How to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring Like the Professionals

Learn how to clean vinyl plank flooring without damaging the surface. Clean standard and luxury vinyl plank floors with apple cider vinegar, baking soda, Swiffer.

It’s important to know how to clean vinyl plank flooring the right way, because many cleaning solutions can scratch or damage the surface. 

Vinyl plank flooring comes with all the perks: durability, affordability, attractive appearance, and easy cleaning. But it needs regular cleaning to prolong its lifespan and maintain its visual appeal. 

The tricky part is finding a cleaning method that doesn’t do more harm than good. 

In this article, we break down exactly how professional cleaners clean vinyl plank flooring. We’ll give you step-by-step instructions for three Homeglow-cleaner approved methods to safely and effectively clean even the most luxury vinyl plank flooring.

What you’ll need to clean

  • Mild detergent
  • Broom, vacuum, or dust mop
  • Bucket
  • Warm water
  • Mop or soft-bristled brush
  • Clean water
  • Clean, dry towel


How to clean vinyl plank flooring

To clean vinyl plank flooring, first remove loose dirt by sweeping or vacuuming. Next, mix a solution of warm water and mild detergent. Dip your mop in the solution, squeeze out excess, and use it to clean the floor in circular motions. Rinse the mop and dry the flooring with a clean towel to remove excess water.

Detergent and water will effectively clean vinyl plank flooring in most situations. But to clean scuff marks, stubborn stains or caked-on dirt, you might need to move on to something more powerful like apple cider vinegar or baking soda. Below, we’ve given detailed instructions for all three methods. 

Method 1: Mild detergent and warm water

Follow these steps to clean your vinyl plank flooring with detergent and water. 

Clear the area and remove loose dirt

Before you start cleaning your vinyl plank flooring, make sure the area is clear of any furniture or obstacles. This will make it easier for you to move around and clean every inch of the floor. 

Next, remove any loose dirt or debris with a broom, vacuum, or dust mop. You don't want to be scrubbing dirt into your flooring, so take your time with this step.

Mix your cleaning solution

Fill a bucket with warm water, then add a small amount of mild detergent to the water. The amount of detergent you need will depend on the size of your bucket, but in general, you only need a small amount. 

Mix the solution well to make sure the detergent is fully dissolved in the water. You don't want to have any undissolved detergent left in the bucket, as this can leave residue on your flooring.

Dip your mop in the solution and get mopping

Dip your mop into the bucket and wring out any excess liquid. You want your mop to be damp, not soaking wet, as too much water can damage vinyl plank flooring.

Work your way across the flooring in small sections, using a circular motion. This will help you clean every inch of your vinyl plank flooring thoroughly. 

Rinse your mop

Once you've finished cleaning a section of the flooring, it's time to rinse your mop in clean water. This removes any detergent residue from the mop so you don't accidentally leave streaks on your flooring. 

Remember to wring out any excess water from the mop before moving on to the next section of the flooring.

Dry the flooring

Finally, it's time to dry your vinyl plank flooring. Use a clean, dry mop or towel to absorb any excess water. 

Don't leave any puddles of water on the flooring – excess moisture can damage vinyl panel flooring, causing it to warp or buckle. Take your time with this step, and make sure your flooring is completely dry before moving any furniture back in.

Method 2: Apple cider vinegar

If the detergent and water method above doesn't remove stubborn stains from your vinyl plank flooring, use this apple cider vinegar method instead. 

Cleaning your floors with vinegar is an excellent option because the warm water helps the vinegar break down any dirt or grime on your flooring, while the vinegar's natural acidity will help disinfect and deodorize.

  • Mix water and apple cider vinegar: Combine equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar. 
  • Wet and wring out mop: Dip a mop in the cleaning solution and wring out any excess liquid.
  • Clean in circular motion: Clean the vinyl plank flooring with the mop, using a circular motion. Work in small sections to thoroughly clean each area. 
  • Scrub stains: For stubborn stains or grime, apply a bit of extra pressure or use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the area.
  • Rinse mop: Rinse the mop in clean water to remove any vinegar residue.
  • Thoroughly dry floor: Dry the vinyl plank flooring with a clean, dry mop or towel to remove any excess water.

Method 3: Baking soda

If you don't have apple cider vinegar at home, baking soda is a great alternative method to use for stubborn stains and grime. Like the other methods we listed, baking soda is safer to use on vinyl plank flooring compared to harsh commercial cleaning solutions, which can damage the surface. 

  • Mix cleaning solution: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda per gallon of warm water to create a cleaning solution.
  • Wet your mop: Dip a mop or soft-bristled brush in the cleaning solution, making sure to wring out any excess water.
  • Clean with circular motion: Starting from one end of the room, work your way across the flooring in small sections, using a circular motion. 
  • Extra baking soda for stains: For stubborn stains or grime, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda directly on the affected area and scrub gently with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse mop: Rinse the mop or brush in clean water to remove any baking soda residue.
  • Dry floor: Finally, dry the vinyl plank flooring with a clean, dry mop or towel to remove any excess water.

FAQ for cleaning waterproof vinyl plank flooring (luxury and standard)

At-a-glance answers to your question about cleaning all types of vinyl plank flooring, including standard and luxury vinyl plank flooring. 

What should you not use on vinyl plank flooring?

  • Abrasive cleaners or scrubbers
  • Harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia
  • Wax or polish products
  • Steam cleaners
  • Rubber-backed mats or rugs (as they can discolor the flooring)
  • Standing water or excess moisture (as it can damage the flooring)

What is safe to clean luxury vinyl plank flooring?

  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent or soap
  • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Baking soda and water
  • Soft-bristled brush or mop
  • Microfiber cloth or towel
  • Vacuum with a hard floor attachment

What is the best thing to clean vinyl floors with?

Apple cider vinegar is one of the best things to clean vinyl floors with because of its mildness and cleaning qualities. The acidity in apple cider vinegar disinfects and deodorizes the floors while also breaking down dirt and grime. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, cost-effective, and doesn’t damage the vinyl flooring.

Can you use Swiffer on vinyl plank floors?

Yes, you can use a Swiffer mop pad or cloth on vinyl plank floors. Dry Swiffer cloths can be used to pick up dirt and debris, while wet Swiffer cloths are safe to use with a small amount of water to clean the floors.

What are some other pro tips for cleaning my floors?

You probably don’t have vinyl plank flooring in your entire home. On that note, here are a few of our favorite guides to other flooring-related cleaning projects. 

Choosing the right way to clean your vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is durable and versatile. With proper care and maintenance, it can last for many years. And the best part is that cleaning vinyl plank flooring is simple and straightforward.

Whether you choose to use mild detergent and water or apple cider vinegar, there’s a method for you in this article to keep your vinyl plank flooring looking its best for years to come.

Need help keeping on top of your other house cleaning tasks? 

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