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Cleaning Linoleum Floors

Category Floors
Linoleum flooring is back in vogue because of its green nature. However, before cleaning you sheet flooring you need to know if it is vinyl or true linoleum. The cleaning methods are different. This is a guide about cleaning linoleum floors.


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By 11 found this helpful
January 31, 2012

When I moved into an older home a year ago, I noticed the old kitchen and entry way floors were dirty. What I didn't know is that dirt was ground into the flooring and no amount of mopping would clean it. I've tried everything and been frustrated and almost given up. Until . . .

I was shampooing my carpets a few weeks ago. I thought maybe the scrubbers on my carpet machine would clean the kitchen floor. It cleaned well enough but I thought it could be better so I grabbed the old standby, baking soda. I sprinkled the soda on the floor and then cleaned it with my Bissell. OMG, finally clean floors! YAY!

I've also found to maintain the cleanliness of the linoleum floors, I use a drop of Dawn dish soap and a half a cup of baking soda in hot mop water and it's clean and beautiful.

By Dana from Katy, TX

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May 18, 20151 found this helpful
Top Comment

Please note that baking soda is alkaline, and thus is not recommended for linoleum. In time it will harden and dry the floors which may cause them to crumble.

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By 5 found this helpful
March 25, 2015

I bought an old house and could not afford new flooring. I read all the posts; tried them all and then some. After scrubbing and scrubbing I found it, the solution! By far the most effective thing to do is wet the floor and sprinkle baking soda over it. Wait 15 minutes. Then scrub with a brush and wipe dry. Mop off the residue with water.


I cannot believe how sparkly clean it came and the wax did not wear off.

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September 28, 20171 found this helpful

Wet printed or colored paper can transfer its dye to the floor, and be a challenge to remove. This is a guide about wet paper stained my linoleum floor.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 30, 2006

Can anyone suggest a solution for cleaning bathroom linoleum? We moved into a rental house that had a leaky toilet (now replaced) and have pee stains all around it. We have tried everything we could think of but the stain has gone into the texture it looks like. Would appreciate any help you can give. Can't afford to replace it at this time.


Thank you so much,
patsAZ from Arizona


By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
October 31, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Did you know that you can paint linoleum flooring? You may want to consider that option. I guess you'd need to use the paint used to paint porch floors. I dont think there is any way to remove the stain.

Have you thought about covering it with a bathmat?

Best of luck

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By carla bledsoe (Guest Post)
November 2, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

If it makes you feel any better the stains are probably not really pee. The reaction of the linoleum to constant water contact most likely discolored it.
This isn't something you'll be able to clean out, but just to rest your mind spray or pour a generous amount of peroxide around the area and let it set a while. It will kill any nasties that might be living there. I love peroxide as a household cleaner, cheap, easy, and readily available.

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April 1, 20160 found this helpful

I live in a very old rental home. It is very worn, especially in looks. I am interested in cleaner, shiny, but not slippery floors. I need it to be easier to keep them clean due to having a bad back. All I have to wash or mop is the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom.


I'm interested in the simplest, most effective way to do this. I also need to know if I can wash the paneled walls with Murphy's oil soap, spray, and a sponge mop? How and in what way?


August 13, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Wax the floor, you can get it at Home Depot.

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December 4, 20060 found this helpful

I would like to know a natural homemade cleaner or household product that is a neutral cleaner that I can use for my linoleum floor. I want to make sure I'm using something that won't strip the finish. Yet, I don't want to have to use a commercial product with all the harmful chemicals. I read in one place to use club soda, but I don't know if it is neutral

Peggy Rose from Fremont, CA


December 5, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

I only use vinegar and water. I don't even measure it. I fill the sink or bucket half way with water and pour in around a half cup of vinegar. It doesn't smell so good at first but the results are wonderful. I've been cleaning floor like this for over twenty years.


I get compliments from family and friends about how clean my floor looks. In between cleaning I use baby wipes for spills. If there is ever a mark,like from shoes I might sprinkle a little bar keeper's friend on a baby wipe. It works every time!
Jennifer CA

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By 0 found this helpful
April 30, 2016

The shine and I think the the first layer on my linoleum has been removed due to using a biodegradable floor cleaner with ammonia in it. I want to return the shine and colour. How can I get it back to its original state or near enough to it?


August 8, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm sorry this happened..something you could try is a floor wax to put a new finish on that would protect what finish is left. I would also stop using such a harsh cleaner.


