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lizjoybook

Luxury vinyl plank floors impossible to keep clean. Any advice?

3 years ago

We installed luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout our entire house. We have a 15 month old and pets. However much I try, I can never seem to get the floors clean.. After hours of cleaning, I seem to always end up with a dirty pad or cloth when I do a final check.

I have tried so many different things and combinations. We have 3 robot vacuums we use daily (with micro cloths and mop options - we change filters regularly). I have used all of the following- Dyson animal stick vacuum, Bissell steam mop, Bissell Spinweave, Swiffer heavy duty pet dry and/wet clothes, Clorox disinfectant clothes, old school mop and buckets (one for clean mop, one for dirty)... I change the pads and water constantly.. I have gone with the grain, against the grain, the 8 pattern.. and have bought every cleaner suitable for vinyl. *My husband gets nauseous by the smell of vinegar so that is not an option.

If anyone has any recommendation, I desperately need advice.

Comments (46)

  • 3 years ago

    Contact the manufacturer. If there is a problem with the flooring they will send out a representative. You will also be asked what products you used in addition to recommended cleaning products and methods. Don’t be shy about asking people to remove their shoes at the door, especially if you have a small child.

    lizjoybook thanked Valinta
  • 3 years ago

    OK...first thing first: throw the steam cleaner away or reserve it for stone, ceramic or cement tiles. Vinyl HATES heat so please don't use that one again.


    What you have discovered is rigid floors have dust and dirt sitting on them. Always. This is normal. Nothing new here. The 'dirty' mop heads just tell me your cleaning methods are leaving dirty WATER behind.


    Remember: water evaporates but the MUD (dissolved dirt) in the water does not. Therefore if you keep showing a dirty mop head then the cleaning is leaving dirty water behind.


    The best method: cleaner + rinse + rinse + rinse + SHOP VAC. Yep. You need to REMOVE the water off the floor BEFORE it dries. You can use a shop-vac or you can use the towel-dry method (hands and knees).


    Because these are vinyl planks floors I do NOT recommend heavy amounts of water (standing water is not something recommended for these floors...sometimes the water makes it past the joints and starts to soak into the subfloor).


    One of those wet-vacuums that pushes hot water (not steam) onto the surface and then VACUUMS IT UP on the backwards pass would be a good idea. You need to get the dirty water OFF the floor.


    And as an aside...a stone, ceramic or cement tile floor would do this as well. And a wood floor as well (but wood doesn't get this amount of water on it). This is the life of a hard-surface floor. It isn't the floor that has a problem. All floors get this dirty...it is simply our perception of the dirt that gets us upset.


    If you wish to work with swiffer products (wet clothes) you need to remember the pads are good for 100sf (10ft x 10ft of surface area). A 300sf kitchen (big kitchen) will require 3-4 pads.

    lizjoybook thanked SJ McCarthy
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  • 3 years ago

    Thanks so much for your advice. Yes, I tried the steamer first and went through so many pads.. when you google how to clean vinyl this is the first thing that pops up. After reading more articles I realized that steam can ruin the finish and it also did not get the floor clean. I now just use the handheld portion of the steamer for cleaning other surfaces.


    I have done the mop with several rinses and always keep one bucket for dirty mop, one bucket to dip dirty mop in and then rinse with fresh water.


    I was hoping running the robot vacuums daily, using Swiffer clothes (which I only use daily in high traffic areas and change frequently .. they becomes so expensive.. I use 3 in our small kitchen).. and deep cleaning/mopping weekly would be enough.


    I will definitely try using our wet/dry vac after rinsing multiple times.


    We installed these floors for low maintenance when I was pregnant.. We thought they would be easy to clean... liked that they were waterproof, had padding, were scratch proof and came with a lifetime warranty :(


    Thanks so much for you advice!




  • 3 years ago

    I definitely don’t allow shoes in the house and have limited the area of our home where our pets are allowed. I think it is a good idea to reach out to the manufacturer.. it really shouldn’t be this difficult to keep our floors clean... and I have spent so much on so many different cleaning solutions and devices.

  • 3 years ago

    Flooring comp told me use hot water to clean lvp.

  • 3 years ago

    My vinyl floors are deeply grooved and I find them difficult to clean. Sweeping does not do the trick as the dirt is trapped in the grooves. So, it's a two-part process - vacuum, then damp mop. Very disappointed. I'd much rather have hardwood.


