Though they were invented in 1977, laminate floors only became popular during the 1990s. They consist of a particleboard wooden base with an image layer that can be made to look like wood and even stone and metal. Finally, it has a protective layer on top that makes it resistant to scratches and impact.
Providing exceptional durability, they’re expected to last longer than most flooring materials. Since they often mimic the look and feel of natural types of wood, they instantly add warmth, charm, and character to any indoor space.
However, one of the best features of laminate floors is the fact that they’re low maintenance and easy to clean.
If you have laminate floors, we’ll tell you how to clean them, what to use for cleaning, and provide a few maintenance tips. By giving your laminate floors proper care, you can keep them looking nice and enjoy them for as long as possible.
What Is the Best Way To Clean a Laminate Floor?
We know that laminate floors are easy to clean, but is there an ideal way to clean them?
Luckily, all you really need to clean your laminates is a simple mixture of soap and water. Just create a soapy mixture and wipe it on your floors with a microfiber mop designed for laminate floors. Readily available from home improvement stores, microfiber materials ensure that your floor won’t get scratched and can be used wet or dry.
Note that this method may leave behind streaks which may be more noticeable if your laminates are a darker shade. To avoid streaks, use a dry towel to buff away any moisture left behind by the rinsing process, being careful not to drag any dirt back into the flooring as you do so.
It would help if you vacuumed laminate floors at least once a week to maintain the excellent air quality in your home (and keep dust from ruining your furniture). We recommend using a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to pick up any loose dirt or debris that may be on your floor. If you have little ones like pets or kids who love running barefoot all day long, you may need to vacuum more often!
You can also steam your floors once a month to remove any built-up dirt. To steam your floors, fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of dish soap. Next, spray and swipe your floors with a microfiber mop (dry or wet). Steaming will help loosen dirt and grime so you can wipe them away quickly.
Laminate floors are durable but can still be damaged if you don't take proper care of them. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and steaming can keep your floors in good condition and looking good for longer!
Cleaning Small and Large Laminate Floor Areas
If you have a small area to clean, try the "swipe and mop" method. Use a dampened microfiber cloth or mop pad to wipe down your laminate floor. Then, use another dry microfiber cloth to pick up any remaining dirt or dust particles.
If you have a large area to clean, try the "two-bucket system." Fill one bucket with warm water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Then, fill another bucket with clean water to rinse the dirty water from your floors.
What Are the Best Laminate Floor Cleaners?
If you want your laminate floors to remain beautiful for years, it's best to use a specialized cleaner rather than just any old product you find in the supermarket aisle. Avoid products that aren’t designed for laminate floors.
Look for specially formulated solutions with a low concentration of ammonia. You’ll also want to stay away from oil-based cleaners and wax since they can leave behind residue and affect the protective coating on your floors.
Ammonia is a very effective cleaner and can remove stains from hard surfaces like laminate. But if you leave it on for too long or mix it with other chemicals, it can damage your floors and cause streaks or watermarks.
Chemicals can be harsh on laminate floors. You should only use them if you have to. Consider using a natural home cleaner instead.
Vinegar is an excellent choice for cleaning laminate floors because it's non-toxic and can remove dirt, grime, and even stains from its flooring material surface. It does all this without damaging the protective laminate on your floors.
To use pure vinegar on a laminate floor, combine half a cup each of water, vinegar, and alcohol in a spray bottle. If you want to lessen the vinegar smell, add five to ten drops of your preferred essential oil.
This mixture can be used to spot clean your laminate floors. The vinegar and water provide cleaning power while the alcohol aids evaporation, so your floor doesn't stay wet for long. Similar to hardwood floors, it’s essential to limit the amount of water used when cleaning laminate and vinyl floors.
Laminate Floor Cleaner for Engineered Wood and No-Wax Floors
This DIY laminate floor cleaner is a great way to keep your floors looking clean and new. It's easy to make, and it doesn't require any special tools or equipment. All you need is vinegar and water.
Here's what you'll need:
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 gallon of warm water
Mix these ingredients together and pour them into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto your floors as you would with any other cleaner. Be careful not to drench the floor! After all, it’s easy to apply more if necessary.
When you're done mopping the floor with your microfiber mop, let it dry before walking on it.
One of the most versatile cleaning products you can have in your home is a good all-purpose cleaner. This mix of vinegar, washing soda, soap, and hot water will clean just about anything that needs to be scrubbed down, from your laminate floors and bathtub to the kitchen sink and toilet.
To make this cleaner, add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, ½ teaspoon of washing soda, ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil-based liquid soap, and 2 cups of hot water. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean.
These solutions are great for maintaining your floors and keeping them looking nice and clean.
What To Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors
Laminate floors are durable but there are still things we need to avoid to make the most of our cleaning and prevent damage.
- Avoid using paper towels or other disposable wipes; these will only leave behind lint and dust.
- Do not use cleaning solutions with oil and ammonia. They can leave behind an unsightly and undesirable coating on laminates.
- Since laminate flooring already has a protective coating, it doesn’t need floor was or polish. These can actually do more harm than good and make your floors less shiny.
If you want to polish your floor, opt for a laminate protector instead. These floor products are usually emulsion-type solutions that create a super thin protective layer on your floor while adding to its gloss. They also protect floors from scratches as well as regular wear and tear.
- If any type of liquid spills on your laminate floor, you’ll want to mop them up and get rid of them right away. This is because moisture is the kryptonite of these highly durable floors. You should avoid getting them wet and letting liquids seep through them.
- Don’t use abrasive materials like steel wool to clean your floor. If you’re mopping, use a mop with microfiber material. When sweeping, get a dust mop or a soft-bristle broom to get rid of dirt. If you’re vacuuming, make sure any attachment you use won’t scratch your floor.
How Long Can Laminates Floors Last?
Laminate flooring can last for an impressive 15 to 25 years. In addition to giving it the proper care, its lifespan will depend on the quality of your flooring, how well it was installed, and how much foot traffic it’s exposed to.
Harsh cleaners, prolonged exposure to moisture, and moisture seeping into the material will degrade your floor more quickly and will need replacing sooner.
Once the protective layer on top disappears, your laminate floor will need to be changed. Another sign of damage that laminate floors are prone to be warping. When moisture is absorbed by the planks, it can shrivel up and become deformed with creases. If this happens, you’ll have no choice but to replace the affected areas.
Laminate floors are an excellent choice for many homeowners because they often look like natural wood and are easy to maintain and clean. With the right care and maintenance, they can last for up to 25 years.
Options for cleaning your laminated floors include mopping with soapy water, vacuuming, and steaming. Steer clear of harsh chemicals and abrasive materials that can damage the protective laminate on top.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy the beauty and low-maintenance convenience that laminate floors offer for many, many years.