There’s a myriad of reasons why most homeowners favor laminate wood floors over other flooring options existing today. Laminate flooring is hands down affordable, simple to install, and has a high durability compared to other flooring choices in the market. Besides, this flooring option flaunts a variety of attractive colors, awe-inspiring styles and exquisite textures which closely resemble the appearance and feel of slate, hardwood or ceramic tiles.
In spite of all these benefits, laminate floors require a high level of care because their protective coating is prone to streaking. If you use a typical floor cleaner on your laminate surface, this protective sealant may be damaged and your flooring warranty may be annulled. How then should you clean your laminate flooring without streaking, you ask?
In all honesty, cleaning laminate flooring without unwanted damage to the surface is a challenge. But don’t freak just yet. In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through a step-by-step process on how to clean laminate floors without streaks.
Recommended Cleaning Supplies:
- Distilled water
- White vinegar
- Lemon essential oil (optional)
- A spray bottle
- Baking soda paste
- Rubbing alcohol or acetone-based nail polish
- Window cleaner
- Cotton ball
- Vacuum cleaner
- Plastic broom or bristle broom
- Microfiber mop pad
- Clean dry towel
Cleaning Laminate Floors Without Streaks – Steps to Follow
Sweep or Vacuum to Remove Loose Dirt and Debris
First, sweep or vacuum the laminate floor surface to safely get rid of loose dirt and debris that can cause streaking. For sweeping, use either a plastic broom or a bristle broom to remove loose debris from the floor surface. Always move the broom gently on the floor surface to prevent the sharp edges of large-sized granular dust particles from scratching the surface.
Alternatively, you may want to expel big dust bunnies and hair tumbleweeds faster and more effectively by vacuuming the laminate flooring. We recommend using a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar for this purpose. Select the bare floor setting on the vacuum, and make a few vacuuming passes following the grain of your floor. Use your vacuum’s attachment to clean any difficult spots like corners and crevices.
Experts recommend choosing vacuum models specially designed for vacuuming laminate, such as a canister, stick, or robotic vacuum. These vacuums have lower brush settings and their suction will be closer to the laminate flooring. Also, they’re comprised of soft-rolling brushes which don’t scrape or scratch the laminate surface thus protecting the floor’s integrity.
Create Your Cleaning Solution
In a spray bottle, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with 2 gallons of hot distilled water to prepare the solution. Using hot distilled water is essentially important to prevent the appearance of streaks. The water shouldn’t necessarily be boiling, but just slightly hotter than lukewarm.
Hot water also prevents the dirt from settling into the sealant of your laminate flooring, meaning that you won’t be pushing the dirt around while cleaning. Now, shake the spray bottle thoroughly to mix the vinegar solution before using it. You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil if the smell of vinegar bothers you.
It’s possible to store this solution for several weeks without losing its cleaning potency. And if need be, you can substitute the distilled white vinegar with apple cider vinegar. However, apple cider vinegar has a lower sanitizing effect than the distilled white vinegar.
Apply the Cleaning Agent and Start Mopping the Floor
Grab one of your microfiber mop pads and squirts a bit of the vinegar solution onto it. Or, lightly mist the laminate surface with a few drops of the vinegar solution in the spray bottle. Watch out keenly to ensure the floor isn’t soaking wet – but just slightly damp. Excessive liquid can cause streaking and warping of the laminate flooring.
A microfiber mop is the most crucial tool for wet mopping the laminate flooring, because it consists of grooves which hold the dirt pretty well. Mop the laminate floor in smooth, even motions after applying the cleaning solution. Control and maintain the same mopping pressure with every stroke, and avoid scrubbing too hard to prevent streaking.
Keep wringing out the excess water from the mop as you run it over the wet areas. After a couple of minutes, pause and examine the entire laminate surface to make sure that no wet area is left untouched. If there’s too much water left, wipe it out with a clean and dry towel.
Tackle the Stains
If there are mild stains on some sections of your laminate flooring, remove them using a baking soda paste. Addressing any specific stains on your floor is important since their residue can lead to streaking across your finished floor. To remove a food-based stain, mix a few drops of distilled water with baking soda to form a paste.
Then, spoon the baking soda paste and spread it over the affected area. Allow the soda paste to sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes then wipe it away using a cloth dampened with water. For tougher and more caked-on stains, mix one part of rubbing alcohol with two parts of window cleaner in a spray bottle.
Apply this cleaning solution directly onto the stained spot and rub a cotton ball or paper towel over it. An acetone-based nail polish can also work as a substitute for rubbing alcohol for removing tough stains from laminate flooring. However, we recommend performing a patch test on an unobtrusive area of the laminate surface before using it on the entire floor.
Caution: Alcohol should not sit on the laminate flooring for too long as it can peel off the protective coating causing streaking and dullness.
Dry Your Laminate Wood Floors Properly
Drying your laminate wood floor is the most important step that determines whether or not streaks will form after cleaning. It’s important to dry up the floor exhaustively because your laminate will appear warped if you leave stagnant puddles of water behind. Worse still, water puddles can create terrible streaks that are nearly impossible to remove.
You can dry up your laminate flooring with either a soft towel or a cloth made of microfiber material. Preferably, use a soft cloth that can soak up plenty of water without scratching the floor. Dry your floor in a circular motion starting from the inside toward the outside to minimize footprint.
Make sure to pick up as much of the moisture as possible, leaving no trace of water behind. This way, you’ll be able to buff your laminate to achieve the pristine shine that you’ll love. As soon as you finish drying up your laminate floor, make sure no one steps on it until it has dried completely to guarantee a streak-free shine.
Cleaning your laminate wood floors properly is an absolute best way to keep them looking fresh and inviting. These types of floors call for special care and attention, unlike other types of floors that are simpler to clean and maintain. With the combination of hot water, the right cleaning supplies and adequate drying methods, you’ll attain the pristine shine that showcases the beauty of your home.