Methods on Cleaning Linoleum Floors: Answers to The Common Questions

It is true that linoleum floors are durable but providing the proper care and maintenance to them will help prolong its life. There are best practices you should be following to keep your linoleum floors looking new and shiny. Let me share with you several methods you can do in your homes to keep your linoleum floors clean and how to give them better protection against water damage and scratches.

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Best Method to Cleaning Your Linoleum Floors

Just like any hard floor, linoleum is fairly easy to clean. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your linoleum floor and it only involves 4 simple steps.

1. Dry Clean Your Linoleum Floors with a Dust Mop or Broom

Dirt, dust, and tiny debris and particles on the surface of your linoleum floors should be removed before you wet clean or clean with your mop. Those dust particles can scratch your linoleum if they get dragged across while you mop. Be sure you get them all before you continue with the next step. Accumulation of scratches will dull the look and finish of your linoleum floors.

You can either use a broom, a dry mop, or a vacuum for this. It would be best to invest in the right tools for your floor to avoid damaging or scratching the surface.

Using a Broom or Dust Mop

If you’re using a broom, use the one with the soft bristle type to avoid the floor’s surface from scratches. There are also good brooms that can pick up pet hair or fur off the floor.

Dry dust mops are one of my favorites to use as they don’t just push dust particles into a pile, but they do a great job of attracting and picking up dirt, and dust unto themselves. They are available in disposable types or in washable microfiber types. Washable types are more eco-friendly though as you can reuse them several times before you throw them away.

Using a Vacuum

Vacuums are also great to use for linoleum floors as they can contain dust and dirt particles preventing them from spreading in the air.

If you’re using a vacuum though, make sure they can be used for hard floors. Some vacuums are made for cleaning carpets, and they usually come with brush rolls underneath them. These types of vacuum can scratch the surface of your linoleum floors.

There are available vacuums that have an option you can set when using it for hard-surfaced floors. Usually, these types of vacuums can work well on both carpet and hard surfaces. A switch is available to lift the brush roll to keep it off the surface of the floor, avoiding scratching it when you start vacuuming.

Most of the time, especially if your linoleum floors don’t get used frequently, the dry clean step is enough to clean your floor. If there is sticky build-up on the surface, or you just want to do a deeper clean, proceed to the next step.

2. Wet Clean Your Linoleum Floor Using a Damp Mop

After sweeping, and removing any loose dirt, and dust, you can start the wet cleaning step.

A wet clean is basically mopping your floor using a cleaning solution of your choice. Any cleaning solution that is acceptable to use for linoleum floors is good to use.

It is very important that you follow the instructions written on the bottle of the cleaning solution when you use it. Use the exact measurement and proportions. Most commercial cleaners are mixed with water in a bucket but spray types are also available that can be sprayed straight off from the bottle.

You can also make your own cleaning solutions, mixed from ingredients commonly available in your cupboards if you are into natural or eco-friendly methods. I’ve made an article on making your own natural floor cleaners for linoleum floors. Check it out if you’re interested.

A wet clean is best for deep cleaning, removing any sticky build-up on your floor’s surface. This is especially needed in kitchens where spills and splashes often happen.

Using the right cleaning solution is very important because the wrong solution may damage the floor if it’s too harsh. It can also make your floors slick or slippery even when they become dry. Also, it is best to ask your floor’s manufacturer for recommendations on the best cleaning product to use as each linoleum products are different and may have different requirements when cleaning.

In most cases, using only a bucket of water is enough to wipe off any dirt, grime, or sticky build-up from the surface. The simpler the cleaning solution is the less risk of you damaging the floor.

Even though this is a wet clean, the mop must not be very wet. When you dip your mop into your cleaning solution, always wring it well. It should only be damp to the touch. Linoleums are susceptible to water or liquid damage if it gets subjected to large amounts of moisture. Never ever drench it with water.

Hands-free self-wringing mops are the best to use because you don’t have to bend over to wring them.

The best way to mop your floor is to start from the far end of the room, opposite the door. That way, you don’t have to step on the newly mopped floor when you go out. Then work on a small area at a time, sweeping in a zigzag motion back and forth.

