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How to clean vinyl

Whether you’re cleaning vinyl tiles, dolls or records, simply read this guide on how to clean vinyl to give your items a thorough, scratch-free clean!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

a clean vinyl record on a turntable
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Key steps:

  • Vinyl ornaments like dolls are easy to clean with baby wipes and detergent

  • Unlike wooden floors, vinyl flooring is easy to clean with water

  • Take care to clean vinyl records very carefully to avoid scratching and sound damage

Many of us have vinyl in our homes, whether it’s vinyl tiles, vinyl dolls, or vinyl records. But how do you clean vinyl? Fortunately, as vinyl is a synthetic plastic that’s pretty hard wearing, cleaning vinyl isn’t difficult, but it is important to understand the best ways to clean vinyl to ensure optimal results and to minimise damage. This is especially true for old vinyl that may be more vulnerable to scratching.

Protecting your vinyl products to reduce the risk of scratching, and using mild, gentle products to clean surfaces, such as apple cider vinegar, baby wipes, and Persil laundry detergent.

The Best Ways to Clean Vinyl

No matter what type of vinyl you have in your home, there’s a quick, easy solution to getting it clean and reducing the risk of damage. Here’s how to clean three common forms of vinyl found in the home:

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1) How to Clean a Vinyl Doll

If you’re building up a collection at home and are wondering how to clean vinyl dolls, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s actually much easier than you may think. Vinyl dolls are much easier to clean than other hard plastic or rubber dolls, or antique dolls, because the material is quite hardwearing and can withstand a little elbow grease without becoming damaged.

  • Begin by using a baby wipe or wet wipe to give a good ‘once over’ of your doll. There’s a small amount of soap in the wipes that helps to remove grease and oils on the surface.

  • For smaller, harder to reach areas like the ears, use a little bit of dishwashing soap and an old soft-bristled toothbrush. Be careful to avoid any painted areas such as the lips.

  • To tackle any stains that are still visible, mix a little baking soda with water to form a thick paste. Baking soda is a mild abrasive, and may help to lift off any lingering marks.

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2) Cleaning Vinyl Tiles & Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a popular type of flooring for the home because it’s so versatile. It provides the option for homeowners to have the fantastic look of a hardwood floor, without all the hassle of cleaning it. If you’re considering switching to vinyl, take a look at our guide to fitting vinyl flooring in your home first. Learning how to clean a vinyl floor is simple, especially since the tiles can handle water better than a real wooden floor can. Here’s how to keep your vinyl looking great:

  • Before washing vinyl tiles, give the floor a thorough sweep with a brush to remove any dust, dirt or small particles that could scratch and damage the surface of the plastic.

  • Mix together 1 part vinegar (apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar) with 10 parts water, and wash your floor. Don’t worry – the smell will fade as the floor dries.

  • Protect your floor from scratches that can be difficult to repair. Consider placing a small doormat at the entrance to the room to catch dirt before it reaches the vinyl.

3) How to Clean Old Vinyl Records

Clean vinyl is the secret to great sound quality, but unfortunately scratches on vinyl records can happen very easily, especially on older records that haven’t been cared for very well over the years. While it’s not always possible to repair damaged records, it is possible to take care of them to prevent any further damage occurring. Here’s how to clean old vinyl records safely:

  • Before and after playing your records, use a record cleaning brush with carbon fibre bristles to remove any dust that’s built up over time that could cause scratches.

  • Mix together some water with a little rubbing alcohol and 2 drops of laundry detergent, like Persil. Spray onto the record and wipe in with a microfibre cloth.

  • Always place your vinyl records in a plastic inner sleeve – not paper. Paper will eventually begin to scratch the surface. Store vertically to reduce the risk of damage.

Originally published