Cleaning And Maintenance Of Vinyl Tile Floors

Technical Procedures Disclaimer

Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.


We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.



  1. This procedure includes guidance on the routine cleaning and maintenance of vinyl tile flooring.
  2. See "General Project Guidelines" for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
    1. Safety Precautions
    2. Historic Structures Precautions
    3. Submittals
    4. Quality Assurance
    5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
    6. Project/Site Conditions
    7. Sequencing and Scheduling
    8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
      These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).



  1. S.C. Johnson & Sons Inc.
    Racine, Wisconsin


NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).

  1. Vinegar solution: 1 cup vinegar with 1 gallon of hot water for mopping floor
  2. Mild floor cleaning detergent recommended bythe manufacturer (S.C. Johnson & Inc.), or approved equal.
  3. Spray buff solution recommended by the manufacturer (S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.), or approved equal.
  4. Acrylic finish (S.C. Johnson & Son,Inc.), or approved equal.
  5. Mineral Spirits:
    1. A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a paint or varnish thinner.
    2. Other chemical or common names include Benzine* (not Benzene); Naphtha*; Petroleum spirits*; Solvent naphtha*.
    3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
    4. Safety Precautions:
      2. ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling mineral spirits.
      3. If any chemical is splashed onto the skin, wash immediately with soap and water.
    5. Available from construction specialties distributor, hardware store, paint store, or printer's supply distributor
  6. Denatured Alcohol:
    1. Other chemical or common names include Methylated spirit*.
    2. Potential hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
    3. Available from hardware store, paint store or printer's supply distributor.
  7. Denatured alcohol should be a satisfactory substitute for ethyl alcohol for stain removing purposes
  8. Clean, potable water


  1. Soft bristle broom
  2. Non-oil treated mop
  3. Vacuum cleaner
  4. Mop and pail
  5. Power buffing machine
  6. Polyester or nylon buffing pads



  1. General Maintenance:
    1. Sweep or vacuum thoroughly to remove surface dirt and dust accumulation. Remove adhesives by rubbing the surface with a clean, white cloth dampened with a mild solvent such as mineral spirits or denatured alcohol.
    2. Damp mop with a mild neutral detergent solution.
    3. Remove scuffs using a non-abrasive polishing cleaner such as "Soft Scrub"; or, spray "Fantastik" on the surface and let stand for 10-15 seconds. Rinse the surface with a damp sponge or cloth. For larger areas, spray a buffing solution on the surface and scrub with a buffer pad.
    4. Damp mop with clean, clear water. Use a wet-vac to remove any standing water.
    5. Allow the floor to thoroughly dry.
    6. Dry-buff the surface, or if a finish coating is desired, apply 3-5 coats of acrylic floor finish.
  2. Routine Maintenance:
    1. Sweep or vacuum daily to remove surface dirt and dust accumulation.
    2. Daily or weekly, spray buffing solution on floor and buff using polyester or nylon buffing pads.
    3. Between buffings, damp mop spills and trouble spots with water or a mild detergent solution.
    4. For Finished Surfaces:
      1. Periodically strip finish following manufacturer's instructions.
      2. Rinse thoroughly with clean, clear water and allow to dry.