9 Laminate Floor Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Learn More About Cleaning Laminate Floors to Keep Them Damage-Free

Laminate wood floor with rug and chair legs closeup

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Laminate floors can add a lot of beauty and value to your home at a great price if you know how to take care of them. For instance, should you vacuum laminate floors, clean them with water if they are sticky, or restore laminate floors that are scuffed? Find out the most common mistakes made with laminate floors and how to fix them.

What are Laminate Floors?

Laminate floors are a hybrid floor covering consisting of a particleboard wood base topped by an image layer and a transparent wear layer. The material is affordable and comes in infinite colors and patterns.

Cleaning Laminate Floors Without Damage

The best way to clean a laminate floor is to use a flat-style mop with microfiber socks or pads that go over the head and collect dust and dander. Doing this just about daily will minimize dirt that can grind into the seams or scratch the surface. It will also the lesson the times you need to use water to clean the floor. Here are more common mistakes to avoid when cleaning laminate so you can keep your floor looking new longer.

  • 01 of 09

    Too Much Water

    Person mopping a laminate floor

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    To get a dirty floor clean, you need water. The problem with laminate floors is that too much water seeps into the cracks between the planks and can cause swelling and damage that is irreversible. A little water goes a long way on a laminate floor. For most areas of laminate flooring in your home, a dry or dust mop may be all that is needed for regular cleaning. Sticky or dirty sections can be spot cleaned using a rag and spray bottle without having to mop the entire floor.

  • 02 of 09

    Wrong Cleaners

    Bucket of cleaning supplies


    Peter Dazeley / Getty Images 

    It's tempting to seek out the fanciest bottle of cleaner that promises to make our laminate floors look fabulous. Many cleaners can dull the look of our laminate floors. This is especially true when cleaners are overused. If you have a laminate floor cleaner that you love, be sure to follow the usage instructions. It's tempting to think that more soap equals cleaner, but that isn't true. Often, all that a laminate floor needs to make it clean is a good dusting or a light mopping with water only. A simple cleaner to add to your mopping solution is a few tablespoons of ammonia-free glass cleaner. Others have success using just a few drops of mild dish soap. Be sure to try any mopping solutions in a hidden area of the floor to make sure they don't discolor or damage your laminate.

  • 03 of 09

    Vacuuming and Sweeping

    Woman vacuuming living room floor


    South_agency / Getty Images

    Laminate floors need to be swept or vacuumed often to keep them clean. Dirt is an enemy to laminate since it scratches and dulls the finish of the floor. However, sweeping or vacuuming improperly can do more damage to your laminate than the dirt. If you use a vacuum cleaner, be sure to turn the brush roll off to avoid scratching the surface of your floor. For sweeping, a clean microfiber dust mop can be more gentle on the floor than bristle brooms.

  • 04 of 09

    Type of Mop

    A mop in a bucket

    Riccardo Livorni / Getty Images

    Despite your best efforts at dry mopping and spot cleaning your laminate, you will need to eventually mop your floors. Because water is an enemy to laminate, you'll need to choose a type of mop that does not slather extra water all over the floor. Rag mops aren't a great option unless they are completely rung out. Sponge mops can work well as long as they are very clean without residue to scratch the surface of the floor. Make sure the mop you choose is only damp and not sopping wet.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Furniture Damage

    Furniture pad underneath chair legs on laminate floor

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Beautiful furniture can enhance a beautiful floor. But to protect that floor, the furniture needs a little addition. Furniture pads on the bottoms of heavy furniture will protect the floor from scuffing and gouging. If the pads on the bottoms of your furniture are worn down or missing, they can be replaced inexpensively by a quick trip to a home improvement store.


    If you come across a scuff on your laminate floor, remove it by buffing out the mark with a clean tennis ball. Or slightly dampen the mark, and rub a fresh, new pink eraser over the scuff.

  • 06 of 09


    Laminate floor

    Mint Images / Getty Images

    One of the biggest complaints about laminate floors is that the floors are streaky even after mopping. To remedy this, try a different cleaner or use less cleaner. Remember, water and a tiny bit of glass cleaner is more than enough to get the floors clean. You can also buff the floors dry with an absorbent towel after you are done mopping. Some floors are more prone to streaking than others, but these tips should help.

    Floors often look streaky after mopping without vacuuming immediately beforehand. Vacuuming one day and then mopping the next allows dust to settle on the floor, along with any dirt tracked in on peoples' shoes, and both will turn to muddy streaks when mopped.

  • 07 of 09


    Holiday cactus plant in floral pot and plant try on laminate floor

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Be aware of potential problems if you have potted plants on your laminate surfaces. Overfilling them or leaky planters can cause damage that may be hidden temporarily. Protect the floors by paying attention to watering and using a pad to protect the floor under the pots. To be extra careful, move the plants up onto a higher surface.

  • 08 of 09

    Pet Food

    Brown and white cat sitting next to empty bowls on laminate floor

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Pet food and water dishes can also present issues for laminate floors. Try using a pad under your pet dishes that will protect the floor from becoming scratched by feeding plates and bowls. Keep an eye on dampness issues, such as spilled water from a bowl, that can affect laminate.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Too Much Sunlight

    Sunlight casting over laminate floor near window

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Streaks of sunlight that come in a regular pattern day after day can fade sections of your laminate flooring. Use closed blinds or drawn curtains to protect the floor during the part of the day the sunlight is at its brightest and potentially most harsh for floors, or try adding sheer curtains to filter the light.

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