is the beauty of vinyl plank flooring, a little soap, water, and mop will bring your vinyl plank flooring back to life in no time at all. Be sure to rinse your flooring after you use a soap/water mixture. Fill a bucket with plain water and run your damp mop over your vinyl plank floor.

Maintenance

If your vinyl plank flooring needs a little more of a deep clean, just toss in a little white vinegar into a warm bucket of water. Again, take your damp mop and mop away. If you have a heavily soiled area; just take your mop and combine the dish soap with the white vinegar; this will liven up your vinyl plank flooring.

Strong, abrasive cleaners and wired brushed scrubbing pads should not be used on vinyl plank flooring. Some vinyl plank floors may benefit from a yearly coat of floor polish to protect against wear and tear. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions so you can get the most wear out of your vinyl plank flooring.

Vinyl plank flooring works great in wet areas, heavily tracked in areas, as well as areas of your home that need a little extra tlc. When you do decide to install vinyl plank flooring, you will not have to worry about the maintenance issues that hang heavily over many types of flooring. Keep a broom and lightweight vacuum around and your vinyl plank flooring will be good to go 365 days of the year.

Have you recently installed vinyl plank flooring? Have any cleaning tips you would like to share? Write us in the comments below!

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Bestlaminate
Bestlaminate’s blog is dedicated to you by making the home improvement process easier and more affordable. We hope to make your home remodeling and maintaining a more positive experience.

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53 comments

  1. I have recently bought a house with vinyl for. However some corners have peeled and I can actually lift them up. What can I do to fix it and how long vinyl floor would last? Cheers

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Huy – How long vinyl flooring lasts depends on the manufacturer’s warranty, which differs per brand, and it depends on how well the floor was cleaned and maintained. If your vinyl is a sheet vinyl or a glue down vinyl, you can glue the corners back down to extend the life of the floor you currently have, but you may want to consider looking into new flooring in the near future if you are having problems. You can browse our website and order free samples on our website at http://www.bestlaminate.com.

  2. I recently ordered LVP click lock planks to closely match the timber laminate flooring that was installed in my extension. The finish on the timber floor is glossy but I was unable to find any vinyl planking in anything but a matte finish. I hope to be able to apply vinyl polish to the floor to give it some semblance of shine but the manufacturer is telling me this would void the warranty. Are they just being uktra cautious? Why wouldn’t a reputable vinyl floor polish be okay to use on LVP? Also is there any ingredient in floor polish which is best avoided on LVP? Thank you for your help.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Andrea – If the manufacturer of the flooring says that applying a vinyl polish will void your warranty, then you should listen to your manufacturer. Voiding your warranty means that if anything goes wrong with your floor, the manufacturer will not help with reimbursing the cost of your floor for repairs. We would highly advise that you follow their advice.

  3. If I use the dish soap and vinegar solution do I need to rinse the floor afterwards? I have the vinyl planks.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Michelle, You should not need to rinse the flooring afterwards, but you can rinse your floors with a damp mop and plain water if you so choose.

  4. Can I use CitraSolv to clean my Mannington Cortex luxury vinyl plank flooring?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Martha, thanks for your question! If you want to go natural with cleaning, we would recommend a 1 part vinegar, to 3 parts water solution. Do not use any products not specified for vinyl flooring. Products with added de-greasers and soaps can leave a film on your vinyl flooring.

  5. I moved into an apartment with marred, scratched vinyl plank floors, probably from movers. Some scrapes took the shiny finish off. Can I polish it out somehow?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Carey! There are vinyl flooring polishes that you can try to see if it will help with the shine. You can find them at big box stores or online. We’d recommend trying to find one made from the brand of flooring you have.

  6. We just had new vinyl waterproof flooring installed in our kitchen and hallway. It looks dull to me, what can be done?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Patricia – We always recommend to check with your manufacturer first to see what type of flooring cleaner your manufacturer recommends to return your floors’ shine. But for most floors, you can use a mixture of 1 tablespoon + 1/4 white vinegar to each 1 gallon of warm water and mop with a damp mop. This should bring back your shine!

