How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring | 2020 Cleaning Tips

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!

5 thoughts on “How To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring | 2020 Cleaning Tips

  • 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!

  • July 20, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    I have Shaw Coretec LVP flooring that was already in a new build spec house, I bought. There are large spots of where it looks flawed, all in different areas. I have used the Encore cleaner and doesn’t look any different. I have contract shaw about filing a claim and they said it didn’t warrant an inspector to come and look at it and I should use a hard surface cleaner such as zep or shaw. I really don’t think it will change anything. I have cleaned it so many times since I move in 4 weeks ago. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

    thank you

  • July 25, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Hardest floor to keep clean.
    I don’t know if the cleaning crew put something on the floor before we moved in but I can not get rid of the streaks; we have lived in the new home for a month and I have more scratches and tears than I have ever had in any flooring. There are air pockets where the floor in uneven so it pops when you walk over it. It makes our home look cheap.
    I will be replacing with engineered hardwood.

  • August 12, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    When I first put down my vinyl plank floors, I was immensely pleased. However, after a couple of years, the planks began buckling up, and moisture would collect around and under the strips.

    I purchased a product to clean and seal the surface of the flooring. But first, I had to “reattach” the planks to the concrete. I removed the pieces which were loose, one at a time, cleaned under them, made sure they were bone dry, then used spray contact cement to glue them back down. When I had an area large enough to work with, I cleaned the floor, let it dry, and added the sealer.

    The product worked fairly well, but the finish was only so-so. Not to be out done, I purchased some Rejuvenate for a try. Much, much, much better. However, I have a large dog who sheds like crazy. Remember how Pigpen in the Charlie Brown books, always walked around in a haze of dirt and dust? Well, Callie walks around in a haze of shedding hair. Well, every time I put a finish on the floor, hair gets trapped, and it drives me crazy.

    Now, I have a finish which will work, but need suggestions on ways to clean the floor before hand. All I know to do is get on my hands and knees and clean, guard the floor, then add finisher. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • August 22, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I had to use a knee scooter and can see scuff types of marks.

    What is the best way to work on removing those types of marks?


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