Best Ways to Clean Linoleum Flooring

Best Ways to Clean Linoleum Flooring

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new way to clean your linoleum floors. It doesn’t require any specialized equipment or fancy cleansers; in fact, you probably have most of the ingredients. That’s right—we are going to delve into the world of homemade linoleum cleaning cocktails—solutions that actually work.

The best part: you’ll save heaps of time, and tons of cash.

Before we start, make sure you sweep or vacuum the area for dust and debris (check out our research of the best hard surface vacuum options). You don’t want to start with a muddy mess. Additionally, while the following methods are safe for most floors, it’s best to try any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first.

So, if you’re ready, let’s dive into the details.

Dish Soap and Water

The first method is an oldie but goodie. It takes two ingredients and costs a whopping $0.05 per bucket-load. You’ll need:

  1. Dish soap.
  2. Water.

While skeptics might question the effectiveness, seasoned cleaning pros have recommended this method for years. So, if you’re game, grab your mop, favorite blue dish-soap, and bucket.

1. Start by adding 4-6 drops of soap to an empty pail. Then, fill your bucket with warm water. While there are no straightforward guidelines, you’ll probably want to use about 1-1 ½ gallons of water.

2. Dip your mop into the bucket and swirl it around until the solution is mixed. Then wring the mop out until it stops dripping—you don’t want to soak the floors. Run the mop across the linoleum, using even strokes.

2(a). Remember to start at the edges and work backward. Avoid boxing yourself into a corner or walking in the area you just cleaned. Let the solution sit for ten minutes.

3. Then, using clean water, go over the floors one more time. Try to follow the same path, so your not leaving footprints or streaks. Once you’ve rinsed off the residue; allow the floor to air dry.

That’s it, two steps and done. This recipe works well for routine cleaning. However, if your linoleum is stained, you’ll need something tougher.

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Vinegar and Baking Soda

There are several variations of this solution. Some call for added ingredients like peroxide or rubbing alcohol. While those may work for spot cleaning, they can leave behind dull spots or cause your linoleum to crack. If the smell of distilled vinegar wrinkles your nose, try using the apple-cider variation.

1. To start, combine 1 2/3 cups baking soda and 2 tablespoons of vinegar with ½ cup of water. Stir the ingredients, making sure all lumps dissolve. Then add the solution to a clean spray bottle.

2. Spray your floor in sections and allow the solution a minute to dissolve any dirt. Use warm water and a damp tile mop to go over the area one more time, working the mixture into any cracks or crevices. Rinse your mop and do a final pass over the floor.

Let the floor dry at least 10 minutes before walking on it. Any leftover odor from the vinegar will dissipate within a half-hour.

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Borax and Water

Here’s another two-step concoction that leaves out the vinegar. This time we’re using Borax. Known in cleaning circles as the go-to deodorizer, Borax has been around since 1891.

Use caution when working with this product, as it is harmful when absorbed or ingested. To prevent accidental exposure, be sure to store it away from pets and children. With that in mind, let’s proceed.

1. Mix two tablespoons of Borax powder into a gallon of warm water. Use your mop to stir the mixture, making sure the powder dissolves. Wring the mop out, to prevent flooding your linoleum.

2. Wash your floors as usual, applying gentle pressure to soiled areas. When you’re done, rinse with warm water to prevent streaks.

As a bonus, Borax naturally repels pests. So, if you’re fighting the annual ant battle on your bathroom or kitchen floors, or elsewhere in the house, consider yourself ahead of the game.

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Castile Soap and Water

Our final contender is vinegar’s toughest competitor—castile soap. It’s odor-free and made from vegetables, but isn’t entirely green. While castile soap is less hazardous than most cleaners, you should be aware of the health warnings.

You can buy castile soap online or at your local big box store. A 32oz bottle will set you back around $15-20, but will last at least 6 months. While there are unscented versions, most have a clean peppermint or citrus smell.

1. If you’ve got your bottle handy, go ahead and pour 2 tablespoons of castile soap into a bucket of hot water. Dip your mop into the bucket and stir slowly to avoid a sudsy mess. Using a well-wrung mop, apply the mixture to your floors.

2. Work the cleaner into the floor and allow time for the soap to penetrate. Once the linoleum is clean, rinse out the bucket and wipe the floor with clean water. Take your time rinsing; castile soap can leave behind a filmy residue.

After two rinses, your floors will sparkle.

