how to clean laminate flooring

Best Ways to Clean Laminate Flooring

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.


The first things we recommend are a vacuum for hard surfaces and a good microfiber laminate 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Elizabeth Nichols

About Elizabeth Nichols

Elizabeth is a writer and researcher who is also a homeowner and passionate penny-pincher. A lover and student of design, her home is an eclectic and happy mix Latin, Midwest U.S and European style.

42 thoughts on “Best Ways to Clean Laminate Flooring”

  1. Avatar

    We’ve had ours for years. I just use regular mop and bucket. Little bit of cleaner and spin it till damp. The mist and damp mop thing takes too long and just doesn’t work for me. I have Bona dust mop for quick cleaning and use vacuum for big jobs

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    James Patsaricas

    I sued Mr Clean miracle sponge to remove some gooey sticky residue on the laminate flooring and sure enough the area now has no shine. Is there any way to “fix” that and restore the shine in that area?

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    I too have laminate floors and am very disappointed. The finish looks uneven, Some areas are looking like new, others are dull. I do not know why, as this is not even a traffic pattern. Bona has done NOTHING for me, not the cleaner and not the “polish”.
    Some time ago I tried to even out the small downstairs hallway by applying Windex and a damp cloth. It worked 90%, but there are still areas which are much more shiny than others. I did not want to apply a finish until the floor looks even, but am not sure how to get to that point.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    1. Avatar

      I don’t have laminate in a heavy duty room but in my office. TBH I have never cleaned it; just hoover in detail and wipe any spills and dry immediately. Have had it about nine years and looks immaculate.

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      Do not use any waxes, they do have floor dressings at home Depot for your floor. Apply evenly over entire floor and a second coat may be needed always remember thin to win . Apply with micro fiber, THEN ONLY CLEAN WITH VINEGAR AND WATER ALSO USING A MICRO FIBER.

  4. Avatar

    With the coronavirus happening at the moment, I’ve been trying to search for an answer on what is the safest way to disinfect laminate floors? Could you please share your thoughts? Thank you

    1. Avatar
      Megan Zaragoza

      I used a hospital graded liquid on my laminate floors. Just type on ebay hospital grade cleaners.

    2. Avatar

      Did you manage to get the solution for disinfecting laminate from Covid19. I am moving in new property and want to disinfect before moving in. Any clues?

  5. Avatar

    Ugh, who knew having laminate wood floors would be this much work. I bought a house and noticed the floors looked dull in one area and then more shiny in others. Also noticed it looked streaked up like a dirty mop was used. Additionally where the planks come together you can see seam spaces in certain places and I wonder if the previous owners used a lot of wet mops. Yet until now, even I didn’t know that you aren’t suppose to use wet mops on these floors. In fact I thought “laminate” meant EASY! Not true. I bought a sponge mop and some Murphys oil soap and tested about a 6 by 6 area with a tiny amount of the product and water. I put a fan on to dry it faster. It’s awful, and hope I didn’t do too much damage.

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      They’re easy to take care of but most products will damage laminate floors. You may need to apply a couple coats of floor dressing and you can pick that up at home depot be sure to get a product for your specific floor and use a micro fiber to apply the finish. Then maintenance with one part vinegar and and part water be sure to spray on and wipe e with a fiber mop. Be sure to use a different micro fiber for cleaning then what you use when you applied the finish.

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    Mainly this is what I use the vinegar and water and sometimes the murphys wood cleaner then I use a rectangle swivel dust mop and spray the mop heavy with Endust wood dust mop spray and in sections going with the grain of the wood go up and back then the same way moving my dust mop over a little each time then spray mop again and repeat section by section until floors are done .. My floors are beautiful and look like they have been waxed and buffed . This is not a polish it’s just a dust mop spray . If you try this make sure you get the one for elwood floors and not the regular dusting spray for furniture . The cans look identical so read the back before you buy a can . Everyone compliments me on how much work I must do to make such beautiful floors . I never tell them different just thank them for the compliments .

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    I have used a solution of about 1/2 Cup Murphy’s wood soap and a cup of white vinegar. I add some boiling hot water, then use a cotton rag mop (not microfiber) – I ring the mop out VERY well and even wrap it in a thick towel to minimize the moisture. This has worked well after trying ALL the commercial brands (BONA, Swiffer, ad infinitum). I also do spot cleaning with a microfiber dust mop and Windex or other window cleaner.

    1. Avatar

      Bona laminate cleaning product does nothing for my floors. Even when using very little it still makes the floor sticky for some reason. I have had two mops break on me even my brother gave me his.

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      I have laminate in my apartment and use a diluted solution of vinegar, rubbing alcohol (dries faster), a little squirt of Dawn, and lemon and eucalyptus essential oils so the apartment doesn’t smell like a pickle. I have the O-Cedar mop that spins the wetness out so it’s just damp, then go back over with a dry Swiffer. It makes my floors super shiny and clean feeling!

      1. Avatar

        Can I get the measurements for this? It sounds great. I’ve tried all kinds of things and nothing works. Thanks

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        Crystal Franklin

        I have dark laminate floors. I have tried bona, swiffer and vinegar and water. After completing each the footprints and shoe prints still show. It is like it’s a greasy finish. Please help me.

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          I have tried every cleaner uou can buy an tried just plain hot water and after all dry there is immediate foot prints I need help I have tried vinegar and water as well with rubbing alcohol also I feel spray mopping makes my floors look even worse like I haven’t cleaned in years and also does no get all the dirt well

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    I’m a renter and used a sponge with a scratchy side on our floor–they were super stained. Now they aren’t stained but they are dull in the spots I used it in. CRAP!
    1. don’t want to lose my damage deposit and
    2. I’d like the shine back! Any ideas?

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    I used dawn dishwashing liquid on my laminate floor. Big Mistake! Now floor is dull and streaked. Big floor, lots of work for nothing.

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        Patricia Nicholas

        It takes multiple cleanings and buffing with vinegar and water to remove the film left behind by dish soap. A single mopping won’t work, either do it by hand washing and drying/buffing as you go or continue to mop several times changing the mop head often. Do NOT use bleach, other detergents or most commercial cleaners. Definitely do not use any polish type products they will cause streaks and a cloudy finish.

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      No don’t do it. Though steam mop good for tile. Not sure which brand is worth buying do you or anyone on here know of a good steam mop?

  10. Avatar

    Merry Christmas to all!

    My question is: I believe I have Laminate flooring, it is a light brown shade or maybe a bamboo look. It looks like it has millions of pores, like black heads.. how do you clean it? I have gotten on my knees and scrubbed.. but most of my house has the flooring, and I got tired of scrubbing.

    Also the flooring seems very giving. I mean that if I drop a book (example) it leaves a dent. I have thousands of these dents and even some holes.

    Can someone please give me some advice on the maintenance of the flooring? I hope everyone has a Blessed Merry Christmas and New Year!

    Thank you,

  11. Avatar
    Edward Morrison

    The best way I have found is using Orange Glo Wood Floor Cleaner. Use a damp (Not wet) sponge mop, apply the cleaner to the mop head and mop in the direction of the grain. Do small sections (6×6) and rinse the mop often.

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    Our floor has spots on it that will not come out when we clean it with the Bona for laminate floors. Hoping you have some ideas about what to do. We bought our house two years ago and think they might have been there then, and we have a dog and it might be her drooling. WDYT?



  13. Avatar

    The warnings given here are what everyone should take care of while cleaning laminate flooring. I already knew few of them, but the others will be helpful for me.

  14. Avatar

    As a laminate flooring installer, I learned many good tips here.

    Thanks for your time and knowledge put into this post.


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