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Friday, November 28, 2014

Question

We have a linoleum floor at my church that needs cleaning. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to remove the foot traffic residue which leaves what appears to be a dark colored smudgy film in the heavy traffic areas. The linoleum (a light tan colored linoleum) was installed one year ago. Any suggestions?


Answer

First off, I realize that the term “linoleum” is often used generically for sheet flooring even when the goods are sheet vinyl, a wholly different product. I can’t be certain this is not the case here so I’ll offer some suggestions for both types of sheet goods.
When cleaning true linoleum you must be careful not to soak the product with mopping or scrub solution. Avoid high alkaline detergents and anything abrasive. Seals are recommended for linoleum for this reason.
If there is a seriously damaged traffic lane in just a year of use, I suspect grit has been tracked into the building and carried along on the floor with the footwear. This sort of damage is not cleanable; it is wear to the surface. You can lightly machine scrub with a mild pad (no abrasion), wet vac quickly to keep the solution from soaking in, dry fully, and apply a finish the manufacturer recommends for linoleum. This may restore the original appearance, which is likely a matte look. And the surface finish will protect the flooring from further wear.
Make sure to use track-off matting to avoid grit-travel.
If the flooring is a vinyl, you can follow the above procedure without worry about over wetting. Again, a finish will protect the surface and make future cleaning easier.
Look up the manufacturer of the product and determine its exact nature. I have heavy scrubbed and finished commercial grade Marmoleum® (a linoleum sheet product) and done a restoration of a heavily soiled and abused floor that was outstanding. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for procedure and product.
Check this site for more information on real linoleum.
http://www.multi-clean.com/methodspdf/1414%20linoleum%20method.pdf

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekraff@juno.com