Linoleum — commonly referred to as lino — is one of the most popular flooring solutions on the market today. Strong, durable and very low-maintenance, lino is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.
This hypoallergenic flooring material is available in a huge range of colors and styles — meaning it can represent almost any type of floor. You can simply lay it and forget about it for many years. Cracks, tears, discolouration and general wear and tear are all very unlikely.
But you do have to clean lino from time to time. And it’s not completely indestructible. If you want to protect your lino from premature damage and discolouration, you need to understand what you’re dealing with.
What is lino?
Linoleum is a type of vinyl flooring that has been around since the mid-1800s. This highly durable material is made with linseed oil — hence the name. The oil is allowed to oxidise before other materials are added for strength and resilience. These materials include ground cork dust, pine resin and wood flour.
What’s created is best described as a gloopy soup that must be applied to a canvas. The result is a waterproof floor covering that can be dyed and styled in thousands of different ways.
Why should I consider fitting lino in my home?
Lino is arguably the most versatile and cost-effective flooring solution on the market today. It’s known for its longevity in the face of repeated punishment. But there’s much more to it than that.
Linoleum is a great alternative to wood and tile — because it can be manufactured to look exactly like them. If you have a limited budget, opting for wood or tile-effect lino delivers similar results without the price-tag.
High-quality linoleum features a padded underlayer that delivers a cushioned surface. Whether you lay your lino on concrete or wooden floorboards, you’re guaranteed a soft, comforting feel on your feet.
Good lino is completely impervious. This is why it’s perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. As long as you minimise the number of joins and seal the edges, water will never get through.
Lino is made to exacting standards these days. While it might look and feel soft, it’s anything but. It’s very difficult to take a lump out of modern linoleum. And minor scratches and scuffs can be buffed up with ease. Many varieties are also heat-resistant, making them almost indestructible in average family homes.
Good for the environment
Linoleum is a non-toxic material, which means its safe for family homes and use in food preparation areas. Not only that, it’s both recyclable and biodegradable. It’s one of the most eco-friendly flooring options on the market today, which adds to its appeal.
How do I clean lino?
One of the main reasons people love lino so much is it’s low-maintenance quality. In most cases, cleaning involves the simplest of tools and agents.
- Dust daily with a dry microfibre cloth or vacuum on a hard floor setting
- Once a week, use a solution of hot water, dishwashing liquid and a little white vinegar to perform a thorough clean
- Rinse clean with cold water
- Wipe up spills straight away with a damp micro-fibre cloth
- Allow to air dry, but don’t leave pools of water standing (lino is slippy with certain types of footwear)
- Remove marks made by furniture or shoe soles by gently scraping with the edge of a spoon
Deep cleaning your lino
You can clean everyday messes, spillages and stains in seconds. Lino is a very manageable, low-maintenance floor covering. But at least once or twice a year you should go a step further and deep clean your linoleum floors thoroughly. This should keep it shiny and free from greasy coatings.
Using a canister vacuum cleaner or the hard-floor setting on your upright, vacuum the floor thoroughly. This is vital, as any grit or tiny stones will cause tears and gouges. If you’re worried that your vacuum cleaner is too heavy-duty for your floor, sweep up with a soft-bristle brush.
Make a solution
Create a solution of water and your preferred floor cleaner. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that dishwashing detergent works very well. Add a cup of white vinegar to a standard bucket for floor cleaning solution. This will help to cut through grease and remove odours.
Sprinkle baking soda
Before you start mopping your floor, sprinkle baking soda over it. Leave it there for an hour or so to absorb grease and neutralise odours. Vacuum the area again, and then start mopping with the solution you made.
You’ll get a better finish if you dry your lino after deep cleaning it. Use micro-fibre cloths to polish dry the flooring. If you don’t want to get on your knees or bend down, you can do this with your feet.
How do I remove scuffs from lino?
One of the most serious problems with lino is the scuffing creating by shoes and furniture. If your dishwashing liquid and water solution doesn’t work, you’ll need to give the problem a little more attention.
Perhaps the most effective way to remove scuffing from lino is to chip away at it with a spoon. Black rubber is often to blame, but you can remove it without too much hassle if you have time and patience.
If you’re only dealing with a small mark, try a simple eraser from a stationery store. Failing that, use some gel toothpaste and a toothbrush. Scrub gently in a circular motion until the scuff mark is gone.
Lino is a very resilient, low-maintenance material for household flooring. Look after yours, and it will last for more than a decade.