How to Clean Laminate Floors Properly

Remove Stains and Keep Laminate Shining

How to Clean and Remove Stains from Laminate Floors

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-10

Laminate flooring may become gritty, sticky, or streaky after mopping, making you think it looks worse than if you'd left it dirty. Relearn the way to clean and shine laminate flooring. You can make your faux wood floor look like its hardwood counterpart. In truth, laminate floors can sometimes be difficult to mop, but plenty of solutions don't involve getting out a crowbar and replacing the boards.

supplies to clean and shine laminate floors
The Spruce / Danielle Holstein 

How Often to Clean Laminate Floors

Laminate floors should be dust mopped or vacuumed daily to remove surface dirt and grit that can cause scratches and wear down the finish of the floor. Don't forget to look under area rugs that can trap grit that will scratch floors. You should clean spills and muddy messes immediately. Depending upon the amount of traffic on the floors, you should thoroughly clean them at least weekly.

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Click Play to Learn How to Clean and Remove Stains From Laminate Floors

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dust mop or vacuum cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • Wet mop
  • Cleaning cloths or microfiber mop head

Materials

  • Laminate floor cleaner, distilled white vinegar, or rubbing alcohol

Instructions

How to Clean Your Laminate Floors With Cleaning Solution

  1. Dust or Vacuum Floor

    Use a dust mop or a vacuum cleaner to remove surface dirt instead of a wet mop. A wet mop will pick up gritty particles and spread them around the floor. At best, this will contribute to streaks and residue. At worst, the grit will scratch and pit the surface of your floor. If you use a vacuum cleaner, choose a machine with a setting for hard floors, as vacuums with rolling brushes can scratch and damage laminate over time.

    use a dust mop to sweep the floor
    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein 

    Tip

    A traditional broom is not the best tool for laminate flooring; a vacuum is better. Regular brooms leave behind particles, resulting in a floor that still contains grit when you break out the mop.

  2. Choose a Cleaning Solution

    A commercial or expensive laminate floor cleaner is not always the best or only answer. Choose a cleaner that works with your floor type and your budget. You can make your own solution using vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Whatever solution you choose, don't overdo it. While using tons of cleaner on a dirty floor is tempting, it leaves behind a residue that dulls the floor's finish. This residue is the leading cause of muted-looking laminate floors over time.

    make a diy cleaning solution using vinegar
    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein  
  3. Mop Floors With Damp Mop

    Water and other liquids can seep between the laminate boards and cause swelling, ultimately damaging your floor. Keep water use to a minimum, and only spray as much cleaner onto the floor as you need for a given section. If you're using a traditional mop, wring it out until it's barely damp. If an excess of water or liquid is left behind to dry, you're using too much: The floor should dry within one to two minutes of mopping.

    spraying floor cleaner before damp mopping
    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein 
  4. Buff to a Shine

    To make your floor shine after mopping, buff it dry. An absorbent cleaning cloth attached to a dust mop works well, as does a dry microfiber mop head. Cloth diapers make a great DIY option, and microfiber cleaning cloths work well for an ultimate hands-and-knees job. Work in circles with your tool of choice and gently buff each floor section for a nice shine.

    use a microfiber cloth to buff floors
    The Spruce / Danielle Holstein  

Tips to Keep Laminate Floors Cleaner Longer

Once your floor looks great, it's time to take protective measures to keep it that way. Place both indoor and outdoor floor mats at the entrances of your home. Consider a no-shoe rule in the house and put a little reminder in the mudroom.

Wipe up spills, messes, and plant watering overflow as soon as it occurs. And use protective floor pads on the bottom of chairs, couches, and tables to prevent your floor's aging or premature damage.

Also, direct sunlight can cause damage to laminate over time. Draw the shades or blinds during intense direct sunlight and when you are not home. Also, rearrange your furniture from time to time to limit sun exposure or use area rugs. Some people also like to add a UV film protectant to windows, which will help preserve laminate floors, furniture, wall paint, and rugs.

DIY/Homemade Cleaning Solution

For laminate flooring, water is usually enough to clean thoroughly. For extra cleaning power, use a ratio of about 1 cup of rubbing alcohol to 1 gallon of water. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, which prevents streaks and lines from drying onto your floor. Another benefit of using rubbing alcohol is you don't need to buff it dry. You can also use 1/2 cup of vinegar instead of alcohol or add it to the alcohol solution. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that doesn't leave any chemical residue on your floors. Vinegar initially has a smell, but it dissipates over time. 

When to Call a Professional

If your laminate floors are streaky and have lost their luster, call a professional floor cleaning or house cleaning company to see if they can restore your floors. To get them to evaluate and clean your floors may cost about $300, or roughly $1 per square foot. This added cost may seem like a lot, but if it will extend your floor's lifespan and save you the exorbitant cost of replacing your floors, it's well worth it. Professional floor cleaning companies tackle every type of flooring surface, from hardwoods to marble and laminate to cork flooring. They will come to any property type—house, apartment, or business.

Watch Now: 7 Things You Should Know About Vinyl and Laminate Flooring