Laminate floors are attractive, low maintenance, and easy to install, especially in high-traffic areas that see the most foot traffic and dirt. They enhance the value of your home and help you add a floor covering for less money than you would spend on solid hardwood or engineered wood flooring. Yet for all of laminate flooring's stellar qualities, cleaning presents a unique set of problems: Laminate floors and liquids (such as water or cleaning fluids) do not mix. Learn how to clean laminate wood floors by keeping them as dry as possible during the process.
How Often to Clean Laminate Wood Floors
Vacuum or sweep your laminate wood floors when you notice crumbs, dirt, or dust bunnies accumulating on the surface. A good rule of thumb is to vacuum or sweep your floors weekly. But you can deep clean laminate wood floors by dry mopping them monthly or every two months. Some laminate floor manufacturers suggest dry mopping your laminate wood floors daily, but that depends on the amount of foot traffic that passes through.
What to Consider Before Cleaning Laminate Wood Floors
Laminate flooring and water make a poor combination for laminate wood floors. Water can safely pool on top of a laminate floorboard, as long as it remains above the plastic wear layer and within the confines of the board—a rare event. There's a risk of water working its way down the seam and to the fiberboard core of the laminate board. When the fiberboard core takes on enough water, it will swell and it will not return to its original dimensions after the water has dried. In addition, the wear layer and the image layers may begin to peel away
Keep away from penetrating liquids (that soak into surfaces) to clean a laminate floor. Instead, use specific cleaning tools and a two-step method of dry-cleaning followed by damp cleaning for laminate floors to preserve your floors and keep them lovely for years.
In addition to water, do not use steam cleaners or regular wet mopping to clean laminate wood flooring because they can disperse too much moisture, saturate the boards, and make them warp over time.
Equipment / Tools
- Vacuum (with tools)
- Soft-bristled angled broom
- Dry mop
- Laminate floor cleaner
- Microfiber cloth
Vacuum the Laminate Flooring
Dry cleaning the laminate will pick up debris and allow you to pare back the quantity of liquid you use in the following steps.
- Run a vacuum on its lowest setting for bare floors to pick up large debris.
- With the vacuum, switch to the hose and attachments to vacuum the corners, edges, and other tight places that the broom and vacuum head couldn't reach.
Sweep the Floor
Sweep the floor with a soft-bristled angled broom that is only used indoors. Collect the remaining debris with a dustpan that's also only used indoors. Sweep from the edges inward.
Damp Mop the Laminate Floor
After vacuuming and sweeping, there should not be any visible debris littering the laminate floor. But if you kneel down and run your hand or a white cloth across the floor, you may pick up a thin layer of dust or dirt. Damp-mopping the laminate will get your flooring squeaky clean.
This step requires an ultra-dry mop. Spray a laminate floor cleaner onto a microfiber mop head or directly onto the laminate floor itself, but very lightly.
Buff the Floor
Clean laminate floors so they shine by using a dry mop that is barely dampened with laminate cleaner to buff the surface.
Additionally, buff any dull spots on the floor with a dry microfiber cloth.
Tips to Keep Your Laminate Wood Floor Clean Longer
- Fix the gaps between laminate floor planks to help the core resist water seepage. If your floor has developed gaps near high moisture areas, such as around the kitchen sink or dishwasher, permanently close the gaps in this area by running a thin bead of carpenter's glue in the gap, pushing the boards together, and then quickly wiping off the excess glue. Lay a strip of painter's tape over the fix until the glue has dried.
- Do not use any harsh, abrasive sponges or products, such as baking soda, to clean the laminate wood floor. Any type of abrasive product can affect the floor's wear layer by scratching or dulling it.
- Though many swear by vinegar to clean laminate floors, be cautious and use it infrequently because its acidic properties may dull or break down the surface over time.
- Use an alternative cleaner if you do not have a commercial laminate cleaner on hand. Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol, 3 parts water, and a drop of dish soap. Lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with the mixture to clean your floor.
- Avoid using hardwood floor cleaners on laminate floors because they can produce a waxy build-up.
- Add pads under furniture legs which will lessen the risk of your laminate floor developing scratches that can absorb and embed dirt.