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how to clean laminate flooring

Best Ways To Clean Laminate Flooring

October 17, 2021 / 44 Comments

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Laminate flooring is the suitable option when you have children and animals, because it’s easy to clean. Sometimes children and animals track muddy prints into the house and spills occur often. That’s why you need the best way to clean laminate floors.

If you have laminate flooring and you want to maintain it in a way that won’t damage the floor, then this article is for you. All you need are the correct tools and the best product to clean laminate floors. Keep reading to find out more about how to clean laminate floors.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a synthetic type of floor that’s made to look like real hardwood. The laminate is made into planks in various thicknesses for durability; furthermore, the planks come in various sizes so you can create different patterns on your floor. You can get glue-down or floating floor installations

You can get laminate flooring in various colors and designs to complement any type of décor. To decide whether laminate flooring is for you, read on to see what materials it’s made from, its cost, and how to maintain it.

Material

Laminate planks are made with multiple layers of material to give it the look and feel of real wood flooring. On top of the plank is a printed image that’s put on melamine plastic. The top layer is textured using a wooden grain; this top layer is designed to resist abrasion and water damage. 

The core is made with a combination of melamine, high-density fiberboard, and resin. This core is thicker than the top layer and is the structural support that can handle weight and high foot traffic. 

At the bottom of the laminate plank, you’ll see the backing stabilizing layer. This backing is a moisture barrier and it adds stability to the boards. 
Heat and high-pressure machines are used to press and fuse the materials together to make durable planks.

Subfloor

One of the reasons homeowners choose laminate flooring is because it can be installed over subfloors such as:

  • Plywood
  • Tile
  • Concrete 
  • Parquet 
  • OBS (Oriented Strand Board) 

On the other hand, you can’t install laminate flooring over carpet, glued down vinyl, or any other padded subfloor. If you have these types of subfloors you should remove them before installing laminate planks. This is because carpet under glued down vinyl can create an uneven surface. 
The subfloor must be flat to properly support your laminate flooring. If your subfloor has bumps, slopes, or bends, you will need to level your subfloor before you can install your laminate boards. Lastly, if you’re installing laminate over any type of subfloor, you’ll want to lay down a vapor barrier first. This will provide some cushioning and sound reduction, and prevent moisture damage.

Joining Of The Planks

Laminate floor planks typically have a tongue and groove installation so you can click them together easily. This is a locking system that prevents the laminate floorboards from shifting. Additionally, it ensures there are no spaces between your laminate planks. 

To join your planks, simply lay down your first board that has a groove. Then take your second plank that has a tongue and slot it into the groove and push the board in until it’s fully seeded. Push down on the board until it’s completely locked into place. 

Some people use a rubber mallet to gently hit the boards into place. This helps to close any gaps between the laminate planks.

Price

The price of laminate flooring will depend on the quality, size, and installation type of the boards. Cheap laminate flooring can cost as little as $1 per square foot; however, low-end laminate flooring lacks durability, so it won’t last long. 

Medium range laminate floors can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot. This laminate flooring has a thicker wear layer–typically thicknesses of around ⅜ inches–so it’s more durable. 

High-quality laminate flooring can cost between $3 and $5 per square foot and the boards have a thickness of around ½ inches. These laminate floors have a thicker wear layer and are usually more water-resistant compared to lower grade laminate flooring. 

Various floor brands will also have different prices on their laminate flooring. For example, premium Shaw laminate flooring can cost between $2.80 and $4.25 per square foot. On the other hand, premium Pergo laminate flooring can cost you between $3.50 and $5.25 per square foot.

Maintenance

Your laminate flooring can last many years but only if you know how to clean laminate floors correctly. Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your laminate floors in tip-top shape for as long as possible. 

You should remove dust and debris from your laminate flooring every two days with a soft microfiber mop or soft-bristled broom. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, but make sure it is designed for hard surfaces so it doesn’t scratch your floors. Deep cleaning can be done every two weeks with a laminate floor cleaner

If you have pets or children you may need to clean your laminate flooring every four days. 

