how to clean vinyl plank flooring

Best Ways to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

You’ve just been handed the keys to your first real home (complete with vinyl plank throughout, of course). There’s nothing in the world that could dull your sparkle right now.

Little did you know when you bought the house that not properly taking care of your shiny new vinyl plank floors could easily dull their sparkle.

If you’re feeling a sense of panic sit in, don’t worry. 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.

Before we get to tips and tricks on the best ways to clean, let’s learn a bit about your brand new floors:

What is vinyl plank?

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.

Nowadays, vinyl plank is a great choice to install in rooms such as bedrooms or living rooms (AKA rooms where you would traditionally find solid wood floors). The real beauty of vinyl 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 steps to make sure your floors are properly taken care of:

Your first step? Getting an adorable door mat welcoming all of your visitors to your rad new home.

The next steps? Keeping up a consistent cleaning schedule that’s specifically designed for your vinyl plank.

Back to Top

Everyday Cleaning:

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, there’s a ridiculously easy way to avoid excess dirt to keep them looking pristine.

What you’ll need to clean your vinyl plank daily are two things that you probably already have lying around your home. A simple broom or vacuum will do just the trick.

If you’re looking for something specifically designed for laminate floors, here are our recommendations for products that you’ll be eager to break out:

Brooms and Vacuums

As far as brooms and vacuums go, you should be using one daily to upkeep your vinyl plank. 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 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.

Back to Top

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 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 consult your trusty friend Google for floor specifics. You’ll be able to look up exactly what products your manufacturer suggests to use so you get the most out of your floors.

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

For weekly cleanings, all you need to do is add a bit of warm water and plain ol’ dish soap 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.

Back to Top

Other 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 3 do’s and don’ts in mind when living with vinyl plank:

Do keep your furniture on felt pads to avoid scratches if they’re moved across the floor.

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). 

Do put down plywood when you need to roll large items into your home, like a new couch or fridge. Don’t assume that your floors can handle the impact of large items being dragged across the floor because spoiler alert: they can’t.

Do use a soft cloth or a nylon bristle brush to get stuck on stains off of your floors. Don’t use a knife or an abrasive cleaner to scrub away any stains  because you’ll end up scrubbing away the top layer of your laminate along with it.

Back to Top

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 brand new home as flawless as it is now.

Remember to keep up a daily 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.

After reading about how easy it is to take care of, aren’t you relieved that you have vinyl plank? I can assure you that not even the largest of dirt particles can steal your sparkle now.

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

Ashley Rose Marino

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.

82 thoughts on “Best Ways to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring”

  1. We installed Shaw Bella Duca (medium with slight variations) 1 year ago in our entire house (approx. 2700 sq/ft) and we absolutely love it. It is so low maintence. We live in South Florida with lots of humidity, a pool, and two puppies weighing 50 lbs each. We have zero scratches, scuffs, marks.

    We entertain constantly and our dogs run wild with bones and toys in the house. We were very diligent when installing- ripped out all old tile and took 2 days to sand down subfloors so we would have an even install..we believe this is crucial after living with them.

    You WILL feel any small bubbles or dips, so be sure your subflooring is in tact. We vacuum every few days and mop once a week with Zep Neutral floor cleaner. It was the best choice for us as wood in Florida is asking for trouble and I don’t care for tile and carpet. Best of luck!

  2. Something we learned before we inherited (as a buyer) VPF: both a friend and a family member, two separate incidents, lost their first (new) installation of VPF when their dishwashers (neither very old) flooded the kitchen right after the new flooring was installed.

    Had a thought: Seems too coincidental…gonna make sure our inherited (15 yo) dishwasher isn’t likely to do that before we use it…had an appropriate repairman look it over, okayed it, then asked him, “Is there any way the install of new flooring may have triggered the flooding issue with either/both dishwashers in those cases?” He didn’t think so at first, but on checking underneath the dishwasher — voila! — it’s LIKELY in both cases that a specific spot was bumped and damaged and caused both those curious incidents — in both cases the dishwashers had been successfully used for years without problem and in both cases the new VPF had JUST been installed and the dishwasher was used the first time afterward in each case.

