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Green Clean For Linoleum

Whether you chose linoleum flooring for its no-fuss functionality, the soft feel underfoot, its distinctive look, or its green attributes, you definitely want to take care of your investment in an eco-friendly way.

Real linoleum—distinct from synthetic versions or vinyl—is made only from natural materials. As such, it is one of the greenest flooring options available. Given how green linoleum is, cleaning it with harsh synthetic chemicals and maintaining it with polymer-based waxes just wouldn’t be right.

Melissa Breyer of the green lifestyle Web site recommends sweeping, dust-mopping, or vacuuming linoleum frequently to cut down on abrasive dirt that can build up and mar the finish.

As for actual cleaning, she says to use a damp mop with a mild natural liquid dish soap and warm water. Adding half a cup or so of vinegar to the rinse water will increase shine if that’s the look you want. To get rid of scuff marks, Breyer suggests dipping a sponge in jojoba oil and rubbing lightly before wiping it up. Pencil erasers also work wonders on linoleum scuff marks.

Breyer recommends avoiding solvent-based products, which can soften and damage linoleum. Typical floor-cleaning solutions will leave a sticky residue, so use something like Ivory Liquid dish soap. Avoid scouring tough stains; instead, make a paste of baking powder and gently wipe with a wet rag until the stain fades.

Several greener varieties of floor wax are now available. Livos’ BILO is an organic, biodegradable paste wax designed for wood, cork, tile, and linoleum. It is derived from beeswax and linseed oil, and produces a semi-gloss finish after buffing.


Write EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881 or e-mail

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