Pro Tip: You can spot clean your floors with a gentle detergent or mild dishwashing soap. Use a soft cloth to blot and wipe away spills. You can also use baby shampoo to clean stubborn dirt off of laminate flooring.

What are some Essential Laminate Flooring Cleaning Tools?

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.)

Tools

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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Ways to Clean Laminate Floors

There are various ways you can clean your laminate flooring; however, it’s important to use the correct cleaning tools and detergents to avoid damaging it. Here are a few tools and solutions you can use to clean laminate floors.

Dry Mop

Laminate floors are water-resistant but they can get damaged if you saturate your floors with water. Therefore, you’ll want to use a dry mop to sweep away dirt, clean up spills or deep clean your laminate flooring. Ideally, you want to use a microfiber mop such as the Spot Less Flat Mop so you don’t scratch the surface of your floors.

laminate floor mop
Spot Less Flat Mop

Vacuum

There are vacuum cleaner attachments you can use to suck up dirt trapped in corners or under appliances and furniture. If you use your vacuum cleaner for the entire floor instead of a mop or broom, be sure to turn the brush roll off so that it doesn’t scratch the surface of your floors. 
The best vacuum for laminate flooring is the Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum. It has a brush roll on/off switch so you can vacuum bare floors such as laminate without damaging them.

Gentle Cleansers

To deep clean your floors you must use the correct laminate floor cleaning solutions. Avoid using oil soap detergent and liquid cleaning products. Liquid cleaning products can cause:

  • Warping 
  • Swelling 
  • Joint line separation 
  • Delamination 

Ideally, you want to use a spray-on cleaner so you can wipe it up easily with a microfiber mop or cloth. The best cleaner for laminate floors is the ProCare Citrus floor cleaner. It’s formulated to clean all types of hard floors, including laminate.

Steps to Clean Laminate Floors

What you will need: 

  • Vacuum cleaner with on/off brush roll system or a soft-bristle broom
  • Soft microfiber mop with super-absorbent cleaning pads
  • Cleaning solution safe for laminate floors. 
  1. Vacuum in corners and under furniture to eliminate dust and debris. Make sure you keep the brush roll off when vacuuming your laminate floors. 
  2. Spray your cleaning solution directly onto your laminate floors or onto your microfiber mop. Don’t saturate the floors with the solution; you only need a light layer to wipe away sticky messes easily.  
  3. Start cleaning your floors by gently wiping away dirt with your mop. You may have to go over a few areas more than once to remove stubborn dirt. 
  4. If you’ve missed a spot, simply spray your cleaning solution directly onto the dirt and wipe it away with a soft cloth. 
  5. Leave your floors to dry. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a cleaning solution for laminate flooring you can pour a cup of white vinegar into a gallon of water. To avoid saturating your floor with the solution, pour it into a spray bottle so you can use it sparingly when deep cleaning your laminate floors.

What Not To Do When Cleaning Laminate Floors

To prevent your floors from getting damaged there are a few things you should not do when cleaning laminate floors. 

  • Don’t use bleach: It might seem like a good idea to use bleach to remove stains, but bleach can destroy the integrity of your laminate floors. It will remove the shiny coat off your laminate floors which will make them look dull, and it removes the floor’s color.  
  • Avoid abrasive cleaning tools: Laminate floors can scratch easily so don’t use scrubbers or steel wool to remove dirt off of your floors. 
  • Don’t use pure vinegar: When cleaning your laminate floors, always dilute your vinegar in water first. The high acidity from using pure vinegar can strip away the laminate floor’s shine. 
  • Don’t use wood cleaners: You should always use cleaners that are specifically formulated for laminate floors. Wood cleaners tend to leave streaks and a waxy residue on laminate surfaces. 
  • Never use steam cleaners: Laminate has a layer of plastic on the top. A steam cleaner is too hot for this material and will cause the laminate boards to warp and delaminate.
  • Avoid polishing machines: Your laminate floors come with a natural shine. Polishing machines will scratch the surface of the floors, making them appear dull. 

Don’t use too much water: When cleaning your laminate floors, don’t use buckets of water to wash away dirt. The water can soak into the planks and cause them to warp or buckle.

