Your vinyl floors are looking dingy, sorry to say. Maybe your mom is telling you to get to it with her favorite harsh cleanser, but your eyes and lungs can’t take it. Is there any way to clean your vinyl flooring without using those?
Getting rid of toxic cleaners doesn’t mean making peace with dirty floors. Vinegar is a natural cleanser with antimicrobial properties, and it makes an excellent scent refresher.
If you aren’t sure how to clean your vinyl floors using vinegar, let’s break it all down and get your floors back to their glory!
Why Use Vinegar?
The ph of the primary ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, is only about 2.4, making it a pretty strong acid. That acid eats through the cells of bacteria and other organisms that may cause illness and other issues. It also helps break down the compounds that make certain messes sticky or hard to get off.
Vinegar can damage porous surfaces such as granite and may eat away the surface of woods. Vinyl, however, is just the right kind of surface for vinegar.
How Do I Clean My Vinyl Floors With Vinegar?
There are a few steps for cleaning your Vinyl floors with vinegar.
The best way to protect your vinyl flooring is to put down floor mats around entrances to help stop big dirt and debris. The mats can be washed, but they trap particles that can wear down the finish of your floor. Once the finish is gone, vinegar can’t help you.
You should sweep or vacuum your flooring to remove larger dirt and debris. Vinyl has a soft surface so you could damage the finish if you attempt to mop or clean while you still have abrasive particles around.
Preparing Your Vinegar
We’re going to use Apple Cider Vinegar because we love the smell, but white vinegar will also work well. If you want to disinfect your floors as you clean, white vinegar should be your choice. If you’re cleaning and helping get rid of odors, apple cider is the way to go.
Cleaning Your Floor
Use a soft cloth or mop. Your cleaning tool should never be abrasive because you don’t want to damage the finish of your floor. The acid will do all the work, so gentle tools are better.
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Soak your cleaning tool and then gently squeeze out excess. You don’t want any water to pool up as you’re cleaning, so keep your cleaning tool just damp with no drips. Go over your floors with the solution, rinsing the mop or rag frequently with clean hot water to prevent spreading grime around.
If you’ve got stubborn messes or it’s been a long time since the vinyl was cleaned, you can add a few drops of liquid dish soap which will aid the vinegar in breaking down stubborn messes and grease. You’ll need to go over the floors with a plain vinegar mixture again to help remove any residue, so this step is for especially dirty floors.
This step helps if vinyl has been previously cleaned by something that left residue and buildup behind. Vinegar alone will help clean it, but you could cut your cleaning time down with the addition of the soap. Just go over it again with vinegar to remove any last, lingering residue before you finish.
What About Stubborn Scuffs?
If you have a stubborn scuff mark, you can use a gentle oil such as WD-40 and a clean, soft rag. Gently rub the scuff with the oil in a circular motion until you remove it and then clean your floors as usual.
What About Stains?
Gentle is key. Make a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Gently rub the stain in a circular motion, watching for any sign of scratching. When the stain is gone or lightened to your satisfaction, clean the floors with your vinegar solution as usual.
Other types of stains can be removed using the same kind of method as you would carpet or clothing. Lipstick comes off with rubbing alcohol for example. Mineral spirits can remove paint. Do your research and make sure the stain remover you use is suitable for vinyl.
It’s helpful to wear gloves when you’re working with vinegar because the combination of hot water and vinegar can make skin sensitive.
Avoid leaving wet puddles on your vinyl. Vinyl is already somewhat slippery, and larger puddles can be a hazard. Instead, make sure your mop or rag is damp but not dripping so that you have enough to clean, but not so much that it puddles.
Maintaining Your Vinyl Floors
Proper maintenance helps keep your floors looking great in between cleanings. Adding rugs to the entryways can help keep dirt and debris down so you don’t scratch floors.
Avoid walking on your floors with shoes that can scuff. Hard heels such as those on business shoes or high heels can ruin your vinyl. Also, putting coasters underneath furniture when you have to move it (or permanently if your whole house is vinyl, can prevent damage that vinegar can’t clean out.
- Prepare by vacuuming or sweeping.
- Mix vinegar solution.
- Mop as usual.
- Allow the floor to dry.
- Enjoy your clean floors
Cleaning with vinegar is an excellent alternative to harsh and abrasive cleaners that can irritate your skin and respiratory system. You can’t use abrasive cleaners on vinyl anyway, so they’re prime candidates for a natural approach.
Vinegar is excellent for vinyl because it won’t leave behind a residue the way most other types of soap and cleaners will. You’ll remove grime and leave just the natural finish of your vinyl. Cleaning vinyl the right way helps prevent buildup and keeps your vinyl floors looking just like the day you had them installed.
How much of your house is vinyl? Do you already use vinegar as a natural cleaner and disinfectant? Let us know all about it in the comments below.