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To Sum It Up

Cleaning your linoleum floors doesn’t have to cost a bundle. You can achieve surprising results without resorting to harsh chemicals and pricey cleaners. Mix and match the recipes until you discover the perfect solution for your home.

There are several other concoctions online. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you know what you’re mixing, as some ingredients are toxic when combined.

Do you have a go-to DIY floor cleaner? If so, spread the knowledge by sharing your recipe with the rest of us in the comments below.

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Jeanine Hintze

About Jeanine Hintze

Jeanine Hintze is a professional content writer, and home improvement enthusiast from Long Island.

15 thoughts on “Best Ways to Clean Linoleum Flooring”

  1. Avatar
    Emily Hamilton

    You know what I’ve done? It works so don’t laugh 🙂 I use an iron… Yes and iron and a wet towel. Then iron over the wet towel and it pulls the dirt out of those crevices. I do this after I clean the floor thoroughly then I get down and do the iron in the wet towel it works. Time-consuming but it does work. 🙂 good luck

  2. Avatar
    Michael Works

    The baking soda, vinegar recipe is like paste! Theres no way you can spray that. Is there something wrong with the amounts?

  3. Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this useful information. When linoleum floors are properly cleaned and taken care of, they can last nearly 50 years. Sweep, dust mop or vacuum your linoleum floor to remove excess dirt on the floor’s surface. Focus on collecting dirt from areas underneath cabinets, cupboards, and appliances. Thanks again and keep on sharing.

    1. Avatar

      My floor is white with dimples on it. The dimples turn gray and are almost impossible to get white. The floor is in good shape, but probably at least 15 – 20 years old. I have tried everything. The gray makes the floor look dirty, even when it is clean?

      1. Avatar

        My linoleum floors are white with dimples also. I wish I had a solution for you, but I have tried EVERYTHING. Solutions, both homemade and store bought, Bissel, Hoover, and other cleaning machines, all types of mops, everything. I spent the first month here on the floor on my hands and knees with a toothpick going from dimple to dimple to pop the dirt out, but gave up. Good luck. If you find a solution, please post it here.

      2. Avatar

        One of the houses I clean have the same type of flooring. The white floor looked like it was covered with blackheads. Google searches suggested vacuuming before cleaning. Tried it. Also tried several other things; sweeping, mopping, straight bleach, the list goes on.

        Here’s what works (discovered totally by dumb luck):
        *Remove loose dirt – however you’d
        like; sweep, vac, blower lol.
        *Swiffer wet mop – pull wet sheet
        out of container, attach to handle
        and mop floor (all or in sections).
        *Remove used wet sheet, fold in half
        (dirty side turned inward together),
        place on the floor and step on it.
        While applying pressure shuffle
        your foot back and forth. This
        scrubbing action can be done with
        your hands also, but Im lazy so the
        foot dance is fine for me.
        *Change as needed to continue
        cleaning. Can use fresh sheet to
        begin with under feet, I just try to
        stretch their life span. The Dry
        Sheets may be used instead, but
        must spray the floor or sheet itself.
        Can spray with cleaner, water, it
        really doesn’t matter.

        1) Sweep or vac floor,
        2) Swiffer mop floor,
        3) Shuffle around floor with “wet”
        sheets under feet.
        4) Be amazed!

      3. Avatar

        I have the same issue with my floor, struggled for years on my hand and knees cleaning it. I just recently bought a hand held pressurized steam cleaner off amazon. It comes with a scrub brush you put on the end. I spray my floor with a bleach, vinegar water solution and use the steam cleaner. I barely even have to apply any pressure and it cleans the floor in seconds. Will never go back to my hands and knees again. I highly recommend it.

    2. Avatar

      The magic eraser mop is the only thing that worked on the dimpled linoleum floor other than heavy steaming. I use the magic eraser mop (which only needs water) and then finish by spraying vinegar/water mixture and wiping with an old towel or paper towel.

  4. Avatar
    angie delagrana

    My painters left several areas with paint on my floors. It has been very difficult to remove. Any suggestions on the strongest cleaning solution for paints that won’t damage the floors?

    1. Avatar

      If minor, you may be able to your a paste wax to fill scratch, especially if you find a matching color. If large scratches, replace flooring or cover with a rug.

      1. Avatar
        Christopher Lively

        I put a hand sized bristle brush in a power drill, like a Dremmel, but much bigger. That did the trick though I haven’t tried baking soda. Vinigar and dawn solution.

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