There are plenty of good reasons why almost all designers on globally acclaimed TV shows prefer laminate to other types of flooring. A laminate floor is made out of wood materials (such as sawdust) hard-pressed together to form something that closely resembles hardwood flooring. Not only is it naturally durable, but it also costs less to install and includes a clear protective shield on top.
But just like any other hard-wearing flooring type out there, it still requires regular care and maintenance to prevent it from getting warped or scratched. The Good Housekeeping Institute does not recommend using harsh cleansers on laminated floors as they can create streaks or damage the laminate finish. In our today’s crash course, we offer the best tips and strategies on how to clean a laminate wood floor the proper way.
Recommended Tools & Supplies
- Vacuum cleaner
- Dust mop
- Damp mop
- Cleaning clothes
- Laminate floor cleaner
- Distilled white vinegar (optional)
- Rubbing alcohol (optional)
Vacuum or dust mop the laminate floor
Although a laminate floor is considered fairly scratch-resistant, excess dirt particles and hair buildup can contribute to scratches, streaks and residue. Fortunately, vacuuming or dust mopping can help prevent scratches from forming. A dust mop or a vacuum can easily pick up these gritty particles from the surface.
If you are using a vacuum, choose a machine with a soft brush attachment or one with a setting for hard floors to suck up hair tumbleweeds and dust bunnies. Vacuums with stiff rolling brushes are likely to scratch or damage the laminate over time. Avoid using a standard floor brush with stiff, straw-like bristles at all costs, because such a brush might damage the laminate surface.
Pro Tip: Dust mop (with a microfiber cloth) in the specific direction upon which the laminate tiles were laid. By so doing, it becomes easier to blast away any debris that might have fallen in between the laminate floor grooves.
Choose the appropriate cleaning solution
Pick the right cleaner specially formulated for cleaning the laminate flooring. You can use a commercial laminate floor cleaner designed for a laminated floor. Before you use any product, make sure to read the instructions on the label and use it correctly.
If you think that commercial laminate floor cleaners are expensive and beyond your budget, you can make your own potent solution. Vinegar and rubbing alcohol are two of the most powerful solutions that can clean the laminate flooring and even fight the lingering pet odors. Either way, try not to overdo it as excess cleaning solution can leave a residue that might end up dulling the floor’s finish leading to muted-looking laminate floors in the long run.
Pro Tip: Avoid using pine scented cleaners on laminate floors as they may leave behind a dull, soapy residue. On the same breath, steer clear of products that are advertised as having the ability to create a shiny surface. Such products can cause a waxy buildup on your laminate floors.
Damp mop your laminate floors thoroughly
Fill a bucket with a little amount of lukewarm water for damp mopping. Do not use a lot of water since excess liquids can infiltrate in between the laminate boards causing swelling, and ultimately damaging your laminate flooring. Simply keep water to a minimum and spray as much cleaner onto the floor as you wish for a given section.
You could use a traditional-style mop, but a sponge mop is the best option since it is easy to control the saturation level. Soak a sponge mop in the lukewarm water and wring it out until it is scarcely damp. If excess water puddle is left seated on the floor, it can stain or warp the laminate flooring, or even prolong the drying time.
Give the entire flooring a thorough mopping, re-soaking and re-wringing out the mop a few times during the process. You can start from the center and work your way out, or go from one side of the room to the other. Avoid working from the exterior of the room toward the center, since you might end up walking on the already-cleaned floor and leaving dirty foot marks behind.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to areas that see a lot of foot traffic, such as kitchen and sitting rooms. Also, do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, and scouring powder on laminate floors. These cleaners have the potential to scratch the floor or damage its protective layer.
Dry and buff to shine
After mopping your laminate flooring, now let it air dry if it is barely moist. Otherwise, buffing it dry is the best way to make your laminate floors shine after mopping. You can achieve this by using an absorbent cleaning cloth hooked to a dust mop or a microfiber mop head.
Microfiber cleaning cloths and cloth diapers are other useful DIY alternatives for buffing the laminate floors after mopping. These two options provide for an ultimate solution for buffing laminate flooring to a shine. Using your tool of choice, work in circles and gently buff each section for a decent shine.
Pro Tip: Do not let water puddles sit on the laminate floor for extended periods. Similarly, avoid using an abrasive cloth as it may scratch the laminate flooring.
Laminate Floor Care Tips
After cleaning a laminate floor, it is necessary to take protective measures to keep it looking clean and brand new at all times. Here are a few tips to keep your laminated floor looking its best:
- Wipe up spills as soon as they happen
- Place entry mats on laminate flooring to prevent the dirt, sand, and grit from getting tracked onto your floor
- Use the recommended vinyl rug underlayment to prevent area rugs from slipping
- Avoid excessive exposure to moisture during inclement weather seasons
- Do not slide heavy objects across the laminate floor
- Use wide-load bearing bases and floor protectors to prevent scratches and indentations from heavy objects
- Always trim your kids’ and pets’ nails to prevent them from scratching the flooring surface
Knowing how to clean laminate floors will help keep them looking exquisite and also prolong their durability. Our well thought-out and resourceful guide will be of utmost help when it comes to cleaning a laminate floor. We recommend deep-cleaning your laminate floors a minimum of every two weeks. But if you have pets or if you allow shoes indoors, then cleaning should be done more often.