How to Clean a Linoleum Floor That is Yellowed

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How to Clean Yellowed Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum floors remain attractive and create an elaborate finish that complements most modern spaces. However, linoleum floors can change color due to factors such as exposure to direct sunlight, oxidation, age, poor maintenance, and cleaning habits. However, you don’t have to replace them, you can clean yellowed linoleum flooring.

Mix a cup of vinegar with 2 gallons of water or ¼ cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Apply on the affected area and allow 10-15 minutes before scrubbing with a soft broom. For sensitive flooring surfaces, mix baking soda with lemon juice or allow direct sunshine exposure to get rid of discoloration.

Why is my linoleum floor turning yellow?

The most prominent ingredient in linoleum floors is linseed oil. You can also find various natural materials such as wood dust/flour, cork dusk (and other types of fillers)  within the composition of a standard vinyl sheet.

Why is my linoleum floor turning yellow?
  • Oxidation is a primary cause of yellowing on your linoleum flooring. The surface might undergo color changes to yellow as it ages over time. Luckily, the flooring’s moderate prices make finding an ideal replacement convenient and affordable for most homeowners.
  • Inadequate/excess exposure to sunlight might also cause your linoleum floor to turn yellow.
  • Frequently use of rug on linoleum flooring, can cause an uneven color change/ yellowing on the linoleum flooring surface. Exposure to direct sunlight can help deal with such issues, but it might take a while before you notice any difference.
  • The use of rubber stoppers to protect their flooring from heavy furniture damage, especially during cleaning and moving furniture. However,for a linoleum floor, using rubber might not be such a good idea. Rubber contains antioxidants that react with floor leaving yellow stains that are stubborn to remove entirely.
  • Use of chemical cleaners to clean your flooring may not be a good idea for linoleum flooring. Some chemicals might cause further damage to your floor (which is counterproductive, to say the least).
  • Other causes that could trigger yellowing include the linoleum floor’s age, poor exposure to sunlight, and damage from rubber casings.

Linoleum flooring remains a durable and relatively inexpensive alternative for home improvement. It can last up to 20 yrs on proper care and maintenance.

See More: Pros and Cons of Linoleum Flooring

Can you Bleach and Whiten Yellowed Linoleum?

Bleach can help to get rid of yellowed linoleum and return its attractive allure. However, when using bleach on linoleum floor, dilute with water to prevent adverse effects of bleaching a natural floor surface. Linoleum floors are susceptible to chemical damage since using excessive amounts can harm the floor surface and cause more damage. In addition you may need to polish your floor regularly to prolong its service life and maintain its glistering form. 

Here are ways you can use bleach to clean yellowed linoleum flooring;

  • Use of bleach to whiten a yellowed floor surface is relatively safe and effective. However, use lots of water to dilute the chemical if necessary. Always ensure you wipe it off the floor properly before moving to the next section to prevent sticky floor after mopping.
  • Bleach is good to be used as the final result. Try using natural alternatives before choosing bleach as an option. Some stains are easy to clean and might only require a vinegar and water solution, expose to sunlight, powder detergents, and a lime-baking soda solution.

How to Clean Yellowed Linoleum Flooring

After installing tiles, planks, or sheets of linoleum in different areas of your house for a polished finish. Maintaining prevents dust, dirt, and other contaminants from accruing in your space. It also adds an aesthetic effect to your room, giving it an extra shine. Vinegar, bleach and water, sunshine and baking soda and lemon juice to clean your linoleum flooring.

How to Clean Yellowed Linoleum Flooring

Here is how to clean yellowed linoleum floor;

1.Use a Vinegar Solution

You can clean a yellowing linoleum floor using a vinegar-hot water solution. Vinegar is a safe and natural method of maintaining a yellowing linoleum floor. Its mildly acidic features make it a favorable choice that doesn’t cause additional damage to your flooring.

  • Prepare the floor by cleaning it with a mop or vacuum cleaner beforehand.
  • Mix 1 cup of vinegar (Calyptus Concentrated Vinegar) with 2 gallons of water.
  • Apply the solution on the affected surface and leave it for about 15 min before scrubbing the floor using a soft brush.

Some stains might come off without much effort; others might require more attention. White vinegar is a good choice when cleaning a yellowing linoleum floor. Adding some baking soda can help you eliminate grease and other oil-based contaminants.

2. Use Bleach and Water

Bleach and water solution can help whiten your linoleum floor. It’s chemical solution is effective for removing yellow spots caused by aging and natural oxidation. Most bleaching agents are safe to use (though it’s best to follow manufacturers’ guidelines).

Here is how to use bleach water solution to clen yellowed linoleum floor;

  • Mix a ¼ cup of bleach (Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner) for every gallon of water to create an ideal cleaning solution.
  • Apply the solution on the affected part, leave it for about 10 minutes and scrub using a soft bristle brush.

The chemical is very effective when dealing with stubborn stains and rubber marks on your floor. Bleach can be harsh on your floor surface, especially when exposed to UV light for an extended period. Always ensure you use diluted amounts by adding lots of water.

Take care when bleaching your linoleum floor since its improper bleaching practices damages can be disastrous and difficult to restore once it happens. Rinse the flooring with freshwater after cleaning with bleach.

3. Treat your linoleum floor with sunshine.

Sunlight helps to regulate the color changes on your flooring. Excessive exposure to solar radiation can cause your floor to turn yellow, but inadequate exposure can also lead to similar color changes.

The sun’s UV rays accelerate oxidation on the flooring’s surface. Opening up some windows can help whiten a yellowing linoleum floor to retain color. Sections under furniture, carpets are the most likely to benefit from sun treatments.

Sunlight provides a natural and eco-friendly solution for whitening your linoleum floor. Always ensure the room is spotless before you decide how much light to allow in. Please ensure you regulate the light intensity and duration, paying more focus to the affected areas.

4. Use baking soda and lemon juice to clean your flooring.

Baking soda and lemon juice are effective at cleaning linoleum floors naturally. The mixture is a quick and easy way to remove stubborn yellow spots without damaging your floor’s sensitive surfaces.

  • Start by removing dirt and other debris from your floor with a damp mop to wet the surface.
  • Mix 1 part of baking soda with 2 parts of lemon juice to create a thick paste.
  • Apply it on the affected areas (yellowed spaces) with a soft-bristled brushand leave it for about 35-45 minutes.
  • Scrub the paste with an old toothbrush for 5-10 minutes. This will lift the tough stains. Thoroughly rinse the floor with water and wipe with a damp cloth.

It’s best to form a maintenance routine for best results. Some stains might take more than one wash to remove effectively (and regular cleaning extends the service life of your flooring).

You can use multiple techniques to clean linoluem, but water and ammonia-based cleaners is not recommended. Linoleum is wood and suspectible to water damage, although small amount has no major effects. Always wipe off spillages as soon as they occur and (if you are using water) verify a section is completely dry before moving on.

Conducting regular inspections can help you to identify where your floor is yellowing. Be sure to check under furniture, poorly lit spaces, and high traffic areas for indications of color change. It’s also a good idea to regularly sweep the floor surface (at least once a day) to maintain its glossy effect.

Here a video on how to deep clean linoleum floors;

Deep Clean Linoleum Floors with ClearFinish Solutions Interior Scrub Mitt!

Maintainance tips for linoleum flooring

  • Avoid use of rubber or latex backed rugs on linoleum floors, they do cause ugly yellow stains.
  • Never use ammonia-based cleaners on the linoleum floors, they tend to strip off the polish and damage your flooring.

Read More: Linoleum Vs 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.

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