    We can’t remember what particular spot the repairman identified, but he was solid on that having been the issue and having likely been dislodged or something of that sort during installation — this after he originally thought not but changed his mind on examination of that spot and area on our dishwasher and flooring interface. We managed to avoid that problem, thankfully. We think the dishwasher had NOT been used prior to selling after the floor had been installed, as it did need some work on it before we used it, and the house had been being set up for sale in recent history before we bought it (from a landlord-type, and probably very cautious about the sale) – for which we were very thankful, even though we had to buy a bunch of lightbulbs so we could see in the dark in our “new” old home.

  3. I have been cleaning houses for 16 years. Don’t use vinegar on your floors except for tile. It will take the finish off. Also any time you use a product that puts wax down you are putting a buildup on your floor. The best thing to use is water with a very gentle mild ph balanced soap. Very diluted.

  4. Just had Armstrong Prizm Hard Core flooring installed. After installers left I noticed some scratches and places where the color had come off. Does anyone recommend a touch up for these spots?

  5. I laid Shaw Vinyl Click and Lock planking 7 months ago and find it very easy to maintain. A once a week vacuuming and every two weeks mopping is all it takes to keep the shine. Glad I switched from carpet to Vinyl planking.

  6. We were instructed by a flooring sales company not to use vinegar (I asked specifically because that’s what I normally like to clean with) on our vinyl plank flooring. They told us it can damage the finish.

  7. My husband and I are getting vinyl flooring in our kitchen with some other home renovations in a month or so, and you’ve really helped us know how to prepare to take proper care of it. I had no idea that dust had sharp edges to it, but I do work hard to keep a clean home, so giving it a good, daily sweep won’t be a problem at all for me. Mopping is something I planned to do every week, as well, so it sounds like we’re ready to have that lovely, luxurious vinyl installed.

  8. After choosing vinyl plank flooring for the main floor of our new condo, I read this article and the comments and was concerned, but by then it was too late to make another choice. After living with it for almost a month, I’ve learned that for it to look its best, you have to immediately wipe up spills (Including water drops), and vacuum once a day to keep it looking clean. This has also cut down significantly on the amount of times I have needed to mop as well. At first it seemed as if the floors scratched easily, but since I’ve been doing this daily cleaning, I haven’t noticed any new ones. Now that I have a system figured out that works, I am happy with my floor, but there is definitely a learning curve involved.

    1. Our main living floor is vinyl plank which was installed in the house before we bought it this summer. In the weeks we were moving it was clear that sweeping and vacuuming was going to have to be an almost daily thing. It just always seemed to get dirty. I bought a robovac during Amazon’s Prime Day deal and I wished I would have bought this things years ago for my last house. We almost never have to sweep, the robovac does its shift each night while we sleep and I’m quite honestly shocked at how much it picks up each week. We mop it according to the methods in this blog post, just mild soap and water. It’s a snap. Get a robovac… It takes care of a that daily thought process of ‘… the floor is dirty again… where’s the broom?”

    1. I bought quick shine multisurface floor cleaner and the finish on amazon. Very reasonable, used irobot vacuum, mopped with quick shine cleaner using microfiber mop, no rinsing needed. Once dry apply the finish with separate microfiber mop head. I used a refillable bottle sprayer to spray on floor and mopped it with a damp mophead. Dries in minutes, then added 2 additional layers. A lot of work, but results are amazing on my nucore mixed mocha floors.

  9. I just had dark colored luxury vinyl planks installed throughout 2 levels of my home. Regrettably I did not realize how dull the planks are. What product can I use to gain shine? Thank you.

    1. My exact thoughts! It’s so dull looking. I now wish I had spent more money and got real hardwood. Very dissatisfied, 20 grand later.

      1. We have had vinyl plank flooring laid throughout our entire home and it is not dull.

        1. Sweep or vacuum every night. I bought a terry cloth sweeper/mop by Libman from Fred Meyer.

        2. Use white vinegar 1 cup to one gallon of water. Using a spray bottle to apply to flooring and using a damp terry cloth mop.

    1. The book that came with my luxury vinyl said No oil soaps or dishwashing detergents. Only a nonrinsing biodegradable cleaner that leaves no residue and requires no rinsing. No Swiffer Wet product.

