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How to Choose Cleaning Products Safe for Vinyl Planks

Featured image for "How to Choose Cleaning Products Safe for Vinyl Planks" blog post. Living room with vinyl plank floors.

Vinyl plank flooring, amongst other kinds of wood floors, is widely known to be durable and absolutely easy to maintain. But you don’t want to dull the shine of your luxury vinyl plank flooring by taking advantage of its durability. That will be a great mistake to make. Those things are absolute beauties to behold, and to keep them that way; you have to shower your floorings with daily love and care.

An essential part of the care is learning how to clean your vinyl flooring properly. And that is what today’s blog post is about. I will show you the best ways to clean your plank floors, as well as the best cleaning products safe for vinyl planks. You will surely thank me later.

Your Vinyl Plank Floors Need Good Maintenance

Whether you recently moved into a brand new home with vinyl planks or you just got one installed, you do have serious maintenance work to do. Vinyl plank floorings are super cool. Always looking shiny and new, but you don’t want to get too confident because vinyl floors do not come with self-cleaning functionalities as cool as they are. So if you want them to be as shiny as new, you have to do the work. And by “work,” I mean tactical work. Know that as much as vinyl plank flooring is one of the lowest maintenance flooring types out there, improper cleaning can strip it of all its glory.

I can feel your fear from miles away, but you have absolutely no reason to fear (not when you’ve got me). I am here to share with you some handy tips to maintain a perfect vinyl floor cleaning routine. To start with, let’s go over the cleaning substances and products that are harmful to your vinyl floor.

Room with vinyl plank flooring.
If you want your vinyl plank flooring to last a long time, you have to maintain it properly!

Too Much Water

Everyone thinks vinyl planks are water-resistant. To an extent, they are since you need water to clean your floor, but you have to be wary of excessive moisture. If water gets underneath your plank, it could damage the glue that holds the vinyl and the floor together, causing the edges to lift. It could also soften the vinyl and cause a buildup of mold and bacteria. Either way, the effects of excessive water on vinyl planks floors cannot be good.

To avoid getting moisture trapped underneath your floors, be wary of the following:

  • Groundwater moisture
  • Plumbing issues (toilet, sink, or bath)
  • Crawlspace moisture
  • Leaking or overflowing washing machine or dishwasher

If you discover any of these issues, act fast. Please don’t wait for it to be evident on your flooring. The longer you wait to fix the issues, the deeper the water eats into the planks, and the more complicated the repair will be.

Installing vinyl flooring.
When installing vinyl flooring, it’s important to make sure you get rid of any moisture below where your planks will be installed.

Abrasives and Ammonia-based Cleaning Products

Whether they appear coarse or fine, never use abrasives to clean vinyl. Avoid ammonia, too, as it has a strong base and shouldn’t be used to clean your floor. The use of bleach, cleansers, abrasive detergents and ammonia-based solutions can strip your floor of its glamour and make it look dull. Worst still, they can damage the top layer of your flooring, making it prone to cracks.

To avoid such a sad occurrence, watch out for the commercial cleaners you use to clean your floor. Before you buy any, make sure you check the composition on the pack. No matter the hype around a product, once you spot any form of abrasive or ammonia, drop it.

Vinyl flooring with plants.
To keep your vinyl flooring strong and healthy, avoid abrasives and ammonia-based cleaning products.

Vacuum with a Beater Bar or Power Brush Head

Now and then, you might want to do some wet cleaning to remove dust and dirt particles. A good vacuum works, but you must be careful. When vacuuming vinyl plank floors, do not use a vacuum with a beater bar or power rotary brush head. You will regret it. Instead, use a brush attachment designed for plank flooring. This simple trick is one way you can use a vacuum to get rid of loose debris from your vinyl floor without causing any damage. Oh, you thought that was all?

An important factor you should put into thought is the weight of your vacuum. Vacuum cleaning entails a lot of pushing and pulling, so you have to check the weight of any device you want to use. You should opt for a vacuum as portable and lightweight as you can get.

Dust Mop Banner Ad 4.

Don’t have a vacuum or don’t want to use a vacuum? No problem! Champion Supplies offers a high-quality, high-performance electrostatic Old Fashioned Dust Mop that is fantastic at picking up dirt and dust from any floor surface. Not to mention, no dusting chemicals are required! Just mop the floor, step outside, shake, and you’re done!

