Linoleum flooring is well-known for its retro aesthetic and excellent durability since the twentieth century. At present, even though there are several synthetic surfaces have been invented, linoleum still has its own status amidst hundreds of flooring choices.
However, maintaining a shiny and spotless look for linoleum floors is not a simple task. Understanding about this type of floor and knowing how to clean it properly is definitely necessary.
Therefore, I write this post to help you. You will find much useful information to support you when cleaning linoleum surfaces.
So, I will not let you wait any longer. Let’s start now!
What Are Linoleum Floors?
Linoleum, or lino, is a floor covering produced from natural materials. In terms of the production process, the linseed oil is oxidized and then combined with some materials such as pine resin, sawdust, ground cork dust, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate. Pigments can be added in order to create more color and design options.
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Linoleum was invented in 1855 by Frederick Walton, an English inventor, and it has been widely used since 1950. It is preferred to be used as the housing floor and interior covering. For people who find a replacement for hardwood or tile floors, linoleum is worth being considered.
Pros and Cons of Linoleum Floors
Before jumping into the guidance section, let’s spend a few minutes to get to know some advantages and disadvantages of linoleum floors. I assure that it would not be a waste of your time.
What to Love?
Thanks to the development of modern technology, linoleum is more and more advanced, embracing outstanding strengths and giving many awesome benefits to people’s lives.
It is obvious that thanks to being made of natural components, linoleum doesn’t have negative impacts on the Earth’s land. Linoleum floor covering is biodegradable and will disappear quickly instead of getting stuck in the landfill for thousands of years like one-used plastic. Therefore, it definitely reduces bad effects on the environment according to the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standards.
Good news for anyone who has linoleum floors in his/her house. Typically, linoleum can last for 15-25 years. If it is under careful and proper care, 40 years of lifespan is completely possible. As a result, you don’t have to spend much money on the life cycle cost.
According to DIN 4102, a fire-resistant classification of German institute for standardization, linoleum is in B1 class, which means it is not easily flammable. Even if you accidentally drop the cigarette ash onto the floor, you can remove the ash in a blink of an eye by using abrasive cleaning tools.
However, carefulness is never excessive. The fire-safety level of linoleum is not absolute. Its color might fade away if it contacts with a hot cigarette head for too long. If you press the cigarette into the linoleum surface for a few minutes, a slight discoloration might happen with your floor.
Prevent Bacteria from Growing
As I mention above, Linoleum is made from linseed oil. This ingredient is incredible since it contains unsaturated fatty acids, which help to disrupt bacteria growth. Hence, linoleum floor covering is commonly used in hospitals, schools and universities, convention centers, and other places that require much awareness of public health.
Prevent Bacteria from Growing
This is another strength of linoleum floors. Thanks to the antibacterial feature, it is effortless to clean, disinfect, as well as maintain. Anyways, it is always better not to be hasty and clumsy when cleaning linoleum floors.
Linoleum is anti-static by its nature, which means it doesn’t attract dust, giving the environment around a fresh and clean atmosphere. This feature is extremely important, especially for people who have problems with their lungs and throats.
Reduce Noise Level
After being glued into the floor base, the linoleum floor covering performs a good job at lower the noise level. Typical linoleum floors can reduce 3–6 dB of noise level, while some other special types of linoleum can diminish 14–16 dB.
What to Caution?
Besides those strengths that I have mentioned above, it is not a waste of time to skim through some weaknesses of this type of floor covering. Therefore, you can have a better general understanding of it, which is indeed necessary.
Discolor When Exposing to the Sunlight
If the linoleum floor is usually under sunlight exposure, the chances are that it will get dark or yellow over time, or you can call it “Ambering” phenomenon, which destroys the aesthetics of your beautiful house. In the sunny hot days, remember to pull the curtains together to protect the floor against UV rays.
Sensitive to Wet Environments
Linoleum can be negatively affected if it usually contacts with moisture. Its quality may be destroyed very soon due to the occurrence of mold. Therefore, it is not recommended to be installed in bathrooms and other areas that are likely to get humid easily. Besides, linoleum is also not a good choice for basements or concrete ground.
Fragile with Sharp Objects
The linoleum areas around furniture legs may be slightly dented. I don’t recommend you walk high heels on this type of floor since it can harm its structure and quality.
