How to Maintain Linoleum

A man installs linoleum floors.
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Broom and dustpan
Warm water
Cloths and/or paper towels
Non-metal cleaning brush
A tennis ball
Warm water
Rubber gloves

Although it is a natural and durable material, linoleum flooring requires routine maintenance to ensure it will last a long time. It is not difficult to clean but you will occasionally need to strip an old protective sealant and add new wax.

Things to Remember

Never use harsh, commercial cleaning products on your linoleum floor because these may actually damage the surface. Be careful using any kind of cleanser, even the so-called soft ones because they can leave a film on the floor that will eventually need you to strip it and apply new coats of wax.

Identify Your Floor

Sometimes you need to determine if your flooring is linoleum or vinyl. Both are synthetic products and their appearance is similar. You can scrape an area of the floor that is in an inconspicuous spot. Color, in a linoleum tile, goes all the way through the material, where it is stamped on top of the vinyl. In contrast, when you scrape a vinyl tile, the pattern will come off completely.

Prepare the Floor

Make sure to sweep the floor free from dust and other moving debris. Use warm water and pour it slowly across the entire floor, letting it sit for a few minutes to loosen any substances sticking to it.

Wipe Up Water

Remove the water with either a soft cloth or paper towel. This detergent-free technique should easily clean linoleum floors that are not heavily stained. Frequent applications of warm water to remove sticky substances will help keep you from more extensive cleaning.

Use Soap

If several stubborn dirty spots or stains remain, use a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water gently rubbing the floor with a cloth or cleaning brush. Stubborn stains, like shoe scuff marks, can be removed by applying some warm water with dishwashing soap and scrubbing the dirty spot with a tennis ball. Cut the ball in half with a utility knife for easier handling.

Discard the Rug

If your linoleum flooring has stained yellow rugs underneath it, remove the rug and the full color will eventually return.

Note: If all cleaning attempts fail, you need to strip the wax covering the floor and then reapply a coat or two.

Clean Air Circulation

Open all windows and turn on any fans present in the room. Work small areas at a time, spreading ammonia on the floor with a cloth.

Remove the Ammonia

Wait for about 30 minutes and then remove the ammonia using paper towels. Use some warm water and a few drops of vinegar to remove any remaining ammonia.

Wax On

Apply several coats of wax allowing each application to dry before the next.