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Some older homes still have linoleum floors. We don't know why. Made of ground cork and linseed oil, it stains, dents, and scratches easily. If you have a linoleum floor, it's time to replace it with a better-looking, better-performing sheet vinyl floor. But if you like the 1940s retro look of linoleum, and want to keep it, care is not difficult: Damp mop using 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 gallon of warm water, then rinse and dry.

Remember to clean a small area at a time as the vinegar left to air dry can dull the finish over time. Add 1 tablespoon of baby oil to the rinse water to replace the oils lost over time. Never use ammonia, strong cleaning chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. Wax occasionally.

Do not remove old wax from a linoleum floor with a commercial wax remover -- it's way too harsh. To strip a linoleum floor, use a solution of 3 parts warm water and 1 part isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. A more aggressive alternative is 1 cup ammonia in 1 gallon of hot water. Pour the solution onto the floor (a section at a time) and let it stand for about five minutes -- don't let it dry, or the wax will set up and you'll have to start over again. Scrape the wax off using a Teflon spatula. Wear gloves, eye protection, and open the windows for ventilation.