To most homeowners, it is the most affordable and most convenient alternative to hardwood flooring. To some, it is the least durable and the hardest to maintain. This is not always the case.
There are a number of ways to clean laminate wood flooring that most homeowners are missing.
Here are a few tips to help you. Follow them correctly and consistently, and your floor will continue to look brand new for years
A Simple Cleaning Guide
Tip #1 Dust Mop
Laminate wood flooring is sensitive to moisture and water, so avoid using a wet mop at all costs. Too much water will eventually lead to warping of the laminate floor, even if the manufacturer claims that the product is watertight.
Sweeping the floor with a broom is also not recommended, because it will still leave behind dust particles. Dust that is left behind will soon create scratches on the flooring.
Use a dust mop instead. Since it is made of microfiber dust easily attaches to it as you glide it along the floor. It has a flat head, allowing you to cover a larger area faster, and its neck swivels so you can clean underneath tables and chairs. Most importantly, you don’t have to dip it in water.
One microfiber pad can cover around two regular sized bedrooms. When it is already too dirty, simply remove the cloth so it can be rinsed and reattached to the mop. Now you can see why using a microfiber mop is so much easier than a string mop, where you have to soak and squeeze every so often.
You can also have a spare microfiber cloth ready so you don’t have to rinse the fabric in one cleaning session. When you’re done, rinse the microfiber pads and hang to dry. When they start to discolor, I recommend placing them in the washing machine.
Microfiber pads can be machine washed up to 300 times. After that, it is recommended that you buy new ones. Do not use bleach or fabric softener when washing.
When mopping the floor, glide it along in the direction of how the floor is laid. This will ensure that dust at the grooves will also get cleaned. Apply just the right amount of pressure while mopping. There’s no need to press too hard; let the mop do the work.
Using a dust mop is the best and fastest way to clean your laminate floor without the risk of warping.
Tip #2 Soft Bristle Broom
Should there be a time that you want to use a broom, as it is still quicker to use than a mop, then use a soft bristle broom. Regular brooms with hard bristles can scratch the surface of the floor over time. Soft bristle brooms, on the other hand, are specially made for sweeping fine particles on smooth flooring, and they will not scratch the floor surface.
Tip #3 Vacuume Cleaner
You can use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust and hairs before you mop the floor. When doing this, only use the suction. Do not attach the beater bar, because it can damage the flooring.
Tipe #4 Choosing a Cleaning Solution
Ask the flooring manufacturer if they recommend a specific brand. Make sure that it is non-toxic, non-flammable as well as water-based. Also check if the product is certified for indoor air quality and is safe for pets and children. Most non-toxic products are free of ammonia, bleach, chlorine and phosphates.
Some of the most recommended laminate floor cleaners are the ones from Black Diamond and Bona. One of the best ways to evaluate the quality of the cleaning solution is to read product reviews and to test them on a small portion of your room.
Pour the solution directly into a mist bottle. There’s no need to mix the solution with water. Spray the solution onto the dust mop before wiping the floor. It is recommended that you dampen the mop a little with warm water before spraying the solution. If the mop gets dirty, rinse the mop pad before reusing. This is to avoid streaking caused by dirt on the mop pad.
Tip #5 Vinegar and Water
Another cheaper option that I know a lot of people use is to clean laminate floors with vinegar and water. The result is just as good.
How do you prepare this homemade laminate floor cleaner?
Simply mix the following together and pour into a spray bottle, then shake well:
- 3 Parts Water
- 1 Part Vinegar
- 1 squirt of dishwashing liquid
If you’d like, you can add rubbing alcohol as an antiseptic and drops of scented essential oil to weaken the smell of the vinegar. Some essential oils like lavender have anti-bacterial properties as well.
Spray the solution onto a portion of the floor and mop immediately. Repeat the process until you have cleaned the entire floor.
Tip #6 Shine With Microfiber Cloths
How do you shine laminate floors?
Laminate floors are not exempt from wear, and its finish will look dull over time. Since you cannot use wax to polish it, you would have to buy a polishing solution specifically made for laminate floors.
Some of the popular polishing products are:
After wiping the floor with a commercial or home-made cleaning solution, spray or pour the polishing solution onto the floor starting at the farthest corner of the room. Make sure to shake the solution bottle before opening.
Spread the polish using a microfiber mop or cloth and divide the room into portions to work on. Let the polish dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions and apply a second coat if needed. Leave it to dry for another 24 hours before bringing in furniture and walking on it.
Heres a video on how to polish laminate flooring:
Prevention Is Better Than A Cure
Keep in mind that if you don’t care for your flooring now, it will be so much harder and more expensive to repair the damaged flooring.
Here are a few key ways to prolong the life of your floor:
- Install roller blinds or curtains to block the sun’s rays. Excessive and direct exposure to sunlight can cause your laminate floor to fade faster.
- Move furniture and area rugs around so that your floor will age evenly.
- Leave wet shoes and umbrellas outside the house during rainy days. Better yet, don’t bring in the shoes at all and use an indoor slipper instead.
- Purchase high quality floor mats and protective floor pads for furniture and cabinetry. Aside from placing one at the entrance, also place floor mats in front of sinks and stoves to minimize wear. The floor protectors will prevent scratches and indentations on the floor.
- If you encounter oil stains, paint stains and the like, wipe them off carefully using a nail polish remover. Once the stain is removed, wipe the area again with a damp cloth to remove the remainder of the acetone-based remover.
- Should there be any accidental spills, wipe them up right away with a cloth or paper towel. Don't let liquids stand for more than a few seconds on the floor, to prevent warping.
- To remove chewing gum or similar substances, place ice over it to harden. Carefully scrape it using a plastic scraper, making sure that you don’t scratch the surface. Afterwards, wipe the floor with a damp cloth.
- Remove grease stains with mineral spirits. Remove ink or nail polish stains with rubbing alcohol.
- You can replace just one piece of damaged plank by contacting the manufacturer.
- Maintain a recommended RH (Relative Humidity) between 35 to 65 percent in your home. This will preserve the natural levels of expansion and contraction of the wood floor.
Here are a few things you should avoid:
- Waxing or polishing your floor. Laminate flooring is not entirely made of real wood; hence waxing can cause warping and swelling, and even void the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Using strong chemicals like ammonia and chlorine, bleach or abrasive cleaning solutions.
- Applying the cleaning solution directly on the floor instead of spraying it onto the mop or damp cloth.
- Using steel wool or scouring pads.
- Using heavy cleaning equipment like steam mops, floor scrubbers or floor buffers.
- Wet-mop cleaning with water.
Cleaning wood laminate flooring can be a lot simpler and less expensive than you think. But you have to be willing to invest in durable cleaning tools and supplies, as well as to take the time to clean the floor regularly.
Unlike hardwood floors, laminate flooring cannot be refinished. It is therefore very crucial and worth your time and effort to keep it looking brand new and protect it from possible damage.
Once you’re fully equipped and follow the above tips, you’ll be able to maintain your floor more effectively than before.