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How to Clean Old Linoleum

The vinyl floors in my kitchen are original to the house, which is an older home, and are over 40 years old, but I don't mind them since it is so easy to clean old linoleum and make it look like new!

Overhead view of an old brown and beige linoleum floor popular in the 1970's
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Even with routine cleaning, linoleum flooring in general has a tendency to have the appearance of a dull floor over time but with proper care, the right cleaning products, and some occasional elbow grease you can keep these resilient flooring materials looking like new and make them shine again.

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The Best Way to Clean Linoleum Floors

My kitchen floor seems to be a magnet for crumbs (3 sons and 3 dogs over the years) but no matter where your vinyl flooring is in your home, you'll want to start the regular cleaning process of these dirty floors by sweeping first.

Rubber Broom in Action

I like to use a rubber broom rather than a traditional broom. It doesn't scratch the surface and you can even give the broom a static electricity type charge and it will pull stray hairs off the floor. This is an especially helpful tool for pet owners.

After Christmas I shared how easy it is to clean pine needles (yes, even pine needles) off of and out of carpeting with a rubber broom – (you can check out that post here).

After sweeping the floor I like to use a small handheld whisk broom to get any remaining dirt out of the corners and small spaces where the larger rubber broom can’t reach.

Blue bucket with mop, orange whisk broom and dustpan, and swiffer all sitting on a brown and beige linoleum floor from the 1970's

Sweep all of the dirt into a dust pan and discard.

Next, I use a Swiffer sweeper (dry mop) on the floor to get the last of the dust and dirt. 

Since I’ll be using a product to “shine” the floor as well I want to be sure to pick up as much loose dirt as possible from the surface so that I start with clean floors. This step is necessary so that a noticeable shine, similar to that of a fresh coat of wax, can be achieved resulting in what looks like a new floor.

Now that the vinyl tile is properly prepped we'll move on to the next step.

Washing

Fill a large bucket with approximately one gallon of warm water.

To the gallon of water I add whatever cleaning solution product I have on hand following the directions on the label for diluting the product appropriately. 

My favorite is Mr. Clean .

*A cup of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or a dash of dish soap can be used as an alternative and added to plain water.

Even if the label on the cleaner indicates that rinsing is not necessary I always do! After cleaning the floor thoroughly I wait for it to dry.

Dump the dirty water, rinse out your bucket and start with fresh, warm water. It's important to thoroughly rinse the sponge mop before rinsing the floor.

Brown and beige block linoleum floor from the 1970's before being cleaned and waxed

The floor above is clean but not shiny….yet!

Go over the entire floor with the fresh warm water.

Old Linoleum Floor freshly washed and rinsed

Allow the floor to dry.

How To Get Your Linoleum Floor to Shine

Dump the bucket and thoroughly rinse out the mop. You don't want a wet mop, but a damp one.

Get a fresh bucket of warm clean water and let's start the shining process.

My first choice for floor wax is no longer available 🙁 but a close second, and the one I’ve been using lately is Holloway House Quick Shine, which is a gentle cleaner that provides the perfect amount of shine.

I've tried several products and this is my favorite as it gives the best results without the use of harsh chemicals.

How To Make Your Linoleum Floors Sparkle Like New - waxing the floor

Squirt the Quick Shine on the floor working in small sections covering about a 3 foot by 3 foot square. 

Then use a damp mop to spread the Quick Shine over the area evenly. A long handled mop head fitted with a washable chenille pad can be used as well (these are my favorites).

How to clean and old linoleum floor and make it shine like new - brown and beige linoleum floor from the 1970's freshly washed and waxed

When the entire floor is done let it dry thoroughly and enjoy the shine!

The sun was shining as I took the after picture and my old floor and it really does shine this much – I love it….now to keep my kids out of the kitchen. 😉

General Cleaning for Linoleum Floors

Sweep the floor first.

Add a cup of vinegar to a bucket of mop water. This will help renew the shine of the floor in between the deep cleaning as described above.

A few years after this post was originally published I did get my new floors! You can see them here as well as tips for cleaning laminate flooring here.

How to Make Your Old and Dull Linoleum Floors Shine Like New

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