Durable, affordable, and easy to maintain, vinyl plank flooring is quickly becoming one of the most popular flooring solutions in both residential and commercial buildings. As well as being highly versatile, vinyl plank flooring is also a breeze to clean! Unlike carpet, laminate and hardwood floors which all require particular cleaning methods, nearly any cleaning method will work for vinyl plank floors.
Below we cover everything you need to know about how to clean vinyl plank flooring, from the best methods and cleaning products to top tips for keeping your vinyl plank flooring in great condition.
Best ways to clean vinyl plank flooring
When it comes to cleaning vinyl plank flooring, you can generally choose whichever cleaning method works best for you. However, consistency is the key. We generally recommend vacuuming or sweeping the floor once a week, and mopping once every couple of weeks to keep your floors in tip-top condition. While it might seem like a lot to do on a regular basis, preventing dirt and grime from building up will pay dividends in the long run. Below we provide some more tips about how to clean vinyl plank flooring with each of these common cleaning methods.
Vacuuming is a fast and effective way to keep your vinyl floor looking good as new. Most vacuum cleaners have a switch on the head that allows you to raise or lower the bristles depending on the surface you’re vacuuming. For best results cleaning vinyl plank flooring, always vacuum with the bristles down to minimise the chance of scuffing the floor. Also, take advantage of your vacuum cleaner’s different head attachments—or remove the head entirely—to pick up the dust and dirt that collects in the joint between the floor and walls and other hard-to-reach areas.
Sweeping might be old-fashioned, but it’s a great alternative to vacuuming when you just want to give the floor a quick once-over. It’s best to use a soft bristle broom, but it’s not essential. Sweeping is particularly important for cleaning vinyl plank flooring in the kitchen, where crumbs and small food scraps often end up on the floor.
Don’t have time to do a full mop? Spilt something in the kitchen? Spot cleaning is a fast, low-effort way to prevent residue from building up and attracting dirt. It’s also a great technique for removing tougher stains that stick around even after you’ve mopped the floor. To spot clean vinyl plank floors, simply apply a gentle cleaning solution to the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it with a soft cloth. Mild dishwashing or laundry detergent are typically the best products for spot-cleaning vinyl plank flooring. However, for pesky stains that require a little bit of friction, you can make a simple paste with bicarb soda and water and gentle rub this over the spot.
Regularly mopping the floor is essential to keep grime from building up and to remove stubborn stains. However, one of the most common questions we get asked by customers wanting to know how to clean vinyl plank floors, is whether it’s safe to mop. Unlike cleaning laminate floors, where it’s best to minimise the amount of water used, one of the biggest advantages of vinyl plank floors is that they’re 100% waterproof. So while you don’t want to inundate the floor with water, you don’t need to worry about water seeping into the floor and warping the plank tiles. The best way to clean vinyl plank floors with a mop is by:
- Sweeping or vacuuming the floor while it’s dry to remove larger particles like dust, dirt and hair that would otherwise be pushed around by the mop.
- Mixing a gentle cleaning solution in warm water. You can use dishwashing liquid, or vinyl floor specific floor cleaners, but always avoid harsh cleaners with bleach or ammonia that could damage the vinyl floor’s coating.
- Apply the solution with a soft mop, regularly squeezing the mop to remove excess dirt. It’s a great idea to use two buckets—one for the clean water, and one for squeezing dirty water into—or to buy a specially designed mop bucket with an in-built compartment for the dirty water.
- Once you’ve done an initial mop, re-mop the surface with clean water to wipe away any remaining detergent, then wipe dry. An old towel works well for this as you can stand on it and shuffle around the floor to dry it!
Can you steam-clean vinyl plank flooring?
We’re often asked ‘can you steam clean vinyl plank flooring’ by customers wanting to know how to clean vinyl plank flooring. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Never steam clean vinyl plank floors as the steam from the steaming mop can make its way into the seams between the planks. Both the high temperature and the moisture content can cause the plank flooring to lift over time by dissolving the adhesive keeping the planks attached to the underfloor.
How to clean vinyl plank flooring – scuff marks
Vinyl plank flooring is generally scratch resistant, thanks to its thick melamine top layer. However, it can collect scuff marks, which may show up depending on the pattern of the floor. For example, shoes commonly leave rubber scuff marks. The good news is that scuff marks can be easily removed with a range of common household solutions, including rubbing alcohol, or a simple paste of bicarb soda and water. Because the rubber sits on top of the floor, you want to use the bicarb soda paste to gently scratch away at it without damaging the floor underneath.
Best cleaning product for vinyl plank flooring
While vinyl flooring is durable, you should stick to gentle cleaning products to avoid damaging the floor’s coating. The best cleaning products for vinyl plank flooring are:
- Gentle detergents for mopping, including dishwashing liquid or a mild solution of vinegar and water.
- Vinyl floor specific cleaning products, which will be labelled as such.
- A paste of bicarb soda and water, for removing particularly sticky stains. Always rub gently when using bicarb soda, or other abrasive cleaning products, to avoid scratching the floor.
- Rubbing alcohol to remove particularly stubborn stains.
Never apply harsh bleach or ammonia-based cleaning products as these can break down the floor’s coating over time.
In terms of cleaning tools, soft is best. Sponges, soft cloths, brooms, mops and old toothbrushes are your friends; avoid abrasive scourers and steel wool which can scratch the floor’s coating.
Top tips for keeping your vinyl plank flooring in great condition
Whichever method you use for cleaning vinyl plank floors, clean your vinyl plank flooring, the end results can be significantly improved by following a few simple floor care tips. Specifically, always try to:
- Spot clean spills as soon as they occur, to minimise the chance of stains and prevent sticky residue from building up and attracting dirt. Wiping spills while they’re still moist is considerably easier than when they’ve dried up.
- Use doormats and/or leave your shoes at the door to reduce the amount of dirt that enters the house. This will reduce the chance of abrasive particles like gravel scuffing the floor.
- Place rugs or mats in high-traffic areas. While vinyl plank flooring is durable, it won’t last forever. You can extend its lifespan by minimising wear and tear in high-use areas like hallways and entranceways, which are prone to collecting scuff marks. Also, consider placing felt padding under heavy items of furniture like tables to prevent the table from denting the vinyl.