Vinyl floors can be timeless and affordable, but their most popular selling point is the fact that they’re so easy to maintain. Whether you’ve had the same vinyl flooring in your home since it was built or if you’re installing new materials, you’ll quickly learn that cleaning vinyl floors is incredibly simple.
With the help of a vacuum, a steam mop, or a steam cleaner, this guide will teach you how to clean vinyl floors to achieve the perfect and seemingly effortless shine.
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How to Clean Vinyl Floors in 6 Steps
Step 1: Finding the Right Vacuum
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a vacuum for vinyl floors. Vacuums give you the ability to remove traces of dirt and grime before you get the floor wet and push the dirt around. There are a variety of vacuums on the market that are specifically designed for hard floor materials, particularly vinyl.
A few important features to look for in a vacuum for your vinyl include:
- Strong Suction: A vinyl vacuum should be equipped with strong suction to ensure that dirt is brought up into the unit rather than blown around your home. A traditional vacuum is equipped to deal with plush floorings, such as carpet, but a vacuum designed for vinyl offers superior suction.
- Adjustable Heads: If you’re looking for one cleaning tool that can tackle vacuuming throughout your home, make sure to find a unit that has adjustable heads. This gives you the ability to essentially bring the suction closer to the ground or higher up, depending on the pile of the floor you’re working on. With adjustable heads, you won’t have to worry about buying two separate vacuums for the carpet and hard floors in your house.
- HEPA Filtration: This is especially important for people living with allergies, as a vacuum with HEPA filtration will eliminate all traces of dust, hair, and dander with every use. It will also help to eliminate traces of bacteria from your floor so you can experience a new level of cleanliness.
Step 2: Finding the Right Steam Mop
Steam mops have become incredibly popular amongst home owners because they give you the ability to have an effortless clean without the worry of harsh chemical cleaners.
Below are some important features to look out for in a steam mop for vinyl floors:
- Soft Cleaning Pads: Most steam mops are equipped with cleaning pads that are affixed to the bottom of the mop to help soak up dirt and grime. You’ll want to make sure that the cleaning pads are incredibly soft to protect the integrity of your vinyl. Although vinyl is typically resilient to scratches and scrapes, continually running a hard item on its surface can damage the sealant.
- Heat Options: When cleaning, you want to be able to decide just how much power you want your steam mop to put into the job. If you’re a regular cleaner you’ll need to adjust the heat on the steam to a lower level whereas if you haven’t cleaned your floors in a while, you’ll need a warmer steam to help loosen caked on dirt.
- Large Water Reservoir: Every steam mop needs to have a water reservoir and you’ll want to make sure you choose a unit that doesn’t need to be refilled halfway through your clean. The larger the water capacity, the easier it will be to quickly clean your floors before an event or company arriving at your home.
Step 3 (Optional): Finding a Steam Cleaner
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty clean or if you’re the type of person that prefers to use a mop that offers the opportunity to use cleaning solutions, a steam cleaner is your best bet. Unlike steam mops, steam cleaners can be used with chemical cleaners because the unit dilutes the product with the perfect amount of water to ensure your floors are sanitized without damaging them.
When it comes to buying a steam cleaner for vinyl floors, consider the following features:
- Steam and Chemical Cleaning: A steam cleaner is typically more powerful than a steam mop and to make the most out of your purchase, find a unit that offers both chemical and traditional steam cleaning. This way you will have the ability to choose whether you feel comfortable using cleaners on your floor or not.
- Drying Components: The most inconvenient part of cleaning vinyl floors is waiting for them to dry, which is why choosing a steam cleaner with drying components can make every clean much faster. Typically these units will wash and dry the floor with each sweep, leaving little to no traces of water. Drying components are also essential for minimizing streaking from water residue.
- Antibacterial Properties: If you opt to use your steam cleaner without cleaning chemicals, ensure that the water in the unit will get heated to a degree where bacteria will be eliminated with only the steam. Most of the high-end units offer up to 99.9% removal of bacteria to ensure your floors are sufficiently sanitized without having to rely on cleaning solutions.
Step 4: Vacuuming the Floor
Now that you’re equipped with the right tools for the job, it’s time to begin the cleaning process. First, it’s important that you vacuum your vinyl. Vinyl is known for its beauty but it also attracts an insurmountable level of pet hair and dust that might be hidden to the naked eye.
You’ll want to make sure that while you vacuum you take advantage of any included attachments that make it easier to get around the legs of furniture, in the corners of the baseboards, and in other hard to reach areas.
Step 5: Wet Mopping the Floor
If you’ve worked with vinyl before, you’re aware of how simple it can be to notice streaking and there are several reasons for this. The most common is that the cleaning pad at the end of the mop could be dirty.
When wet mopping it is advised that you put a new cleaning pad on the head of the mop for every clean to ensure that you’re not putting more bacteria onto the floor from previous cleans. You’ll also want to consider using filtered water in the unit so that the minerals from tap water don’t contribute to streaking.
Gently move the wet mop either in a vertical or horizontal pattern across the floor, allowing a little bit of overlap between each sweep. This will help to get rid of any unsightly lines from streaking.
Step 6: Drying the Floor
Depending on the type of steam tool you choose, your unit may or may not come with integrated drying. If not, drying the floor is simple as all you’ll need is a microfiber cloth or a drying towel that is soft enough to not scratch your floors.
While drying, ensure that you use a circular motion to get rid of all puddles of standing water. There’s also the choice of letting the floors air dry, though there is a possibility for streaking.
If you opt for air-drying and you notice streaks, you can use the microfiber cloth to buff them out once the floor is completely dry.
Understanding how you can clean vinyl floors with ease is essential to help your home feel fresh and brand new on a regular basis. With the help of a few cleaning tools, it’s incredibly simple and well worth the investment.