We’re tackling another part of the kitchen today. Usually we are talking about food and recipes. Today we’re talking about something a little lower. We’re talking about that thing you don’t want anyone to notice – the old and grungy kitchen linoleum that won’t come clean no matter what you do, except if you use harsh nasty chemicals that make you want to stop breathing. Today we’re talking about how to clean your linoleum without all those chemicals.
I have this linoleum floor that slowly but surely has been creeping up on me. It kind of happened so slowly that age definitely seemed to be playing a role. Then one day I cleaned and waxed it, hoping that would make it better, but it didn’t. If anything, 2 weeks later it looked so much worse. It was appalling.
I’m allergic to ammonia. Really, who isn’t? So my last ditch effort would be a fallback on ammonia while wearing a gas mask and hoping I don’t inhale a few too many fumes at any point. Warning you now, this is not a “how to clean linoleum easily” kind of post. It’s going to require some elbow grease but I promise you, it’s worth it. You also want to make sure you are wearing old pants that can be “yucked up”. I decided my first try was going to be with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Aren’t they the miracle cleaner for almost anything? So glad that did the trick.
Steps to Strip Linoleum Naturally
- I made a thick paste with vinegar and baking soda – around 1 box of baking soda to enough vinegar to make a thick paste.
- I then added water to thin it just a little. You want it to have a thick gunky texture.
- Apply this paste to the floor – yup, the whole floor. You can use a sponge or your hand. I wore gloves.
- Once you are finished applying the gunk, go back over the floor with a heavy duty bristled scrub brush, rubbing in circular motion.
- Fill a bucket with hot water and using a rag, go over the floor, cleaning up the gunk and grime. You may need to use the scrubber on a few spots. Occasionally refill bucket with clean hot water.
- Finally, mop the floor with clean hot water. At this point you can wax the floor if that is what you wish.
With just a little elbow grease and TWO simple household ingredients your linoleum will look like new, or a whole lot better than it did anyway.
Thank you! I’m a housekeeper and the owner asked me to deep scrub the floors. My other housekeeper friend Said to use bleach and I almost cried. So thankful there is another solution.
You’re welcome. Have you had a chance to use this method yet? I hear you on the bleach. I can’t stand it. Plus, I think the owner will appreciate the house not smelling of it.
I have used mop n glow in the past, I am trying to get it off my floor and having no luck! Some parts of the floor are cleaning but others are not. My floor looks like it had a bad sunburn!!!! Help!!!
Hi Lindsey! I am so sorry. That is miserable. Have you tried all the steps I laid out above?
After applying your recommended solution, i used my carpet shampooer, rinsed with hot,hot water. I agree to never use mop&glow, it leaves a yellow finish. I only use Holloway House floor finish with damp sponge mop.
Great to know it worked and your additional tips!
I need to remove hair dye from my linoleum floor. Any suggestions?
I read your tips and used them for what I had on hand
I used Mean Green degreaser just a bit diluted & sprinkled expired baking soda onto the floor & used a handled scrub brush to clean. It really did the trick. Then I mopped the floor with hot water until the floor was shiny! Took about an hour.
Thanks for sharing your tips and results. It sure takes work but it’s so worth it.
When my floor is real dirty I use a SOS at the same time as rubbing with the vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and a bit of Lysol. works like a charm and with the SOS it makes it easier since you don’t have to scrub as much.
Great tip! Thank you.
What type of wax would you use on the floor after doing this? I have never cleaned linoleum floors and a house we just bought has linoleum floors in the kitchen and baths.
I use plain old Mop ‘n Glo. I haven’t actually looked at different options although I would like something more natural. I will see what other options I find that look good and add them to the post.
please do not use mop n glo. the wax in that will only last a short time and lead to more upkeep and elbow grease. Zep makes a number of floor waxes as well as Treewax.
Thanks so much for that tip. I have been trying to avoid Mop ‘n Glo since I wrote this post. FI forgot I mentioned it in a comment. Just like you said, it is temporary and the floor ended up looking so bad not too much later. It was a lot of work to get it all off too. I will have to check out Treewax.
Do you use regular white vinegar or do you Apple cider vinegar?
I use regular white vinegar. It’s cheaper and does the same job. You could use apple cider vinegar if you wanted to though.
I have not tried this but may give it a whirl on the grungiest parts of my kitchen floor to see if it does any better than what I normally do. I use Fels Naptha soap – bucket of water, scrub brush & a bar of soap, dip the brush in the bucket to get it wet, drag it across the soap, aiming the soap spritz at the floor & scrub. Mop it up with a sponge – But you are right, there is no easy way to clean a floor! You gotta get down there & do it by hand!
Great tip. Thank you. I will give your method a try and compare the two also.
I just did this to my old floors. It works. My floors are shiny-shiny. But I need a vacation after all that. Whew!
Thanks so much for letting me know it worked for you. CRAZY hard and tiring, isn’t it?! But those floors look so good it’s worth it.