Room with vinyl flooring and furniture.
With the right cleaning products, cleaning vinyl flooring is easy!

Stiff-bristled Brush

In a bid to make those floors extra shiny, you might be tempted to use a stiff brush to get rid of tough stains. It can never end well. Yes, you might successfully remove the stains but with that comes scuff marks from all the pressure applied. I’m sure you don’t want that horror of a view.

Another similar mistake you should never make is using a knife on the floor in an attempt to take off dried substances. That would be silly, my dear.

Vinyl flooring doesn’t take well to hard scrubbing. It’s nothing but futile efforts. Only use a soft washcloth to remove dirt and stains from your vinyl flooring. You’ll be shocked how effective a mild scrub, mop, and the right cleaning solution can be on the toughest stains. I’ll feed you details of the suitable materials later in this guide.

Vinyl flooring bedroom.
Vinyl flooring scratches easily, so clean accordingly!

Aren’t All Cleaning Products Safe for Vinyl Planks?

The idea of searching for safe cleaning products can seem extra and unnecessary. I felt that way, too once. I mean, why do I have to stress over getting the perfect cleaning product when I can easily throw any cleaning agent on the floor and mop away. Why do I have to be wary of the mop I use? Aren’t all mops the same?

Well, I have tried a range of cleaning products, and I’m here to tell you that some mops are better than the others. Similarly, there are cleaning agents that are better than the others. Some cleaning agents are entirely toxic for your vinyl floors due to the harsh chemicals used in their formulation.

There are a variety of commercial agents used in cleaning vinyl out there. Some everyday household items like baking soda and vinegar can also be used to clean vinyl flooring. This read is a guide on the safest product you can use. But before I go into the best of all, I’d like to share my take on the most common vinyl cleaning products.

Room with blue wall and vinyl floor.
Not all cleaning products are safe for your vinyl floors. If you follow the tips in this blog post, though, you’ll be all set!

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Sprinkle baking soda on your floor, lightly scrub with a soft wet sponge, and you can get many stains off a vinyl floor – be it plank or tile floor. But how tough can baking soda go on vinyl planks? And there’s vinegar, another standard go-to for cleaning. It works on mirrors, laminate countertops, ceramic sinks and toilets, vinyl tile, and of course, vinyl plank floors. However, vinegar and water solution mostly works for mild stains. It can’t give you the perfectly clean result you need. Besides, it is highly acidic. So, using it frequently can dull or even damage the finish on your planks.

“How about I combine them both?” By all means, you can. There are different ways to clean vinyl plank with these two items. Combine the right amounts of vinegar and baking soda, and you can indeed scrub off some stains. But again, how effective is your mixture on removing tough stains?

I am big on DIYs; they give you the chance to create your art. However, that precious vinyl floor is not something you want to experiment with. Did I tell you vinyl floors are not repairable? Unlike wood floors, once your luxury vinyl flooring is ruined, that’s the end of it. So, to enhance the life of your floor, cut off the penny-pinching habit and invest in the proper cleaning solutions.

Child's room with vinyl plank flooring.
Baking soda and vinegar are two household staples that happen to be great for cleaning vinyl floors!

Commercial Cleaning Products

Unlike improvised household items, commercial cleaning products are specially formulated for specific uses. This way, you can just go to the market and pick up a particular product made for cleaning vinyl flooring. You can also avoid the unnecessary hassle that comes with figuring out the perfect measurement to make natural cleaners. There are specific floor cleaning substances and equipment designed to deep clean luxury vinyl while causing the least harm.

How to Choose the Best Cleaner for a Vinyl Plank floor

Whatever cleaner you decide to use for your vinyl flooring is totally up to you. Personally, I have found just the right effect in Champion’s Multi-Surface floor cleaner. I have used quite a number of commercial cleaners, but this ultimately does it for me. I like that its 99% naturally derived and cruelty-free. And I don’t have to be bothered about contributing to water pollution as it is phosphate-free. This cleaner is made up of potent substances that clean through the toughest of dirt: no harsh chemicals, no terrible smell, no residue, just pure harmless cleaning.

Natural Cleaning Power.

Now, what I find fascinating about this particular floor cleaner is its multipurpose nature. It works for a variety of floors, including vinyl tile flooring and vinyl plank flooring. I don’t get to buy different cleaners for the tile flooring in some parts of my home. A bottle of my favorite multi-surface floor cleaner and I’m good. It is just the perfect definition of economical.