If you’re using a bucket, replace the solution with a new batch when it gets dark and murky.

Wet Clean with Steam Mop

Linoleum floors can also be cleaned with a steam mop instead of the conventional mop written above. Steam mops are actually excellent for cleaning your linoleum floors because it not only removes and breaks down sticky build-up from the floor, it also disinfects and sanitizes at the same time.

Steam mops are also cost-effective over time since you only need water to clean, and most types can also be used to clean other surfaces as well, not only floors.

Just avoid hovering on a single area for too long as that area might get soaked too much with water and could damage the linoleum.

Similar to mops start from the far end of the room opposite the door. Then working on a small area at a time, move your way slowly towards the door.

For stubborn grime, apply a paste of baking soda and vinegar on the spot that is affected. Wait for 15 mins. then wipe the paste off before you use the steam mop on it.

3. Wipe Dry Your Linoleum Floor Using a Clean and Dry Microfiber Cloth

After the wet clean step, use a clean and dry microfiber cloth to wipe off the floor dry. You can also let it air dry but make sure no ponding of liquid is left in any part of the floor. I can’t stress it enough to not leave any part of the floor drenched in liquid. Any standing water or liquid could find its way to a crack or seam on the floor and make its way underneath and potentially do some damages.

4. Apply Liquid Acrylic Floor Wax to Your Linoleum Floor

This is an optional step and can be done every 2 to 6 months, but if you want to make your linoleum floors shiny, you can apply a liquid acrylic floor wax to your floor. The wax will also fill in scratches and will add a thin protective layer to the linoleum floor.

Make sure that you’re using the right kind of wax though, and that it is safe to use for linoleum floors. The wrong product could make your floors slippery or dull out the look.

Never use paste wax on it. Paste wax is only used for hardwood floors. I found a highly rated floor wax safe for linoleum in Amazon. You might want to check it out.

Whatever product you use, always follow the instructions written on the bottle to get the best results.

Tips on Maintaining and Caring for Linoleum Floors

Here are some additional tips to keep your linoleum floors in tiptop shape.

  1. Put furniture pads on your furniture legs. Linoleum floors, though resilient and durable, can still get scratches. If furniture will be moved around while you clean, it is best that you use furniture pads on their legs to protect the floor from scratches.
  2. Control and reduce the dirt that comes into your house by providing a good floor mat that traps dirt and dust from anyone’s shoes. Place one on both the outside and inside of the house. It might also be a good idea to have a boot removal area and a shelf to store the shoes just outside the door.
  3. Don’t use a latex or rubber backed mat or rag over a linoleum floor as it will cause staining on your floor. Only use mats with natural backing.
  4. Again, never let water or any liquid stand on the floor for a long time. Wipe any spill dry as soon as it occurs.

Related Questions About Cleaning Linoleum Floors

Below are answers to some of the questions related to cleaning your linoleum floors.

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, as discussed above, steam mops are great to use on linoleum floors as they easily break down dirt and grim, and sanitizes the area as well. They are also cost-effective since you only need a small amount of water, without any other chemical, to create the steam.

Can You Use a Carpet Cleaners to clean Linoleum Floors?

Not all, but only some carpet cleaners can be used to clean linoleum floors. Make sure the carpet cleaner has a hard floor cleaning mode and an attachment that is fit for hard floors. The Rug Doctor FlexClean is one such carpet cleaner that can be used to cleaning linoleum floors. You might want to check it out. It has very good ratings on Amazon.

Can You Use Ammonia on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, you can use ammonia on linoleum floors but use it sparingly. It is only used to strip off the wax or polish that is previously applied to it. Never use ammonia or any ammonia-based cleaner if you’re not planning to re-polish or re-wax your floor. Don’t use it too often though as it could soften your linoleum floors.

Can You Use Vinegar and Water to Clean Linoleum Floors?

Yes, vinegar and water can be used to clean linoleum floors. Vinegar acts as a disinfectant and can help kill off bacteria or germs on the floor’s surface. If you’re interested to learn more about this, I’ve made an article on making your own natural floor cleaners for linoleum floors. It’s one of the cleaning solutions on that list. You might be interested to check it out.

