Why is My vinyl Flooring Turning Yellow?

Vinyl floor yellowing can either be caused by a chemical reaction between the rubber on your shoes and the floor itself or result from an adhesive used during installation. It is not a result of mold or moisture.

When choosing flooring for your home, Vinyl flooring is undoubtedly one of the best options. It is rich in aesthetic value, durable, water—and stain-resistant, easy to clean and maintain, and cheaper.

However, some challenges may be encountered in the long run. One of the problems you might notice with your vinyl flooring is discoloration/yellowing, especially areas under the mats (rubber-backed rugs) or under the furniture.

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Cleaning these spots using regular home cleaners may not permanently remove the yellow spots. But first, what is the cause of this yellowing on your vinyl flooring?

Causes of Yellowing on My Vinyl Flooring

`vinyl floor turning yellow

These are the most common causes of yellowing on vinyl floors.

Rubber-backed rugs.

Rubber and vinyl produce a chemical reaction that turns vinyl flooring yellow. In technical terms, this yellowing is called “antioxidant staining.” The longer it sits there, the more stubborn it becomes. 

When buying rugs for your home, if it has to be rubber-backed, look for the ones labeled “non-staining rubber backing.” However, it is better to stay away from any rubber-backed rags just to be safe.

Floor adhesives.

Before installing your vinyl flooring, contact your manufacturer if anything is unclear. Some floor adhesives will react to vinyl flooring and cause yellow stains.

Using the wrong adhesive will cause the entire flooring to yellow over time, and you might end up replacing it because even after cleaning, the stains reappear.

Note: If the stain is black, gray, pink, or blue, you’re dealing with a mold problem. It indicates that moisture is rising from the concrete and attacking your vinyl flooring.

So, how do you permanently remove the yellow stains on your vinyl flooring?

How to Remove Yellow Stains from Vinyl Flooring

This yellowing might prove stubborn to permanently remove from your vinyl flooring, but if you follow the following steps, it should be removed.

Be careful not to use abrasive cleaners or a method that will be a health hazard to the residents of your home. Some chemicals can cause allergic reactions, so use one that everybody will be comfortable with.

Mineral Spirits

Pour mineral spirit into the spray gun and spray on the affected areas. Scrub until the yellow stain disappears. If the stain is persistent, replace the cloth and rub until the yellow disappears. You’ll notice the stain on the cloth, and the floor will have regained its original color.

Rinse your floor with a wet microfibre cloth and aerate until you can’t smell the mineral spirits.

What you’ll need:

  • Gloves.
  • Mineral spirits.
  • Soft microfibre cloth.
  • Spray gun.

Bleach and Water

Mix one part bleach and three parts water in a bucket, depending on the size of the area with the stain. Dip the soft microfibre cloth in the solution and start scrubbing the affected area. If you’re not satisfied, add more bleach and repeat the procedure until the stain disappears.

Rinse the area to remove moisture, and open all doors and windows.

What you’ll need:

  • A bucket.
  • Gloves.
  • Water.
  • Bleach.
  • Soft microfibre cloth.

Baking Soda

Clean the affected area with water to remove any loose dirt or debris that may be resting on the floor. Sprinkle baking soda on the yellow areas and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes or longer, depending on how stubborn the stain is.

Dampen the soft microfibre cloth with water and wipe off the baking soda, checking whether the stain is gone. If it is still there, repeat the procedure several times until it completely disappears.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda.
  • Soft microfibre cloth.
  • Clean water.
  • Gloves.
  • Bucket/bowl.

Other products that can be used to clean the yellowing stains on your vinyl flooring are:

  • Acetone-based nail remover
  • Turpentine.
  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Non-abrasive scrubbing pad.

Also read: How to whiten yellowed vinyl floors

5 Ways of Preventing Yellow Stains on Vinyl Flooring

In most cases, after dealing with the yellow stains on your vinyl flooring, they might show up again, or if you have not encountered them yet, follow these ways to ensure you don’t encounter them.

  1. Make sure you always expose your vinyl flooring to natural light. Remove all the rags and let light hit the floor. Natural light protects your vinyl flooring from yellow stains; you can wear them if they are present.
  1. Avoid using any rags that have a rubber backing. Always ask for vinyl flooring-friendly rags or stick to woven rugs.
  1. Clean your vinyl flooring with neutral detergents and regularly remove all the rags. This way, you will notice any stain as soon as it appears and deal with it before it becomes stubborn.
  1. Treat your floor regularly with an ammonia-free solution and rinse with water and white vinegar. 
  1. Place mats outside and inside all entrances to prevent dirt and asphalt sealers from being tracked into the house.

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