Maintaining and Cleaning Laminate Floors
Thank Scandinavian design trends for laminate flooring. Just like the way iconic Swiss brand Ikea revolutionized the way people furnish their homes, entrepreneurial Swedish engineers and manufacturers transformed the flooring industry by developing laminate flooring techniques in the 1920s and bringing high-pressure laminate flooring to market in 1979.
Global laminate flooring sales are expected to reach $23 billion by 2026. Homeowners often choose laminate flooring because it mimics the look of real hardwood but comes with a lower price point. Laminate flooring is also extremely versatile with design options. It can be used in rooms throughout the home, from bedrooms to kitchens.
Keeping your laminate flooring clean and looking as fresh as the day it was installed requires regular maintenance and deep cleaning now and then. Modernize created this guide to cleaning laminate floors to help homeowners choose the right products and cleaning methods to get their laminate flooring sparkling.
How to Clean Laminate Flooring
There’s no secret to keeping your laminate floor looking great. Like any flooring material, laminate requires routine cleaning on a weekly basis, as well as deep cleaning every few months.
Laminate is considered a low maintenance flooring product, since routine cleaning involves little more than removing dirt and dust, with a good mopping thrown in every now and then to refresh the surface. To understand how to clean laminate floors, follow these two steps.
Step 1: Routine Cleaning
Plan to routinely clean your laminate floors at least once a week. Pick up dirt, pet hair, dust and other debris with a dry mop, bristle broom or vacuum. Vacuuming is often a preferred choice for cleaning laminate floors because it can lift small particulates from the cracks between the laminate planks. Your vacuum should be switched to its hard floor setting so the beater bar is not turning – the bristles can scratch your flooring.
Microfiber dry mops also work well for routine laminate floor cleaning because they use static electricity to gather and hold dust onto the mop head. You will likely find the most success in your laminate floor cleaning routine through a mix of dry mopping, sweeping and vacuuming, depending on where you live and how dusty your floors get from week to week.
You can do a deep clean on small areas using a slightly damp rag. When it’s time for a full deep clean, however, you should break out the mop to ensure the entire surface is thoroughly cleaned.
Step 2: Deep Cleaning
Occasionally you will want to completely wipe down your laminate flooring to remove any lingering dirt or dust that your weekly routine leaves behind. Deep cleaning laminate floors can also enhance the flooring’s natural beauty. Plan to deep clean laminate flooring by wet mopping all areas of the flooring, after you finish sweeping and vacuuming, once every 3 months. Here are some tips for wet mopping laminate flooring.
- Build a cleaning solution. You can make your own gentle laminate floor cleaning solution easily at home. Mix a teaspoon of unscented dish soap with one gallon of hot water in a bucket. Alternatively, you can mix one cup of white vinegar with a gallon of hot water.
- Avoid oil-based cleaning products. These solutions can leave streaks and residue on your floors, which can damage the sealant. Multi-surface cleaning products can be used for laminate as long as they are not oil-based and are used in moderation. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the flooring after mopping.
- Fully wring out the mop head. Make sure the mop is damp rather than wet before mopping the floors. Never let water pool on laminate flooring. It can seep between the cracks and cause warping and other problems.
- When in doubt, less is more. If you are worried a certain cleaning solution is incompatible with your laminate floors, play it safe. A mop dipped in warm water and some elbow grease usually provides more than enough cleaning power, while overusing cleaning products leaves a sticky film on the floor’s surface.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth after mopping. After cleaning your floor with a just-damp mop, try going back over the surface with a drying cloth if you are seeing streaks or residue. Place the cloth over your dry mop head and buff the floor to a perfect finish.
You can use a wet pad mop to clean laminate flooring as long as it is not leaving standing liquid on the floor. Never use a steam mop since it forces water into the cracks of the flooring.
More Laminate Floor Maintenance Tips
Beyond your routine maintenance and deep cleaning methods, here are some other suggestions to help keep your laminate floors in the best shape.
- Use protective furniture bumpers. Placing bumpers under furniture and chair legs will protect your flooring from dents and scratches.
- Use floor mats. Welcome mats at entry points to help keep dirt from entering your house.
- Take advantage of area rugs. Use small rugs in high-traffic areas and the heavily-used living spaces. Vinyl-backed rugs can prevent rug slippage.
- Lift heavy items. Never drag heavy items, such as couches, tables, and desks, across your floor.
- Pet care. If you have pets, you will want to sweep and vacuum your floors more frequently. If you have dogs, trim their nails regularly so they do not scratch the flooring.