Ammonia is well known for removing the finish on flooring. A milder general purpose cleaner or even warm water with a little white vinegar is excellent for cleaning floors and is not so hard on them.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 10, 2016

I have hard water and it seems to be building up and making my linoleum floor yellow. I can only find things for spot removal. Any advice as how to remove the build up for the entire floor?


September 13, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

Your linoleum flooring is made from raw materials which include linseed oil. When the oil in the flooring is blocked from the sun it causes yellowing to the floor.

You will need baking soda, water and a soft cloth.

Step 1
Remove your rugs and sweep away all the dirt on the floor.

Step 2
Wet the floor with plain water.

Step 3
Sprinkle baking soda over the yellow areas on the floor and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4
Use a soft cloth to wipe up the baking soda.

Step 5
This may take several cleaning depending on the yellowing in the floor. Keep repeating these steps until the yellow has disappeared.

Step 6
When cleaning the floor use baking soda in these areas. This will keep the yellow stains from coming back.

Sun is also a good way to remove the yellow stains on your floor and keep them from coming back.

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June 16, 20120 found this helpful

I have flooring in my basement that was installed, I think, in the early 70s. I do not know if it is vinyl or linoleum. It is adhered to concrete in sheets and it has a pebble type design with mostly black, gray, and tan colors. I like the look of it, but have never wet cleaned or shined it. It has light and dark stains on it in various places. How can I figure out if it is vinyl or linoleum? What should I use to clean it? Is there a product I could use to shine it without using the old-fashioned wax or polish?



July 5, 20120 found this helpful

One way to clean stains is by using a shop-vac. No, you cannot just suck out the stain, but you can over and over again wash and rinse the area, and suck out the solution every time.

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September 10, 20170 found this helpful

Might be asbestos tiles

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November 15, 20140 found this helpful

I'm pretty sure I have linoleum tiles in my bathroom (though they may be vinyl, not sure how to tell the difference). They're an off white color and probably from about the 70s or 80s. Every time I try to clean or scrub them, they start to turn a blue grey color and no matter what I use (I've tried dish soap and water, vinegar, baking soda and water, Magic Erasers, bleach and water, and a general all purpose cleaner) or how much I scrub it seems to just spread this weird blue grey color around (sometimes it even seems like scrubbing makes it worse/darker). Does anyone know why this is happening or what to do to clean it up? It's very annoying, it makes the floor look grungy and dirty even though the floor is clean.

By Chris


September 2, 20180 found this helpful

My mom has the exact same problem in her laundry room. We are just going to replace the floor. We can't seem to get the stains out the floor.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 17, 2009

I have either a linoleum or vinyl floor. The shine is gone and dirt is embedded in the tile. The only way I can get the floor clean and white is by using a magic eraser and cleaner. Is there anything I can do to bring back the shine?

By theresa from Monroe, MI


November 18, 20090 found this helpful

You could go to a big box store and buy floor polish products made to clean dull vinyl floors. Armstrong is one brand that is applied with a spongemop. Cost is about $12 bucks.

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September 25, 20050 found this helpful

I have dark colored linoleum tiles. Any suggestions for cleaning these that would not cause them to become "unstuck" to the floor would greatly be appreciated.

Michelle from Tennessee


By Linda (Guest Post)
September 27, 20050 found this helpful

Mop with a wrung out mop.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 17, 20090 found this helpful

I live in an old flat in a large city and would like to know how I can clean the old, fake wood linoleum (roll type) that is on the floors? Anyone have any idea of how to get all the grime off? I would so appreciate knowing. I have been waxing it for years and need to strip it clean and start again. Thank you.

By Lisa Austin from Greece


Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

You can try good old Comet cleanser and a scrub brush. When it's completely dry, apply a coat or two of Mop and Glow. I have used this approach a number of times. It takes some amount of elbow grease but works very well. One thing to remember is not to use a floor cleaner after doing this or the shine will be gone. I just use warm water to wipe up spills until it needs another "treatment". Knee pads are a must! (09/23/2009)

By Marlene

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Heavens, it's probably better to ask your landlord to replace it. We replaced our own in the kitchen. (09/23/2009)

By pam munro

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Use a floor polisher (with a sealed bottom). Simply pour pure ammonia on the linoleum, turn the polisher loose in the liquid, and mop it off. Be sure to open windows and remove plants or fish that could be affected by the fumes. Works like a charm! (09/23/2009)

