How to Clean Resilient Floors

Vinyl, cork, and linoleum flooring is prized for its softness and easy care. These tips will keep resilient floors sparkling clean and maintained for years.

small bathroom navy blue vanity resilient flooring

If your home includes a floor made from vinyl, cork, or linoleum, you have a resilient floor. Such floors boast a slight softness and give, which makes them more comfortable to stand on but less durable than hardwood or ceramic tile floors. Heavy furniture may cause dents. Chairs scooted across the floor may gouge the surface. Sharp objects that are dropped may make cuts.

In addition to guarding these floors from damage, you can help keep them in top condition by cleaning them properly. Here's how.

How to Clean Vinyl Floors

table and chairs

Clean vinyl floors by removing dust and dirt with a broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner. Controlling grit and soil is crucial to prolonging a vinyl floor's attractive appearance.

A quick wipe with a damp mop works well for vinyl floors between deep cleanings. Choose a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaning product or the product recommended by the vinyl manufacturer. Some products are no-rinse solutions while others need to be rinsed well, so make sure you check the instructions on the container.

If you are unsure of the floor's composition or coating, check with the home's previous owner, real estate agent, or rental agent. If you still don't know, stay on the safe side and use a mild vinegar-and-water solution to clean the floor. Water-base or acrylic-base floor polishes can be used on many resilient floors but may not be compatible with some no-wax floors.

Vinyl Floors: Dos and Don'ts


Follow these floor cleaning tips to help maintain and preserve your vinyl floors:

Common Vinyl Floor Stains

mint green retro style kitchen and vinyl floor tiles

Some stains on vinyl floors may be permanent, especially if the floor is old. If the resilient flooring stain is stubborn, these techniques can at least lighten it. You may have to repeat the process several times. Here’s how to tackle common vinyl floor stains:

How to Clean Cork Floors

Warm Kitchen Colors

Cork flooring is a soft surface that offers cushion as well as durability—thanks to pre-applied finishes. Cleaning cork flooring means cleaning the surface finish. If the cork surface is sealed with polyurethane (most cork floors are), clean with water and mild detergent or white vinegar, then rinse well. If the cork is unfinished or waxed, follow the cleaning instructions for polyurethane but apply solid or liquid wax. Avoid polishes if you prefer a matte finish. To be perfectly safe, check with the cork flooring dealer or manufacturer to find out what cleaning methods they recommend for your product.

In addition to regular cleaning, make your cork floor last longer by using common sense care. Avoid dropping sharp objects and sliding heavy furniture across the floor. Buy extra flooring at the time of installation to replace damaged areas in the future. Although the color may not match at first, it will blend as it ages.

How to Clean Linoleum Floors

kitchen with blue island and white cabinets
CMR# 4282846, SIP

Linoleum, often mistaken for vinyl flooring, has been around since the early 20th century. The differences between the two are significant. Vinyl, the most often-used sheet flooring, is made from petroleum-base polyvinyl chloride. It’s flexible and resilient and has a semisoft surface. Linoleum is made from linseed oil, resin, cork, limestone, and wood flour mixed with pigments and then rolled onto a jute backing. Expect to pay more for linoleum than for typical sheet vinyl; the long wear and design possibilities can be worth the added expense.

Clean linoleum using the resilient-flooring instructions. Sweep the floor, then wash with detergent or borax and water. Rinse clean and let dry. Apply a coat of paste wax or liquid wax, and buff to a shine.

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