  7. We live in an apartment that’s got vinyl plank flooring sheets down on it and we mop it using floor cleaner and warm hot water then clear rinse mop it again and it seems the very next day when our grandchildren are walking on a Barefoot their feet come up black I’m just wondering if there is a massive buildup of dirt on the flooring or what’s going on it’s getting kind of frustrating because I’m doing everything I can to keep my floors clean but it seems like as soon as I’m done mopping at the next day they feet are dirty I don’t know how long the floor has been in the apartment I’m just wondering if the wear layer could be gone and that’s why their feet get dirty.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi John – We’re very sorry to hear your frustration. Luckily, this should have nothing to do with your wear layer. It could be that there is a lot of dirt being tracked into your apartment or maybe it has been a while since your air ducts have been cleaned and dust from the vents is being blown in. Make sure all guests remove their shoes and place rugs at all entrances and see when your air ducts were cleaned last. Your floor cleaner could also be the culprit. Some floor cleaners claim to clean your floors, but will actually leave a film that will trap dirt and dust – making you mop more and making you purchase their product more.

      Before mopping again, we would first recommend vacuuming or using a broom and dustpan to get up any loose dirt. Next, create a mixture of 1 tablespoon dawn dishsoap + 1/4 white vinegar to every 1 gallon of warm water and mop your floors with a damp mop. Be sure to dump out your mop water frequently and make a new mopping solution, so you are not pushing the dirt around.

      We really hope this helps you!

      • My cat peed and it seeped down under because of how my floors were installed not I have the company coming out to redo it because it should have been sealed so this didn’t happen, any help on what to do if the company won’t come through I can’t be around cat pee smell, my allergies are real bad!!

        • Ashley Tolfo

          Hi Debi – I have cats that have had accidents in my home and the best product I’ve found is Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats No More Spraying Spray. It works WONDERS. I would try this paired with a black light made for finding cat urine, which you can get at any pet store. Use the black light to find the urine, use the spray, and wipe the spot away! I would then recommend leaving a window or two open to help clear out any lingering smells for a couple hours.

          If this doesn’t remove the cat urine smell, and the company doesn’t come out to fix your floor, you will unfortunately have to still replace the floor and underlayment yourself. Because if the cat urine seeped into the wood locking system and the porous underlayment underneath, the smell will probably not come out. I really hope the Nature’s Miracle spray and the black light work for you as it has done me in the past!

      • We just had 2 new LVP floors installed and need to know how to clean it. You recommended using 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap and 1/4 white vinegar to make a cleaning solution for LVP. Is that 1/4 TSP, TBSP, CUP, bottle, or what? I’m uncertain what amount you are suggesting. Thank you.

        • Alana Kane

          We recommend 1 c. Vinegar to 1 gallon of water with about 1 tbsp of of dish liquid. For a smaller spray bottle, around 32 oz., you can use 1/4 c Vinegar with a few drops of dish detergent and fill with water. Hope this helps!

  8. Hi. I have a new vinyl floor. But my big issue is how to clean it. I have read many Q&A here, but my problem and tensions go high, because I can’t mop too much. So my question is, is a steam vacuum good for cleaning vinyl flooring?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Umaira – You should never use a steam mop on your vinyl flooring. The steam is too humid and hot, which can warp the vinyl planks or cause damage to your vinyl flooring’s wear layer. You only need to mop your vinyl flooring when you notice that sweeping is no longer sufficient, or mud is tracked through your home, or other spills occur. Regular sweeping with a broom and dustpan or a vacuum with the beater bar turned off is the only regular maintenance you need.

  9. My vinyl floor cleaning instructions say to not use vinegar as a cleaning agent on ENGAGE vinyl Products. Be sure to read your floors cleaning instructions.

