Vinyl floors turn yellow for a multitude of reasons, among which are age, exposure to extremely hot water and the application of ammonia- or solvent-based cleaners. Linoleum, which is made from cork, wood dust, pigments, linseed oil and resins, is easily damaged.
In order to help prevent yellowing, a homeowner should add a sealant or finish to a linoleum floor. The process involves using a non-ammonia solution to strip the floor, rinsing it with white vinegar and water, and adding sealant with a new mop. Several coats of sealant can be applied if necessary. In order to maintain the linoleum, the floor should be cleaned regularly with a diluted neutral floor cleaner.
In order to clean already-yellowed linoleum, a homeowner should strip the floor, applying the stripper in a less visible place first to make sure it doesn't damage the floor. She should then bleach the floor with a solution made by combining 3 parts water to 1 part bleach. She should apply this solution to the floor, wait for half an hour and repeat the process as many times as necessary until the stain lightens. If the yellowing doesn't disappear, a chlorine bleach powder can be sprinkled onto the floor and scrubbed into it. After scrubbing, the floor should be neutralized with a vinegar solution and mopped with water.