  • 3 years ago

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one with this problem! it’s just my husband and I with two dogs. The luxury vinyl plank kitchen floor is washed 2-3 times a week and yet I never have a clean mop head. However, my hardwood floors are washed less often and the mop head is not even close to as dirty as when I mop the kitchen. We rarely wear shoes in the house. i can’t understand why there’s such a difference. since you originally post this nine months ago, have you found a solution?

  • 3 years ago

    Slippers. Your feet probably are leaving oils (even in socks) that are able to 'grab' dust/dirt. Kitchens are considered 'high traffic' areas and will get as dirty as a 'mud room' entrance.


    One way you can achieve a 'cleaner' floor = hand wipe the floors instead of letting their air dry.


    Remember: Water evaporates...dirt/dust/mud/skin oils do NOT. If you towel dry them, you will find they get/stay MUCH cleaner...simply because you are picking up the dirt you thought you had mopped up.

  • 3 years ago

    SJ McCarthy, thanks for the response. i’ve never thought of towel drying the floors but will definitely do that tomorrow.

  • 2 years ago

    A few teaspoons of ammonia in a bucket of water and dry with towel. I stand on a towel and dry the floor by sliding it around. Great exercise!

  • 2 years ago

    I had a rustic looking vinyl plank flooring in a home and it never looked dirty. I just loved it. Now, I bought some for my current home and it's a white color and it's very difficult to keep clean. I'm pretty sorry I have it to be honest with you.

  • 2 years ago

    I just replaced all the ”luxury“ vinyl flooring in my kitchen and laundry. There was nothing luxury about it unless scrubbing with a bristle brush on hands and knees is luxurious!? Dirt was always embedded in the grooves of this flooring. It was a nasty floor and I bid it good riddance….

  • 2 years ago

    We have no kids nor pets nor do we wear shoes in our house, yet our LVP floors are dusty all the time. I have vacuumed, swiffered, mopped, used vinegar solution, special Bona cleaning liquid for vinyl flooring, etc, and can never get the floors clean. Then on a whim, I bought a chenille mop pad, using the chenille side to dry mop and the other side to wet mop. The dry mopping picked up so much dust and hair, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I wet mopped the floors and just rinsed the mop pad under running water. The mop pad was hardly dirty. I have since tried a few types of chenille mop pads and I find that the ones with the fatter and longer tendrils on the chenille side work best. Hope this helps.

  • 2 years ago

    @HU-876365681 That makes a lot of sense.

  • last year

    I HIGHLY recommend the Norwex mop system with a chenille pad, and not just because I sell them! LoL. Rather, it’s WHY I sell them!! They are designed to use just water and they clean any hard surface, removing dirt and even bacteria. And microsilver in the fibers prevents the mop (and all their other microfiber products) from getting stinky!

  • last year

    So happy or sad to hear someone else has the same problem cleaning the luxury vinyl floors, we have tried everything as you have. I am ready to pull it up and refinish my 80 year old subfloors or go with vintage vinyl sheet flooring. I think the gray color of my luxury vinyl tiles comes off, no way my floors are that dirty, I have been washing each tile by hand and the towels are the same gray color after I am done. I have all the norwex mopping supplies as well, same problem.

  • last year

    I am glad to hear I am not alone on this issue. We just built a brand new home in a new development and I am going crazy trying to clean this floor. I finally got to the point where "dirt" is not coming off on my cloths anymore after scrubbing on my hands and knees because I have washed it so often so I finally thought I turned a corner. Nope!! Still looks terrible - blotchy and dirty looking. Absolutely nothing luxury about it.


  • last year
    last modified: last year

    We used some stuff recommended by the manufacturer after years of struggling to get the dirt out of the grained surface. It dilutes down with water. Came in set of 3. The first bottle mixed with water is you poured on the floor and you use a scourer type pad (on a pole) to lift the dirt and leave it to soak for 5 mins. Then you have to wash it off, till the water runs clear. And that really brings off all the stuff that collects in the grained surface. Next you use another solution to seal the floor. There is a 3rd bottle that is for everyday use. I must say the floor looked like new, but.... the sealer doesn't prevent it getting just as dirty, so the whole process has to be repeated at regular intervals. The every day cleaner doesn't seem to stop it getting dirty. The stuff is made by Polyflor in a kit of the 3 bottles. Polyflor Cleaning Kit For Luxury Vinyl Tiles. Karndean also do the same thing. Just Google it. Needless to say, I would never install this flooring again unless it was dark colour!

