Freshen up your floors in a flash with these cleaning hacks
Laminate flooring is a fan favorite hybrid floor alternative to hardwood floors. It mimics the wooden floor perfectly – for half of its price.
And while it requires relatively low maintenance, preserving laminate floors shine is harder than it looks. Cleaning laminate flooring improperly can make it even stickier and grimier than before.
You know the old saying “wood and water don’t mix”. Well, if you’ve tried to mop laminate floors, you know how true it is.
Removing those tough stains without harsh chemicals is possible, though. And solutions that don’t involve replacing the boards can seem taxing, but are manageable with practice.
How Often To Deep Clean Your Laminate Floors
According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), regular cleaning is a key to making your laminate wood floor a long-time investment.
Your exact cleaning process may vary depending on your laminate floor manufacturer. But there are a couple of standard cleaning processes you can expect overall:
- Daily: Sweep and dust.
- Weekly: Vacuum. Fine dirt particles and grit will scratch your laminate flooring in the long-run. Vacuuming weekly ensures that your laminate surface remains spotless.
- Monthly: Clean with wood floor cleaner, damp mopping.
Overall, the key is to address high-traffic areas. For example, you may walk more frequently in some areas than others. In this case, consider vacuuming more often there.
What You’ll Need
01 Sweep or Vacuum Your Floors
First, sweep or vacuum your wood floors.
A dust mop with a microfiber head will attract and hold dust. But to get in between the boards and other hard-to-reach areas, a vacuum cleaner is more practical since vacuum cleaner upholstery attachments can capture dust between planks more easily.
If you opt for a vacuum, make sure your vacuum is brushless or has its brushes turned off.
Clean the wheels of your vacuum if needed to ensure that they will not leave scuff marks.
If you want to use a broom, then opt for a soft-bristle broom that won’t scratch your floor. But remember that sweeping can brush particles around, so they act like sandpaper.
02 Clean up Spills Immediately
In the instance your floor comes into contact with a spill, act quickly or as soon as possible.
A liquid spill can damage laminate floors quickly and permanently. Even too much water on your laminate floors can cause the surface to expand, which is why cleaning with mostly dry cleaning supplies is essential.
To remove spills, get a clean dry cloth. Carefully blot up any liquids – the key is to minimize exposure to the liquids as much as you can.
But for a more specific kind of damage, here’s what we recommend:
- Wine, juice, chocolate or grease: Use lukewarm water and a non-abrasive cleaner – a mix of ammonia and water works great. Put the mix in a spray bottle, apply, then wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Markers, crayon, polish, ink, & cigarette burns: Use acetone, or rubbing alcohol. Be careful not to get acetone around the wallbase. Pour some onto a clean white cloth and wipe the stain until it’s gone.
- Candle wax & chewing gum: Let these liquids harden and scrape them off carefully with a plastic scraper. Don’t use a harsh tool to scrape. Follow up with a natural cleaner or some water to get rid of any residue left on the floor.
03 Choose a Suitable Cleaner
Choosing the right cleaning product is crucial. A laminate floor cleaner can be an easy solution. It’s also important to use a cleaner that’s recommended by the manufacturer of your laminate flooring. Otherwise, it could cause damage or void your warranty.
Alternatively, you can also make your own solution with 1 cup of vinegar or ⅓ cup non-sudsing ammonia per gallon of water.
However avoid dish soap, polish, detergent-based cleaners, and wax-based products. These leave behind residue.
Place your preferred solution in a spray bottle for use. If you haven’t used this mixture before, try it on a small section of your laminate floors first.
To prevent any issues arising over time, only use this method occasionally. For more regular cleaning, stick to a branded laminate floor cleaner that’s recommended for your flooring.
04 Damp Mop Your Floors
Traditional mopping won’t do the trick for laminate wood floors. Don’t apply your cleaning solution directly to the floor. Instead, apply your cleaning solution directly to your mop.
A microfiber cloth is our favorite cloth for leaving floors looking shiny. But any cloth will do.
Start damp moping by using a back and forth motion. This picks up more dirt from the surface than if you stick in the same direction.
But it’s best to start from the back of the room and work your way forwards to the door. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk through the room to get out and could leave a trail of dust over your freshly mopped laminate floors.
Also, don’t wet mop your floors. The floor should dry within a couple of minutes at most. If it’s taking longer than this, then you’re probably using too much liquid.
Replace the mop cover with a clean one once soiled. Use a soft cleaning cloth to wipe the floor dry.
Tips To Maintain Your Laminate Floors
- Use protective pads on furniture legs to avoid scratches. For example, this includes tables, TV stands, and sofas.
- Remove your shoes when entering your home. If you wear high heels, don’t walk around the house with them.
- Keep entryway doormats inside and outside your home for clean feet.
- Keep your pet’s nails trimmed and paws clean!
- Consider using only manufacturer-approved vinyl rug underlayment. This prevents slippage of area rugs.
- Don’t use the following cleaning supplies: Beater bar, rotating brush, jet or spray mop, floor scrubber, steel wool or wet items in general. As a good rule of thumb, know that gentler tools are better. Harsh contact with your floors can cause scratching.
- Avoid steam cleaner: it leaves a lot of moisture, which can cause irreparable damage and ruin the finish of your floor. You can still use a steam mop that’s specifically designed to clean laminate wood floors – in theory. They can still leave moisture that seeps into the floors. Check beforehand with your flooring manufacturer, making sure the use of a steam mop won’t void the warranty. For example, Quick-Step Hydroseal floors are extremely resistant to water thanks to the hydroseal technology. The manufacturer Quick-step confirms that the use of a steam mop is permitted — still not recommended.
What to Do When Laminate Floor is Permanently Damaged
Of course, cleaning laminate floors doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes we even try removing stains with the right tools and don’t get it quite right.
Some laminate floor manufacturers provide finishing solutions to address smaller forms of damage. This might look like a floor scratch repair kit or putty.
In the unfortunate case that your floor gets extremely damaged, you may have to consider plank replacement. If a damaged area is larger than ¼ of an inch, consider contacting a professional to replace the entire plank.