Linoleum is a popular material used for flooring because it’s durable and easy to clean and maintain. Linoleum is composed of all-natural materials such as linseed oil, pine rosin, cork dust, sawdust, and calcium carbonate which are compressed into layers. It is completely biodegradable and the pattern will not wear off over time. Linoleum is often mistaken for vinyl, but the two are very different in terms of composition and maintenance. Vinyl is a synthetic material and is more resistant to spills and scratches than linoleum. An easy way to check if your floor is vinyl or linoleum is to take a knife and see if you can peel the pattern off the floor. Make sure to do this in an out of the way area such as against a wall or under an appliance. If you can peel off the top layer of color, then your floor is vinyl and should be cleaned differently than linoleum.
If your floor is linoleum, then there are several steps you can take to ensure that your floor gets as clean as possible. First, make sure to sweep the floor to get rid of extra dirt before you mop. Linoleum is extremely sensitive to acidic liquids such as vinegar, citrus juice, or tomato sauce. Vinegar is a popular cleaning product within many homes but it should not be used to clean linoleum. For periodic cleaning that doesn’t involve a large spill, a simple bucket of warm water and a mop is the best thing to clean your floor with. Linoleum, along with most types of flooring, can be damaged by excessive chemical application of the course of the floor’s life. Using plain old water will not only get your floor clean, but will also preserve your floor so it maintains is visual appeal for longer.
Linoleum is susceptible to black scuff marks from shoes, but they can be removed using a pencil eraser. If the eraser doesn’t work, try putting a few drops of baby oil on the scuff mark and letting it sit for a few minutes, then wipe with a clean cloth to lift the mark.
Deep stains in linoleum can be difficult, but not impossible to remove. Many can be buffed from the surface using just a nylon brush. Make sure to polish the affected area with wax or another sealant to reestablish the floor’s glossy finish.
Once your floor is clean, it should be polished or finished with wax to fill the scratches and blemishes that are revealed by the cleaning. The finish also protects the floor from future scratches. Even with the finish, linoleum is easily scratched by items such as furniture legs. Felt caps should be put on the bottom of chair and table legs to ensure that the floor is not damaged. Remember that two-in-one floor cleaner and wax will not clean and protect your floor as well as two separate products.