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How to Restore Vinyl Flooring

Updated March 23, 2017

Vinyl flooring is easy to clean, maintain and care for when you follow the proper manufacturer’s recommendations. Vinyl floors are sealed by the manufacturer with a low-gloss, no-wax sealant that gives it shine and lustre. After two years, this glow fades even if you use a proper cleaning regimen on your floors. You can restore vinyl flooring by stripping off old build-up and applying a manufacturer-recommended sealant.

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  1. Remove any surface dirt from your vinyl flooring with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a soft brush attachment; if one is unavailable, use a good quality fine-bristled broom. Get into corners, nooks and crannies to remove any hidden surface dirt.

  2. Open your windows to properly ventilate the area in your kitchen or bathroom. Wear rubber gloves and a protective face mask before cleaning with ammonia.

  3. Get rid of surface film on your floor with a well-wrung mop using a mixture of lukewarm water and 1 cup of ammonia. Use a stronger ammonia solution for heavier dirt and wax build-up or wash the floor several times with the lighter solution to remove grime.

  4. Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to remove tough, embedded surface film left over from waxy floor cleaners, dulling soaps and trapped dirt. Once sealed, vinyl flooring should always use a water-based, no-wax floor cleaner that is free from waxes, polishes and detergents.

  5. Rinse mop the floor with plain water and dry it with an absorbent towel to remove excess liquid. Allow your vinyl flooring to dry thoroughly.

  6. Seal your vinyl flooring with a manufacturer-recommended, low-gloss floor sealant and mop. These sealants only need to be applied once every two years if you properly clean your vinyl floor with recommended cleansers each time you clean.

  7. Tip

    Do not use rubber-backed floor mats on your vinyl tile. They will yellow and dull the flooring. Never use mop and glow-type products or any type of wax on your vinyl floor—it causes dulling and will seal in the dirt.


    Avoid abrasive cleansers and scrub pads. They can permanently damage your vinyl flooring. Clean up tough messes with a vinyl scrubber.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with brush
  • Quality broom
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • Ammonia
  • Water
  • Absorbent towel
  • Low-gloss floor sealant

About the Author

Abaigeal Quinn

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.

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