Picture of a Vinyl Tiled Kitchen Floor, After Cleaning.

Cleaning Vinyl Tiled Kitchen Floors Hints Tips Advice

The following hints, tips, and advice for cleaning kitchen floors of spills, food, grease, and stuck on messes, applies best to vinyl, linoleum, and ceramic surfaces.

If your floor is genuine wood however, these instructions still apply, except that you should minimize water use to prevent wood warping and curling.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Dust Pan
  • Scrub Brush or sponge with scrubbing surface.  Use only brushes with plastic, flexible bristles.  No metal wire brushes or metal scouring pads, as these can seriously scratch your floor.
  • Kneeling Pad
  • Lots of rags.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Floor cleaner liquid.   We clean ours with Spic ‘n’ Span or Mr. Clean floor cleaners.
  • Scrubby sponge; one with a plastic or Nylon scouring side, and a sponge surface on the other for absorbing excess water from the floor during spot cleaning.  Steel wool and metal scouring pads are not recommended, as these can scratch today’s floor surfaces and permanently damage their finishes.  Avoid pads with soap pre added.

Optional Tools & Supplies

  • Fan.  Any fan that moves the air about the kitchen can dramatically speed up the floor drying time.
  • Towels.  If you don’t have the time to wait for the floor to air dry or fan dry after cleaning, use several towels to manually dry it off.
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose and wand.  Useful for getting dirt pieces out from under stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers.  Also extracts dirt from lip edges and underneath the woodwork, where the floor meets the wall.

Cautions and Warnings

Put on appropriate footwear.  Be sure to wear non-skid shoes or slippers.  The smooth, shiny surfaces of many floor styles these days, can become quite slippery when wet.  We recommend rubber-soled shoes with small treads, for maximum surface area contact with the floor, and thus, minimum slippage potential.

Test abrasive and high-strength cleaners first.  If you’re removing tough stains, like tar, paint, and scuff marks, and require a high power cleaners like Goo Gone or Soft Scrub, be sure to test these first, an less visible areas of the floor.  Some cleaners may mar the floor’s glossy finish or discolor it.  Verify in a closet or other, not readily seen area, that your product of choice will not damage your floor first, before you apply it in the high traffic areas.

Minimize walking on wet floors.  Once you apply the water and cleaner solution, try to avoid walking on the wet area anymore than necessary.  This reduces the likelihood that you’ll slip and hurt yourself.

Change bucket water often.  When the water becomes cloudy or dark in color, dump it, refill, and add cleaner to a fresh bucket full.  Larger kitchen floors or those heavily soiled may require as many as six water changes for complete and thorough cleaning.

Rinse floor well.  Though the cleaner we use, the Spic and Span multi-surface floor cleaner, claims to require no rinsing if using it in diluted form, we still mop treated floors with fresh, clean water, to minimize any chances of cleaner buildup and dull appearances.

Avoid applying too much water.  While you want to thoroughly wet the floor for best loosening action of the cleaners, you do not want to FLOOD the place.  A completely wet mop adequately saturates a 3 Ft. X 3 Ft. square area.

Mildly dirty floors may not need detergent.  If your kitchen floor is simply dusty, without showing much stain or sticky spots, a mop soaked in plain water will probably clean it sufficiently.  We like to avoid using any chemicals when not needed.

Floor Cleaning Instructions

1. Remove all clutter.  It’s easiest to clean a floor that is completely free of furniture like kitchen tables and chairs,  rubbish, silverware, and old food containers.  Take this little bit of time up front, to pick up anything that you can from the floor, as this steps saves you much time and effort later on.  You won’t have to mop around things sitting there or move them out of the way during sweeping.

2. Sweep the floor.  Before applying any water or cleaning fluids to the floor, this step removes any loose dirt and dust, and helps keep your bucket of soapy water (used later) cleaner, longer.  You won’t need to dump and refill it as often if you sweep or vacuum the floor first.  We find that the broom works best in this step.  Use the vacuum cleaner and wand to suck up dirt and dry food bits that have collected in corners and where the floor meets the wall.

3. Remove difficult stains, using the procedure below.

4. Mop the floor, first pass.  Thoroughly submerge the mop in the bucket, soaking it completely.  Then, with the mop dripping wet, spread the water over the floor in 3 Ft. X 3 Ft. squares.  Rewet the mop before moving to the next square.

5. Pause for several minutes, to allow the water to loosen any stubborn dirt.

6. Mop the floor, second pass.  This time, ring out the mop before using.  You want to have it as dry as possible, so that it will soak up the wash water currently on the floor from the last pass.  Mop around the entire floor space, absorbing any water puddles.  This step is done when the floor is left damp; not wet.

7. Rinse mop the floor, third pass.  Repeat step 4 above, but use fresh, clean water instead of the detergent solution on the mop.

8. Dry the floor.  If you’re in no hurry, allow the floor to air dry on its own.  This can take up to several hours, and traffic on it should be minimized while it dries, to avoid injury from slipping on the remaining wet spots.  If however, you require more rapid drying, set up an oscillating fan in the kitchen so that it fires across the entire floor area.  The fan can dramatically reduce drying times, perhaps by half.   But the fastest way to dry the clean floor that we’ve found, is to wipe it dry with large bath towels; towels that are too old and warn to use as bath towels, but are structurally still sound enough to use for around-the-house drying jobs like this one.  We lay the towel down on the floor, step on top of it, and slide around the room like you would on a snow slide.

Treating Difficult Spots

Identify problem stain and sticky areas.  These could be spilled sauces and syrups, crushed berries that someone stepped on and ground into the floor crevices, and so on.  Typically, these would not come off just by damp mopping.  Look for these near stoves, refrigerators, and sinks in particular.

Cover Stains with Warm Water.  Go around the kitchen with a bucket of warm to hot, clean water, completely soaking any stains, grime, or dried-on foods you find.  This rehydrates them, and usually facilities simple wiping away after ten minutes or so.

Cover stain with hot, wet rag.  For those dug-in stains and messes, you may have to soak a clean rag, lay it over top of the stain, and let it sit for several hours.  The warm, moist air resulting from the evaporating water in the rag, often unlocks even the most stubborn grub and grime.

Wait ten to twenty minutes.  Allow the water to work its way into these sticky or dirty areas.  Most plant based food stains respond well to this treatment.

Scrub the stubborn spot. This step may require a bit of elbow grease, and that you get down on your hands and knees; thus, a kneeling pad comes in handy here.  Scrub with the sponge, then try the brush if the sponge does not completely lift the grime.  Repeat operating with a grease-cutting dish soap and water solution as needed.  Or, for paint spots, try a shot of Goo Gone citrus cleaner.  Be sure to spot test any cleaners you plan to try, in non visible areas of the floor, and do not apply those to the “production floor” that cause discoloration or dulling of the finish..  Spare swatches of the same flooring are handy.  So where possible, obtain some for your floor if you did not do so when the floor was installed.

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Revision History

  • 2017-03-14: Revised the tags list.
  • 2015-12-22: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-05: Added tags.
  • 2015-09-07: Fixed some typos and added tags.
  • 2015-04-30: Originally published.