What Should You Prepare to Clean Linoleum Floors?
Here are some tools that you can easily find in order to clean the linoleum floor:
Tools for Dust Picking Up
There are many options for you to choose when it comes to dust-cleaning tools, and I divide them into three main categories: Sweepers, Dust Mops, and Vacuum Cleaners.
Sweepers: They are commonly equipped with dusting brushes on the sweeper’s head. These tools usually do not require electricity to operate. You just need to push the sweeper forward and let it gather all the dust on the floor.
Thanks to the lightweight construction, you can easily maneuver it around your house.
Dusting mops: Microfiber is the typical material used for dusting mop heads. Microfiber is well-known for its superior ability to capture fine dust and absorb liquid. But these tools can’t solve large debris and granular.
Therefore, consider buying both sweeper and microfiber dusting mop in order to get the best result. These two tools are a great combination to deal with all types of dirt on your floor.
Vacuum Cleaners: If you prefer something that is involved in technology and electricity, you can completely count on vacuum cleaners. They come in various types with different designs and power suctions, they can be corded or cordless, but they will suck up all the dust, cat litter, pet hair, and other debris on the floor quickly.
In case you want a completely automatic cleaning machine, a robot vacuum cleaner is undoubtedly the best choice.
This is another important and indispensable supporter when it comes to cleaning linoleum floors. This type of surface requires thorough care and maintenance, so you should prepare one of these two types of cleaning solution: natural and chemical.
For natural cleaner, simply prepare lukewarm water and white vinegar. Lukewarm water can help you clean the linoleum floor more effectively.
About chemical one, this is important! Remember to avoid cleaners containing alkali, ammonia, or any product that has high PH level because they will seriously damage the linoleum surface. I highly recommend using specialized cleaners for linoleum floors so as to achieve the most shining and spotless space without harming the quality and lifespan of the surface.
A Mop for Wet Cleaning
It is obvious that you will need a tool for damp mopping. The mop with a microfiber head is highly recommended, thanks to its superior absorbent and cleaning ability. The microfiber fabric is specially designed with advanced technology to have better power when it comes to mopping, compared to cotton fabrics of some damp mops on the market nowadays.
For effortless wet cleaning, I think spin mop is the most outstanding candidate amidst other types of mop. If you are going to purchase one, pay attention to extra details such as wheels, handles, drain holes, and the mop head’s material.
As I have mentioned above, linoleum is highly sensitive to moisture. Therefore, you should prepare dry microfiber cloths to rinse the floor after the damp mopping step.
How to Clean Linoleum Floors Properly?
Let’s start first with the step-by-step guide of cleaning linoleum floors:
A General Guide for You
After preparing the needed tools, let’s go into details of cleaning linoleum floors. I hope my guidance will be useful for you.
Basically, you just need to follow these steps to accomplish a simple cleaning:
Step 1: Sweep/vacuum the floor.
This first step needs to be done thoroughly to ensure there’s no debris left on the surface.
Step 2: Mix the cleaning solution.
With natural cleaning, add 1 cup of white vinegar into 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Do not use too much water than needed.
If you want to have a more professional and thorough cleaning experience, let’s combine specialized linoleum floor cleaner with water. Each brand has its own instruction for the ratio of the cleaner and water, so please strictly follow it to make sure there’s no damage happening to the surface.
Step 3: Wet mopping the floor with the mixed cleaning solution.
Make sure you wring the mop head out of excess water before putting it into the surface. Mop the floor carefully through every section until you cover the whole floor. With build-up dirt, you can use a scrub brush with soft bristles to scrub over it, of course this way requires you to kneel down and use your hand strength.
If you clean the floor with natural cleaning solution, you can skip the next step and go straight into step 5.
Step 4: Rinse the surface.
When you are already done with step 3, discard the dirty water and change a clean and dry mop head. Mop the floor again with only clean water. Do not forget to wring the mop head carefully before cleaning.
Step 5: Dry the floor.
You already know how sensitive the linoleum floor is when contacting with moisture and liquid, right? Therefore, this last step is definitely important. Use a dry microfiber cloth or towel, or you can change the mop head into a new one. Then you just need to wipe the surface carefully, giving it an absolutely moisture-free and shining look.
For a more specific and lively demonstration about cleaning linoleum floors, you can check on this video.
