Laminate flooring was pretty much unheard of before being introduced on a larger scale by the Swedish company Perstorp (Pergo) in the mid-seventies. Since then, it has become one of the most common materials to use for flooring in homes all over Europe and the US. But not everyone might know what laminate is and how to clean laminate flooring properly.
Even if laminate flooring has proved to be extremely resistant to normal wear and tear, one of the many reasons behind its popularity, it is not completely liberated from maintenance. Normal, regular cleaning like vacuuming and mopping is something that every homeowner with laminate flooring needs to get right in order to keep their flooring looking sparkling new for a long time.
In this guide, we are going to walk you through what laminate flooring actually is and how to best clean it. We have created a simple step-by-step guide that shows you the best methods and ideal products to use. By following our guide, you’ll soon be cleaning your own laminate floors like an absolute pro.
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- What Is Laminate Flooring?
- Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Laminate Floors
- Step 1 – Gather Your Cleaning Equipment
- Step 2 – Remove Obstructions
- Step 3 – Remove Loose Dirt & Debris (Vacuuming or Sweeping)
- Step 4 – Mop The Floor
- Step 5 – Dry The Floor
- Step 6 – Buff To Shine
- Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors
- How To Protect Laminate Flooring
- What Is The Best Vacuum For Laminate Flooring?
- What Is The Best Mop For Laminate Flooring?
- Which Cleaning Solution Is Best For Laminate Flooring?
What Is Laminate Flooring?
So let’s dive right in and try to answer the question, “What is Laminate Flooring.” To best understand the flooring you are working with, you also need to understand how the material works and what it actually consists of. Some of you might have the idea that laminate flooring is like any wooden or vinyl flooring and should be treated accordingly, but it really isn’t, and it really shouldn’t.
Since its introduction, laminate flooring has, of course, evolved quite a bit, but in general, you could say that it consists of three different layers. It starts off with what is known as the base layer, which normally consists of some sort of high-density fiberboard to give the material the strength to act as a floor.
On top of the base layer, an image layer is added, and it is this image that gives the flooring its actual look. The image could, in reality, be pretty much anything, but of course, the more popular alternatives are images that mimic real wood or stone.
To protect the image layer and to create the trademark hardness of laminate flooring, a wear layer is added. This extremely tough layer makes laminate one of the most durable flooring options.
As mentioned before, there are a few different types of laminate floors available on the market, and the description above might not be the exact way all of the floors are designed. If you want to explore the many brands that offer laminate flooring, we recommend reading through our laminate brand guide.
Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Laminate Floors
Now that you know what laminate flooring actually is, it’s time to present how to keep your new floor clean and how to maintain the “new floor” feeling for an extended period of time. By following these steps and simple advice, your floor is going to impress guests and families alike and keep your floor in top-notch condition for many years to come.
- Step 1 – Gather Cleaning Equipment
- Step 2 – Remove Obstructions
- Step 3 – Remove Loose Dirt & Debris
- Step 4 – Mop The Floor
- Step 5 – Dry The Floor
- Step 6 – Buff To Shine
Looks pretty easy and straightforward, so let’s get busy!
Step 1 – Gather Your Cleaning Equipment
As with any cleaning project, you do need some sort of equipment, and the first step is to go through your cleaning cabinet and make sure that you have everything that you need. One of the many perks of laminate flooring is that you don’t need a whole lot of different equipment or products to make it look clean and fresh.
To be honest, all you need is a good vacuum cleaner and a good mop. If you want to add any cleaning products, make sure that they are labeled as intended for laminate floors or that you use one that you made yourself ( water and vinegar).
“What is a good vacuum cleaner and a good mop when cleaning laminate flooring?” some of you might ask. Well, we would definitely recommend the combo of Dyson V15 Vacuum and Bona Spray Mop. Simply because they are super easy to use, and the result you get is better than with other mops and vacuums.