      1. Hmmm, I was just at a house where the LVP, like what I’ll be getting in my new home was being installed. The floor guy said that I could use the Swiffer wet jet. Seems you just don’t know what to believe anymore.

      2. My smart core ultra floor is giving me fits, has some residue that can only be cleaned with alcohol. I have gone back to contractor and asked for professionals to clean the floor. No one should have to clean board by board with alcohol. #nothappy #shawflooringfailsme #manufacturerdropsball

  10. Magdalena Conde-Jimenez

    We had the first floor of the house installed with Shaw Vinyl flooring. We hate it. We were told it was low maintenance. The floor is dull, easily scuffs and scratches. Have not been able to remove the scuffs, you see water stains. We paid so much for these floors and we hate them. We listened to the designer who said they were maintenance free. Should have gone with porcelain or ceramic.

    1. Hi Magdalena,
      Did you just install the floors in September? I was about to order Fusion vinyl planks in my entire first floor, including the kitchen and entrance, and I am now having second thoughts. I need these floors to hold up for at least ten years. I am worried that the light “natural oak” look will show all the dirt, but the medium “gunstock oak” look will show all the scratches. I really want the consistency of having the same floor throughout to make my house look bigger, but it seems that maybe the LVP only belongs in rooms that don’t get much traffic, like a bedroom, living room or formal dining room. Would you suggest I stay away from the vinyl at least in the kitchen? I don’t want to be a daily slave to my floors. Thanks for your thoughts.

    2. We feel the same way as you do with our newly installed Shaw LVT. Our concrete floor was not leveled well enough before installation. The tiles are having to be uninstalled, floor leveled properly and then reinstalled. It looks great, but sounds hollow/cuppy and cheap, (which it was not) when we walk on it. Also wish we had done porcelain or ceramic.

    3. I too went with Shaw luxury vinyl tile and was told it was low maintenance. I can’t believe after replacing the old vinyl tile that was in my kitchen that I would have the same problem with a build up in the dirt in high traffic areas. I was also told water and vinegar but I’m telling you it doesn’t do anything to clean the deep down dirt that’s already embedded in a floor that’s only a year and a half old. I should’ve went with ceramic tile.

      1. We just recently installed LVP in a white and light grey oak color. It is MAGNIFICENT. With our white cabinets and island in the kitchen as well as a beautiful white dining room set with black leather chairs, it is awesome! No problem at all to wipe up a little spill with plain water and dry it off. We also just use the dusting head every day. Next project is the carpet, and then new counter tops.

  11. I’m not crazy about Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. I wish I had went with hardwood. Felt on the furniture legs or the bottom of furniture is the pits. If I had know all this and more I would never had bought it.

    1. You’d still need felt or rubber on the bottom of your furniture legs with wood or laminate flooring. What I would suggest is using rubber pads under furniture which you don’t regularly move such as your couch, entertainment center, etc. I would then put felt on items that regularly have to move such as dining chairs or small furniture you might move while cleaning your floors.

  12. We just replaced all of our flooring with Vinyl Plank. Love it. Until we had to clean it. Our dog got sick. I need to clean this floor… What am I supposed to use besides water? That’s just not going to work.

    1. I use Mr. Clean all purpose spray cleaner and Bounty. We rescue and rehabilitate cats, so as you can imagine it can get messy, that’s why we invested in the vinyl plank.

    2. I had floating boards installed and then when I moved I had the same ones installed. I love them and I use the flat microfiber mops a couple times a week to pick up any dirt or hair. I always go in the direction of the planks, I can do 2 rooms before I need to give the cloth a good shake and then do the rest. I use the same or similar microfiber mop with a half bucket of hand-hot water with a couple spoons of vinegar and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. I wet the cloth then wring it out, tightly attach it to the mop head and proceed to wipe the floor (but always in the direction of the boards). Your cloth should only be damp and certainly not leave puddles of water on the floor. By the time I have finished it is nearly dry, however if you want you can go over it with a dry cloth. Again always go in the direction of the boards and your floor will always look superb.

  13. I have vinyl laminate flooring in every room. Installed a year and a half ago. Love it. Dry Swiffered every other day. Every two weeks, wet Swiffered. Floors look great, and three of my friends installed the same flooring. We all are happy.

