How to Remove Squeak from Linoleum Floors

Kathy asked: I cleaned my linoleum floors with water and vinegar, and now they squeak when walking on them. The floor doesn’t squeak, it’s the actual linoleum. I recleaned them with warm water. They still squeak. I lightly waxed the floor, and they still squeak. Do you have any suggestions?

If you cleaned your floor with vinegar, it’s possible that the vinegar acted as a stripping agent and damaged or removed the protective wax covering from your floor. If that’s the case, a light wax won’t be enough to properly protect the linoleum. When in doubt, it’s best to properly strip and then protect the floor with a high quality wax.

You Will Need:

  • Ammonia
  • Clean dish towels
  • Nylon brush
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Bucket
  • High quality linoleum floor wax
  • Clean terrycloth towel
  • Eye protection
  • Rubber gloves
  • Fan for ventilation

Steps to Remove the Squeak:

  1. First, ensure there is adequate ventilation in the room. Use a fan and open all windows and doors. Eye and skin protection are advisable when working with ammonia.
  2. Pour straight ammonia on the floor in a single area.
  3. Use the dish towel to spread it around.
  4. Wait 15 minutes then repeat in a second area.
  5. Begin working on the first area with the nylon scrub brush.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until the entire floor is finished.
  7. Mop up the ammonia with a clean dish towel
  8. Mix ½ cup of vinegar with one gallon of water. Rinse the floor with it. The vinegar will get rid of any remaining traces of ammonia.
  9. Dry the floor with a clean towel.
  10. Apply a high quality floor wax with a clean dish towel. Avoid cheap waxes, they can cause yellowing of the floor.
  11. Wait several hours, then apply a second coat.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do not machine wash the towel you used to apply the floor wax. The wax will leave a residue inside the machine that can damage clothing in subsequent loads.
  • Most of the time, warm water and a mild dish detergent are all you need for routine cleaning of linoleum floors. Other solutions can be harsh and may damage the protective wax coating.
  • If the floor still squeaks, it may be from moisture breaching the linoleum or it may be in the underlayment, subfloor or joists.
  • If you wear shoes on your floor, the squeaking may be the contact between the shoe and the floor and not the floor itself.

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