Written by Grove Collaborative

Clean team: How to keep your vinyl plank flooring looking great for decades.

Last Updated: March 29, 2021

Vinyl plank flooring is easy to admire and easy to maintain. Keep it that way using this simple guide to vinyl plank floor care.

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Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.

Our collective desire for the best possible flooring has led to some frankly wild ingenuity. One of the most popular of the more newfangled flooring types is vinyl. Originally invented as an alternative to linoleum flooring, vinyl flooring was lauded for its durability, temperature resistance, and affordability. But one of the most important advantages vinyl flooring had over linoleum was design. With vinyl, you can have designs that mimic all sorts of materials, including wood and stone, or you can choose from a truly endless selection of colors and patterns — you name it, it probably comes in vinyl plank flooring.




What is vinyl plank?

The latest popular iteration in vinyl is vinyl plank flooring, sometimes called luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl plank, which comes in large tiles or planks that have increased density, rigidity, durability, and even more realistic design-mimicking than linoleum and older vinyl flooring types. Vinyl plank flooring is super easy to install, with each piece clicking and locking together like LEGO.


But we’re not here to teach history, we’re here to learn how to clean and care for vinyl plank flooring.

What should I use to clean vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring was designed to be easy to maintain, and indeed, the synthetic composition of vinyl plank makes it a piece of cake to clean — no expensive tools or cleaners needed!

How do you care for luxury vinyl plank flooring?

Caring for your vinyl plank flooring is simple. Here are the main things you’ll want to keep in mind while cleaning.

Vacuum or dry-mop the floor to remove surface dirt

The fastest way to damage vinyl plank flooring is through daily negligence. That’s why we recommend vacuuming or dry mopping your flooring every day or two. This will scoop up all kinds of debris, dust, and dirt that can cause tiny scratches that dull the appearance of the floor.

Scrub to remove stains

Whether your stain is fresh or stubbornly old, a soft nylon brush will help loosen it and remove it without scratching your floor. Dip your brush in a homemade baking soda water mixture, then scrub gently. If that doesn’t work, try isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to remove the stain.

Wet-mop to remove grime

One of the best vinyl plank flooring cleaners is a cup of apple cider or white vinegar in a gallon of hot water. Dampen your mop, and mop your vinyl plank flooring in the direction of the planks. The vinegar will tackle dirt, grime, and stains without leaving behind streaks or a sudsy mess.

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Regular cleaning is key

As tough as vinyl plank flooring is, it still needs regular cleaning to live its full lifespan of 10 to 20 years. We recommend vacuuming daily, wet cleaning two or three times a month, and treating stains ASAP to keep your vinyl floors looking bright and clean for years to come.

How to fix scratches and scuffs on vinyl plank flooring

Despite our best intentions, floor scratches are bound to happen. With vinyl plank flooring, you have a few options for treating light scratches and scuffs.


For scratches in particular, spray some good old WD-40 onto a towel, and buff the problem area. For light scuffs, an old trick is to rub a tennis ball — that’s right, a tennis ball! — over the scuff. If the scratch is particularly deep, a vinyl floor sealer may do the trick of hiding it. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace that plank entirely.

Does vinyl need wax?

No! Vinyl plank flooring already has a coating covering each plank, giving it that shine and seal against moisture and damage. Applying wax, or wax-based products, will either eat away at the vinyl coating or just slide around and create a big mess.


If your vinyl plank flooring is in dire straights, consider applying a coating of specially made vinyl floor sealer instead.

The do’s and don'ts of caring for vinyl plank flooring

Aside from regular cleaning, spot-cleaning, and scuff-treating, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep your vinyl plank flooring looking clean and new.

DO:

Clean up spills ASAP

Substances with drastic pH levels, like oil, vinegar, or lemon juice, can cause discoloration and rough-looking stains. Wipe up these and other spills as soon as possible, and treat stains with an appropriate cleaning solution.


Treat rust right away

Due to its synthetic makeup, vinyl plank flooring can occasionally fall prey to rust, as strange as that sounds. Worry not — simply wipe it away with a microfiber cloth dipped in a thin paste of baking soda and water.


Protect it from furniture

Install soft felt pads on the feet of heavy furniture to protect your vinyl floor — and don’t buy furniture with rollers. Like hardwood floors, vinyl plank flooring can easily be scratched and scuffed by sliding heavy furniture around, so lift it off the floor to move it.

DON’T:

Use highly-abrasive scrubbers

Abrasive sponges, steel wool, and other rough materials can easily scratch — and even eat through — the protective coating atop your vinyl plank flooring. Use a mop or soft bristled brush if you need a deep, scrub-a-licious clean!


Use ammonia

Ammonia and vinyl plank flooring’s synthetic coating do not mix well — the ammonia breaks down the finish and causes damage to the flooring. Try one of the easier-going natural cleaning solutions or the gentle tools mentioned previously.


Use paste wax or solvent-based polishes

Because vinyl plank flooring is coated in a special polyurethane coating that protects it, it never needs waxing — and, in fact, waxes and solvent-based polishes you might use on other flooring surfaces can damage the topcoat and leave your floor with dull buildup.

Shop for floor-cleaning essentials at Grove.


Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered. From timely topics such as our handwashing and hand sanitizer breakdown to evergreen primers like our simple ways to reduce your plastic use at home, our handy guides are here to answer your most pressing questions. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on germs, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.

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