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Jenny – We do recommend that you follow your flooring manufacturer’s instructions first and foremost. Our blog post on how to clean and maintain vinyl plank flooring is simply a recommendation for most vinyl plank flooring, but there will be exceptions. We do not sell Engage vinyl products, so we are not familiar with this floor’s cleaning and maintenance instructions. Thank you for sharing, Jenny!

  10. I have vinyl plank flooring. Right after I mop with just water or a natural ph balanced cleaner, my kids or dog walk on the floor and it’s marked up again. Can I use orange oil diluted with water and vinegar on the floors to clean them?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Stacey, thanks for the question! I believe Orange Oil is used for wood surfaces, so this wouldn’t be the ideal solution for your vinyl. You can just use 1/4 c. white vinegar to a gallon bucket of water, and you will have a natural, disinfecting solution that should do the trick! No need to add anything extra. 🙂

  11. Howdy! My wife was wondering if we could use a floor mate to clean our new flooring, it has plastic or nylon bristles on them little brushes that scrub and just curious if it would hurt the rugged finish, thanks George

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi George – When using any vacuum cleaner, it is recommended that you raise the height of your vacuum, or disable the bristles, so the bristles do not touch the floor. Any harsh scrubbing action can potentially grind the grit and dirt into your hard surface flooring – causing it to scratch! So, it is okay to use your Floormate – as long as you disable the bristles, or raise the bristles high enough so they do not scrub the floor! If you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this comment!

  12. Can I use Lysol Multi-purpose cleaner on vinyl plank flooring?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Tracy – We do not recommend using Lysol on vinyl flooring. Spraying this cleaner directly on your flooring would be too harsh and could run the risk of discoloring your flooring!

      We recommend a simple solution of 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. Dampen your mop or a microfiber cloth with the solution and clean! If you’re finding that you need a little more cleaning power, you can also add 1 tablespoon of Dawn dish soap to the solution for extra cleaning power.

      I hope this helps! Happy cleaning!

      • HI,

        I already have a long scratch mark on my vinyl planking, only after two weeks.
        My fault, I dragged a very light piece of furniture!. Since this was called life proof, I assumed that it could stand up to this.
        What can I do besides buying a repair kit?
        The repair kit sold at Home depot has many different color options. I just need one color. Thanks

        • Ashley Tolfo

          Hi Mark – I’m sorry to hear that your vinyl flooring has already been scratched! Unfortunately, vinyl flooring can scratch easily if you do not take the proper precautions.

          There are two main reasons why vinyl flooring gets scratched:
          1. Abrasive material gets caught between the leg of the furniture and the floor, which scratches the floor when the leg is dragged
          2. The bottom of the furniture is sharp, causing a scratch when it is dragged over the vinyl

          I would recommend that you place felt pads underneath all of your furniture legs to prevent any further scratches from occurring. You can find these felt pads at any home improvement store. You can find more tips on Protecting Vinyl Flooring on our Help Pages.

          There are two solutions to repairing a vinyl flooring scratch:
          1. The simple solution: use a vinyl flooring scratch repair kit
          2. The complex solution: replace the damaged planks with brand new flooring planks

          If you would like to take the complex route, I would suggest looking over our How to Repair Vinyl Flooring guide on our Help Pages as it will help you with replacing planks for floating and glue down vinyl flooring installations.

          If you need any further help, please feel free to reply to this comment or send us an email at support@bestlaminate.com. We hope our information helps you!

  13. I know this sounds crazy, but what about spraying a mixture of Clorox with Mr. Clean. I have also moped with Clorox and water. I have the vinyl planks. It seems to do a good job. Could this hurt the floors?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Teresa – First, I want to warn you to NEVER mix bleach with other cleaners. This can create dangerous fumes that can permanently damage your lungs or even kill you.

