How To Make Vinyl Plank Floors Shine

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
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how to make vinyl plank floors shine

Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent way to get the look of hardwood floors at an affordable price. They’re also durable, many types of vinyl floors are waterproof, and they’re easy to maintain. But if you don’t take care of them, they can get dull over time. Luckily, it’s easy to make vinyl plank floors shine like new.

Clean vinyl floors and remove old polish before applying a new polish solution. Use an appropriate polish for vinyl floors, avoiding harsh chemicals like ammonia-based cleaners. Or make your own solution using baking soda, vinegar, or isopropyl alcohol.

Avoid using a steam cleaner on vinyl floors, as the mixture of moisture and heat could cause damage and void any warranties.

Are your floors making you want to visit your nearest flooring store? If your vinyl plank floors are starting to look a bit dull, but are otherwise in good shape, don’t replace them. They just need a little bit of extra attention and polishing to bring back their shine.

Why Do My Vinyl Floors Look Dull?

When you first installed your vinyl plank floors, you likely oohed and aahed at their clean and shiny appearance. But as with many things, if you don’t take care of them properly, vinyl floors will start to lose their luster over time.

It’s important to regularly clean your floors to keep them looking like new. If you have vinyl plank flooring in high-traffic areas of your home, regular maintenance is even more crucial.

Vinyl floors can also look dull if you neglect to rinse them properly after cleaning. Soap residue left behind builds up on floors and creates a dull appearance.

We’ll look at the best ways to take care of your vinyl plank flooring in a bit. But first, here are the steps you need to bring back the shine.

How Do You Make Vinyl Plank Floors Shiny?

Don’t let your dull floors bring you down. With just a few simple supplies and a little elbow grease, your floors can look like new.

1. Prep Your Floors

Before you start the process of shining your vinyl plank floors, prep the area. Get some friends to help you move furniture out of the way. If you can, it’s ideal to clear the room so you can polish all your floors at once and let them dry.

2. Gather Supplies To Shine Vinyl Plank Flooring

To shine up your vinyl plank floors, you need a soft-bristled blush, a cotton or sponge mop, and a vacuum. You also need clean water, apple cider vinegar, baby or mineral oil, and some dish soap. If your floors currently have polish on them, you’ll also need an appropriate floor stripper solution.

To polish the floors, you will need a polishing solution appropriate for vinyl flooring, or you can use some basic household items. If going with a DIY option, you’ll need to choose between baking soda, vinegar, or isopropyl alcohol.

3. Remove Old Finish From Your Vinyl Floors

If your floors don’t have any type of finish, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll need to strip the floors before you can bring back their luster.

First, vacuum the floor to remove any dust or debris. Alternatively, you can use a dry mop. You’re only trying to pick up particles and dust, so there’s no need to use a wet mop yet.

Next, use a dry mop to apply a thin layer of floor stripper solution according to the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure you choose a solution that is suitable for vinyl floors.

Let it sit for between 5 and 10 minutes before scrubbing the floors. After scrubbing up the old finish, use a wet mop to get rid of any lingering residue.

4. Clean The Floors

If you didn’t need to do step two, you would start here by vacuuming or dry mopping up any dust and debris. Otherwise, you’re picking up where you left off on step two with wet mopping.

Expect to do two rounds of wet mopping. For the first, fill a bucket with 1.5 gallons of hot water and add one cup of apple cider vinegar. If you’re working with particularly dirty spots, add a few drops of dish soap.

Mop the floors, rinse your mop, and prepare a new cleaning bucket for the second round. Once again, fill the bucket with 1.5 gallons of water and mix in one cup of apple cider vinegar. But this time, add several drops of baby oil or mineral oil. Mop the floors once again, then let them dry.

5. Get Ready To Polish Your Vinyl Plank Floors

It’s vital to choose a polish that is intended for vinyl floors. Avoid using solvent or wax-based polishes. Using harsh cleaners and chemicals can strip away your floor’s protective layer, making it more susceptible to scratches, stains, and damage.

Read the labels carefully and always follow the instructions on the label. However, if you don’t want to use a commercial polish, you can make your own at home. You have a few options for DIY polishes to consider: baking soda, vinegar, or isopropyl alcohol.