    1. I was told by the installer to never use a wet Swiffer. I would ruin the floor. That the swiffer leaves a residue that when walked on with shoes etc, just puts more dirt down. He said use one part vinegar to 3 parts water.

      I actually found a microfiber mop with an attachment you can put water in and use like you use the swiffer.

  14. We recently installed LVP and love it. The manufacturer recommended a ph neutral cleaner and no steam or vinegar. Our roomba runs daily to keep after the cat and a good deep vacuuming is done weekly just because. Our ph neutral cleaner leaves the floor with no streaks and the matte finish gets a bit of a shine to it.

    Regarding rugs: get a commercial quality walk-off rug for outside the front door and other traffic entry ways. For inside, use only natural fiber backed rugs (never rubber). You may need to use a non-slip underlayment. Get one that is rated for vinyl. Lots of info about these products on the internet.

    1. My lvp manufacturer recommended only vinegar, and I hate it. It streaks. Since you’re happy with your ph neutral cleaner, can you please share what it is? Thanks.

    2. I am getting this flooring in a couple weeks and was wondering about using my Roomba, so thanks for clearing that up. If you read this could you please let me know the kind of ph neutral cleaner that you are using? There is not much info out here yet and my Lowes where I bought the floor tells me different things depending on which associate I speak to, so I think they have no idea. I am getting smartcore ultra premium.

      1. I use “Once ‘n Done” Resilient and Ceramic Floor Cleaner. It does a good job cleaning. I am disappointed that my new LVP floor shows every footprint and needs to be cleaned every time my grandchildren leave. But it does look good after cleaning it.

        I have the LVP tiles with acrylic grout in the kitchen and mudroom. I absolutely love it and it never shows dirt or footprints. It looks like ceramic tile but warmer and softer.

  15. Cleaning luxury vinyl flooring is easy-peasy! Use a white vinegar and water solution and a mop that squeezes to damp. This will clean away dirt, grime and germs; providing a sparkling clean, disinfected floor without any damage. This method is also better than having your children or pets down on a floor cleaned by chemicals. Go with manufacturer suggestions for rug backing materials. Never use a steamer. A Swiffer is ok, but a better choice is a BONA brand product that sprays a floor conditioner specially made for luxury vinyl. Vacuuming or sweeping with a soft broom or even a dust mop is good for frequent touchups. Don’t make maintenance harder than it needs to be. Enjoy your floors!

  16. I have found contradictory information on cleaning products. Dawn soap leaves it dull and doesn’t disinfect enough for me. I vacuum and use swiffer dry pads that really take up most of the dirt. You would be amazed at how well they clean dirt and pet fur and get at edges of floor better than any vacuum. I’m going to try white vinegar to disinfect with a few drops of olive oil and see what happens. Otherwise will stick to wet swiffer, which has not harmed it and leaves it beautiful, and weak bleach mixture of 2 tsp per gallon of water. This is the vinyl planks’ worst feature, not being able to disinfect.. mop with water only my foot! Nasty!

  17. So, just had vinyl wood flooring put down. Before it was installed, ceramic tile removed and then the glue had to be removed. Needless to say, dust everywhere. We tried to use a swifter to mop up dust. Now it has left a stain of film. Also foot prints on the vinyl tile. How do you remove the stains/film or whatever you call them?

    1. I am having the exact same problem! Did you get an answer? Because I am about to rip it all up! So frustrating! I thought vinyl flooring was easy to care for?

    2. Hello, I have the same problem. This is terrible. I just had my floors installed, after we removed ceramic and hardwood floors, we chose COREtec Plus floors. And this was a huge mistake, the floor look dirty constantly. I know the they are matte finish but this is beyond any possible way to keep it clean. It looks very bad after they are clean and there is traffic in place. Any suggestions for this floor? Or this is a manufactured mistake when they made these floors?

      1. I just had 2000sq ft installed and am having the same issue! Have any of you found a solution? I’m devastated as I heard so many good things about LVP and was so excited to have it installed!

        1. We had LVT installed almost a year ago and it always looks dirty. I hate it but it’s too expensive to take it out and put something else down. I’m almost ready to pull it all out and just have concrete floors.

