How to Remove Scratches From Vinyl Flooring

Kathy Adams

Vinyl flooring, while fairly easy to maintain and clean, is prone to scratches. Small bits of gravel or pebbles tracked in from outdoors scar the vinyl surface. The damaged areas collect dirt, making them more noticeable.

On sheet vinyl in particular, popping out bad tile and replacing it with a fresh one isn't an option. Rather than letting minor scratches become darker or more obvious. repair them with a clear liquid seam sealer.


Liquid seam sealer is available in gloss or matte finishes; choose the type that most closely matches your flooring for an inconspicuous repair. If a scratch is deep or severe, or one section of the sheet vinyl flooring is badly scratched, make a patch by setting a new piece of vinyl over the old, matching any pattern and tracing around the new piece with a utility knife to score the old. Loosen the adhesive by placing a piece of foil over the old vinyl and running an iron over the foil. Alternatively, use an electric heat gun or a blow dryer set on high. Pop out the damaged piece, clean the area with mineral spirits, then apply fresh adhesive to secure the new piece. The same technique can be used to replace a single heavily damaged tile on a vinyl tile floor with a fresh tile.


Wear a respirator while working with lacquer thinner to help avoid breathing in fumes. Use lacquer thinner only in a well-ventilated area. Allow the room to air out for a while after use to help remove lingering odor.

  1. Open all the windows in the room and turn on a ceiling fan, if there is one, to ventilate the area.

  2. Dab some lacquer thinner onto a soft rag while wearing rubber gloves. Wipe down the damaged area thoroughly with the lacquer thinner to clean it and remove residue that may prevent the seam sealer from adhering properly. Allow the area to dry completely.

  3. Place strips of masking tape closely around the scratch to avoid getting seam sealer beyond where it is needed.

  4. Pour some of the liquid seam sealer into the applicator bottle packaged with it, if it is not already in such a bottle. Squirt a small bead of seam sealer over the scratch and allow it to dry completely.

  5. Remove the masking tape.