Over the last few years, laminate flooring has become more popular among home owners than ever before. Apart from the fact that it looks just like natural wood or stone when installed, laminate flooring comes with the advantage of being more affordable and easier to install. Unlike hardwood, laminate has a thick wear layer that protects it from dents and scratches so it can look new and shiny for many years.
However, what makes laminate floors so appealing is that they are incredibly easy to clean and maintain if you have a good mop, brush or vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to clean this type of flooring properly, you can ruin its structure and reduce its lifespan significantly.
Here is a solid guide on how to clean laminate floors without ruining it.
There are two best tools to clean laminate; microfiber mop and vacuum cleaner. A vacuum comes in handy because it’s able to pick up all those small grits that can scratch your floor and get stuck under your feet. Vacuum your laminate care to suck away all the dust and allergens that get stuck on the floor especially if you have pets.
A microfiber mop, on the other hand, is the only way you can really clean the floor with water, cleaners, and disinfectants. The mop is usually very soft so it won’t scratch your floor and it will leave it looking clean and shiny.
DIY Cleaning Solutions
Many people don’t like using branded cleaners for their homes because of the chemical compounds. If you have small kids, pets or you just don’t like the environmental impact and smell of branded cleaners, it is best to go with DIY cleaners you can make from your kitchen. One of the best cleaning solutions is a mixture of warm water and a cup of vinegar. You can add a few drops of lemon juice or essential oils to make the cleaner smell better. Mop your floor with this solution and it will be clean and shiny.
A few drops of baby shampoo or dishwasher to clean warm water will also work wonders for your floors.
Branded Cleaning Solutions
Commercial cleaners for laminate floors have been there for ages. They smell fantastic, they clean like magic and they have all those extra ingredients that help your floor to remain shiny. Experts say that commercial cleaners don’t have a significant effect on the environment as people might think.
However, you may need to try a few brands to see what works for you as long as it smells good and it’s made for laminate flooring specifically.
Some of the most recommended commercial cleaners include R2X Hardsurface Cleaner and Black Diamond Laminate cleaner.
Though laminate floors are very easy to clean, there are some situations that can get quite tricky. For example, you can spill some nail polish or paint on the floor or your child can get their shoe polish all over your shiny floors. When people get into the house with their shoes on, you may also notice some scuff marks that look unsightly. Each of these issues will need a special solution because they are different;
You can use cotton wool with acetone-free polish remover or turpentine to remove the polish or paint. WD-40 or detergent will clean the shoe polish right off.
Try using a pencil eraser on scratches and scuff marks and you will see a big difference. If you have chewing gum stuck on the floor, try placing a pack of ice on it to freeze it so it can come out instead of scraping it off. The idea is to ensure you don’t do anything that will scratch the floor.
Rubbing alcohol also works great for pencil or marker stains that your kids can leave on the floor.
Cautions and Warnings
Despite the protective layer that makes laminate floors scratch resistant and durable, it is very possible to damage them. Here are some of the things you can avoid to keep your laminate floors looking new for years;
- Don’t use abrasives, scrub pads or brushes with hard bristles to clean the floor because they will scratch and remove the outer layer.
- Do not use bleach to clean or remove stains from laminate because bleach will take that shiny finish off and it may also change the color of the floors.
- Use as little water as possible on the mop. It’s good to completely wring all the water from the mop when cleaning because water can get into the cracks and cause the floors to swell and peel.
- Stay away from harsh chemical cleaning products especially those that promise to give the floor a protective shine because they will only make the floor look worse.
Taking care of laminate hardwood floor couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is vacuum or mop once or twice a day to keep them clean. If you heed the above warnings and keep the floors clean, you can get more than 20 years of service from laminate floors.