Do and Don’t When Cleaning Linoleum Floors
To accomplish the linoleum cleaning task perfectly, read the following list and write it down into a stick note if needed.
- Clean the floor daily if possible to maintain its spotless appearance. For daily cleaning, you can only use lukewarm water to damp mop the floor and don’t need to rinse it.
- Use a brush to scrub areas where tough dirt appears. You should wear rubber gloves to avoid contacting with chemicals and protect your hand skin.
- Put a doormat outside the door to avoid bringing dust into the room.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth or towel to wipe out all the excess water and moisture left on the floor.
- Do not use an ammonia-based cleaning solution to mop the floor. Otherwise, the polish will be worn out.
- Do not let water stay too long on the floor.
- If you use a vacuum cleaner to pick up dirt on linoleum floors, do not let it run on the carpet mode. Switch to the hard floor mode to protect the floor texture.
- Do not wet mop the floor. Instead, do the damp mopping to prevent excess water from staying on the surface.
How to Take Burn Marks out of Linoleum Floors?
Have you ever faced the situation when your beautiful linoleum floor got damaged and ugly because of some burn marks? These marks usually appear due to cigarette ash dropping down the floor.
Fortunately, you can solve this problem with ease. Follow these steps to find out how to remove them from your floor.
Step 1: Rub over the burn marks with a ball of extra-fine steel wool.
The extra-fine steel wool is ideal for this task since it is strong enough to remove burn marks without harming the floor texture. You should rub until the burn marks peel off, then clean up all the dirt that appears after rubbing by a sweeper or a vacuum cleaner.
Now, the burn marks are worn away with the polish layer. You can’t just leave it over time since those un-polished areas will be easily harmed by dust and furniture’s legs, which affects the texture and aesthetic of the surface. That’s the reason why you should jump into the next step.
Step 2: Touch up worn-out areas with clear water-based polyurethane finish or specialized polish for linoleum floor.
Both water-based polyurethane clear finish and floor polish help to seal the floor and prevent dirt and debris from embedding tightly into it. Use a brush to apply more easily.
Step 3: Wait until the surface dries and apply one more layer of polish if needed.
If you see the fixed areas still haven’t fully covered flatly compared with the whole floor, touch up that areas one more time and wait until it completely dries. Please make sure every square on your floor is dry before using it as normal.
And that is also the final step for this task. It isn’t too complicated, is it? Still, “Prevention is better than cure”. To avoid these annoying burn marks happening again, you shouldn’t smoke or use any fire source in the linoleum room.
If there is an occasion like a birthday party when you have to prepare some candles for the cake, please pay attention and do not let children play with candles on the floor. You can place a colorfast rug with natural pads in the room for better protection.
Please note one more important thing, only use rugs with natural pads on the back, do not try rugs with rubber or latex pads because they will leave stains on your linoleum floor.
How to Remove Yellow Stains on Linoleum Floors?
The yellow stain is another annoying tough dirt that may occur on your linoleum floor after a long period of using time. The reason for this stain occurrence is numerous.
If you use cleaners that contain a high PH level, ammonia, or alkali to clean the surface many time, yellow stains will soon appear. Using hot water to clean linoleum floors is another reason causing yellow stains. To remove them, you can follow these two following guides.
Natural Cleaning Solution
What you will need to prepare for this formula:
- Baking soda: known as a popular ingredient for cleaning tasks, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda perform non-toxic and effective stain removal on the linoleum surface. Soda baking is a mild alkali, but don’t worry since you only use it to remove the yellow stains.
- One cup of vinegar: thanks to containing acetic acid, vinegar is an affordable and amazing ingredient to get rid of bacteria, grease, stains, or dirt. White distilled vinegar will be the best choice for this task.
- A little bit of Dish soap: dish soap is a thick liquid detergent using to wash cutlery and other cooking tools. It has the ability to remove grease and yellow spots.
- One gallon of cool or lukewarm water: water will play an important role in combining all the ingredients for the natural mixture.
How to apply?
Follow this step-by-step guide to remove yellow stains out of your linoleum floor:
Step 1: Dampen the yellow-stain area and sprinkle baking soda on it.
The surface needs to be dampened to react with baking soda. After sprinkling, wait for a few minutes to let baking soda soak in the damaged area.
