Many people think that vinyl floors are hard to clean and maintain. However, did you know there’s a way to make them shiny again, without the use of expensive equipment? Here are a few steps to follow to make your vinyl floors shine:
- Remove visible dirt using a vacuum or dry mop
- Get rid of grime with a wet mop
- Mix floor stripper in a bucket and apply it with a mop
- Scrub with an auto scrubber or swing machine
- Pick up the slurry using a wet vacuum and squeegee
- Spot check for issues
- Apply multiple coats of finish
Vinyl floors can be stripped and refinished with relative ease compared to other floor types like laminate or hardwood, making them an affordable way to give your home a new look. This article will discuss the entire restoration process in detail.
1. Remove Visible Dirt Using a Vacuum or Dry Mop
The first step to restoring vinyl floors is to remove any dirt on the vinyl’s surface. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a dry mop for this, but make sure that you don’t use a beater bar on your vacuum, as it may damage your floor.
This initial cleaning process will help you get rid of loose dirt, which is the easiest part of this job. This should be done before applying cleaning products to your floors to prevent unwanted reactions between the cleaning agents and dirt.
You’ll also want to get rid of any visible mold on your floors. You can use a commercial mold remover or a mixture of bleach and water (50/50 mix) to address this issue. Make sure that you rinse the area well afterward and dry it off completely before continuing with the restoration process.
2. Get Rid of Grime With a Wet Mop
The next step is to take care of any grime on your vinyl floors. You can do this by using a wet mop. Ensure that the mophead is clean and free of debris before you start.
Mix some cleaning solution into the water—a little dish soap will do—and apply it to the floor. Work in small sections and make sure that you work the solution into all of the cracks and crevices to remove all the grime.
Work Outwards and Towards the Door
You want to start from the furthest wall from the door and work your way outward so that the floor is spotless by the time you finish. It’s also a good idea to wear nonslip shoes while you’re doing this, as the floor will be wet and slippery.
Once you’re done, rinse the area with clean water and dry it off before moving on to the next step. Doing so will help prevent water spots from forming on your floors.
3. Mix Floor Stripper in a Bucket and Apply It With a Mop
If your vinyl floor has a tough stain that you can’t seem to get rid of, you may want to consider using a stripper. Strippers are specially formulated to remove old finishes and sealers from floors. However, it’s always a good idea to test the stripper in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire floor.
Mix the stripper in a mopping bucket according to the directions on the container. Then, spread the stripper onto the floor generously and let it sit for a few minutes. It’s important to apply the stripper in manageable sections since it can be difficult to move if it sits on your floor too long.
Using a Home Remedy to Get Rid of Stains
If you don’t want to use a stripper, you can also use products you already have in the kitchen. Here’s are step-by-step instructions on preparing and applying a home remedy:
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from the solution you’re about to mix.
- Apply dishwasher detergent on the tough stain, then use a toothbrush to rub it in.
- Add toothpaste and continue scrubbing with the toothbrush.
- Add vinegar to the mix and scrub some more.
- Use warm water to rinse the area and dry it off with a cloth.
Make sure that you follow the same process for all of the tough stains on your vinyl floors. This will greatly improve the floor’s overall appearance.
This method works well because all of the included ingredients are mildly abrasive, which means they can break down dirt and grime quite easily. Still, make sure that you rinse everything off nicely and dry the area completely before moving on to the next step.
4. Scrub With an Auto Scrubber or Swing Machine
If you have a tough stain on your vinyl floors, you might consider using an auto scrubber. Auto scrubbers are designed to clean large areas such as gymnasiums and malls with concrete floors, vinyl floors, or mosaic art installations. Luckily, they can be used in homes too!
Here’s a YouTube video explaining the different types of auto scrubbers.
Use Auto Scrubbers Carefully to Avoid Floor Damage
The good thing about auto scrubbers is that they come with a water tank and usually have a built-in detergent dispenser. This means that you don’t need to buy any extra equipment when using one of these devices. However, make sure not to put the machine up against walls because it will scratch them.
You also want to put the auto scrubber at the lowest speed and use a gentle circular motion when you’re scrubbing the floor. If your floors are filthy, you can increase the speed to the next level. But don’t scrub too hard, though, or you might damage the vinyl flooring.
Swing Machines Work Differently From Auto Scrubbers
You can also use a swing machine or rotary buffer to scrub your vinyl floors. These machines also work well for this application, but they don’t come with an inbuilt water tank, so you’ll have to fill up the bucket manually when using them.
Using a swing machine is different from an auto scrubber because it’s pushed away from the wall instead of towards it. This may take some getting used to.
