While vinyl and linoleum floors are inexpensive, they are also relatively easy to clean thanks to their water-resistant surface.
Linoleum is quite durable, more natural, and contains fewer toxic materials compared to vinyl which is cheaper and has a wide range of color choices.
Vinyl is also quite good-looking and requires little in the way of maintenance.
It’s little wonder that so many homeowners prefer this material for their flooring.
However, one issue that plagues both linoleum and vinyl flooring is when a sticky substance is present.
Because removing such a substance that has considerable adhesion may also pull up part of the floor.
At first, it may seem like that sticky substance such as caulking is here to stay.
But there are some household items you can use to loosen the substance from a vinyl or linoleum floor. By drying the substance, you can also reduce its adhesion.
What follows are some easy steps and methods you can take using inexpensive products to remove a sticky substance from your vinyl or linoleum floor without damaging the flooring itself.
Removing Sticky Substance from Vinyl and Linoleum
Because vinyl is permeable, it can actually absorb some of the sticky substance and discolor the floor.
This means that you will need to remove it quickly if possible.
Any subflooring you have must be free of linoleum glue because it might cause discoloration as well.
If you lay a vinyl floor over a linoleum floor that has been pulled up, be sure to remove all the glue. Otherwise, it might discolor the vinyl and most manufacturers will not cover that in their warranty.
Before you begin stripping the sticky residues, purchase a good pair of gloves that are waterproof.
This is because you will be using chemicals that may irritate the skin, so be careful.
Here are some common products you can use to remove sticky substances from vinyl and linoleum flooring.
- Cotton cloths
- Plastic Scraper
- Warm Water
You are now ready to remove the sticky substance.
Keep in mind that the scraper will probably lift most of it up so you can then apply one or more of the products listed below.
Method 1- Dish Soap & Water
If you have a non-abrasive sponge, then using mild dish soap and water may do the trick.
Rinse the area with distilled water first and wipe dry.
Next, apply the dish soap and water with a clean cloth and put in a little elbow grease to remove the remaining substance.
Alternatives to dish soap include a melamine or white eraser that is free of sulfur.
This may remove small sticky substances simply by rubbing them into the area.
However, the issue here is that the eraser may damage the gloss finish on the flooring.
As an alternative, you can apply cooking oil to a clean cloth and gently rub the area.
This may remove the gum and any adhesion without damaging the glossy finish.
Method 2- Cleaning Agent
Vinyl flooring is designed to resist most cleaning agents, but you should apply them to a small part of the floor that is unseen first.
If it is not discolored, then use it on the sticky substance.
Bleach is a good example of a cleaning agent that might discolor a vinyl floor.
Apply the cleaning agent to a clean cloth, then apply the cloth to the sticky substance.
Be sure the cloth is wet with the detergent, but not too wet.
Be sure the cloth is clean because a dirty cloth might scratch the flooring.
You will need to wipe the area until all of the sticky substance is removed.
Use circular motions to help prevent streaking.
Once the sticky substance has been removed, rinse the area with warm water to remove all residue.
Method 3- Floor Cleaner
Glue can be challenging for linoleum surfaces, but there is a simple solution for vinyl flooring.
Mix warm water with a floor cleaner or soap and apply it to the area.
This should remove the glue and caulking rather easily.
If you are still encountering some resistance, then use a hairdryer or heat gun to help lift the glue from the floor.
Method 4- Nail Polish Remover
If you have nail polish remover, you have acetone which is the chemical most often used to remove adhesives.
Remove as much of the sticky substance first with the plastic scraper.
Although the scraper is made of plastic, it can damage the floor if you provide too much pressure.
Once you have lifted up as much of the sticky substance as possible, add a small amount of nail polish remover to a damp cotton cloth and gently wipe it on the remaining substance.
You may want to test the nail polish remover on a small part of the floor first that is generally hidden from sight.
In some cases, the acetone may discolor the surface. So, if that happens then you will want to use another substance.
Otherwise, the nail polish remover should remove the remaining sticky substance from the surface.
If you do not have any nail polish remover, you can purchase acetone at a local hardware store.
Acetone is a good thing to keep around in removing any glue or sticky substance.
Are Linoleum and Vinyl the Same Thing?
No, linoleum and vinyl are not the same things.
Linoleum is made from solid natural materials like cork, while vinyl is a synthetic material comprised mostly of PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
Lino is basically a material that consists of a canvas backing that is coated thickly with the preparation of linseed oil and powdered cork.
Vinyl on the other hand is a plastic material that is made to imitate other materials like wood or stone. It is often used as a cheaper alternative to these materials.
Both materials can be used for flooring, but they have different properties. Linoleum and Marmoleum, for example, are more durable and easy to clean. While vinyl is softer and more comfortable to walk on.
What Actually Makes My Linoleum Flooring Sticky?
It’s easy to imagine how linoleum might discolor and get damaged with age and sunlight.
Animal paws or chair legs digging into the surface of your floor can cause it to discolor and deteriorate over time.
The bad news is – these modifications are permanent.
However, if your linoleum floor is coated with a sticky substance, don’t be overly concerned. This is simple to correct and avoidable.
There are a few things that actually make your linoleum flooring sticky. These include:
a) Spills – Obviously, spills are the number one cause of stickiness on any type of flooring.
b) Mopping – Using too much water, floor cleaner, or the wrong kind of cleaning solution when mopping can leave a residue that makes the floor sticky.
c) Wax build-up – Another common cause of stickiness is wax build-up.
This can happen if you use the wrong kind of wax or if you don’t buff the floor properly after waxing.
d) Dirt and grit – If your floor isn’t cleaned regularly, dirt and grit can accumulate and make the surface sticky.
The good news is that this is an easy problem to fix – just make sure you sweep and mop regularly.
e) Bad installation – If your linoleum floor was not installed correctly, it may be sticky.
This is because the linoleum adhesive used to install the flooring can seep up through the seams and make the surface sticky.
The Bottom Line
Generally speaking, the better you keep your vinyl or linoleum floor clean, the less likely it is for a sticky substance to truly stick.
Regular cleaning does help a lot and keeps your flooring looking good.
And if a sticky substance (like linoleum adhesive) is on the floor, address it quickly before it has a chance to really dig into the surface.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.