  • last year

    Sharon can I ask please where did you purchase the Polyflor Cleaning Kit? I have looked online without any luck. Thank you.

  • last year

    Sharon: I have the dark floor and it is no better! Reading all the comments here makes me feel better about the fact that it is not my cleaning process but now I regret installing it!!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    So this past week I have tried something different that I learned from Clean My Space - an amazing youtuber. She suggested vinegar, warm water (about half and half) a drop of dawn or whatever dish soap you have and a bit of rubbing alcohol to help the floor dry quickly. She has a great mop she uses but I think a flat microfibre mop of any kind likely works (its what I used). I vacuum first (do not use a rug roller brush) and then washed the floor. It definitely looks better. Will keep at it and report back in the future.


  • last year

    I have Coretec Springfield Oak Vinyl floors and they are IMPOSSIBLE to clean. I vacuum then mop then use a Coretec cleaner with a spray mop and I can’t seem to get it clean. My dog’s saliva leaves spots on the ground and they are so hard to remove. We just built our home and feeling like we made a bad choice. Will try what they comment above suggested. I tried to take pictures of it but my phone can’t capture how they look. But it’s apparent in person, especially when the outside light is hitting the floor.

  • last year

    This is exactly my experience. When the light hits the floor you see every place where someone has stepped with socks on or bare feet and any little drop of water. We too had these installed in our new home and wish we could turn back the clock. Fighting with the Builder is painful but we won't give up. The cleaning I am using does help get the dirt out though (see above comment) but the floor still looks "lifeless". I miss my old hardwoods.....

  • last year

    Well you have a sense of humor anyway. LOL

  • last year

    HU-288361299

    I can tell by your handle that you are not a taciturn type of person but appreciated your post – thought it was HILARIOUS!

  • last year

    I have the same issue. I think some of the problem is static electric. I we could reduce the static then less dirt and dust clinging to floor?

  • last year

    Problem is the fake grain cut into the vinyl. It holds dirt. Wish I had never bought this flooring. There is just my wife and I. We have tried everythin including hiring professional cleaners. Don’t buy this flooring!

  • 12 months ago

    I only see one comment above (Lorrie Blackwell) who states what I suspect: the “stain” on the floors is coming up, it’s not dirt. Or not all dirt anyway. I’ve experimented on the corners of the floor where no foot traffic goes and it always pulls up grey and dingy. I don’t think this is dust, the rest of my furniture does not have a constant state of grey dust on it. No shoes in our house and one 10 pound dog, she doesn’t walk along the sides and corners of the floor.
    I can’t find articles on vinyl floor “giving off” the stain but that is my suspicion. It seems like you would eventually get past that level of stain but it just keeps on showing up. I have heard of studies that luxury vinyl gives off harmful gases so this could be in line with that. I have a small space so I’m ready to rip out the vinyl and go back to real hardwood.

  • 11 months ago

    I was hoping for some real help to clean my vinyl plank floors but all I hear are manufacturers excuses as to why they are so difficult. I have been cleaning my own home for over 60 years and never had a problem until these floors were installed by the builder in my new home. Hoping they just end up peeling off the floor then I can replace them.

  • 11 months ago

    Class Action law suit anyone?

  • 10 months ago

    SOOOOO disappointed in our new floor.

  • 10 months ago

    Has anyone solved the problem with a steam cleaner? I've heard you can use one if you don't leave it on the spot too long. Thought with all those crevices you might lift the dirt up with it?

    I'd like to try if someone else has had success.

    Thank you,

    Jill

  • 10 months ago

    Do you think it has something to do with the brand? I forgot the brand we , but I don't have that problem. Well, maybe sometimes. Maybe I just don't pay much attention to the floors. I was told to use only the cleaning solution that the manufacturer suggested, which is so pricey. And not to use vinegar water solution, and steam is a no-no.

  • 9 months ago

    Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Applying a NeverStrip Micron Sealer to your LVP will not only protect the factory-applied urethane but also give you a much easier-to-clean and maintain surface, that never requires stripping. https://www.neverstrip.com/

  • 9 months ago

    I was surprised when people - many people - decided to install luxury vinyl plank floors, mostly because I dislike "fake" anything, especially wood.


    But I am not surprised that fake wood floors are impossible to keep clean...although I suspect that a lot of the "dirt" coming off the floors is actually the ink coming off the fake wood. Not sure which is worse.


    Perhaps clean, let dry, and then wax, just as was done with old vinyl tiles floors? After all, LVP is just an expensive version of vinyl tile.