Step 2: Mix one cup of vinegar and a little bit of dish soap into one gallon of water.
Step 3: Use a brush or a soft cloth to damp mop the damaged area where baking soda is sitting.
Even though it is a natural formula, you should wear gloves for better hand-skin protection. To avoid harming the linoleum floor texture, only use brushes with soft nylon bristles or soft cloths to rub on the yellow-stain surface.
Step 4: Once the stains fade away, damp mop the surface with clean water to remove residue and dirt.
Step 5: Wipe the floor with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture.
Chemical Cleaning Solution
In case the yellow stains are too tough that the natural formula cannot fully solve, consider trying this chemical option.
What you will need for this chemical formula:
- Bleach: bleach can affects the linoleum floors if you use its full strength and don’t dilute it. But if you mix it with water, it can be an effective stain removal for tough spots.
- One gallon of cool water: water is needed for diluting bleach.
How to apply?
Here are the simple steps for you to follow in order to get rid of yellow stains with a chemical mixture:
Step 1: Mix a quart of bleach with one gallon of cool water to dilute the bleach.
Step 2: Use a lint-free cloth to apply a thin coat of mixture on the yellow-stain areas. Remember to wear rubber gloves to prevent chemicals from contacting your hands. Wait for about 45 minutes to let the mixture soak in the stains.
Step 3: Rinse the floor by damp mopping and dry it with a clean towel or cloth.
How to Polish? – Specific Guide to Maintain a Glossy Linoleum Floor
Cleansing is needed, but it is not enough to remain the beauty of your linoleum floor. Yes, I want to remind you about the importance of polishing.
Why Do You Need to Polish the Linoleum Floors?
If you have just installed linoleum floors in your house, it is necessary to clean and polish your floor before putting furniture into it.
Polishing the linoleum floor is essential to maintain its shining look for a long time and prevent it from getting scratched or dented. Without the polishing layer, the dirt will be embedded into the floor tightly, which needs a harshly deep cleaning to remove. You will also need to replace the floor soon if you skip the polishing step, which costs you a bunch of money.
Therefore, it is wise to polish the floor before the first use and re-polish whenever you find the floor duller than usual.
What to Do Before Polishing the Linoleum Floors?
Is it the first time you polish your floor, or you just want to re-polish it? Each situation requires different solutions that I am going to share with you right now.
If it is the first time you polish, you have to clean up the floor first.
For cleaning, simply follow the general step-by-step guide that I have mentioned in the previous section, make sure that you rinse and dry the floor thoroughly. After checking and ensuring that the linoleum floor is 100% free from moisture and soap residue, you can move to the polishing step.
If you want to re-polish your floor, removing the old polishing layer is a must.
Use specialized stripper for linoleum floor to loosen the build-up wax, wait for a while to let the stripper soak in, and then scrub the floor with a brush. You should follow the instruction written in the product’s package to get the best result.
If you are a fan of DIY, it is possible to create a natural stripper at home. Add 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into hot water. Apply the mix over the floor and wait for around 10 minutes before starting to scrub the surface.
If it seems not strong enough to remove the wax, consider adding a little bit of ammonia into the solution.
One important thing to notice: always ensure the floor is completely dry and free from soap residue before polishing.
How to Apply Polishing Wax for Linoleum Floors?
Many people find it convenient to use a commercial self-polishing wax since it doesn’t require much energy and muscle strength like the manual task. It contains super-fine particles of solid wax, which reflects the light and creates gleaming appearance to the floor after the liquid dries.
In order to apply this type of polishing wax, you can follow the steps below.
Step 1: Pour the wax on the floor.
Avoid shaking the self-polishing wax bottle. Otherwise, the wax will get foamy, and you will be failed in achieving an even polishing layer.
Step 2: Use a long-handled applicator to spread the wax.
Do not push the applier back and forward as you are scrubbing or mopping because this action will lead to an uneven layer of polish or even streaking.
Step 3: Wait for the wax to completely dry.
The drying time will be different depending on the wax product. Do not walk into the floor during the drying process if you don’t want to destroy its gloss. Once it is dry, the floor will wear a beautiful and lustrous coat.
Apply an additional coat if you want to enhance the luster and protection if your linoleum floor is already old and worn. Wait for at least 4 hours between applications. The floor must be absolutely moisture-free before the next application.
