Linoleum and vinyl maintenance is very similar to wood-floor maintenance, because both materials are surprisingly similar to wood! Even though they are both tough and durable, they are also susceptible to moisture. By regularly cleaning and polishing your linoleum or vinyl floors you’ll extend their life and prevent bubbling, cracking and other damages.
Regularly sweep your linoleum or vinyl floors, or use a vacuum to remove loose dirt and dust. This dry maintenance should be done about once a week.
Throughout the year, be sure to clean up spills immediately, because water can seep into your linoleum or vinyl floors and cause bubbles or cracks.
Every few months, mop your linoleum or vinyl floors with warm water or water mixed with mild soap. Keep in mind that linoleum and vinyl are susceptible to moisture, so make sure you thoroughly dry your floors with a clean cloth after you mop.
Take a good look at your floors once or twice a year, especially around the baseboards and edges. Do you have any scratches or burns? To remove them, buff the area with a nylon brush until the scratch or burn is gone.
After you buff a scratch or burn, you can restore that area’s shine with water-based polyurethane, which you’ll find at your local hardware store (one quart is about $10). Polyurethane is a sealant made out of a plastic resin material. Note: Oil-based polyurethane is meant for wood floors, so avoid using it on your linoleum or vinyl floor! Before you apply it to your floors, stir your can with a wooden paint stirrer to create an even consistency. Brush the polyurethane onto the areas you buffed using wide, long strokes with your paintbrush. Make sure it has fully dried before walking on your floor again (drying times will typically be listed on the can).
If your floor has deep gouges, tears or scratches, the area will probably have to be cut out of the floor and replaced with new material. Call a professional linoleum/vinyl flooring installer in your area to schedule an appointment. Note: Replaced sections are often noticeable, so if your damage is particularly bad, it might look better to replace your entire floor.
Once you’ve dealt with your floor damage, it’s time to polish! Purchase a linoleum- or vinyl-safe polish and follow the instructions when applying it to your floors. For best results, apply one or two very thin coats rather than one thick one. Polishing your floors will renew their shine and stain resistance.
If you have a linoleum floor, it’s a good idea to apply a new layer of acrylic floor sealer every year or two to make sure your floor is fully protected. Acrylic sealer costs about $20 a gallon and is available at your local hardware store. Follow the directions on the bottle when you apply the sealer. Note: This is not necessary for vinyl floors.