VCT Floor Care

When people see our vinyl tile (VCT) floors, they usually ask how we get them looking nice and shiny and keep them that way. The old school way – the way my grandparents did it – was to put paste wax on and sit with the electric buffer. (I have one of these in the basement, by the way. It’s pink.) The tile did shine, but it was slippery.

I have developed a super-secret process for cleaning the floor and adding a fancy wet-look polish, and I have decided I shall release this super-secret process to the world so all VCT floors everywhere can enjoy this level of shine, since I get asked a lot.

So you can see the results, our foyer floor looks like this now:


Without further ado, here is how we get that look:

1. Clean it with “Krud Kutter” spray. This stuff is awesome. You spray it on, let it sit for 30 seconds or so, then give it a good scrubbing. You’ll notice that your tile will return to it’s original unfinished matte look. I did this with rags on hands and knees for best results.

2. Using a damp microfiber twist mop (they have nice ones for $10) put on Zep Stain Resistant Floor Sealer. I do two coats – you wait about 10-15 minutes between each coat. The stuff self-levels so you just spread it on with the mop and are good to go. You’ll notice a light sheen coming back on the floor. This step prevents anything from staining the floor if it gets on it. VCT floors will absorb spills if they are not protected so this is very important.

3. Rinse the damp mop and switch to Zep Wet-Look Floor Finish. I put on 3-4 coats, waiting 15-20 minutes between each one. You won’t notice it getting real shiny until the 2nd coat dries. This also self-levels so you just make sure you don’t miss spots and you’ll be fine.

I didn’t need a lot – one gallon of each of those covers something like 300-400 square feet. The other cool thing about the Zep products is that while they are shiny, they are not slippery. Apparently they formulate the wax so it shines without turning your tile into a skating rink, which is awesome. The very first time I waxed the foyer floor I used old-school SC Johnson Paste Wax (the original stuff) and buffed it. It wasn’t as shiny as I wanted and it was downright dangerous, unless we were doing Tom Cruise “Risky Business” re-enactments.

And there you have it, the super-secret vinyl tile floor care method.

2 thoughts on “VCT Floor Care

  1. W

    Have you ever had to strip off the 2-step Zep products? I too have old school vct and went to the ZEP commercial wax after stripping off what I USED TO USE, Future. Both ZEP commerical wax and Future yellow with age so if you have a black and white floor, it will soon be black and tan 🙁 I stripped them about 4 months ago for the 4th and last time…but I want the shine back!

    1. Douglas Camin Post author

      I haven’t had to strip off ours yet. I put in two base layers of sealer and four layers of the wax. If I needed to remove it, I would use Krud Kutter, which will cut through all of it fairly easily. As of yet (about a year) I have not seen a noticeable yellowing of the Zep wax, however.

      If you wanted to get shine, you might want to try truly old school – put on Johnson’s Paste Wax and buff it. It will give a satin gloss shine. I would expect that product to yellow before the ZEP product, but maybe in your case it would be different. To protect the VCT from damage I would at minimum keep a few coats of floor sealer on the tile. Without it the tile potentially can absorb stains including dirt ground into it as well as things dropped (like wine or food.)


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