Have you battled stains and buildup on your aging linoleum? Do you worry that you’ll never be able to make it look bright and clean again? Today we’ve got some stain-busting hacks to talk about that might just help! 

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Even though linoleum is a frugal and easy-to-care-for flooring option, keeping it clean will significantly increase its lifespan. But maybe your linoleum wasn’t given this TLC through the years. Before you rip it up and replace it, let’s try restoring it to its former glory, shall we?

Why is my linoleum stained?

Linoleum is notorious for staining and yellowing. This tendency may drive some homeowners away, but the truth is, linoleum will serve you well as long as you know the proper cleaning techniques. Linoleum is made of natural materials, such as linseed oil, wood flour, and cork dust. This makes it more susceptible to stains than a flooring option like vinyl. However, this also means that linoleum is less likely to sustain water damage, which is not the case for options like hardwoods or laminate.

One of the main reasons for yellowing and staining in linoleum is buildup. Buildup could simply be dirt from twenty years of use without cleaning. But another ever bigger issue could be staining that happens when the linoleum is waxed.

Wax becomes an issue if the floor has not been thoroughly cleaned before the wax is applied. Stains and dust often get trapped underneath layers and layers of wax. And if the wax buildup on your floors is thirty or forty years old, it has probably yellowed with age. It’s time to remove that buildup and start fresh.

Removing wax buildup on linoleum flooring

Stripping your linoleum is the hardest part of the process. But it’ll be worth it! For starters, choose a stripping agent. You can buy a commercial product, but just make sure it is safe for linoleum flooring.

Many people prefer to use all-natural, homemade cleaners on their linoleum. We’ll discuss a few recipes for everyday cleaning in a minute. But for stripping, it’s often better to use a store-bought product for best results. Also, don’t strip your flooring more than once a year.

How to strip linoleum  

Floor scrub brusher

  1. Dilute the product as indicated in the instructions on the bottle. 
  2. Apply the product to a 3’ by 3’ area.
  3. Let the product sit on the flooring for the time indicated on the bottle. Do not let it sit any longer. You could end up with more stains than before!
  4. Get down on the floor and scrub the area with a brush. The wax will clump as you scrub. Don’t let it dry. Grab a shop vac and suck up the gunk or wipe it up immediately. 
  5. After you finish, give your linoleum a thorough wash with one of the cleaners below. Dry the floor with an old towel, and you’re done!

Homemade linoleum cleaners + how to use them

To remove everyday stains and dirt, homemade cleaners are a great way to keep linoleum stain-free. Mopping once a week with warm water and a little dish soap will keep your linoleum looking bright, but the cleaners below are useful if your flooring needs extra care. 

Lemon and baking soda

Lemon juice and baking soda create a powerful cleaning paste that will bust stains. For best results, use a scrub brush and rinse with warm water afterward.

Diluted bleach

Bleach is actually a great product to use for extra brightness on linoleum. However, it needs to be well-diluted. A good rule of thumb is to mix ¾ of a cup of bleach with every 1 gallon of water. Next, grab a mop and start scrubbing. 

Bottle of Clorox bleach

Keep it clean

By using a homemade cleaner every week and waxing your linoleum on a frequent basis, you’ll be able to keep it clean and stain-free. Some people suggest waxing linoleum every other year or up to every two months. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners. One of the reasons your old linoleum may be stained or yellowed is because it was cleaned using standard household cleaners. Be careful when choosing your cleaner. Make sure it is perfectly safe for linoleum flooring.

Also, avoid hot water when cleaning old linoleum. Instead, use cool, lukewarm, or warm water.


Busting stains on linoleum flooring requires a little elbow grease. But it’s not impossible. If cleaned regularly and waxed properly, linoleum can last for up to forty years. So don’t look at your old linoleum as a lost cause. 

If you’re working hard to get your kitchen in tip-top shape, you know that stains aren’t your only enemies. Are you trying to rescue your kitchen from mold and mildew too? Check out these 9 hacks to help you tackle those culprits.