How to Clean Linoleum Floors


Linoleum flooring shouldn’t be confused with Vinyl. Vinyl can handle a lot more wear and tear than linoleum, whereas with linoleum you need to be more careful as to the type of cleaners used.

Linoleum Floor Quick Cleaning

What you will need:

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Mop (sponge or cloth—preferably self-wringing)
  • Bucket
  • Hot Water
  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Old Towels
  • Rubber gloves (optional)


  1. Vacuum the floor thoroughly on “hard floor” setting, paying special attention to under cabinets, appliances and corners where dust accumulates.
  2. Put 6 or 7 drops of dish soap in the bucket and fill with a gallon of hot water.
  3. Dip mop in soapy water and wring thoroughly to avoid putting excess water on the floor
  4. Mop one section of floor at a time (about 5’ x 5’ per mop-dip), rinsing mop in soapy water and wringing thoroughly before each section.
  5. When finished mopping entire floor, rinse mop thoroughly; empty and rinse bucket, and fill with clean hot water.
  6. Dip mop in clean hot water, wring thoroughly, and rinse-mop sections of floor with the clean, hot water.
  7. Using old towels, dry floors (linoleum contains grooves and if not sealed properly, will quickly absorb any excess liquid, giving the floor a dull , dingy look).

Linoleum Floor Deep Cleaning

Once or twice a year, your floor will need a deep scrubbing, especially if it has deep grooves or designs.

What you will need:

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Nylon-bristol scrub brush.
  • Mop (sponge or cloth—preferably self-wringing)
  • Bucket
  • Hot Water
  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Old Towels
  • Rubber gloves (optional)


  • Vacuum the floor thoroughly on “hard floor” setting, paying special attention to under cabinets, refrigerator and corners where dust accumulates.
  • Put 6 or 7 drops of dish soap in the bucket and fill with a gallon of hot water.
  • Dip scrub brush in soapy water and scrub floor in a circular motion, dipping the scrub brush in the soapy water as needed.
  • When done scrubbing entire floor, empty and rinse bucket, and fill with clean hot water. Rinse floor using same steps as #5-7 above.

Restoring the Finish

After years of wear and/or improper cleaning, your linoleum may loose its shine. If your linoleum appears dull or dingy, you may want to refinish it.

What you will need:

  • Nylon-bristol scrub brush.
  • Mop
  • Ammonia
  • Bucket
  • Hot Water
  • Old towels
  • Good quality floor wax**
  • Clean cloth or soft rags
  • Rubber Gloves (recommended)


  1. Using the mop, spread straight ammonia on the floor, working in sections.
  2. Allow to sit for a few minutes and scrub with the nylon scrub brush.
  3. When the entire floor has been scrubbed with ammonia, remove remaining residue by rinsing with a mop dipped in a bucket of hot water.
  4. Wipe dry using old towels
  5. Apply floor wax according to the directions on the label (generally, liquid floor waxes should be spread evenly with a cloth or rag and allowed to dry completely before adding a second coat).
  6. Wait at least one day before washing floor.

* Please note that ammonia can be a dangerous substance and should never be mixed with any other cleaners.

**You can find a good liquid floor wax for your linoleum floor at most janitorial supply stores, or at janitorial supply websites.

Additional Tips

  • GOING GREEN: Many soaps and floor cleaners can contain harsh chemicals that are not safe for the environment. As an inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cleaners, add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water.
  • NEVER use harsh cleaners, high PH (base) cleaners, or abrasive cleaners on your linoleum floor as it will corrode the linoleum and ruin the finish.
  • Linoleum floors are easy to clean and most stuck on dirt will come off with a little extra elbow grease. However, for those tough stains, try using a foaming cleanser, such as “Scrubbing Bubbles” and wipe with a damp cloth or sponge. The foaming cleanser should NOT be used to clean the entire floor, but only when necessary for tough stains or problem spots.


  1. Bigmommy says:

    Spray an area with scrubbing bubbles, wait a minute, then wipe with a clean wet cloth.

  2. Gogreen says:

    To avoid doing more laundry by using towels to dry the floor, I rinse my floors with hot water mixed with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. (NO WATER SPOTS!! This method also works for rinse water with dishes and glassware!)

  3. Rtoma says:

    I had old linoleum tiles in my newly rented apartment and after trying vinegar, Kaboom, chlorine-free bleach, Clorox and a scrub brush. I was about to replace the flooring or paint over the tiles until I found Krud Kutter! This stuff is amazing… It removed all the grime and marks and dirt and even dried paint from previous tenants. Not only does it work wonderfully, it is nontoxic & biodegradable and has no odor. I highly recommend this for anyone trying to restore linoleum.

  4. Carol says:

    To remove discoloring marks on my kitchen linoleum, I used Comet cleaner. The marks came off great, but so did the finish. What a dumb thing to do. Any ideas as to what I can possibly do to help get back the shine?

  5. Mike says:

    In answer to your scrubbing question, after thoroughly dry cleaning the floor, let dry. Purchase some Minwax fast-drying polyurethane, and re-coat the affected section. If it is the whole floor, section off areas to do. Make sure to use a good, soft paint brush.

  6. Randy says:

    I brew beer, and got the malty, sticky, un-fermented beer on a few spots of what I believe is linoleum, and we can’t get rid of them. Please help!

  7. Felicia says:

    I need help! I just moved into an apartment with linoleum floors; I have never had linoleum floors, so when I ended up having scuff marks on the floor, I decided to just use a Magic Eraser and I found out it’s a big NO-NO; it took the finish right off. So how do I get the small spots where I used the Magic Eraser back its shine?

  8. Susan says:

    Vinyl CANNOT take more wear and tear than linoleum. Linoleum is not just skin deep like vinyl is. When vinyl is nicked, there is a white hole there. Linoleum will NOT show any nicks. Try having a big dog live on vinyl compared to Linoleum. There WILL be claw nicks that show BIG TIME in the vinyl. Linoleum is called ‘battleship’ because it is very hard to nick and when it does nick, the nicks will not show because the linoleum pattern is not just skin deep.
    Further, linoleum as old as 100 plus years is still wonderful looking. The La Posada in Winslow, AZ was designed and built by Mary Colter at the turn of the 1900’s and was used not only used as a resort BUT a postal warehouse. Now, it is being refurbished as a resort again WITH the same linoleum floors that look great!
    This is why Linoleum is commercially used in ships, hospitals, malls etc. and NOT vinyl.

  9. Verla says:

    How does one know if her floor is linoleum or vinyl?

  10. Rosita says:

    Historic, BEAUTIFUL, old linoleum in entry way – got water/salt damage (snow). Had cheap weather mats on floor and water was sitting underneath for weeks before I noticed. Discolored (whitish spots) areas are not clearing up now that it’s dry. Any suggestions? Is this hopeless? Thank you!

  11. Wendy says:

    I have a 1950’s linoleum floor and was told not use petroleum based wax on it. What is a good wax to use on linoleum? It appears from comments that ammonia is good to clean it?

  12. Linda says:

    I put wax on my linoleum (or vinyl) floor…this is an “apartment” floor. It looks perpetually dirty, no matter what I do…are there any suggestions? Should I have it professionally steam cleaned?

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