How to Clean Laminate Floors
Wondering how to clean laminate floors and keep them looking great for years? While your laminate floors may look as good as hardwood floors, that doesn’t mean you should clean them the same way. The best way to clean laminate floors is not the same method you would use to make those oak planks shine. Laminate floors need special care because unlike hardwood, the surface can’t just be refinished in the case of stains or damage. To avoid pricey replacements, it’s critical to maintain your floors and treat them with care. (That means no stilettos!) Whether you have new laminate floors or just want your existing surface to look as good as the day it was installed, here’s how to clean laminate floors like a pro.
Do read the cleaning instructions that come with your laminate flooring
Before you get cleaning, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your floors. The brand may have specific recommendations based on the materials used. Most companies have detailed product guides and instructions on how to clean laminate floors on their websites.
- Don’t let stains sit on the floor: Tackle spills as they happen. The best way to avoid stains is to wipe up spills immediately. Liquids can damage laminate floors, so it’s critical to minimize exposure to them.
- Don’t use abrasive tools: Laminate floors can scratch, so steer clear of anything abrasive (steel wool, for example). You’ll want to use a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to sweep up debris. If you’re vacuuming, be careful to use an attachment without a beater bar which could scratch the surface.
- Do (carefully) mop your laminate floor every two months: To keep your laminate floors fresh, mop them every two months. Damp mops (a.k.a. microfiber mops) are gentle enough to use on laminate floors. If you’re going to use a regular mop, just wring it out until it’s almost completely dry.
- Don’t use too much water: Traditional mopping is a no-no for laminate floors since the water can seep into the seams and cause damage (like swelling or floor bubbling). Pools of water can also cause staining or fading.
- Do skip cleaning products that aren’t labeled as made for laminate: Oil-based cleaning products can leave streaks and residue or damage the protective sealant of the floors. If you use laminate cleaner, do so sparingly and apply it to the mop or microfiber cloth rather than directly to the floor. Never use wax or polishes on laminate floors.
- Do consider a DIY laminate floor cleaner: You can make your own floor cleaner right at home. For regular cleaning, just combine a teaspoon of clear, unscented dish soap with a gallon of hot water. Another option? If your floor has developed a slight film or waxy buildup on it (which happens over time when the wrong cleaning products are used), you can instead combine a gallon of hot water with a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar, which is a natural cleaning agent, will break down the film without hurting the laminate surface.