6. Apply Your Polish Of Choice

No matter which type of method you choose to polish your floors, make sure your floor can handle it. Spot-test a small area of your floor first to make sure it holds up well to your chosen polish. Choose an inconspicuous spot, in a corner, or a similar out- of-the-way area.

Here are your primary options when it comes to making vinyl plank flooring shine.

  • Commercial polish — Follow the directions on the label. It’s important to look for solutions designed for vinyl plank floors and ones that won’t leave a film over time. Otherwise, it’s counter-productive, since this film can end up making your floors appear dull.
  • Baking soda — Fill a bucket with one gallon of warm water and mix in four tablespoons of baking soda. Dissolve the baking soda completely, then use a damp mop to spread the solution onto the floor. After about 10 minutes, use a clean wet mop to rinse the floor. Repeat rinsing until you no longer see any baking soda residue.
  • Vinegar — Mix ½ cup of vinegar, a few drops of mineral or baby oil, and a tablespoon of dish soap in one gallon of water. Apply the solution to the floor using a mop, then rinse with a clean mop.
  • Isopropyl alcohol — Combine four tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in a small bucket of warm water. Damp mop the floor using the mixture.

After applying the polish of your choice according to the above methods, let your floor air dry completely. Don’t replace any rugs or furniture pieces until the floor is dry. Likewise, avoid walking on your floors as much as possible while they’re still wet.

Tips For Taking Care Of Vinyl Plank Floors

To maintain your vinyl floor’s shine as long as possible, take care of your floors using these tips.

Protect Your Vinyl Floors

Vinyl floors are very resilient, but that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to damage. Follow these tips to keep your floors in tip-top shape.

  • Place doormats by exterior entries to limit the amount of muck that ends up on your floors.
  • Use rubber or felt pads on the bottom of furniture to minimize scratches, dents, and tears on your floors.
  • Avoid dragging heavy furniture across your floors. Try furniture sliders or enlist the help of friends to lift furniture.

Clean Vinyl Floors Correctly

There’s a right way and wrong way to clean vinyl floors. Use these tips to clean your floors like a pro.

  • Never use abrasive cleaners or materials like steel wool. 
  • It’s also best to avoid using steam cleaners on vinyl plank floors. The combination of heat and moisture can lead to damage and also possibly void any warranties in place.
  • Regularly sweep or vacuum your floors to remove dust and other small particles. 
  • Use mild cleansers like the ones mentioned above when mopping and cleaning your vinyl floors.
  • Always rinse floors with a clean, wet mop after using any type of soap or cleanser. If you let floors dry with these cleansers in place, it can lead to residue build-up. This build-up will contribute to the dull appearance you’re trying to prevent.
  • Wipe up spills immediately and take care of any stains promptly. Whenever possible, do not let spills dry on your vinyl floors. A paste of baking soda and water can help remove certain stubborn stains.
  • Don’t use mops with attached scrubbers. A soft sponge or cotton mop is your best option. In a pinch, a Swiffer WetJet works too, just don’t use the pads that have the built-in scrubber strips.

Don’t Put Unnecessary Solutions On Your Vinyl Floors

Most newer vinyl flooring does not require waxing, and you should avoid applying wax to them. Therefore, make sure you know the specifications of your floors.

If you have older floors that came with a wax finish, then you might need to wax them regularly to maintain their shine. Follow the recommendations of your floor’s manufacturer.

However, always rinse your floors after cleaning them with soap, even if they have a protective wax layer. The soap will still build up over time and lead to a dull finish.

Make Your Vinyl Plank Floors Shine

Your vinyl plank floors can look like new again with a few easy steps to bring back their shine. Remove any old polish with a floor stripper, and clean your floors using warm water and apple cider vinegar. If things are really grimy, add some dish soap for extra cleaning power.

Once you clean the floors, you can add the polish solution of your choice. If you choose a commercial option, ensure it’s for vinyl floors. Follow the directions carefully.

Or you can use baking soda, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol to make your vinyl plank floors shiny. Make sure always to rinse any cleanser or solutions thoroughly and let your floors dry well before using them.

To help maintain your floor’s shiny appearance, regularly clean them, wipe up spills immediately, and avoid harsh chemicals. By following these simple tips and keeping up with regular care, your floors will shine like new.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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