When it comes to easy maintenance, vinyl flooring is a great choice. It usually takes little more than a vacuum and occasional mop to stay looking great.
But vinyl is often laid in heavy traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms – and now and again, disaster can strike! So what do you if you have a stain on your floor?
Never fear, we’re here to help! We’re going to show you how to remove stains from vinyl flooring using a number of different approaches. And we’ll tell you everything you need to know to keep your flooring in tip-top condition.
So if you’re ready, step this way for a stain-free floor!
Table of Contents
If you want to keep your flooring looking great, a good place to start is by understanding how it’s constructed.
Vinyl flooring comes in a number of different forms. Sheet or roll vinyl is just as its name suggests – a large sheet that you lay on your floor. It’s usually quite thin, and is glued into position.
Then there are thicker vinyl tiles or planks. These can either be glued in place, or clicked together along their beveled edges. In the latter case, there’s usually only glue around the edges of the floor to hold it in place.
Causes of staining and discoloration
We’ve already seen that glue is often used to hold vinyl flooring in place. In some cases, that glue can seep up through the vinyl and affect its color.
It would be more accurate to call it water-resistant. While the vinyl itself won’t absorb water, it’s often laid in the form of tiles or planks. And even the neatest installation will have small joins that can admit water. Over time, that moisture can cause color changes.
If you live in an area with hard water, spills that aren’t mopped up promptly can also leave limecale deposits. These appear as a milky crust on your floor.
And if you have vinyl on your kitchen floor, all those foods and liquids are prime causes of stains. Beetroot, tomato and fruit might be the most obvious dangers. But wine, sugary drinks, juice and milk can leave behind marks too.
With all these hazards around, it’s hardly surprising that sometimes your floor gets stained! So what can you do about it?
How to Remove Stains from Vinyl Flooring
1. Clean with water and baking soda
Baking soda is a perennial favorite for home cleaning remedies, and with good reason. Its lightly abrasive texture means it’s great at scrubbing away stains. And it’s a particularly good remedy for stains from acidic substances like tomatoes, wine or fruit juice.
To use it to get rid of stains on your vinyl floor, first mix it into a paste with water. Then carefully apply the paste to your floor using a soft cloth. It’s a good idea to use a white cloth to avoid the risk of color bleeding from the fabric onto your floor.
Rub the paste in gently, then rinse. Repeat as required. The key here is to go slow and gentle. Be too rigorous and you risk scratching your floor.
2. Clean with rubbing alcohol
For more stubborn stains like ink or make-up, try rubbing alcohol. It’s also a good option to remove scuff marks.
In this case, you want to apply it with a soft-bristled brush or white cloth. Steer clear of anything with firm bristles, which could leave behind scratches.
Rub the stain gently, giving the alcohol time to work. Then rinse it in water. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process.
Remember that alcohol is flammable. Rinse your brush or cloth thoroughly when you’ve finished cleaning, and keep it away from any naked flames.
3. Use a lemon to tackle discoloration
The citric acid in lemons makes them an excellent way to tackle stained vinyl, particularly discoloration. They’re also very effective at removing grass stains.
To begin with, wipe away as much of the stain as possible using a clean, damp cloth. Now cut your lemon in half and rub the cut end directly on the stain. Give it a few minutes to do its work before rinsing with warm water.
If necessary, you can repeat the process using the second half of the lemon. (And if it still doesn’t work, add a wedge to a gin and tonic to recover from the disappointment!)
As well as being an effective stain remover, the lemon will leave behind a pleasant citrus fragrance.
4. For stubborn stains, try bleach
Bleach has to be used with care, but it’s a valuable weapon for particularly stubborn stains like ink.
To avoid fading your floor, you’ll need to dilute the bleach. Add one part bleach to four parts of water for an effective cleaning solution.
Soak a clean white cloth in the solution, then leave it on top of the stain for up to an hour. It’s wise to check progress every so often to make sure the bleach isn’t affecting the area around the stain.
When the time’s up, rinse the area thoroughly. Hopefully, the stain will have disappeared. If it hasn’t, you can repeat the process.
5. Use mild liquid or dishwashing soap
A few drops of dishwashing liquid works wonders on a multitude of cleaning challenges. Removing stains from vinyl flooring is no exception.
Add a few drops of soap to warm water and give it a stir so that you have plenty of suds. Apply the soapy water to the stain using a sponge. But don’t be tempted to use a scouring pad! It will scratch your vinyl.
An alternative to dishwashing soap is a solution of water and vinegar, but use this with care. It won’t be suitable for no-wax vinyl floors, as the acid in the vinegar can darken the surface.
If you do want to try the vinegar approach, you’ll need one cup of vinegar per gallon of warm water. Apple cider or white vinegars work well.
6. Try WD-40 to eliminate scuff marks
Shoes, chair legs or even pet claws are common causes of scuff marks on vinyl. One remedy worth a shot is WD-40. The chemicals here are quite powerful, though. Make sure you test it on an inconspicuous area of your floor first.
When you’re ready to proceed, just soak a clean white cloth in a small amount of WD-40. Rub it gently over the scuff marks until they’ve disappeared. A circular motion is most effective at lifting stains.
if you find the marks remain, the bad news is that they’re probably scratches. Unfortunately, there’s no way of removing those.
7. Use a specialist vinyl floor cleaner
There are a number of floor cleaners on the market specially formulated for vinyl floors. Look for options that promise not to leave behind a residue. Rejuvenate’s specialist vinyl floor cleaner is one such product.
Follow the instructions on the bottle to get rid of stains. In most cases, you’ll simply spray the cleaner onto the floor, then mop. In some cases, it can simply be left to dry without mopping.
Minimize the risk of stains with a regular cleaning routine
The easiest way to get rid of stains is to tackle them as soon as they occur. The longer they’ve had to soak in, the tougher they’ll be to remove.
Regularly vacuuming or sweeping your vinyl floor will also prevent damage from sharp-edged dust particles. A light mop with water and mild dishwashing soap will in most cases be all you need to keep your floor looking great.
There are also a number of things to avoid. Don’t use harsh solvents, oil-based products, wax or varnish on your floor. And avoid steam cleaners. Not only can they damage the vinyl, they can soften the glue holding it in place.
Placing felt pads beneath furniture, particularly chair legs, will help protect your flooring from scratches. And if your room has an outdoor exit, place a mat at the threshold. That will minimize the dust and dirt you bring inside.
Just watch out for doormats with rubber backing. The rubber will help keep it in place, but can leave behind resides on your floor.
Time to enjoy a spotless floor!
That brings us to the end of our guide to how to remove stains from vinyl flooring! Whether you’re removing light or stubborn marks, or even need to tackle scuffs, there’s a remedy here.
Remember to go gentle when you’re cleaning. White cloths, soft brushes and sponges are the order of the day. And steer clear of harsh chemicals or solvents.
Follow these rules, and your floor will be looking great again in no time. Happy cleaning!