How to Clean Vinyl Floors With Ground-In Dirt (Deep Cleaning)

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Vinyl is one of the most popular flooring materials for many homeowners. But why is this? First, vinyl is resistant to both stains and water and therefore easy to clean. Second, vinyl floors are more resistant to scratches. While you can easily keep your vinyl floor clean by vacuuming and sweeping regular dirt, these two popular floor cleaning options are not effective when removing ground-in dirt. Then what’s the best way to clean vinyl floors with ground-in dirt?

You can clean vinyl floors with ground-in dirt through deep cleaning. Use a putty knife to scrape up paint or gum from the floor. Be gentle when scrapping to avoid damaging the vinyl floor. For stubborn stains such as fruit juice, tomato sauce, lipstick, blood, or ink, a baking soda paste will work wonders. Apply the paste on the stained areas of the floor with a sponge, then rub it gently until the stains disappear.

Apart from the baking soda paste option, there are many other ingredients you can use to make homemade floor cleaner for ground-in dirt. If you don’t want to use homemade ground-in dirt cleaners, you can purchase an industrial vinyl floor cleaner.

Signs of a Really Dirty Vinyl Floor

1. Muddy floors

During the rainy season, excessive amounts of water can weaken the soil in your yard. Walking or stepping over that loosened soil can form mud, which is then transported to the floors by the shoes. You will see signs of mud around your floor in the form of wet soils. Removing dirt from the vinyl floor is not a straightforward task. Pick the mud with a broom and place it in the dustpan. Then mop the floor using plain oil soap and a mop.

2. Floor discoloration 

Floor discoloration is another tell-tale sign that your vinyl floor is really dirty. Grime, dirt, and oils move to the lowest layers of vinyl floorboards. The accumulation of these dirt elements eventually shows up on the surface of the vinyl floors as permanent discolored spots. Usually, deep cleaning will remove the dirt but it cannot return the boards into their original state. Once the dirt is removed through deep cleaning, the floor needs to be refinished for a new and fresh look.

3. Stains around floor edges

Stains on the grout are another sign that your vinyl floor is really dirty. Usually, vinyl flooring benefits from routine scrubbing and mopping. But over time, the stains accumulate on the seems that can’t be removed through routine cleaning. A stained floor is an indication that the floor needs a deep cleaning as well as refinishing.

Regardless of the extent of dirt on your floor, the most common problem among homeowners is waiting too long to remove the dirt and clean the dirt. It’s therefore important to have a floor cleaning and maintenance plan in place.

How to Clean Vinyl Floors With Ground-In Dirt

You can quickly get rid of ground-in dirt from the vinyl floor without a bunch of scrubbing. Two things you need to make your vinyl floor look new again include an old washcloth or towel and steam iron. Follow these steps below:

  • Wet the towel or washcloth and ring it out
  • Then fill up the steam iron with water, set it on the lowest setting, and then wait for the steam iron to heat up.
  • Meanwhile spread the wet towel or washcloth over the ground-in dirt area.
  • Run the heated iron (running on the lowest setting) over the wet towel or washcloth you spread for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t leave the hot iron over the same spot as this may overheat the vinyl.
  • Stop running the iron and remove the towel from the floorboards. Because when removing the towel because it will be hot.

The towel will soak up the ground in dirt and grime, leaving your vinyl floor spotlessly clean. If there is ground-in dirt remaining on the floor, repeat the process once again. You will get your vinyl floors clean again in just a few minutes.

Does Deep Cleaning Remove Embedded Dirt from Vinyl Flooring?

Deep cleaning can remove embedded dirt from vinyl flooring, restoring the floor’s natural beauty. To remove embedded dirt from vinyl through deep cleaning, you will need a multi-surface floor cleaner together with some floor cleaning agents.

Multi-surface floor cleaners are available in a wide variety of formulas to suit your floor cleaning needs. Using these products provides not only removes embedded dirt but also allergens, leaving your vinyl floors looking great.

Apply the cleaner into the embedded dirt and leave it for two to three minutes to soak the dirt. Use a clean sponge or towel to wipe the dirt out of the vinyl floorboards. Repeat the process once again to remove any remaining dirt. Leave the cleaner to stand for more than 30 minutes during the second application. Once all embedded dirt is removed, use a soft nylon brush or any brush with crimped flagged-tip bristles to wipe-clean your vinyl floors.

If you don’t want to purchase a multi-surface floor cleaner, you can use additional remedies instead. Some of the effective traditional remedies you can use to remove embedded dirt include alcohol paste, homemade nail polish removers, and mineral spirit paste. Apply a small amount of these traditional remedies on your vinyl floor and leave them to sit on the floor for 5 to 10 minutes.

How to Prevent Deep Stains on Vinyl Floors

1. Regular mopping

Mop your vinyl floor at least two times a week with a clean mop. Make sure to rinse the floor with clean water every time you mop the floor. Leave the floor to dry before you allow any form of traffic.

2. Wipe up water spills

Water spillage, especially hard water spills, can cause watermark stains to form on the surface of the vinyl floor. Always use a soft towel or sponge to wipe any water that spills on the vinyl floorboards.

3. Using rugs and mats

Place rugs or mats on the vinyl floors especially in areas that are prone to water spillage or water splashing such as near tubs and sinks. Rugs or mats absorb water that settles on the floor, preventing watermark stains from forming.

4. Take maximum caution

Poop, vomit, pet urine, food spoilage, blood, ink, and water spills are the main cause of deep stains on the vinyl floors. Always take precautionary measures to minimize spills. Otherwise, remove any deep stains from the vinyl floor as soon as you notice them.

5. Avoid wearing shoes indoor

Another sure way to prevent deep stains on vinyl floors is by removing your shoes before stepping on the floor. The soles of your shoes not only accelerate wear and tear but can also move dirt from outside to your house.

6. Clean your home from top to bottom

Use a squeegee mop to clean your home, especially the bathroom walls from top to bottom. Alternatively, you can use a wet towel to remove any moisture from the walls. Cleaning the walls prevents soap scum accumulation and hard water stains from staining vinyl flooring.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

1 thought on “How to Clean Vinyl Floors With Ground-In Dirt (Deep Cleaning)”

  1. We have a lot of square feet of vinyl flooring pets a lot of dirt coming in, big job when it comes to mopping. I have ground in dirt you can see it in the grain. Is there anything out there that is a broom/stick cleaner I can safely use. I know steam moos are a no no has floor not sealed. In choosing a stick mop what are the things to watch for has not to damage floor. I have 1800 sq feet of floor it takes hours to mop and ground in dirt still there.


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