The dog came in from outside and tracked mud everywhere. Your son spilled his orange juice in the living room. You worked in the yard and walked in to take a shower without taking your shoes off. These events, and more, are an everyday type of occurrence in our homes.
You’ve installed your beautiful new laminate floors, and you’d like to keep them looking great for years to come. Cleaning your floors is a key element in maintaining them over time. For cleaning you’ll need a basic set of tools and supplies. We’ve done the research and can offer you some advice on how to clean your laminate safely and well. Read on for our tips on the best way to clean laminate flooring.
- DIY Cleaning Solutions
- Branded Cleaning Solutions
- Special Interventions for bad messes
- Cautions and Warnings
The first things we recommend are a vacuum for hard surfaces and a good microfiber mop.
You’ll want to vacuum your laminate (or sweep) regularly to pick up the kind of grit that gets tracked in from out of doors. This grit, when underfoot, can scratch your floors and make them lose the shine you enjoy so much. (You can also insist that people take their shoes off at the door.)
Using a vacuum instead of a broom will also allow you to trap any allergens in the bag more successfully. A broom will often just lift them into the air to resettle.
You’ll also want a microfiber mop. Swiffer makes the most instantly recognizable microfiber mop, but you don’t necessarily need to buy the Swiffer brand.
DIY Cleaning Solutions
Many suggest that an old fashioned mix of vinegar and water is a superior cleaner to brand-name products. To make a do it yourself laminate cleaner, just mix equal parts hot water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Use the bottle to spray the floor before you mop it with the microfiber, and you’re all set.
If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, remember that first it will dissipate quickly. Also, remember that you can always add a few drops of essential oil in a scent you like (lemon, eucalyptus, etc.) or a few drops of good-smelling dish detergent to your spray bottle mix. Just be aware that these may dull the shine produced by the vinegar and your elbow grease.
This homemade cleaning solution is not only much, much cheaper than a retail brand (it costs only pennies per bottle), but it is much more environmentally sustainable, and does not bring extra chemicals into your home, which may help members of your family or guests who are sensitive.
Branded Cleaning Solutions
Most experts doubt that you really need to buy branded or retail cleaning solution instead of making your own. There is also, apparently, no reason to think that you have to buy the cleaning solution that is branded and marketed with the same name as the flooring you installed.
That said, some do believe that retail cleaning solution does a better job at controlling static than homemade cleaners, and there is always the issue of smell.
If you would prefer to go with a professional cleaner, Black Diamond has been making floor cleaning products since 1997 and they get consistently high ratings from buyers. It’s available on Amazon.
In the end, you may want to try more than one commercial cleaner and see which works best for you in cleaning and aroma.
Special Solutions for Bad Messes
So maybe you’ve spilled nail polish on the floor, or someone got shoe polish on your laminate. Resist the temptation to use abrasive cleaners like Comet or a scouring pad – these have the potential to scratch your floor.
A few ideas for cleaning stubborn stains on laminate: you can try WD-40, or a small amount of non-acetone fingernail polish remover on a cotton ball. Either of these solvents will work for the kind of mark that won’t come off with a regular cleaning solution.
If there is gum on your floor, we recommend that you cover it in ice to freeze it, and scrape it off, gently! With a non-abrasive plastic scraper.
Heel and scuff marks will also sometimes come up if you use a good, old-fashioned pencil eraser.
Cautions and Warnings
If you follow the instructions above, you’ll be all set. We’d like to remind you though, of several things to avoid that can damage your floors. We’ve already mentioned not using abrasives like scrub pads or Comet, but here are some more tips:
Less water is better. Water can soak in and cause peeling and separation. Don’t soak your microfiber mop and don’t leave puddles.
Don’t use bleach. Since wood laminate is porous, the bleach will soak in, causing a range of problems. Bleach will often take the shiny finish off your floors and can also stain and change the color of your floor.
We recommend that you stay away from products that offer a “protected shine.” These products will offer to not only clean your floor but also fill in scratches and scuffs. They do this by adding a film, or filler into the product. While this may work, often these products will dull the shine on your floor by leaving that residue.
It doesn’t have to be a big challenge to clean your laminate floors and keep them looking great. You have some easy and affordable options, and just need to avoid some pitfalls.
Sweep or vacuum regularly to avoid scratching from ambient grit, and mop with a good microfiber mop. You can either save money by making your own cleaning solution to use with the mop, or buy a commercially sold product which will be more expensive but might smell better and remove static.
Don’t use cleaning tools or products that might scratch your floor and above all, don’t soak the laminate with too much water, or by letting puddles form on the surface.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be enjoying your beautiful, shiny and clean laminate floors for years to come.