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Flooring and Carpeting/Cleaning old vinyl flooring


Good Morning,

I just moved into a house that has old vinyl flooring. We plan on replacing with tile but for the time being, i need to figure out how to get it clean. When i mop (2x a week), i have to do it 2 times because it is just so filthy and still doesnt seem to get clean. It has a lot of "gunky" spots all over that I just cant seem to get off. Even with quite a bit of elbow grease, its still there. Is there a product that can pretty much eat off this goop so that when i mop, it can finally get clean?

Its such a large floor and to see it is still dirty after cleaning....very tiring!!

Thanks for your help!!

I'm not sure what you mean by "gunky spots"? Grease? or streaks? While I always tell people to check what the specific manufacturer of their flooring tells them to use to avoid warranty issues, many people do not know who made their floor, so here are some basic cleaning tips that will also remove grease and streaks and other problem spots:
 Before cleaning or as routine maintenance vacuum or dry mop the floor to remove surface dirt, dust, and hair.

 A good household cleaner for vinyl flooring is apple cider vinegar. The acidity helps remove dirt and grime without leaving a buildup of soap or wax. Mix one cup of cider vinegar with a gallon of hot water and use a damp mop to clean, rinsing the mop frequently with hot water in the sink or, use 2 buckets, one for the solution and the other to rinse off your mop. Change the rinse bucket frequently, this will avoid streaks. Also a soft bristle brush brush on hard to clean spots dampened with the cleaning solution will speed things up.  Substitute white vinegar for cider vinegar if you want to disinfect as you clean. If your floor is especially dirty, try adding a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the mixture before mopping once with the soap mixture, a second time with vinegar and water. To add shine to your vinyl floor, add a few drops of baby oil to the vinegar and water solution.
For stubborn scuffs:  try putting some WD-40 lubricant or jojoba oil on a towel and rub the area until the scuffs disappear. Clean thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution to remove any traces of lubrication.

 For food stains from grape juice, mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce and the like, make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub the stain until it disappears. Clean thoroughly to remove any traces of baking soda. Please test in an inconspicuous area first.

 The soft, nylon-bristle brush can help remove many types of stains, especially when used with common household solvents. Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove lipstick, hair dye, and ink stains. Use mineral spirits to remove crayon, paint, and marker stains.

Caution when cleaning vinyl floors:

• When vacuuming DON'T use a “beater bar” attachment; this can damage the flooring surface.
• DON'T use highly-abrasive scrubbers or steel wool.
• DON'T use detergents, abrasive cleaners, or “mop and shine” products, because these can leave a dull film on the floor.
• DON'T use paste wax or solvent-based polishes.
• DON'T use ammonia or ammonia-based cleaning solutions on vinyl flooring; these can break down the material and cause cracks in the flooring.

While I do not recommend name brand products here are some specially designed for vinyl floors: Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner; Pledge Tile & Vinyl Floor Cleaner and Pledge Tile & Vinyl Floor Finish with Future Shine; and Armstrong’s Once ‘n Done Resilient and Ceramic No-Rinse Floor Cleaner and Armstrong Shinekeeper Polish.

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R Adams


Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.


Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Hartford Courant

B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

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