how to clean vinyl plank flooring

Best Ways to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

August 16, 2021 / 319 Comments

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How to clean vinyl plank flooring? This is a question our team gets asked a lot. Luckily, one of the key advantages of vinyl flooring is that is it easy to clean and maintain. Vinyl plank flooring is actually one of the lowest maintenance flooring types you can install in your home.

With some daily love and care, your shine can be easily be upkept by following a few guidelines unique to your new flooring type.

Below if our guide on the best ways to clean vinyl flooring.

What is vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank is a super versatile flooring option that has surged in popularity over the last few years. The durability of vinyl compared to classic wood has made this flooring newcomer a staple in new home construction and renovations. It is a durable, easy to maintain, and affordable flooring option.

Nowadays, vinyl plank flooring is a great choice to install in any room of the house. The real beauty of vinyl flooring is that you can also install it in places like kitchens and bathrooms where you can’t install wood without having warping.

The best part about vinyl plank is that it’s incredibly easy to maintain, even if you have kids and pets making messes every hour on the hour.

You’ll want to follow a few simple cleaning tips below to keep your floor looking like new.

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Cleaning frequency, products, and tools:

If you leave dust and debris on your floor, you run the risk of seriously damaging and scuffing the finish on it. You may be wondering: how does this damage happen from just a little bit of dirt on the ground?

Small specks of dirt actually have sharp edges that can damage your floor over time. Fine particles of grime can act just like sandpaper and slowly remove the finish from the floor as you track it around your home with your feet or shoes.

If you want to avoid having to live with less than perfect floors, simply remember these cleaning tips.

Cleaning frequency:

  • ASAP: Cleaning stains
  • Daily: sweeping and vacuuming
  • Twice a month: wet or deep cleaning

Cleaning products:

  • Apple cider vinegar: mix one gallon of hot water with one cup of apple cider vinegar

Cleaning tools:

  • Sweep often to remove excess dirt to keep them looking pristine (a simple broom or vacuum will do the trick or for a deeper clean, using a mop will be needed – see our recommendations below)
  • Use a mat at all door entrances to avoid tracking dirt into your home

Brooms and Vacuums

As far as brooms and vacuums go, you should be using one daily to upkeep your vinyl plank floor clean. When you’re using a product that often, it needs to be good.

If you’re more old school and sweeping is therapeutic, the O-Cedar Floor ‘N More and the OXO Good Grips Sweeper will attract any dust and hair on your floor.

If the hum of a vacuum is music to your ears, the Dyson Animal 2 or Shark Navigator will do the job nicely. Pro-tip: invest in a quality vacuum built for dealing with pet hair if you have dogs or cats – you won’t regret it.

No matter which you prefer, as long as you have a daily routine and you stick to it, your floors will thank you by dazzling visitors as soon as they walk through your door.

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Deep Cleaning:

If your floors need a little bit more TLC than your daily routine, once you finish sweeping and vacuuming up dust, you can get out your trusty tile mop and bucket to finish the job.

Before doing anything to your floors other than vacuuming and sweeping, it’s a safe bet to go and read your floor warranty for floor specifics to ensure you do not void it. You’ll be able to look up exactly what cleaning products your manufacturer suggests to use so you get the most out of your vinyl plank floors.

First, a note on Steam Cleaning: AVOID steam cleaning vinyl plank flooring. Your LVP is built tough, and while the PVC material is waterproof – it’s not meant to withstand steam. Instead, simply stick with a mop or Swiffer (as discussed below).

If nothing specific is mentioned, here’s a safe way to clean and protect your floors:

For weekly vinyl floor cleanings, all you need to do is add a bit of warm or hot water and dish soap (or apple cider vinegar) to a bucket and mop away. For those days where your floor needs just a little more of a pick me up, add a bit of white vinegar to your soap and water solution to get that sparkle back.

After mopping with your desired mix, be sure to go back over your floors with a clean wet mop to get all of the extra soap and vinegar goodness off of your planks.

Since you probably ditched your old mop in the move, here are some tips on choosing a mop to use on your vinyl plank floors.

Mops

When buying a mop to use on your vinyl plank, it’s imperative that you choose an option that doesn’t include a built in scrub brush option.

