In my experience doing housekeeping, cleaning vinyl tile floors has always been a challenge, specifically if you do not have the right cleaning products handy.
I am not talking only about a vacuum cleaner or a mop, as they become totally useless when stains and dirt infiltrate through the pores and crevices.
Though you might be tempted to invest your hard-earned money on specific floor cleaning products, you have probably noticed that they do not make a huge difference in how your vinyl floors look.
Dealing With Different Types of Dirt Buildup
Depending on the type of dirt buildup you are dealing with, you might need to use different cleaning products in order to properly remove residues, and keep your vinyl tile floors clean and shiny.
Here are some of the most effective ones you can use at any time.
1. Heavily Soiled Floors
For heavily soiled floors, use a mild dish soap with hot water.
Think about how you clean your saucepans. If they are very oily: you mix water and dishwashing liquid, then you pour this mixture in the saucepan, leaving it there for a couple of minutes. I personally use the same practice for my own floors, but I opt for a mild dish soap instead (i.e. Ivory Dish Soap), as using harsh cleaning agents can damage the surface of the floors, and leave residue behind.
Mix one or two squeezes of soap with one gallon of hot water. Mop this mixture on your floors, and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the dirt.
You can wipe it dry with a clean mop, or a clean cloth if you are willing to rub your floors a little. If the dirt buildup is still visible, repeat this process as many times as needed.
I needed to do everything twice in order to finally get rid of my old soil stains, so do not give up just because you do not get the expected results from the first attempt.
2. Wax Buildup
For wax buildup, use Isopropyl alcohol with hot water.
Many floor cleaning products contain wax, and using them frequently to remove the dirt from your vinyl tile floors can easily cause wax buildup.
For this particular situation, I use isopropyl alcohol – paired with hot water. Its cleaning power is simply miraculous. Mix one part isopropyl alcohol to three parts hot water, and use a sponge mop to scrub the floors well.
I do not like how the sponge mop cleans the floors, so I use a cloth to remove the wax buildup.
Quick Tip: clean your hands immediately after you finish wiping the floors dry. Isopropyl alcohol is not the friendliest cleaning agent, as it can be harsh to your skin, possibly causing discoloration or excessive dryness.
3. Scuff Marks and Scrapes
For scuff marks and scrapes, use paint thinner or lighter fluid.
If you are anything like me, then you probably do not have painting supplies in your home, so you will have to go to the store and buy either a paint thinner or lighter fluid for this job.
Scuff marks and scrapes are your worst enemy when it comes to vinyl floors, as they can be barely removed with your average cleaning product.
Damp a white, clean cloth in a small amount of paint thinner or lighter fluid, then rub it over your floor.
You might want to let this mixture sit on the marks before you start rubbing to loosen them a bit, and reduce the amount of effort needed.
When all of the marks are removed, wash the area with clean, hot water, and a squeeze of mild dish soap if you necessarily want to add some bubbles to the mixture.
Step-by-Step Vinyl Floor Cleaning Routine
Assuming that you are not facing any of the issues mentioned above, you will still need to approach a correct cleaning routine in order to keep your vinyl tile floors looking their best.
- Vacuum or sweep the floors. Pay special attention to pieces of dirt and small stones as they can scratch the vinyl and dull the shine. I suggest opting for a soft-bristle broom, or a vacuum cleaner that features never-loses-suction technology, as it can make better contact with the floors.
- Mix equal parts of hot water and ammonia, or hot water and vinegar. Mop your vinyl floors with this mixture, preferably with a sponge mop. When you are done, let the mixture sit on the vinyl to loosen dirt, and make it easier to remove.
- Wipe the floors dry with a clean cloth. Inspect the vinyl, and look for specific soil residues, scuff marks, or wax buildup, then use one of the aforementioned methods to remove them.