By shirley dobie

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Thank you all for your help and advice. Landlords over here do nothing for their tenants, so no use to ask her to put in new linoleum! But will try the other suggestions. (09/24/2009)

By Lisa Austin

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Sometimes if there is a very, very large amount of wax buildup, ammonia (even straight) won't work. You can go to a janitorial supply store and ask for wax stripper. Amazingly it is even better than ammonia. Just follow directions. I had that problem once, and when straight ammonia didn't work (and it always had in the past), my friend who owned a janitorial supply shop suggested the wax stripper. I used it straight and had to use rubber gloves and apply it to a small area (2-3 feet square) at a time. It was amazing how well the stripper worked. (09/24/2009)

By Noella

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September 22, 20090 found this helpful

I am looking for tips on cleaning a dirty linoleum floor that has not been washed properly in a long time. I am doing cleaning for a townhouse complex and am curious if anyone has any ideas for getting trapped on dirt (sitting in the tiny pits in the linoleum) and stains out of the floor. The floor still looks dirty after being washed. There were a few guys living in this place and the dirt was lining the baseboards. I solved the baseboard issue but I would like to get the floor cleaner looking.



Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Use ammonia and water half in half in squirt bottle and spray, then let sit for a few minutes. This is very strong so be sure to open windows. (08/01/2005)

By deb

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

If you have good ventilation, I would try a strong ammonia solution. Douse the floor liberally and use one of those green scrubber pads. The ammonia should cut through any greasy build up on the floor and the scrubber shouldn't harm the finish. Good luck. (08/01/2005)

By Heidi

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I clean houses too, and I would try a scrub brush since the dirt is in the pits of the linoleum. If you can let the floor soak in just about any cleaner, this should work. Depending on the color, I would probably use a bleach water solution. Dish soap is great at lifting dirt. Good luck! (08/02/2005)

By suzi homemaker

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Save your back and knees, they have scrubbers on a stick like a mop! I have one, it really scrubs good and gets the dirt out of the pits! The ammonia really works good and so does something like Scrub Bright. Just make sure you don't get something that will scratch the floor. Good luck! (08/04/2005)

By Michele

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Use ice cubes. Rub on the floor and wipe up with a paper towel. It loosens the dirt tremendously and rejuvenates the floor. (08/07/2005)

By jackie

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I've used the Clorox Clean-Up brand cleaner on linoleum flooring before. Spray generously and let sit for no longer than 10-15 minutes before mopping. This usually does the trick for me. Although, in the past, I had a pal who tried the same thing with another brand of cleaner and left it overnight, instead of just a few minutes. By the next morning, she didn't have the problem she first had, but a stain from the cleaner that had dried and nothing that she did or I did, made any difference. She passed on and her house was sold. My guess is the new owners had to put down new flooring in that bathroom. (08/10/2005)

By badwater

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

My kitchen floor is huge. Any cleaner applied with a brush gets out the dirt in the tiny pits, but my back won't last with the size of my floor. I haven't seen a mop with a brush that will work yet. Thanks for all the great ideas. (08/13/2005)

By Raelyn

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I believe you can rent a machine to 'screen' the floor. The pads on the machine are like scotch brite pads. After that some cleaner/sealer/polisher is needed. Buffing is a plus, same machine with different pads. I think multiple coats is the key to long term 'health' for the floor.

Sealing/polishing helps prevent the floor from getting more dirt build up. This doesn't have to be a shiny finish unless you want that. Spot cleaning with the green pads has left the color on my linoleum floor uneven and screening should even this out.

Good Luck,
Tom (08/18/2005)

By Tom

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Don't laugh, but the very best linoleum floor stripper is Head and Shoulders shampoo. Use the liquid kind (undiluted), and spread it with a damp sponge mop. Let it sit for several hours and do a spot check to see if the floor is clean. You can use a dish scrubber (one of those green rough cloths, or loopy plastic balls) for tough spots where the film is really thick. If it still isn't clean after a couple of hours, let it sit for another couple of hours or overnight. Then clean up with a wet sponge mop or regular mop. (01/30/2006)

By Donna

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I spray Windex around the areas that have the build up and then wet mop. It is a miracle! (06/02/2006)

By bikers

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Mr. Clean magic erasers get out the dirt from the little dents. Works like magic! (06/27/2007)

