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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Bleach Stains from Vinyl Flooring

By Dr. Laundry September 7, 2011

Q:  How do I remove a bleach stain from a vinyl floor?

A:  It is always helpful to know a little more about the stain.  For example:  is it lighter than the overall color of the vinyl floor, or is it some sort of discoloration?  Do you know how it happened, and the age of the flooring?  All of this is important because vinyl flooring is made with a “wear layer” according to my local flooring company.  I stopped in to talk to them since I really don’t have much experience restoring damaged vinyl floors.

 I do know that vinyl flooring can be safely disinfected with a solution of ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water that is applied for 5 minutes, rinsed, and allowed to air dry.  However, we never recommend applying full strength bleach to any surface – it should always be diluted first. 

My local flooring company said that undiluted bleach would have to be left on a vinyl floor for quite an extended period of time before causing any discoloration due to protection from its wear layer.  Just as with fabric, I expected that bleach damage to the floor would be irreversible.  The flooring company confirmed this, and unfortunately did not have any tips for restoring the damage.  Their recommendation was to remove the stained area and patch it with additional flooring material that was hopefully saved when the vinyl was installed. 

Has anyone had similar issues?