      Now that the danger warning is out of the way, you can certainly use a mixture of bleach and water to disinfect and clean your vinyl flooring. On Clorox’s website, they recommend 3/4 cup Clorox to 1 gallon of water. They also recommend to never use straight bleach on your vinyl flooring as this can stain your vinyl flooring. We would recommend to do this type of cleaning sparingly as it can be harsh on your flooring and the fumes of bleach can be strong. Be sure to ventilate your home when mopping with a bleach + water mixture.

  14. Hello I have newly laid Vinyl plank flooring it is beautiful. Question can you post pictures of the mop styles used on the flooring please. I like Swiffer but it just lightly barley does much. I am concerned with what I will use. I do not want to use the wrong micro mop…………

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Siri, it does not matter the type of cloth you use on your laminate floors. What you have to be careful of is how wet your mop is when you are mopping. You want to make sure to wring it out so your mop it damp when you are mopping the floor and there are no pools of water left on the floor. I hope this helps you! If you have any other questions, please feel free to reply to this comment or send us an email at support@bestlaminate.com.

      • Hi Ashley, Thanks for replying. My wife brought home BONA Wood Floor wet pads is it OK to use on my Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors through the house?

        • Ashley Tolfo

          You’re welcome, Siri! The BONA Wood Floor wet pads should be alright to use on your vinyl flooring, so long as you are not over-saturating the floor with the cleaning liquid. However, the formula they use on the pads may not be the most ideal floor cleaner for your vinyl flooring. Vinyl is not a wood product, so their formula could make your vinyl look dull. If this happens, you can clean your vinyl with a ratio of 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap to 1 gallon of warm water and it should remove any residue. We would recommend looking at what the manufacturer of your flooring says to clean your vinyl flooring with so you do not void your warranty. I hope this helps!

  15. Can I use swifter wet mop on laminate flooring

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Char, thanks for your question. You can use a Swiffer wet mop on laminate flooring, just be sure to use the cleaner specified for hard surface flooring. Also, if you are using the wet jet version, be careful of excess or pooling cleaner.

  16. Can I use the product called once and done on my new Armstrong Luxury vinyl Floor Plancks ?

    • Alana Kane

      Yes, this is an Armstrong brand cleaner that should be fine on your Armstrong brand LVT floors. Just be sure you purchase the concentrate specific for vinyl and resilient flooring!

  17. I moved into an apartment with brand new vinyl floors 4 months ago. In the areas that get the most traffic, the shine has disappeared so that the planks are dull and look stripped. Should this be happening after only 4 months? I sweep frequently and have damp mopped, using only water, a few times. Is there something else that I need to do? Or is the flooring defective?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Kathy – Since I am unable to see your floor, I cannot give you a definite answer as to what your issue is, but I am happy to help you try and solve it!

      Since you are only using water to clean your vinyl flooring, there still might be dirt build-up collecting on the floor’s surface, which would be causing your floor to become dull. We recommend filling a bucket with warm water and then adding 1-2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap per gallon of water. By adding the soap after the water, it will reduce the risk of bubbles which will cause your floor to become sticky once dry. Dampen a mop and using this to clean your floor. You can also dampen a microfiber cloth and scrub gently on your hands and knees, if you want to be more thorough. If this brings back the shine once dry, we would recommend cleaning your floors using a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water to clean your floors, or special vinyl flooring cleaner, moving forward. Sometimes water just isn’t enough to get everything up off of the floor.

      If this first step does not bring back the shine to your floors, your floor’s wear layer may be defective. We would recommend calling the flooring manufacturer to start the claims process so your flooring can be replaced. You can usually find this information on the flooring box, the installation pamphlet that came in the box of flooring, or on the flooring website.

      I hope this helps you! If you have any further questions, you can reply to this comment or send us an email to support@bestlaminate.com.

    • Hi Kathy, I just purchased vinyl and the one I chose wouldn’t be called shiny. I haven’t seen your floors but perhaps you have something similar. You might want to ask the person who purchased the flooring. Hope this helps.

