How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

cleaning vinyl plank flooring

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is one of the most durable flooring types on the market however it won’t keep its good looks without your help. Loose dirt can scratch the coating on your tile, so it’s important to clean your floors frequently. Make a quick sweep part of your nightly clean-up routine to maximize the longevity of your floors.  When you need your home to be truly spotless, here’s how to safely deep clean LVP.

Dry Mops for Day to Day Cleaning

Before you take water to your floors, make sure you have removed as much dust and debris as you can with a dry microfiber mop or vacuum cleaner.  As with laminate flooring, you want to minimize the amount of water you use on vinyl plank.  If water seeps in between planks it could curl the tile, loosen glue or cause mold in the subfloor.

Even if you have one of the many waterproof LVPs, caution with water is never a bad idea. Ideally water should only be needed to remove persistent dried residue once the bulk of dirt and dander is gone.

Dry microfiber mops work fabulously to remove the dust that gathers in corners and low-traffic areas such as under tables and floor lamps.  Sweep the mop in an S-pattern, without retracing your strokes, to maximize efficacy.

You can use a traditional broom and dustpan on your vinyl plank or vinyl tile floors.  Brooms are great for large pieces of debris – such as the apple peels that escaped from your baking project last night – but are much less effective against smaller particles, like the flour. 

These tiny particles may seem harmless, but they can do significant damage to your floor’s polyurethane coating if tracked around by shoes, slippers or a wet mop.

Can You Vacuum Luxury Vinyl Plank?

Another option for daily dust removal is a vacuum cleaner.  Yes, you can safely run a vacuum cleaner on vinyl – but only if it’s designed for hard floor use.

Lightweight vacuum cleaners are best, especially those with rubber or felt wheels that won’t leave marks.  There are several stick and canister vacuums on the market designed with these features.

If you choose to use an upright vacuum, make sure it’s one with a hard floor setting that will lift the “beater bar” out of the way or has the option to manually remove the bar altogether. The beater bar is the rotating brush that sweeps hair out of the carpet so neatly – but can scar the finish on your vinyl.

Wet Mops – When and Where to Use Them

Once you have removed the major dust and dander from your floor, use water and a cleaning solution to go after the stubborn grime.  You may find that your floors are so clean after vacuuming that attacking the few remaining dirty spots by hand is the most effective approach.

Remember, your goal is to reduce the amount of water applied to your floor as much as possible.  Warm water paired with a dot of dish detergent on terrycloth is the worst enemy of sticky, icky spots when you add some elbow grease.

If you want to use a wet mop, a microfiber flip mop or spin mop are your safest options.  Make sure to use a fresh cleaning pad, not the same one you used for dusting! Don’t use a sponge mop with an abrasive scratch pad.

What cleaning product is safest for vinyl floors?  A simple solution of one part white vinegar to five parts filtered water is effective and inexpensive.

You can also use a product designed for LVP flooring, but always rinse using a fresh mop head afterward, even if the product says “no-rinse.”  The overuse of soap on your floors will quickly cause buildup that can trap abrasive dirt particles and cut down shine.

Is it Safe to Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Quick, effective, and minimal, steam mops are the favorite tool in many a homemaker’s broom closet.  But is it truly safe for the longevity of your floor?

Most experts will answer this question with a strong “no.”  Steam mops drive moisture down between the planks, which is exactly what you want to avoid.  This can weaken adhesive on glued floors and cause warping, or worse, mold.  Most LVP manufacturers advise against using a steam mop on their product.

However, there is a counter argument in favor of steam mops: that they apply so little water compared with  traditional mops that the occasional use may be safe or even preferred.

If you choose to use a steam mop, use it on a hot setting so that the water evaporates as quickly as possible.  Do not use too frequently.  Do not linger on any one spot. 

Definitely check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular flooring product before you use a steam mop.  The last thing you want to do is void a warranty due to improper care.

Do I need to wax LVP floors?

Nope, you’re done!  One of the beauties of luxury vinyl plank is that it stays pretty even without wax.  In fact, applying wax to a floor that isn’t designed for it will just cause buildup and cut its luster.

Here are some additional tips to keep your now-sparkling-clean LVP floor looking new and gorgeous.

Dos and Don’ts of LVP Care

Do clean frequently.  Lots of love is the best way to prevent having to use scrub brushes or harsh products on old hardened grime.

Do wipe up spills immediately, so they don’t dry and harden, requiring more aggressive cleaning.

Do use a vacuum with a high-quality HEPA filter.  Without a good filter, the vacuum will blow dust and allergens right back to your floor!

Do inform your house cleaner (if you have one) that your floors are LVP.  Ask them to use your products and tools instead of their own.

Do apply felt tips to the legs of all your furniture.  Avoid sliding, dragging, or rolling furniture.  Casters are not friendly to your floor!

Don’t use harsh detergents, ammonia, or clean-and-wax combo products.  Don’t use wool or abrasive brushes.

Don’t wear your shoes in the house.  This is the cardinal rule of keeping your floors clean and scuff-free!

Don’t forget to purchase an extra box of material when installing your new LVP floors!  That way if one plank is torn or badly damaged, you can swap it with a fresh one.

Do you have Luxury Vinyl Plank in your home?  Do you love how easy it is to maintain? Share your spill stories and clean up tips in the comments below!

One thought on “How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • January 30, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    As much as possible, keep water or any other liquid from your vinyl plank floor. If you must clean with a wet mop, then dry properly afterwards.

    Nice article l must say!


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