Linoleum is strong but surprisingly soft underfoot.

How to Restore Linoleum

by M.T. Wroblewski

Like a buried treasure, it's often found under a layer of carpet: linoleum, that durable flooring often mistaken for vinyl. Linoleum can take a pounding, literally, but even it has limitations, especially if it's been neglected. Your linoleum may be yellowed, covered with glue stains or simply look dingy and dirty, but the condition isn't necessarily a life sentence. Give old linoleum a shot in the arm by mixing up a strong cleaning solution to restore it to its youthful luster.

1 Vacuum the linoleum first, even if you don't see visible signs of dirt. If your linoleum has crevices, chances are good that dust and dirt have found their way there.

2 Strip old wax residue from the linoleum with a commercial wax stripper or a solution of 1 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup multisurface cleaner, and 1/2 gallon water. Scrub the surface as needed with a scrub brush. Rinse with a sponge or damp mop and clean water, being careful not to use too much water or leave any pooling; water can soak into the seams between linoleum tiles and possibly damage the flooring.

3 Ramp up your efforts by pouring 1/2 cup of powdered detergent in a bucket. This type of detergent often has more stain- and grease-cutting abilities than liquid detergent. Use this solution to scour stubborn floor stains with a scrub brush.

4 Bring your restoration efforts to a clean and shiny conclusion by mixing equal amounts of vinegar and cool water in the spray bottle. Spray the floor with the solution and follow up with a swipe of a damp sponge. Vinegar cuts through myriad impediments and leaves behind an unparalleled shine with no streaks.

Items you will need

  • Vacuum
  • Wax stripper
  • Bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Mild dish soap
  • Powdered detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle


  • Keep your restored linoleum floor looking its best by sweeping or vacuuming it regularly, washing it with a mild soap and minimal water and wiping up spills immediately.


  • Read labels to confirm that it's safe to mix ammonia with any other cleaning product.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images