  • 9 months ago

    LVT/LVP is sold as a low-maintenance floor. Applying conventional floor finish will greatly increase the maintenance, not to mention, wax yellows and holds soil. A Micron Sealer allows for much easier maintenance and eliminates the issues associated with "wax."


  • 9 months ago

    The 'ink' is printed on a vinyl layer. Then, a 12-40mil clear layer of vinyl sheet is applied over the printed picture. Lastly a topcoat of urethane forms a hard surface. There's zero chance the ink is coming up through those layers.

  • 8 months ago

    I think this is a problem with any kind of flooring. I just change my wash bucket frequently and I don't obsess about the rest. My carpet is the same way. We have a strong carpet shampooer and it's amazing what comes out of the carpet. I did it over and over until the water is almost clear. Then I realized I could have OCD if I didn't stop. Remember, everyone's house is probably as "dirty" as yours and ignore it. Enjoy life!

  • PRO
    7 months ago

    I have read through every comment on this thread and can I first say y’all are COMMITTED. There is some major cleaning going on. I just moved into a home with LVP and I love it. I was looking for a simple all natural cleaner suggestion and then I stumbled into this group. You guys practically have pitchforks in hand, ready to burn the house down of LVP. I understand where you’re coming from. When I didn’t have any furniture in my home, I could see where the mop I use (a Tineco mop and vacuum combo that is amazing) and it bothered me. Might I suggest an easier solution. Buy a LOT of rugs. Cover your living room, dining room, bedrooms and bathroom in rugs and you’ll never see the stuff left by cleaning. The rugs protect the floor and leave very little LVT for you to see. You can vacuum the rugs. I’m an interior designer and this is what I’ve done and it solved the problem. Then just do quarterly or bi-yearly cleaning of the floors under the rugs and put the rugs back down—problem solved. There are a lot of inexpensive options for rugs out there as well. Sanity restored! Good luck y’all.

  • 7 months ago

    I’ve had issues with lvp flooring attracting black scuff lines…So annoying and difficult to clean. Laminate don’t seem to do this

  • 7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    NeverStrip Vinyl Seal- NeverStrip.com

  • 7 months ago


    You can't change the characteristics of the factory-applied urethane without "changing the urethane." In other words, you need to apply a Micron Sealer to the LVt/LVP. Your floor will look better, it will be easier to clean and keep clean, you'll protect the urethane, it will be easy to refresh, and it will NEVER require stripping!

    NeverStrip.com


  • 6 months ago

    I preface this reply by saying that it may step on some toes and is not for the easily offended...


    Think of your floor cleaning like your teeth cleaning: you can brush, floss, and gargle on your own to your heart's delight. But at the end of the day, it can't replicate the cleaning performed by a hygienist in the dentist office.


    In other words, you need to have a professional cleaning company periodically clean your vinyl floors. I know, most of you DYIers had it installed to get away from carpet, tile, and other flooring that has traditionally required professionals to maintain. Truth is, you DO NOT own the equipment needed to get these floors, particularly the ones with a textured profile, completely clean like they were prior to install. And while the flooring companies didn't outright lie to you (calling it low maintenance rather than no maintenance), they certainly led you astray by letting you to believe that a little hot water or their overpriced, product-specific cleaner was all you needed.


    So, find a reputable local cleaner to professionally clean your LVP floors. Got kids and dogs? Do you go barefoot or wear outdoor shoes in the house? Get your floors professionally cleaned every single year. The rest of you? Every 2-3 years. In the meantime, stop using steam. Stop using acidic (vinegar) and high ph (ammonia) products. Dump the bleach, Murphy's Oil Soap, Rejuvenate, Bona, Mop n Glow, Orange Glo, and all types of polishes. Only use a neutral cleaner in between professional cleanings.


    Oh, and those area rugs you put down to cover up the unsightliness of your floors? They're likely voiding your flooring warranty (probably not a big deal because many have already done so with their unapproved cleaning methods and lifestyle).

  • 5 months ago

    Just got off my knees after scrubbing my lvp floor. I use a carpet cleaner to suck up all the dirty water and go over it with clean water. I have also banned shoes in the house. I do it every so often and hope for the best. Certainly not the easiest floor to keep clean but beats carpet. I have covered a lot of it with rugs so I have less to scrub.

  • 3 months ago

    So, I'm confused! If LVP is so impossible to clean, why is it so popular?