Can You Use Bleach to Clean Linoleum Floors?

Yes, you can definitely use bleach, such as the Clorox brand, to clean linoleum floors. You have to dilute bleach in the water though as it is a very harsh chemical and could damage the finish or surface of the floor. Follow the proportions indicated in the bottle. Usually, the proportion is 2 to 3 tablespoons of bleach per 1 liter of water.

Just be aware though the bleach could strip the wax or polish off the linoleum’s surface. You might have to reapply wax or polish it again to make it shine.

Can You Use Windex to Clean Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Windex multi-surface cleaner can be used to clean your linoleum floors. It’s ammonia-free and will clean and disinfect your floors at the same time.

Can You Use Oxiclean to Clean Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Oxiclean can be used to clean linoleum floors. Follow the instructions on the label on the proper proportions and mixture. And don’t drench the linoleum floor with the mixture. Apply it the same way you apply any other cleaning solution on linoleum floors. Read the steps above on how to wet clean the floor for more details.

Can You Use Murphy’s Oil Soap to Clean Linoleum Floors?

Definitely yes, Murphy’s oil soap is safe to use for cleaning linoleum floors. You just need a couple of drops of Murphy’s oil soap, normally 1/4 cup, mixed to a gallon of water. And then just apply it as how it was stated in the wet cleaning step above.

Can You Use Pine Sol on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Pine Sol is safe to use for cleaning linoleum floors. It is a gentle all-purpose cleaner that can be used on multiple surfaces. In normal situations, you just need to dilute 1/4 cup of Pine Sol to 1 gallon of water. Then apply it with a damp mop.

Can You Use Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner on Linoleum Floors?

No, don’t use Bona’s hardwood floor cleaner on linoleum. Use their other product formulated for cleaning linoleum instead which is called Bona hard-surface floor cleaner. This Bona product is good to use on linoleum floors. It can be purchased from Amazon.

Can You Use Bar Keepers Friend on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Bar Keeper’s Friend is safe to use on linoleum floors. Just follow the instructions on the label on how to use it. Normally you would use it to remove stubborn grime off the surface. Just be gentle when you use it so as not to make any scratches on the floor.

Can You Use Magic Eraser on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser can help remove stains off the surface of your linoleum floor. You just need to damp it a bit and then rub the stain away. Be gentle though as rubbing too aggressively could scratch the floor.

Can You Use Goo Gone on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Goo Gone is safe to use on linoleum floors. It can help remove any sticky dirt or grease build-up off the floor. You just apply it to the affected area, wait for 3 to 5 minutes, and then wipe it off with a dry clean cloth.

Can You Use Mop and Glo on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Mop and Glo can be used to clean your linoleum floors. It can be used on other surfaces as well. Just follow the mixture indicated on its label. And then apply it as how it was stated in the wet cleaning step procedure above.

Can You Use Simple Green on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, Simple Green can be used to clean your linoleum floors. Follow the instructions indicated on the package. Normally, the mixture is 1/2 cup of Simple Green to 1 gallon of water. Then apply it with a damp mop.

Can You Use Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, you can use mineral spirits or paint thinner to remove any sticky stubborn dirt build-up from your linoleum floor. Try it first though on a small area of the floor to make sure it doesn’t damage the floor’s surface. It might strip off the polish or wax though, but you can always reapply the polish if it got stripped off.

Can You Use Acetone on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, just like mineral spirits or paint thinner, you can also use acetone to help you with any sticky substance on the linoleum floor. Just like mineral spirits, try it first on an inconspicuous area of the floor just to make sure it doesn’t affect the floor negatively.

Can You Use TSP on Linoleum Floors?

Yes, TSP can be used to help clean linoleum floors but use it sparingly. It is a very strong chemical that can soften linoleum floors if you let it sit for too long. I suggest you try other cleaning solutions first before you attempt to use it.


He is an architect for more than 20 years. He is passionate about design and architecture and enjoys sharing his knowledge and information with people as well.

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