Remember what we mentioned about dry dirt destroying finishes like sandpaper on the floor? Adding a wet scrub brush into the mix is like taking a jackhammer to your varnish.

You’ll want to choose an option that ideally has a microfiber mop head to protect your floors from any unnecessary abrasions.

If you’re in the market for a new mop, check out the Twist and Shout Mop or the O-Cedar EasyWring Mop.

They’re both awesome microfiber mop options for any kind of floor and won’t break the bank, either.

Many people have written to FloorCritics asking if their Swiffer can be used on their vinyl plank floors. YES, Swiffer WetJets can be used. Just be sure to avoid flipping the mop over to use the abrasive scrubber.

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Do’s and Don’ts:

Though these tips aren’t specifically related to cleaning, they’re vital to increasing the longevity of your floors. You’ll want to keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when living with luxury vinyl plank flooring:

Do:

  • Do keep your furniture on felt pads to avoid scratches if they’re moved across the floor.
  • Do put down plywood when you need to roll large items into your home, like a new couch or fridge.
  • Do use a soft cloth or a nylon bristle brush to get stuck on stains off of your floors.
  • Do use a floor mat near all doors

Don’t:

  • Don’t buy furniture with rollers because these will scratch your floor (unless the furniture is on an extra large area rug of some sort). 
  • Don’t assume that your floors can handle the impact of large items being dragged across the floor because spoiler alert: they can’t.
  • Don’t use a knife or an abrasive cleaner to scrub away any stains because you’ll end up scrubbing away the laminate top of your vinyl plank along with it.
  • Don’t use vinyl wax. The vinyl plank flooring already has a layer of protective material and was could eat away at the coating.
  • Don’t use ammonia based cleaning solutions

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FAQ

What is the best cleaner for vinyl plank flooring?

The best cleaner for vinyl plank flooring is a mixture of apple cider vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that removes grime and dirt easily. The benefit of using vinegar to clean your vinyl floors is that it doesn’t leave behind soap residue, which means it won’t leave behind unsightly streaks on your floor. Since vinegar is a natural cleaning aid, it won’t destroy the integrity of your vinyl plank flooring.


What to use to clean vinyl plank flooring?

When cleaning your vinyl floors you should use a soft bristled brush to sweep away dirt and then a microfiber mop to wipe away grime. You can also use vacuum cleaners such as the Dyson V11 Torque Drive cordless vacuum cleaner to suck up dust in tight corners, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush or roller so that it doesn’t scratch your floors. Use a soft cloth to do spot cleaning or to wipe up food or liquid messes on your floor.


What should you not use on vinyl plank flooring?

You should avoid using abrasive cleaning aids on your vinyl plank flooring at all costs. Abrasive cleaning detergents will scratch the surface of your floors and make them look dull over time. Additionally you should avoid using ammonia-based detergents because it can break down materials which causes cracks to form in the vinyl planks. 

Lastly, you should avoid drenching your vinyl floors with water when you clean them because it can cause your floors to warp or loosen over time. Use a damp mop to clean your vinyl plank flooring to avoid water damage.


How do I clean vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is easy to maintain. Simply use a broom or a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the floors. Then pour a gallon of warm water into a bucket and a cup of apple cider vinegar. Dip your mop into the solution, wring it out until most of the water is drained from the mop and use it to wipe up sticky messes on your floors. You can then dry your floors with a dry microfiber mop or soft towel.

Are You Up for the Challenge?

As long as you keep our tips for cleaning in mind, you’ll be on your way to keeping your flooring in great shape.

Remember to keep up a daily (let’s be real – weekly) sweeping or vacuuming routine to keep those small but sharp dust particles off of your varnish. Also be sure to break out your trusty microfiber mop at least weekly to do a deep cleaning.

If you have vinyl plank in your home and would like to share some tips on how you care for your LVP floors, be sure to leave a comment below.

About Ashley Rose Marino

Ashley is the owner and principal of Ashley Marino Designs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and loves anything and everything home related. When not designing interiors, she’s hopping on an airplane across the country and writing about what she knows best. Visit Website.

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