The easy way to clean no-wax vinyl floors

July 27, 2015

Keeping a no-wax surface clean is the key to keeping it shiny. Here's some easy ways to maintain that pristine look.

The easy way to clean no-wax vinyl floors

Wax-free cleaning basics

  • If you use a one-step "clean and wax" product, be sure to rinse it off thoroughly or it can leave a dulling finish.
  • In time, tiny scratches will inevitably begin to appear, even on the no-wax surface. Renew it by applying a water-based self-polishing wax or a specially formulated vinyl finishes.
  • Most flooring manufacturers produce their own finishes that are sold at flooring retailers and home centres. Apply the dressing only on a well-vacuumed and washed surface.

Getting to know your floor coverings

  • Use the mildest method you can to keep the floor clean, including regular vacuuming and sweeping before dirt gets ground in.
  • When dirt won't come off with a broom or a vacuum, mop with a damp mop that's been dipped in lukewarm water and squeezed half-dry. Rub only enough to get the dirt up.
  • For more stubborn dirt, make a solution of warm water and detergent and apply a small amount to the surface. Wipe wipe away quickly and rinse with a mop dipped in clean water.
  • Be sure to remove all detergent or soap, even if the label doesn't require it.

If all else fails, wax

  • Wax only when washing fails to restore the shine.
  • Wash the floor thoroughly and, when dry, apply a thin coat of self-polishing wax.
  • Regular wax is more protective than one-step wax and clean products, but it'll build up eventually and need to be stripped.
  • Solvent-based polishing wax will not build up, but it does need to be buffed with an electric polisher.

Keep liquid wax from collecting

To keep liquid wax from collecting in any depressed areas, don't pour it directly onto the floor. Instead, apply it from a shallow pan, using a clean, half-dry sponge mop.

Remove old wax annually

  1. Start by soaking and scrubbing your floor with a detergent or wax remover. Take care not to get your floor too wet.
  2. Use a squeegee to strip away the old wax. Make sure to use a squeegee that's made specifically for floor use and not one intended for windows.
  3. Push the dirty residue into an uncleaned area and immediately scoop it into a dustpan and discard.
  4. Finish by damp mopping with clear water, again being careful not to use too much water.

How to get rid of light scratches

  • Light scratches in vinyl can result when you drop a utensil or pull out a chair.
  • While shallow scratches can't be removed, they can be concealed.
  • Start by rubbing the area with a soft cloth moistened with floor wax. Continue the process until the scratches are gone and the area has the same shine as the rest of the floor.

Get curled tiles to flatten out

  1. To flatten a tile that curls slightly at the corners, warm the problem area with a steam iron set on low that's placed on a doubled cotton dish towel or rag.
  2. Move the iron back and forth long enough to soften the adhesive underneath.
  3. Carefully apply fresh adhesive under the curled-up areas or, if needed, under the entire tile.
  4. Wipe away excess adhesive and weigh the tile corners down until the adhesive dries and sets. Heavy books make good weights.

No-wax floors are finished with a a thin film of vinyl or polyurethane to give it that trademark shine. The finish looks good, but it requires a different approach to cleaning. Follow these tips and your floors could look as good as the day they were installed.

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