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 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 products 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 solutions instead of making your own. There is also, apparently, no reason to think 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 a 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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Best Product To Clean Laminate Floors

We’ve mentioned that Black Diamond is an excellent cleaning product for laminate flooring, but is there an alternative? You may prefer ZEP 1 Gallon Hardwood and Laminate floor cleaner. This product can be used with a microfiber cloth or mop.

Best Product To Clean Laminate Floors

The ZEP laminate floor cleaner is suitable for large areas to clean dirt and eradicate bacteria and mold. It’s a premix solution, so it’s easy to use and a little of the product goes a long way. The ZEP cleaner is non-abrasive, so you can rest assured it won’t scratch your floors.

You’ll love that ZEP is suitable for wooden and standard laminate flooring. The concentrate is formulated to remove tough stains and spots on your laminate floors that can’t be removed with standard detergents.

ZEP is a fast-drying formula that doesn’t require rinsing, which makes it user-friendly. The ZEP formula comes with a spray bottle, so you can disperse the product evenly on your laminate flooring.

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How to Remove Particular Stains from Laminate Floors?

Although laminate floors are stain-resistant, there are some products such as nail polish or wax that can be difficult to remove from laminate flooring with a standard cleaner. Here’s how you can remove various stains from laminate floors without damaging them: 

  • Nail polish, crayon, or shoe polish: Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and gently rub the stain out. 
  • Candle wax or chewing gum: Put a bag of ice over the wax and gently scrape off the wax with a plastic knife. Don’t use metal knives because they can rip through your laminate floor. 
  • Grease: Pour a small amount of mineral solution over the affected area. Leave to soak for 30 seconds and then wipe it away with a soft cloth. 
  • Blood: Spray the affected area with a window cleaner. Wipe away the stain with a warm, damp cloth. 
  • Soda, wine or ink: Pour mineral spirits onto a soft cloth and use it to wipe away ink, wine or soda stains. The sooner you attend to the stain, the easier it will be to remove. 

Scuff marks: Apply a baking soda paste to scuff marks and wipe them away with a soft cloth. 

What Do You Use To Clean Laminate Wood Floors?

Wood laminate floors are different from standard laminate flooring. That’s because real wood is used by slicing thin planks to cover your floors. There’s a different way to maintain these wooden floors as opposed to standard printed laminate floors.

Since wood can swell, rot, and crack when exposed to excessive amounts of water, extra precautions are needed to take care of this type of flooring. You’ll need a non-abrasive wooden floor cleaner that’s premixed. Try not to use any water on your wooden floors.

Use a dust cloth or mop to wipe the floors with your cleaner. The detergent should clean your wooden laminate flooring and add a shine to the surface. To keep your wooden laminate floors healthy, use the correct floor polish such as Bona Stone Tile & Laminate Floor Polish.

The Bona floor polish is a multipurpose product that can be used on tiles, marble, and now wooden laminate flooring. This product will restore the shine on your laminate flooring, and it’s environmentally friendly too.

Another positive aspect about Bona is that it’s non-abrasive, so it won’t damage your floors. Additionally, the product has a pleasant fragrance that lasts. You can use the Bona Stone Tile & Laminate Floor Polish using a soft mop.

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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, as 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.

Special Solutions For Bad Messes

If there is gum on your floor, we recommend 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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How To Eliminate Mold Growth On Laminate Flooring

Most people use bleach to disinfect their floors. But since this is not an ideal cleaning aid for laminate flooring, you should consider a safer alternative. Mold growth occurs when dust is combined with damp areas. When you’re not cautious, mold can grow in the corners of your laminate flooring.

To get rid of the mold on your laminate flooring safely, follow these steps:

  1. Sweep the area thoroughly with a soft bristle broom or dust mop.
  2. Mix a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water and add 5oz of rubbing alcohol.
  3. If you want to add a pleasant fragrance to the solution, simply add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture. Only add 3 to 4 drops of oil because you don’t want an oily residue left behind on the laminate floors.
  4. Dip a clean mop in the solution and wring it out so that it’s damp. Then wipe the area thoroughly.
  5. To get into the corners of your floors, dip a soft cloth into the solution, wring it out, and wipe the area clean.

