How to Thoroughly Clean Linoleum Floors

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Linoleum is a durable, environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic product that came into the marketplace in the 1860s and can still be found in many homes and businesses throughout the country today.

A linoleum floor can last for decades with proper care, and it comes in many colors and patterns, making it suitable for any room in your home.

Although a linoleum floor is durable, cleaning it regularly will help extend its use. So, the cleaning pros at Molly Maid® are ready to share their extensive experience and valuable insight about the best way to clean linoleum floors.

What Is Linoleum?

Although many use the terms linoleum and vinyl interchangeably, the two products are vastly different. Linseed oil is the main ingredient in linoleum. Once it’s been allowed to oxidize, other materials such as pine resin, wood flour, or cork dust are added to it, and then the combination is applied to canvas or jute (a natural fiber that comes from plants) to create sheets or tiles for residential and commercial purposes.

The Benefits of Linoleum Flooring

Water droplets on linoleum floor

Linoleum not only has an extremely long lifespan, it also has many other significant benefits, including the following:

  • Comfort: Linoleum’s natural cushioning provides the perfect give and support for your footfalls, while ceramic or stone flooring can be hard on your feet, back, and joints.
  • Durability: Wear is less evident on linoleum due to its unique manufacturing process. Minor scratches or gouges are less visible and can be repaired with careful buffing and refinishing.
  • Water Resistance: While excessive moisture can cause damage to your linoleum, unlike wood or laminate flooring, it is resistant to water under normal everyday circumstances.
  • Eco Rating: Linoleum is non-toxic, containing no VOCs. It’s also recyclable and biodegradable, making it one of the most eco-friendly types of flooring on the market.

Now that we’ve shared a little bit about what linoleum is and its benefits, let's dive into the best way to keep it clean and extend its use.

How to Clean Linoleum Kitchen Floors

Supplies to clean linoleum floor

Should you decide to take the DIY route to clean linoleum floors, start by removing dust and debris and mopping with a solution that combines water, vinegar, and dish soap. Dusting should be done once per day, mopping should be done once per week, and a thorough cleaning is recommended once or twice per year.

Best Mop for Linoleum Floors

Best mop to clean linoleum floors

The best mop to use to clean linoleum floors is actually a combination of two mops. A dry microfiber dust mop will work for daily cleaning. A classic wet mop will clean up spills and other messes that can’t be managed with a dry mop, broom, or vacuum.

General Cleaning

While there are plenty of kitchen floor cleaner products on the shelves, all you really need to clean kitchen floors is a mixture of 1 gallon of hot water, 1 cup of white vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap. Once you learn how to get stains out of linoleum, you’ll be amazed at how incredible your floors look.

Prolong the life of your linoleum floor and keep it looking new with these tips:

  • Remove dust and debris in high-traffic areas on a daily basis using a dry microfiber mop.
  • Use a broom or vacuum cleaner attachment weekly to remove dirt and debris.
  • Damp mop the floor using the solution detailed above.
  • Pour out the mixture and refill your sink or bucket with clean water.
  • Mop the floor once again with the clean, damp mop to remove any residue.
  • Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before using, ensuring there is no standing water on the surface.

Thorough Cleaning

Bucket, mop, and cleaning solution for linoleum floors

Once or twice a year, a more thorough cleaning is needed to remove dirt from stained linoleum. The best way to clean linoleum floors on an annual or bi-annual basis involves a series of steps and the following materials:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Microfiber mop
  • Bucket
  • Hot water
  • Baking soda
  • Mild dish soap
  • Old towels

Here are your step-by-step cleaning instructions:

  1. Sweep or vacuum loose debris.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda across the floor.
  3. Combine 1 gallon of hot water, 1 cup of vinegar, and several drops of dish soap.
  4. Mop the floor with the mixture, removing stubborn dirt with the scrub brush.
  5. Once the floor has been cleaned, mop with clean water to wipe away any remaining traces of baking soda or soap residue.
  6. Dry the floor completely using old towels.

How To Maintain Linoleum Floors

Learning how to maintain linoleum floors often comes down to stain prevention. Wipe up spills promptly to prevent stains and potential damage. Blot the area with a clean cloth and mild cleaner. Avoid abrasive scrubbers that could harm the surface. Linoleum is also sensitive to excessive moisture, so wring out your mop well and avoid letting water pool on the floor. Here are a few more things that will help preserve the look of your linoleum floor.

  • Use only colorfast rugs with natural backings and never put a latex- or rubber-backed rug on a linoleum floor; it will cause a stain.
  • Do not strip floors more than once a year.
  • Never use ammonia-based cleaners, as they will strip the polish from the floor and damage it.
  • Place mats at entrances to trap dirt and grit, preventing them from being tracked onto the linoleum. And use felt pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches.
  • Every few months, apply a linoleum floor polish to maintain its shine and protect against wear. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

By incorporating these practices into your cleaning routine, you can extend the life of your linoleum floors and enjoy their vibrant appearance for years to come.

Homemade Linoleum Floor Cleaner

Looking for a way to clean your linoleum using natural cleaners? Creating a homemade formula to clean linoleum floors is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to maintain the cleanliness and shine of your floors. Here's a simple cleaning solution to try:

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 gallons of warm water
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil (e.g., lemon, lavender) for a pleasant scent (optional)

Start by blending 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 2 gallons of warm water. The vinegar's natural degreasing and grime-cutting properties make it an ideal choice, effectively cleansing without causing harm to the linoleum's surface. If you prefer a more fragrant solution, incorporate 10-15 drops of your chosen essential oil into the mixture. These oils not only emit a pleasant aroma but also contribute natural antibacterial qualities.

It's important to avoid oversaturating the floor; a slightly damp mop is adequate. For stained linoleum, a small quantity of the solution can be directly applied to the area, followed by gentle scrubbing using a soft cloth.

After mopping, allow the floor to air-dry, or if you prefer, utilize a clean, dry mop to hasten the drying process. This DIY cleaner not only effectively maintains linoleum flooring but also reduces reliance on harsh chemicals. Before applying any solution to the entire floor, always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with your specific type of linoleum.

Need Help Keeping Your Floors Clean?

Linoleum floors are a versatile and durable flooring option, but keeping them clean, especially in high-traffic areas, takes some time and effort. If you’d like help keeping the floors and other parts of your home looking their best, contact the cleaning pros at your local Molly Maid. We offer a variety of professional cleaning options based on your needs and budget. We offer free estimates, and all of our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™, which guarantees your satisfaction.