The buffer works by using an oscillating pad that spins quickly. This will help loosen the dirt and grime on your floors so they can easily be swept away. Just make sure to keep the buffer moving in a circular motion at all times, or you could damage your vinyl floors.
Consult Professionals for Mechanical Advice
If you’re not sure which of these machines is right for you, you should consult with a professional floor cleaner. They’ll tell you which device is best for your specific needs and type of vinyl flooring.
The best part is that all these machines are available for hire, so you don’t have to go out and buy any if you only plan on using them once or twice.
Just make sure that you read the instructions carefully before use and always follow the safety guidelines. Also, be very careful when handling any of these machines – they can be pretty powerful.
5. Pick Up the Slurry Using a Wet Vacuum and Squeegee
Some people will tell you that you can just mop your floors after stripping them. However, this isn’t the most effective way to care for your vinyl floors, especially if the stripper has stayed on the floor for too long. Instead, it’s a good idea to have a wet vacuum with a squeegee attachment on hand.
Use Vacuums on Vinyl Floors Responsibly
This will help you pick up all the slurry created when you were scrubbing your floors, and it’ll leave them looking shiny and new. Just make sure that you don’t use the vacuum at high speed, or else you could damage your vinyl floors.
Also, have a large bucket with hot water and some dish soap ready nearby so you can easily wash off any dirt or grime that gets on your squeegee attachment. By doing this, you can prevent clogs from forming inside your machine.
However, if you use an auto scrubber, you won’t need a vacuum cleaner because the machine will suck up all the dirty water. Still, it’s a good idea to have one on hand just in case.
6. Spot Check for Issues
After completing the entire process, take a few minutes to walk around and check for any spots that may need additional attention. If you don’t see any white dust on the surface, then congratulations! You’ve successfully revived your vinyl floor.
If there are still spots that need work, go back over those areas with a little more stripper, then scrub again. This time around, make sure to use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the stripper. Doing so prevents unnecessary damage to the surface of your vinyl floors.
Most people will outsource this task to a professional cleaner. Assess your floor’s unique needs to determine whether you should hire a professional or do the task on your own. If you hire a professional, communicate with them about any stains or dirt buildup to get the best possible results when cleaning your home!
7. Apply Multiple Coats of Finish
Now that your floors are clean and dry, it’s time to apply a coat (or two) of finish. This will help protect your vinyl floors from future dirt, dust, and grime buildup. It will also make them shine.
The best way to apply finish is by starting with the areas furthest away from the exit and working your way closer to the door so you don’t have to walk over any wet spots during application.
If any stains need additional attention, apply a coat of finish directly onto those areas before moving on with this step. You can also add some mineral spirits or denatured alcohol if they’re still stubborn after applying the stripper. Be sure to read the instructions on the can of finish before using it.
Once you’re done, allow the floor plenty of time to dry before walking on it or putting any furniture back in place. It could take anywhere from a few hours to a day for the finish to dry, depending on how bad the condition of your floors was beforehand.
How Do I Know if My Vinyl Floors Need to Be Revived?
You’ll know if your vinyl floor needs to be revived or refinished if it shows signs of white dust or dirt buildup. Additionally, if the finish is starting to peel or chip away, that means it’s time for a new coat (or two).
If your floors are constantly looking dirty no matter how often you clean them, that’s another sign that they need some additional attention. However, it’s always best to consult with a professional cleaner to determine what needs to be done to make your vinyl floors look their best.
Can I Wash My Vinyl Floors With a Pressure Washer?
If you have been wondering if a pressure washer can restore your vinyl floor, we’re happy to tell you that it’s possible.
You can wash your vinyl floors with a pressure washer. However, too much pressure can damage your flooring. Use a scrub brush to treat stains before using a pressure washer on your floor.
There are some key notes to be aware of when pressure washing your vinyl floor: high water pressure can damage your floor if the nozzle of your brush or wand is too close. To prevent this, hold the nozzle at least 18 inches away from your floor while cleaning. If you have a badly stained spot, use a scrub brush attachment on the end of your pressure washer wand to loosen any dirt or debris before blasting it away with water.
Consider Pressure Washing With a Vinegar Solution
If you’re looking for an even more thorough clean, mix a gallon of hot water with a cup of white vinegar and use this as your cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse the floor well afterward, as any vinegar residue can damage the finish over time.
Vinyl flooring has a reputation for being durable and easy to maintain. As a result, most types of vinyl can withstand heavy foot traffic or even the paws of your pets. Vinyl floors won’t absorb moisture like other types of hardwood, so they don’t have to be treated with wax or sealant.
Still, even the most rigid vinyl floors need some care and maintenance. The biggest takeaway is to keep dirt and dust off the vinyl. Regular sweeping and damp mopping will also help take care of most of the buildup on your floor.