By zoe

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Okay, I had a ridiculously bad problem with dirt ground into my linoleum floor. We bought (and returned) a half-dozen floor scrubbers because of sub-standard performance. Thank God something finally worked for me. I used the Armstrong product "New Beginning" and spread it over my trouble areas using those yellow oven cleaning gloves and waited ten minutes. Then I cut a scotch brite pad to fit my random orbital sander, it stuck pretty well to the hook/loop surface. This approach was a God-send! I applied a little elbow grease to the sander/scotch-brite combo and the floor cleaned right up. Who needs those other expensive floor machines! (07/03/2007)

By Frank

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Try using wood polish to return the shine to your floor. (08/12/2007)

By Sarah

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I know this sounds a bit weird, but our apartment has linoleum floors that just won't come clean with normal products (even with magic erasers), but 'Invisible Glass' works amazingly!

It's supposed to be an automotive window cleaner, but we use it on our glass tables and our floors. It only needs to 'soak' for 3-5 minutes before you wipe it up with paper towel/mop it. I usually use a paper towel to wipe it up in our high-traffic areas and then mop the entire floor with clean hot water.

It's found in the Automotive section and costs just under $7.00. (05/04/2008)

By Erin

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I have dogs and they continually track dirt in the house and grind it into my linoleum floor. I used Clorox cleanup before, but then I used a steam mop. I would highly recommend using steam to clean linoleum. It is safe and quick. (05/26/2008)

By Karen

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I found it best if you just mix about 1/4 bleach and 3/4 steaming hot water together, and then just use a cheap old sponge mop. I did my mid-sized kitchen in about 15-20 minutes and it looks brand new! (06/18/2008)

By Jesse

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

Hi Erin,
Believe it or not, I've discovered that Vim degreaser (it's yellow and comes in a spray bottle) works wonders on a floor for the purpose you're talking about, although I'm not sure about stains.

Just yesterday I tackled a room that had dirt in grooves that didn't come out when I scrubbed. Also there were areas that looked worn, turns out that it was also dirt, sprayed Vim, waited a short while and scrubbed. Sometimes had to put some pressure into it, but now the floor looks like new! Who would have guessed? Anyway, try it. Good luck. (09/09/2008)

By Sheila

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I've used SOS pads with 409 as a lubricant, the soap in the SOS pad is too much of a lubricant so I rinse it often. I hope the clear layer can tolerate this, I'm going to try Rainex to improve the shine, Anything better? (10/02/2008)

By Sandman

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I moved into a small place about 8 yrs ago and for a long time, could NOT get the floor clean. It was a nightmare. I have been cleaning floors for over 30 yrs. The only thing I could get to work, which was very hard work and had to be done every time it got dirty, was to get on my hands and knees and use a scotch brite and comet cleanser which of course made the floor get dirtier faster, even with wax to seal it.

Then I bought a steam cleaner from HSN, the kind that can clean all sorts of surfaces well, I have this cleaner I mix up myself for grease and whatnot. It's 1/3 Mr. Clean, 1/3 Lysol fresh scent cleaner, and 1/3 water. I spray the floor with this mixture and let set for a minute or 2 and then use the steam cleaner with the floor attachment. I clean with one side of micro fiber pad, with the steam cleaner, then turn the pad over, the plastic attachment swivels, and steam clean it again.

I know this sounds like a production, but it only takes minutes to do the floors and it dries really fast. Then I use another attachment to clean the baseboards and bottoms of the cabinets. Sometimes I use the spray stuff for stubborn stuff, it doesn't take much, this mix cleans well and the steam cleaner is great for so many things. (10/11/2008)

By chris t.

Cleaning a Linoleum Floor

I moved into a studio whose floors were beyond anything I'd seen - we had no idea they were green in color, rather a deep brown. Very poorly maintained. We've been wrestling with them for weeks, though the absolute best thing is a strong (%10) TSP and hot water solution. TSP is made for prepping before painting and cleaning driveways, though doesn't eat away or bleach. If you wet the whole floor with clean solution, wait 30 mins. and then scrub (scrubby on a pole is an ongoing good suggestion), you'll pull dirt out from the lino. We got a squeegee attachment for a wet vac and vacuumed up the muck, which helped a lot. Porous linoleum can absorb a fair bit of dirty water, so repeated washing and sealing is always necessary. Hope that helps somebody. (12/05/2008)

By Joey

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December 4, 20060 found this helpful

I have linoleum throughout my house (great with my pets!). What is the best way to keep clean/mop, etc. Any tips appreciated!

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