It doesn’t require much stress or extra preparation either. I mix up one ounce of the cleaner with a gallon of water, and after a few wipes with my favorite mop, my floors are all sparkly again. I am honestly not trying to exaggerate, but there is no other floor cleaner that stands in comparison with Champion’s.

Best Floor Mop for Vinyl Plank Floors

To mop the floor in my home, I use Champion’s Super Yellow Mop. I fell in love with the bright yellow color first. I can’t explain why but it just throws some vibrancy into my cleaning. It is so convenient! My favorite thing about this mop is its highly absorbent nature. I can tell this is due to the quality of the non-woven fabric used. Asides the high absorbency of the fibers, the mop is also lighter than other mops out there.

I don’t have to stress over wringing out floor mops with my hands (that used to be such a big issue for me). Now, I only make a few trips to wring out the super-light mop. Time maximized, energy saved, better floor cleaning experience.

The Amazing Mop!

When I first tried out this mop, I was amazed by the beautiful scratch-free finish it left on my vinyl floor. And after a countless number of uses, it hasn’t lost its magic. Its super soft bristles clean my floors effectively. There are no pull-outs, even though I’ve been using it for a while, and it still does a job as impressive as it did the first time.

Champion’s Super Yellow Mop is excellent, no doubt. And it’s even more thrilling, considering the great deal I got for it. I don’t know how long the sales offer will last, but I did get a replacement head as a bonus when I got mine. If that’s not total value for my money, tell me what is. With my experience using this floor mop, I can confidently say that no other mop does it better than Champion’s.

Cleaning and Maintaining Vinyl Planks

Vinyl planks are incredibly easy to maintain. But just as I’ve mentioned earlier, you still have to do the work. From cleaning habits to protective measures, let’s go over the ways you can get the most out of your vinyl floorings.

Kitchen with vinyl flooring.
Keep reading for key focal points when cleaning vinyl floors.

Cleaning

The importance of cleaning your vinyl plank floors cannot be overemphasized. A good cleaning routine, coupled with the right information on the cleaning products safe for vinyl planks, will help you keep your planks healthy. And that’s what I have here.

Stick to a good cleaning routine

Since cleaning is so important, it only makes sense to have a routine for it. A consistent pattern to clean your vinyl plank floor is an excellent aid to the right cleaning products. For me, I sweep daily and deep clean on weekends. I do not mop every day as I am usually super busy during weekdays. However, to complement my daily cleaning, I follow strict maintenance policies to avoid permanent stains. I also vacuum now and then (you want to do that more often if you have kids and pets.)

Living room with furniture and vinyl floor.
Consistency cleaning is key for maintaining your vinyl flooring.

Use the right brooms and vacuums

When you sweep or vacuum, be careful to use the right products. If you have pets, like dogs and cats), an investment in a quality vacuum built for dealing with pet hair is what you need to keep your floors hair-free. Sweep daily, vacuum at least once a week. That will help you keep your floors shiny, just the way you like them.

Never steam clean

Even though they work well with vinyl tile floors, steam mops shouldn’t be used on vinyl plank floors. Unlike tile flooring, there are incredibly narrow spaces between the planks used in plank floors. And the combination of steam and dripping water will weaken the glue that holds them in place. As if this is not enough, your vinyl may also get warped or bent due to the extreme heat. Let’s not talk about the dull finish it will leave on your floors.

Living room with dog.
It’s best to avoid steam cleaning vinyl plank flooring.

Don’t polish

I know you mean well, but your luxury vinyl plank flooring doesn’t need any wax to shine. The residue will only build up over time and give the surface a dull finish. Please don’t overdo it. A regular cleaning habit, as well as these maintenance tips I’ve shared, can give you the shiny floors you need. However, if you want to go extra safely, a few drops of baby oil will do the magic.

Avoid soaps and detergent

There was a time I did my mopping with detergent (as that was what I could find around). My floor was covered with a film that attracted so much dirt). Made me wonder why I bothered cleaning the floor in the first place.

Avoid getting the floor too wet

I know I have mentioned this earlier. But to reiterate, do not soak your floor with water all in the name of cleaning luxury vinyl. Water damage is no joke. There are countless damages excessive moisture can do to a vinyl plank floor. Use only a little water in your cleaning, and make sure to pat it dry when you’re done.

Kitchen with table and vinyl flooring.
In areas like the kitchen or bathroom where moisture can be an issue because of spills and other reasons, it is important to get rid of any moisture as soon as possible to protect your vinyl flooring.

Maintenance

Having a consistent routine for cleaning vinyl flooring is great. But you can aid your cleaning efforts by maintaining some protective habits or measures. I’ll share with you a few things you can do to make sure you keep the dirt and dust outside (as much as possible). After all, less dust means less cleaning, and of course, fewer scratches.

A doormat

A doormat is that one essential household item everybody looks down on. But it can save your luxury vinyl from a lot of mess. Place a quality doormat outside your front or back door to prevent you or your guests from transferring dirt from your walks onto your plank floor. In my home, I took it as far as putting a door mat inside my house (all shoes by the door, please).

Area rugs

Placing area rugs in the common areas in your home might seem too extra, but it is a great idea. By doing this, you can significantly lessen the amount of dirt you get in.

Use furniture pads

Moving furniture like chairs and tables around can cause scratches or even dents on your perfectly looking luxury vinyl plank flooring. You can avoid that disaster by placing pads under the furniture when moving it across. Also, consider making extra efforts to lift them instead of dragging and pulling.

Wipe off spills immediately

I know you had a long day, and getting a mop and cleaner to wipe off that little spill of red juice is the last thing you want to do. It’s not “deep-cleaning hour” after all. But think about when you first got those floors. Didn’t you swear to do anything to protect them? Well, this is the moment. Go, soldier!

Kitchen with vinyl plank flooring and large counter.
Don’t let spills linger on your vinyl flooring!

Pick up loose dirt

You may think dirt can’t possibly cause a big issue. You couldn’t be more wrong as tiny and sharp pieces of rock can scratch the surface of your plank floor over time. A single scuff mark can completely disfigure your whole floor, especially if it’s within view. See why you need to pick them up immediately?

Deep Cleaning your Vinyl Planks

To mop the floor, you’ll need the following:

  • Floor mop
  • Floor cleaner

For these two, I strongly recommend Champion’s. Their floor mop is undoubtedly the best on the market, and their multi-surface floor cleaning agent is just perfect. I’ll show you how. Let’s go over my routine.

How to Clean Luxury Vinyl Plank Floors With Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner

I’m sure there are several ways to clean vinyl plank floors. I usually mix one ounce of this floor cleaner per gallon of water. That’s the best way you can effectively clean your floor. Sometimes, I switch things up with warm water. A few mild scrubs later, and the magic is done. I don’t even scrub too hard, no matter how tough the stains seem. It helps remove every mess, saving my arms from any extra scrubbing. This cleaner’s effectiveness is fantastic, considering it is non-toxic and causes no harm to my luxury vinyl plank.

Power plant based 2.

I can also use it for the parts in my home that aren’t made of plank flooring. I’m super confident in this floor cleaner, and it is one of the best chemical products I have used. As a matter of fact, I can confidently say that this is the best product you can ever use to clean your floor.

How to Clean Vinyl Using Super Yellow Mop

After scrubbing, I use a damp mop to absorb the dirty water. This mop’s soft fibers are gentle on the floor, and they make not the tiniest bit of scratch. Then, comes my least favorite part of cleaning; going to wring out the wet mop. But thanks to the superabsorbent fibers of this mop, I don’t have to do that much.

After getting the dirty water out, I rinse and wring the mop, and clean the floor with the clean mop. I like to rinse and repeat until I get the desired results. I then use the extra mop head (attached to an old mop stick) to pat the floor dry. Unlike the on-spot cleaning I do throughout the week, my wet cleaning covers every area of my home from the bedroom to the living room. My weekly floor cleaning routine is a lot of work, but staring down at clean sparkly floors is highly rewarding.

Yellow Mop Mopping Re-Imagined banner ad.

This mop is going to be my go-to for ages because it’s durable, and its level of absorbency beats that of every other brand I’ve seen (and trust me, I’ve tried out many).

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! By now, you should have a clear knowledge of the cleaning products safe for vinyl planks. Effective cleaning equals shiny plank floors. And as you go about your daily affairs, I hope you make the right decisions – for those floors!

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