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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images