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Can You Vacuum Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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One advantage that flooring has over carpets is that it’s easier to clean. There aren’t fibers to trap dirt and food particles, and cleaning wet messes is often no more difficult than a swipe of a paper towel.

If you pull out your vacuum to do a quick sweep of your carpets, can you also quickly run it over your plank flooring to save some time? Some people would say no because vacuums and vinyl have a reputation of mixing like oil and water.

But, what if we told you that there are ways that you can clean your vinyl flooring – even expensive vinyl flooring – with vacuum cleaners. 

What Kind of Vacuum Can I Use on Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?

White vacuum cleaner on vinyl plank flooring

Before we get into what kind of vacuum you can use on your luxury vinyl plank floor, it’s important to know the source of vinyl floor damage. Most damage to vinyl flooring comes from the rotating brush on the bottom of your vacuum head. This piece is called a beater bar.

As the beater bar rotates, it spins a brush. The fibers of that brush kick up dirt and particles that are sucked in by the vacuum. The fibers of that brush can scratch vinyl flooring, leaving marks.

Vacuums that don’t use a beater brush, and that rely on just vacuum power, are safe for vinyl floors. If you go shopping for a vinyl-safe vacuum, look for models intended for use on floors. The beater brush is most effective on carpets or rugs.

There are two alternatives if you don’t want to buy separate vacuums for rugs/carpets and floors.

One is a vacuum that has a bare floor setting. This will lift the beater bar above the floor and just use the vacuum’s sucking action to clean up the floor. Some vacuums will also come with a floor attachment for the vacuum hose.

Can Vacuums Damage Vinyl Plank Floors?

Man cleaning vinyl floor with bulky vacuum

Cleaning a vinyl floor is pretty easy. These types of floors work well in high traffic areas and places where messes are common, like the kitchen. But, you’ll want to take a little care in how you clean them to avoid damage.

When it comes to vacuums, the first thing that can damage a vinyl floor is the beater brush on the bottom. This is a rotating column with a brush that can dig into carpet fibers and lift dirt and dust particles for easier collection.

However, those fibers can leave marks on vinyl flooring, so either find a vacuum that doesn’t use a beater bar, or one with a bare floor setting. That will elevate the beater bar a few inches so it won’t have contact with the floor.

If your vacuum has a steam cleaning feature, don’t use that on a vinyl floor. Vinyl is easily damaged by steam. Even if you need to get off caked-on grime, avoid using steam. You’re better off using a little elbow grease.

Should You Vacuum Vinyl Flooring?

Man vacuum cleaning vinyl plank flooring

Vacuuming is a good option for vinyl flooring if you need to clean it quickly or if you already have your vacuum out. You’ll just want to make sure you do it in a way that avoids damage to your vinyl floor.

One thing worth keeping in mind is that doing a quick cleaning of your floor every other day is better than doing a thorough one every other week. If you take time between cleanings, dirt can get caked onto your flooring and either leave stains or make it harder to get up.

If you have a large floor, a vacuum will work faster than sweeping with a broom and dustpan. It might also be easier in high-traffic areas that generate a lot of dirt.

Just be sure to do it in a way that doesn’t damage the floor. Don’t put too much pressure on it and be sure that your beater bar isn’t in direct contact with the floor.

How Do You Vacuum a Vinyl Floor?

There aren’t any special steps for vacuuming a vinyl floor. You just use it as you would on any other kind of flooring, including carpet. But, you’ll want to do a couple of things to avoid damaging the floor.

Vacuum beater brush

First, most damage is caused by the rotating beater bar on the bottom of the vacuum. The fibers in the brush can damage vinyl flooring, especially if they’re stiff. Some beater bars use soft brushes, but it’s best to avoid any unnecessary contact just to be safe.

Avoid pressing down hard on your vacuum to avoid hard contact between your vacuum and the floor. Gently move your vacuum back and forth to avoid smudge marks with the wheels. If you can find a vacuum with felt wheels, that is ideal.

Vacuum cleaning vinyl floor 2

If your upright has hose attachments, you might have one specially designed for floors. Your upright might also have a bare floor setting that will put a little space between the bottom of the vacuum and its beater bar.

Can You Use a Dyson on Vinyl Flooring?

Dyson vacuum

Dyson vacuums are designed in ways that are safe for vinyl floors. They are designed to create mini-cyclones in a central chamber that create powerful centrifugal forces to lift dirt and food particles off the ground without moving parts touching the floor.

That is a safe design for any bare floor since nothing but air touches the floor. However, what might make someone think twice before buying one is the price tag. Dyson delivers top-notch performance that is safe for vinyl floors, you’ll just have to pay for it.


Most of the damage done by vacuums to vinyl floors comes from the beater bar. That’s the tube that runs the width of your vacuum and spins. The fibers on it scratch the surface of your floor, leaving marks.

If you remove that bar, you can vacuum your vinyl floor safely. Your vacuum might also have a floor attachment or a bare floor setting that lifts the beater bar to a safe height above your floor. With these tips, you can clean your vinyl floor with a vacuum.

We’d love to hear your feedback if you try this at home. You’re also invited to share this article on your social media networks. It could spare someone’s expensive vinyl floor some unnecessary damage.

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