Can You Steam Clean Linoleum Floors? Tips to Avoid Damage

can you use a steam mop on linoleum

Steam mops are among the best cleaning tools for linoleum floors. They produce minimal water output and are lightweight – two things you need to consider when cleaning linoleum. Steam cleaners are not only helpful but also easy to use.

In this post, we will discuss how to steam clean linoleum floors, safe practices for cleaning linoleum, maintaining shine, and helping your lino last you a lifetime.

What is Linoleum?

steam mop on linoleum

Linoleum is a durable, low-maintenance flooring, usually used on bathrooms and kitchen floors, although it can be used across the entire floor of your home.

It is also easier to install than ceramic or wood tiles and far more difficult to ruin, mess up, or damage.

Oxidized linseed oil is the primary ingredient used to make linoleum. After oxidation, other materials such as wood flour, cork dust, calcium carbonate, and pine resin are added and compressed onto a burlap or canvas backing.

Dyes are added, so flooring patterns come in various attractive colors that can look just as beautiful as individual tiles or planks.

Due to this combination of organic materials, linoleum is easier to maintain and more durable than other floor types, such as wood floors or laminate flooring

Can You Steam Mop Linoleum Floors?

linoleum flooring cleaning

Steam mops are among the best cleaning tools for linoleum floors. Some of their benefits include:

  • Killing germs and viruses: One of the significant benefits of steam mopping is that it helps kill dangerous viruses, bacteria, and other germs. Since it doesn’t require chemicals, it is safe for homes with kids, pets, or those easily affected by cleaning chemicals. 
  • Ability to remove stubborn dirt: Another great thing about steam mopping is that it is very effective in cleaning all stubborn dirt and stains. 
  • Low Water Output: As steam mops don’t use a lot of water, they are safe for use on linoleum flooring. Linoleum can be damaged by too much water and alkaline cleaners with a pH value greater than 10. Steam cleaners and mops use only water to create steam, giving you a clean linoleum floor with no harsh chemicals.

How to Steam Clean Linoleum Floors

Even though linoleum is incredibly durable, it can be affected by excess moisture. I recommend using the lowest setting first if you have a steam mop with multiple settings. 

You can then increase the steam if needed; if your lino tolerates this.

Before steam cleaning linoleum floors, you should sweep or vacuum to remove dust, dirt particles, and debris. Then:

  • Fill your steam mop/cleaner with distilled or demineralized water.
  • Attach a clean microfiber pad to your steamer head.
  • Plug in the steamer, turn it on, and leave it for the water to heat. 
  • Activate the nozzle to release hot steam as you mop the lino. 
  • Start on one side of the room and work your way to the other, moving the mop backward and forward in slow strokes.

How to Clean Old Linoleum Floors

how to clean old linoleum kitchen floor

There are different methods you can use to clean old linoleum floors. They include: 

Steam Cleaning 

Using your steam mop or cleaner, you can quickly and easily steam-clean linoleum floors. Always sweep or vacuum before steaming.

Wet Mopping

Wet mopping is the most common way of cleaning. For this, you need:

  • A bucket of hot water
  • Dish detergents or linoleum floor cleaner
  • Mop (a soft microfiber mop is a good choice) 


  • Add 1 to 1.5 gallons of water to a bucket. 
  • Add 4 to 6 drops of dish soap to the water, stirring the mixture. You can also add 1 cup of vinegar to this solution if desired.
  • Mop your linoleum floor with this solution – ensure you squeeze the excess water out of the mop. 
  • After cleaning, allow the floor to dry. 

Dry Mopping

A dry mop, such as a microfiber dust mop, is excellent for daily cleaning. This will help collect dust and dirt, which can cause scratching and dulling of the flooring. 

When required, you can use a dry mop combined with your steam mop for a deeper cleaning. 

Removing Scuff Marks and Stains

can i use a steam mop on linoleum

Spot clean any spills as soon as possible to avoid staining the lino. Allow the floor to dry completely before walking on that area.

You can buff out stains using a nylon brush, followed by a polish to restore the floor’s shine.

Try spraying a small amount of WD-40 onto the scuff for black scuff marks and wiping it off. Baby oil has also been known to work for scuff marks on linoleum. If you don’t have either, try an eraser on the scuff mark.

For chemical-free cleaning of stains and scuff marks, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use this to gently scrub away at the scuff with a soft scrub brush.