The acidity from the vinegar and alcohol will eradicate the mold growth on your laminate floors and prevent the organisms from growing back.

This solution works for laminate and wooden laminate flooring. It’s safe to use and won’t destroy the finish of the laminated surface. It’s important to use soft-bristled brooms and spray mops to avoid scratching the surface of your floors. So make sure you always use cleaning tools that won’t damage your laminate floors when ridding them of mold.

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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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FAQs

What Is The Best Way To Clean Laminate Flooring?

The best way to clean laminate flooring is to use a damp cloth to wipe up spills and dirt as soon as they happen. It’s advised never to leave liquids to sit on your laminate flooring for long.

For tougher spots such as oil spills or paint, dip a cloth into nail polish remover. Then wipe the spot gently until the stain is removed completely. Use a damp cloth to wipe away excess residue from the area when you’re done.


What’s The Best Laminate Floor Cleaner?

Black Diamond Stoneworks is the best laminate floor cleaner on the market. The product comes in a large trigger spray bottle that helps you disperse the product evenly on your laminated floors. Black Diamond Stoneworks is premixed and doesn’t require rinsing.

The product doesn’t leave any streaks behind, and it gives your laminate flooring a shiny finish.


How Do I Get My Laminate Floors To Shine?

To give your laminate floors a shine, you must first use a clean dust mop to wipe away any dirt on your flooring. Then you’ll need the correct laminate floor cleaning product. You can choose to use Black Diamond Stonework or another cleaning product of your preference.

Premixed and no-rinse laminate floor cleaners are ideal because they’re easy to use. Simply spray the solution on your floor and use a dry, clean mop to clean the area. Additionally, you can use laminate floor polish for extra shine.


Is Vinegar Safe For Laminate Floors?

Yes, vinegar is a safe and natural way to keep your laminate floors clean. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so it eliminates mold growth and bacteria from your laminate floors. Simply add one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.

Never use the wet mopping method to clean your laminate floors because this can cause major damage to the integrity of the flooring. Dip the mop in the solution and wring out most of the water so it’s slightly damp. Mop up any dirt or spills you may see on the surface.


How Often Should You Mop Laminate Floors?

You should only mop your laminate flooring every two months. If there are spills, simply use a dry paper towel or a microfiber cloth to wipe up the mess. You can also use a soft-bristle broom to sweep away dust.


What Are The Disadvantages Of Laminate Flooring?

You can’t sand or refinish laminate flooring. So if there are deep grooves or scratches on the surface, you won’t be able to fix these areas with sanding. That’s why it’s important to take care of your laminate flooring the correct way.


How Do You Clean Laminate Wood Floors Naturally?

Add one part vinegar to three parts water and add a dash of dish soap. Mix the solution in a spray bottle or place it in a bucket if you’re going to mop the floor. It’s advised that you don’t use a steam mop for the task. Use a damp mop to clean your laminate floors with the solution.


How Do You Make Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner?

Take a spray bottle and add 5oz of white vinegar, 5oz of rubbing alcohol, 5oz of distilled water, and 3 to 4 drops of any fragrant essential oil. The essential oil will add a fresh smell to your laminate flooring. Shake the solution inside the spray bottle well and your natural laminate floor cleaner is ready to use.

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Conclusion

Cleaning laminate flooring doesn’t have to be a difficult task. There are affordable options such as making your own floor cleaner. Or purchase a pre-mixed cleaner such as Black Diamond Stonework that can be used as a wood floor detergent or laminate cleaner.

Another aspect to remember is to avoid using the incorrect tools to clean your laminate flooring, such as steel wool, steam mops, or abrasive floor cleaners. Don’t let water sit on your laminate flooring because it can destroy the integrity of the area.

Instead, use the tips and tricks we provided in today’s article when cleaning laminate flooring. If you maintain your laminate flooring correctly, it will preserve the longevity of the finish and you’ll have a clean, shiny, and even surface for many years to come.

Do you have a specific method you use for cleaning your laminate flooring? Let us know what your process is by leaving a comment below. We’re always happy to hear from our readers.

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.

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