Do and Don’t When Polishing Linoleum Floors
What should be followed when applying polishing wax on linoleum floors? What shouldn’t? Continue to read and take note all of them if necessary.
- Clean and rinse the floor thoroughly and let it dry completely before applying polishing wax. It will help to prevent tackiness or water spots from appearing on the floor after polishing.
- If there is a spot that you forget to apply the polishing wax, wait until the floor dry and pour the polishing wax onto a bonnet and touch up the spot.
- Re-wax the floor if it starts to wear out or looks dull.
- Wear rubber gloves during this task for more safety.
- Do not put the commercial polishing wax near fire source.
- Do not walk into the floor when it is in the drying process.
- Do not scrub the wax on the floor. Use an applicator to spread the wax evenly and avoid pushing it forward and back too many times.
- Do not let the wax contact with your eyes.
How to Fix Small Tears on Linoleum Floors?
What if one day you find some small tears on your linoleum floor while cleaning? If your floor unfortunately gets some tears because of contacting with sharp objects, you don’t need to change a whole new linoleum covering. In fact, you can seam those little tears by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Dampen a soft cloth and wipe the damaged area.
You can dampen the cloth with lacquer thinner, diluted acetone, or just simply water. Ensure that the cloth is not too wet. With this step, all the dirt on the floor will be removed, which makes it easier for it to obtain the seam sealer.
Step 2: Heat the torn linoleum area by using a hairdryer.
By heating the torn area, the tears will become larger, making it effortless to insert glue or seam sealer into those tears. Do not heat with too high temperature. I recommend using the lowest mode of your hairdryer and not pointing the hairdryer too close to the floor.
Step 3: Fill a small bead of seam sealer into the torn area.
Check it carefully to ensure that the seam sealer covers the whole torn area. Then you should use a stick-shape object with a small head to connect the ton area together.
Step 4: Place a parchment paper on the repaired area and put a flat and heavy item on top of it. Wait until the sealer is dry.
You can use a stack of books or newspapers to place over the seam. The parchment paper helps you prevent the stack of books from sticking to the floor. Only use the object with a flat surface so that the tears can be seamed evenly.
How about pausing for a moment and watch this instruction video about repairing small tears on linoleum floors?
How to Patch Linoleum Floors?
In case the tears are too large that you cannot simply repair with the seam sealer, patching the floor is another possible way to make your linoleum like-new again. Below are some necessary steps that you should do to patch your floor properly.
Step 1: Prepare a patch.
Find a linoleum piece that has the same color and pattern as your floor and cut out a square part of it. If you have some excess linoleum pieces that are not used for the first installation, then you just need to cut out a small piece for patching. If you don’t have any excess linoleum covering, you can contact the flooring company or retailers.
Then try to adjust the patch to be in the same size with the damaged area.
Step 2: Take the damaged linoleum piece out of the floor and apply the patch.
Remember to fill the sides and bottom of the patch with specialized glue for linoleum before pressing into the needed area.
Step 3: Place a parchment paper on the fixed area and a flat and heavy object on top of it. Wait at least 24 hours.
Step 4: After one day, fill the liquid seam sealer into corners around the patch.
By doing this step, the patch will be embedded tightly, preventing the patch from peeling off easily in the future.
After inserting the seam sealer, you place a flat and heavy item above the fixed area and wait until it is completely dry. It can be a stack of magazines or books.
Continue to read these frequently asked questions and their answer to gain more useful information about cleaning linoleum floors. I’m sure they will not waste your time.
Bonus Tips to Clean Linoleum Floors Effectively
It is deeply necessary to clean linoleum floors regularly to reduce the chance of dirt and stain embedding on it.
Remember, this type of natural-ingredient floor is sensitive to moisture and wet environments, so please make sure it is always dry and spotless.
Having a vacuum cleaner will help you pick up dirt more quickly and effortlessly; meanwhile, a microfiber mop is an ideal choice for damp mopping. These tools will support you in keeping the surface clean. Besides, polishing the floor after mopping makes the surface glossy and prevents dirt from getting stuck deeply into it.
I hope you already gather some useful information for the cleaning task after reading my post. Do you know any other tips to clean linoleum floors? Leave a comment down below to share it with other people and me. Do not forget to share this post with your friends, relatives, colleagues, or anyone who needs it. Thanks a lot!