      2. Bissell Hard floor expert, along with the bissell hard floor cleaner that vacuums and mops at the same time. A little bit of vinegar and warm water. I have put LVP in my last 2 homes. The entire house… Once they are clean it’s very easy to maintain.

      3. We have Coretec plus in Bicayne oak. With 2 kids and 2 dogs, we just have to sweep or vacuum every day and them mop at least twice a week. We generally use Bona, but I’ve been finding that water and vinegar work better.

        With a full house, LVT has been a savior for us. They tore up the hardwood we had before and we don’t have a single scratch now (we’ve had the floor in almost 6 months)

    3. Just bought a Shark robot and I’m in heaven. Use everyday and keeps dust, every dust, away! It’s a must for hard wood or vinyl floors. I got sick of seeing dust every afternoon when the sun hit just right. Amazing how you can try dust mopping yourself and think you did good job. Nope. Shark robot picks up everything. Now about the footprint marks and dullness, that I haven’t mastered. I will try the vinegar solution and see what happens.

    4. I just had vinyl plank flooring put down this past week and had “smear” marks that wouldn’t come up with Bona.

      On another site someone suggested Magic Eraser. I tested in an inconspicuous place. I wet the Magic Eraser, wrung it out the best I could, wiped it in the direction of the grain, then immediately followed to dry with a soft cloth.

      No more smear marks. I will say we have a vinyl plank that is a matte finish vs shiny, so test in an area not very visible first. Good luck!

  18. I put a rubber mat at the door entrance, however In two weeks I have discovered that the mat is turning the floor yellow! Any suggestions on how to remove the discoloration, and/or what product can be used to stop the floor from holding dirt? Cleaning every day is not a viable option.

    1. Rubber products cannot be used on vinyl plank flooring.

      It is a total pain to keep clean!! Manufacturers recommend daily cleaning. Don’t know why anyone likes this stuff.

  19. I just purchased a two-year old home that has vinyl plank flooring through-out. I have researched the best way to maintain this flooring on a daily basis. But, is it safe to polish the flooring, perhaps, once a year? If so, what product is recommended for vinyl plank flooring?
    Thank you for any advice!

    1. No, do not use hot steam! I just use water and my wide plank Vinyl flooring throughout my entire first floor, including bathrooms, laundry room, hallways and kitchen. Gorgeous still 2 years later!

    2. Stephanie Eads

      I have a house full of vpf. And the one definite that was given is no steam mop and no wet swiffer. I see someone above doing wet swiffer, so??

      1. I have been using dry then wet swifter on my Motorhome which we had Coretec installed in. It feels sticky and looks dirty. Dealer said to try vinegar and water.

  20. Can I use my Haan upright steam cleaner for the apartment wide plank vinyl flooring I have inherited? It does a great job on my last hard wood and ceramic tile floors. Dries so fast as it is hot steam.

    1. Never use a Steam Mop on floating vinyl planks as you are forcing steam in between the planks and eventually they will warp.

  21. Painters left small specks of overspray paint on my floors. They will not clean up and I need to do this without causing any damage to the floor. What should I use?

    1. I used only my fingernail. The paint flecks easily popped off the vinyl planking; very few areas required patience and more work (still with only my fingernail). Result: pristine vinyl planking again, with zero scratches.

    2. Use Denatured Alcohol. You’ll find it in the paint section of your hardware store. It’s just a very strong alcohol solution. Dampen a paper towel with it. It will gently dissolve the paint spatters away, I guarantee.

      Test first on a piece of your flooring to make sure it won’t dull the surface (it shouldn’t). If it DOES dull the finish, I’d try plain old rubbing alcohol next. It’s a much weaker solution. Whatever you do, don’t use Goof Off! It will dissolve your flooring! GOOD LUCK!

    1. I found this in researching cleaning vinyl plank flooring but can’t vouch for validity
      • For stubborn scuffs, try putting some WD-40 lubricant or jojoba oil on a towel and rub the area until the scuffs disappear. Clean thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution to remove any traces of lubrication.

      1. be sure to check your manufacturer’ maintenance guide first – some specifically state not to apply any type of petroleum based product (i.e. – oil) on your floors!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *