How to Deep Clean and Restore an Old Vinyl Kitchen Floor

One of the challenges in buying an old fixer upper home is deciding what to fix now and what can be put off for several years. Some things, like ratty old carpet and holes in the wall, need to be fixed immediately. Certain tasks, like replacing old vinyl floors in your kitchen and bathrooms can be postponed for several years, providing the floor is intact. As long as the vinyl is still in one piece, it can be deep cleaned and shined up to look almost presentable again. Here is how it’s done.

Supplies.
To clean and restore my 40 year old mud room vinyl floor, I use a handful of basic supplies which can be found at the grocery store. These include a mop bucket, sponge mop, ammonia, a stiff bristle brush, rags, water proof gloves, putty knife, knee pads (optional) and liquid floor wax.

Precautions.
Since you’ll be cleaning with ammonia, be sure to open windows and doors for ventilation. Do not use products containing bleach in this location until the vinyl floor has been rinsed and the area thoroughly aired out.

Cleaning and restoring your vinyl floor.
Floors that are extremely dirty will require at least 4-6 hours of deep cleaning. Tackling this job is best done when you can count on minimal interruptions.

Start with a superficial scrubbing. Fill your mop bucket with one gallon of warm water and one cup of ammonia. Using the sponge mop, wash the vinyl floor twice to remove the top layer of dirt. Do not rinse. Toss out the mop water and rinse the bucket. Refill with one gallon of warm water, 1 cup of ammonia, and one tablespoon of Dawn detergent.

Scrub. Working one section of floor at a time, scrub the vinyl flooring using the ammonia solution and the scrub brush to loosen and remove trapped dirt and old wax. For badly stained floors, you may have to scrub for several minutes until the trapped dirt has lifted. Old dirt blobs, paint drips, etc may have to be pried up with a putty knife. Once the area is cleaned, rinse before moving on to the next section of floor.

Repeat. After the entire floor has been scrubbed by hand, toss out the mop water again and replace with one gallon of warm water mixed with one cup of ammonia. Use the sponge mop to wash the floor one more time. Rinse the cleaned floor with water and let air dry.

Wax. Now that the vinyl floor has been deep cleaned, you can keep the floor looking great by applying two applications of liquid floor wax. I use Armstrong floor wax myself since my mud room sees high traffic. For lower traffic areas, a product like Mop N Glo will work too.

In many cases, a dirty looking vinyl floor can be salvaged with deep cleaning and a topcoat of wax. While it won’t look as nice as a brand new floor in contemporary colors, it’ll do the job until you can afford to replace it.

More by this contributor:
How to clean and organize cluttered kitchen cabinets
Winter cleaning tips to brighten your home.
How to speed clean your home

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