If you find that area has dulled, you may need to apply a linoleum floor polish to restore the shine.

Regardless of how you clean your old linoleum, be careful around any damaged areas. You don’t want water to get in underneath the lino. This can cause swelling, rotting, mold and further damage.

What is the Best Steam Cleaner for Linoleum Floors?

The Wagner 925e Elite is a great all-around steam cleaner for those on a budget. If you want something that will last you for many years, look at the Vapor Clean II Home Steam Cleaner. Both offer higher than average steam temperatures, various accessories, and decent steaming times, and both would suit to steam clean linoleum floors.

The Italian-made Vapor Clean II offers a longer steaming time and better quality overall. Check them both out below:

vapor steamer for linoleum

Vapor Clean II Home Steamer

Dry vapor steamer with only 5% moisture content in the steam. 65PSI for strong steam output for up to 1.5 hours. Italian made for quality, heats up to

Why are Linoleum Floors so Popular? 

can you steam clean linoleum floors

Nowadays, most homeowners are considering installing linoleum floors because of the following reasons; 

  • Durable – They can serve you for decades if you know how to maintain linoleum floors. They are also able to retain their attractive patterns for many years. 
  • Stylish – These floors are elegant, making them the best for modern homes. They have excellent pigment distribution, which improves the aesthetics of your house.  
  • Easy to maintain- Lino is simple and easy to maintain compared to other types of floors.   
  • Eco-friendly– The other awesome thing about these floors is that they do not have VOCs or toxic ingredients, offering an environmentally friendly solution for your home.
  • Comfort– Compared to other types of floors, such as stone or ceramic tiles, linoleum floors will give your feet better support and comfort. They are soft and warm underfoot, not hard on your joints, feet, and back. 

What are the Disadvantages of Linoleum Floors? 

linoleum floor cleaning
  • Linoleum is easily affected by water since it traps moisture easily. Therefore, you should ensure you clean up spills efficiently and watch for water damage from indoor pot plants, etc. 
  • Latex backings and rubber backings can cause staining on lino flooring. If you have rugs with these backings, don’t use them in areas of your home with linoleum.
  • Walked in dirt can scratch and dull the surface of your linoleum. Try to remove your shoes or use mats at the entryway.
  • Their color pigments can be destroyed by sunlight, which causes them to fade.
  • Lino is susceptible to scratching, dulling, and damage from sharp objects.

Best Cleaner for Linoleum Floors

Due to the delicate nature of linoleum, you cannot use just any cleaning tool to clean them. Below are the best tools you should use:

  • Steam mops: Without a doubt, steam mops will give you unmatched results when cleaning linoleum floors. This is because they offer deep cleaning without chemicals.
  • Standard mops: These are the ordinary mops people use daily to clean their houses. You need to put some hot water in a bucket, add detergent and use the soapy water to clean the floor. Squeeze the mop out well to avoid excess water.
  • Spray mops: Versatile and easy to use, spray mops use little water, making them suitable for cleaning linoleum flooring.  
  • Vacuum cleaners: Vacuum cleaners are also suitable for linoleum flooring materials. You should avoid using brush rollers intended for carpets; they can easily damage your linoleum. 
  • Soft brooms: When sweeping your lino, always use a flat mop with a microfiber head or a broom with soft nylon bristles to avoid scratching the surface.  

Tips to Enhance the Longevity of Linoleum Floors 

Linoleum can last more than 40 years, but only if you know how to maintain it. Some of the things you should do to extend the durability and longevity include: 

  • Clean frequently: The best way to maintain your linoleum is to clean it often. You should also wipe spills immediately after they happen. 
  • Use door mats: They help pick small particles of loose dirt so they don’t get tracked through your home. Regularly shake and clean your doormats too!
  • Avoid applying too much pressure when cleaning: You should use low-impact cleaning methods; lino can be damaged by too much pressure.
  • Use a steam mop to clean your linoleum: Avoid using chemicals such as ammonia-based cleaners, as they can strip the lino of its coatings and shine.
  • Protect the floor: Use colorfast protectors underneath your furniture to help avoid scratches and wear marks.

Enjoy Your Linoleum Flooring

We are so happy you found this article on how to clean linoleum floors. We hope you have learned how to care for your lino and the benefits of using a steam cleaner. If you have any further questions about using cleaning with steam, please feel free to reach out.


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