Vinyl plank flooring is a preferred choice for homeowners seeking a luxurious floor ambiance. Here, we’ll delve into all the essential information on cleaning and maintaining your vinyl plank or luxury vinyl plank floors. Whether yours is the waterproof vinyl plank floor or the standard one, we’ll provide all you need to keep your floors looking great for years to come.
What is Vinyl Plank?
Vinyl plank flooring is an affordable modular flooring type that can be assembled to suit the dimensions of any room. Comprising a protective wear layer, a vinyl printed image layer (emulating the desired material), a cushioning fill layer, and a backing material (typically cork) to minimize noise, vinyl planks offer homeowners the aesthetic of wood, stone, marble, or other materials at a considerably lower cost.
Vinyl plank is made up of five distinct layers:
- Top Coat
- Wear Layer
- Decorative Layer
- Core Layer
- Backing or Base Layer
What’s the Difference Between Vinyl Plank Flooring and Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Plank vinyl flooring and luxury plank vinyl flooring share the same materials, with a notable distinction: each layer of luxury plank vinyl flooring is thicker. This includes a thicker wear layer and core layer, enhancing sound absorption and prolonging the life of luxury vinyl planks. While the bottom layer or “backing layer” may differ—typically featuring a cork backing layer for normal vinyl planks and a thicker rubber layer for luxury vinyl planks—in terms of cleaning, both types are cleaned in the same manner.
The Benefits of Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl plank flooring offers a cost-effective alternative to other flooring options and is available in various designs, such as wood or stone patterns. Its installation is straightforward and can be undertaken as a DIY project, with the planks interlocking to cover expansive floor areas. Suitable for most flat surfaces, vinyl plank flooring is particularly well-suited for areas like laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Additionally, it boasts anti-static and slip-resistant properties, making it easy to maintain and clean.
- Less expensive than other options
- Easy to clean
- Variety of different designs
- Easy to install
- Works on most flat surfaces
Pro Tip: Upon completing the installation of your vinyl plank flooring, it’s advisable to keep any leftover pieces for potential future use. Should an individual plank suffer damage or warping, you can easily remove it and substitute it with one of the saved extras.
How To Clean Your Vinyl Plank Floors
Recommended Cleaning Supplies
- A soft broom
- Handheld vacuum
- Vacuum with hose attachment
- Slightly damp mop (or a Swiffer on the non-abrasive side)
- Soft cloth
- Baking soda and water
- pH-neutral non-abrasive cleaner (or apple cider vinegar)
Keeping Vinyl Plank Flooring Clean
Maintaining the cleanliness of your vinyl plank flooring is straightforward, involving regular sweeping and mopping, along with promptly cleaning up any spills. It’s crucial to refrain from using harsh chemicals, vacuum cleaners with beater brushes, or excessively soaking the planks during mopping.
The wear layer of Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is transparent, making it advisable to treat it with the same care as a glass surface. Any abrasive scrubber that could scratch glass is likely to harm the transparent wear layer of the vinyl flooring. Excessive scratching or buffing can obscure the print layer beneath, diminishing the visual appeal of the wood, stone, or other patterns.
The use of a vacuum with an active beater brush can potentially harm the vinyl plank flooring. It is advisable to avoid anything with stiff brush bristles. When uncertain, opt for the vacuum’s hose attachment or a soft broom.
Although vinyl plank flooring is resistant to water, excessive moisture can lead to issues such as bubbling, warping, or discoloration. If the mop is excessively wet, it may introduce too much moisture to the planks. To address this, lightly mist the mop with a spray bottle filled with water and reapply as necessary.
Will Bleach Damage Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Indeed, bleach is too abrasive for vinyl plank flooring and can corrode the protective wear layer. This may lead to “shedding,” causing the clear wear layer to gradually peel off over time.
What Types of Cleaners Should I Use?
Look for cleansers specifically labeled for “vinyl floors.” Alternatively, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water or small amounts of other gentle detergents to address spills and stains.
Is it Suitable to Apply Vinyl Floor Polish on Vinyl Plank Flooring?
There is no need to polish or wax vinyl floor planks. The transparent wear layer inherently possesses a shine that can be permanently dulled if subjected to polishing. Mopping the floor with warm water should be adequate to restore the shine to the wear layer. If needed, adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to the warm water can help eliminate stubborn buildup.
Vinyl Plank Floor Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
When Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring, DO:
- Sweep and mop regularly
- Wash with mild, non-abrasive cleaners
- Clean up spills quickly (acidic liquids like oil, vinegar or lemon juice will stain the planks)
- Apply felt pads to table and chair legs to avoid dents and scratches
- Have a doormat at the front door to keep out dust and dirt
- Use mats near sinks or water sources
- Wipe away scuffs with a dry, soft sponge (even a tennis ball works!)
When Cleaning Vinyl Plank Flooring, DON’T:
- Let dirt or grime accumulate
- Use steel wool pads or firm brushes
- Clean with ammonia, bleach or harsh cleaners
- Use wax polish (it will remove the protective coating)
- Steam clean the vinyl planks
- Drag or slide furniture across vinyl plank flooring
- Use rolling furniture on vinyl plank flooring
- Soak planks with water while mopping
Removing Scratches and Scuffs from Vinyl Plank Flooring
Vinyl flooring, while soft and comfortable underfoot, is susceptible to dents and scratches. If a scuff proves resistant to wiping or a scratch is too deep to buff out, as a final option, you can opt to remove and replace the damaged plank with a new one.
To Remove Light Scratches and Scuffs:
- Buff with a soft towel
- Try removing a light scuff with a pencil eraser
- For deeper scratches, wipe softly with a fine grit sandpaper
Scratch and Scuff Prevention
Scratches and scuffs are often caused by footwear, particularly when pebbles become lodged in sneaker soles or hard-soled dress shoes and heels make contact with the floor. To mitigate the risk of scuffs and scratches on your vinyl flooring, it is advisable to refrain from wearing shoes indoors. It’s worth noting that a thicker wear layer on vinyl planks enhances resistance to scuffing and scratching.
Removing Stains from Vinyl Plank Flooring
What You’ll Need:
Mild dishwashing soap (or laundry detergent)
A soft white rag or cloth
If you discover a stain on your vinyl plank flooring, there’s no need to worry as they are generally easy to clean. While the temptation may be to reach for bleach and a steel wool scrubbing pad, it’s better to opt for a soft rag or sponge along with some mild soap.
Test Your Cleaning Agents:
Given that the surface of vinyl plank flooring is susceptible to damage, it’s advisable to test your soap in a closet, an inconspicuous corner, or on a spare plank to ensure it won’t corrode the wear layer or cause any harm.
Avoid Colored Cloths or Rags:
Using a colored cloth or rag may result in the dye transferring to the vinyl during the cleaning process, potentially worsening the stain. Stick to cleaning vinyl plank flooring with a white cloth or rag.
For stubborn stains that won’t budge, consider using acetone. Wear rubber gloves, apply a small amount to a white rag, and wipe the stain away.
Keep it Clean
Vinyl plank flooring offers a cost-effective means to enhance the aesthetic appeal of any room in your home. When maintained and cleaned with attention, vinyl plank flooring proves to be a durable investment that can endure for an extended period. However, if not handled with care, it is susceptible to damage and may necessitate replacement. Adhering to and implementing the correct cleaning methods for vinyl flooring is crucial in safeguarding this appealing flooring choice. For additional tips on cleaning and preserving your vinyl plank floors, you can explore our flooring maintenance page.