  18. Mary D Fischetti

    I have had vinyl plank flooring for two years and have had a terrible time with sticky residue. Let me also say I have four senior long haired dogs, two of which are dribblers. US Floors said to use a pH neutral cleaner on it which is not supposed to need to be rinsed. It didn’t work. The list of other things that haven’t worked includes Swiffer Wet Jet, vinegar and water, plain water, Bona tile and laminate cleaner, Pledge tile cleaner, and a very expensive natural cleaner. I use microfiber mops after vacuuming. What happens after that is the floor, which covers 1200 or more square feet, looks great until a person or dog walks on it when the paw print or shoe print is visible. In addition, even after cleaning, the floor seems dirty when wiped with a paper towel, even making me think the finish is coming off! Is anyone out there who can help?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Mary, sorry to hear about your struggle with cleaning your vinyl. Have you tried dish soap? We’d recommend letting the cleaner soak on the floor for an extended amount of time, 15-30 minutes, so it can penetrate whatever is creating the residue. If you feel it may be a finish issue, you could reach out to the distributor in which you bought it from, and discuss warranty options. Hope this helps!

    • I just moved into a brand new house with vinyl plank flooring. The floors had a residue that no one could get up not even the manufacturer of the floors. So, they had a professional cleaning crew come in. The lady immediately recommended vinegar and water. So she put a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle, sprayed the floors and mopped it on her hands and knees using micro fiber clothes! BAM!!! finally!!!! clean and pretty floors. I will never use anything but vinegar, water and microfiber clothes. I hope it wont be too hard to maintain now. Hope to hear that your floors come clean too!! NEVER use cleaners like Bona, mop and glo or murphys oil on your floors! These cleaners cause residue on vinyl floors, in my experience!

      • Ashley Tolfo

        So glad that the vinegar and water worked for you, Jeannie! We definitely recommend using this for cleaning vinyl and laminate flooring. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

        • Hope my husband didnt already ruin our brand new luxery vinal plank. He used our window cleaner that has alcohol & lavender oil in it 😔

          • Ashley Tolfo

            There could be some hope, Jewel! Have you tried mopping with vinegar and water? Use 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon warm water and use a damp mop, or use microfiber cloths and scrub on hands and knees. If you’re still seeing lots of residue, try a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar + 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap to 1 gallon of warm water. We recommend using only a vinegar and warm water mixture to clean your vinyl floors. It’s gentile and leaves no residue. Hopefully this helps you! If you have any other questions, please feel free to reply to this comment, or email us at support@bestlaminate.com.

    • Same here. Footprints from children and ourselves everywhere and no matter what I do I can’t get rid of them. I tried Swiffer wet and Mr clean and vinegar and water. I hand scrubbed with the vinegar mix and a microfiber cloth and all that happened is now the spot looks duller. The footprints are still there but they are also duller. I don’t know what to do with this floor. It’s only a month old and I’ve had this problem right from the start.

      • Ashley Tolfo

        I’m very sorry to hear about the issue you’re having with your floor! You didn’t mention what floor exactly you have, but generally we recommend a mixture of 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap + 1 cup of vinegar to every 1 gallon of warm water. Try hand scrubbing the trouble area to see if this removes your footprints.

        If this doesn’t remove the footprints, we would recommend contacting the manufacturer of your flooring about the issue and filing a claim. There is a slight possibility that the wear layer on the floor is defective and this is why your floor looks dull and footprints are staining your flooring. I hope this information has been helpful!

  19. I had the piano finish installed in my kitchen and ldry rm. Looks beautiful. Interestingly, some water from a animal water holder spilled on the floor and got under the planks and warped approximately 8-9 planks. I called the same supplier I used for installation and he recommended a installer. He came out and said he would get back to see if he could purchase another case and never got back with me. I don’t know who to call to hire for repairs and for this and many other reasons, would not recommend this type of flooring for kitchen & or ldry room. I am heart sick to see this accident failure. Beautiful, but too risky in much used water area.
    Failed.

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