Of course, there are other good vacuums made by brands like Shark, Bissell, or Samsung, but Dyson stands out to us when it comes to ease of use and suitability for hard-surface floors. The Bona Spray Mop stands out from other mops as it only dispenses a fine mist of cleaning solution preventing oversaturation, making it safe for your floors and effortless to use.
Step 2 – Remove Obstructions
In order to clean the floor, you have to make sure that the area is free from most obstructions. If you are doing the weekly cleaning routine, moving heavy furniture might be overkill. But if you want to make sure that the entire floor is cleaned and want the luxury of easy maneuvering, clearing the room from all furniture and items placed on the floor is a necessity. Or at least put your dining chairs on the dining table and take that rug off the floor.
Step 3 – Remove Loose Dirt & Debris (Vacuuming or Sweeping)
Time to bring out the vacuum cleaner! If you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, sweeping the floor with a brush works as well. The important thing here is to make sure that the floor is free from debris and dust when you are done. A vacuum cleaner will definitely give better results. It’s also a good idea to change the attachment on your vacuum and vacuum the edges and corners of your floor.
Additionally, you can “dry mop” the floor using a microfiber dust mop. When dry mopping, dust, and debris stick to the surface of the cloth, and it is a really effective way to clean when vacuuming isn’t possible.
Step 4 – Mop The Floor
Once your laminate floor is free from dust, loose dirt, and debris, it’s time to use the mop. As mentioned above, if you want to add cleaning products to the water, read the label and make sure it is ok to use on laminate flooring. There’s a whole universe of floor cleaners you can choose from designed for laminate floors.
But you can also go for a DIY solution containing vinegar and water (1 cup household vinegar, 1-gallon water) or water and washing-up liquid (half a teaspoon of washing-up liquid in a bucket of water). It’s effective and cheap! However, ensure not to use too much vinegar or dishwashing liquid as it’s not designed for laminate floors. Less is more.
What is important to remember when mopping the laminate floor is to be sparse with water. The mop should be damp, not wet. If the mop is wet, water might end up between the planks and make the material underneath damp and humid, which might lead to the floor rising and warping.
That’s why the Bona Spray Mop is recommended. The spray mop makes sure that just enough water is used, and you will never end up with puddles of excess water on your floor. If you are using a more traditional mop, make sure that the cloth is almost completely dry before working the floor.
Move across the floor using the mop in a figure-eight motion from left to right until the entire floor has been cleaned.
Step 5 – Dry The Floor
Once the entire laminate flooring has been worked over with the damp mop, you can either let the floor air dry or you can take out a clean and dry cloth and simply dry the floor by hand. This method removes any excess moisture that might have ended up on the floor, but if you used the spray mop, air drying should be enough.
Step 6 – Buff To Shine
If you are looking for a bit more shine to your floor, using a cloth to dry the floor is recommended. Work in circles with your cloth; microfiber cloth is again recommended, and buff the entire floor to add a bit extra shine. You will really notice the difference.
Thats it! Follow the simple steps above, and your floor will be squeaky clean in no time. As you’ve probably noticed, laminate flooring is very easy to clean, and no special tools or harmful chemicals are needed. Some of the many pros of laminate flooring.
Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors
The biggest mistake to avoid has been mentioned before; the use of too much water. Even if the laminate floor is really resistant to wear and tear, getting water between the planks is not a good thing. It can really damage the floor in a bad way. Make sure the mop is damp, not wet.
Another thing to avoid is to use abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool or really harsh and rough cleaners. Using these tools and materials will end up scratching the surface. Always use a microfiber cloth and manual labor on the tougher stains. Keep reading below for a full list of mistakes to avoid when cleaning laminate.
Mistakes To Avoid
- Don’t use a steam cleaner unless your laminate floor is steam clean approved. Most laminate floors can’t handle the high temperature of the steam.
- Avoid vacuuming too fast. Take it slowly so the wheels of your vacuum don’t scratch or stain the floor.
- Don’t use steel wool or scouring pads for cleaning; they will scratch your floor.
- Avoid using cleaning products containing Wax, Oil, or Polish.
- Don’t use vacuums with beater bars.
How To Protect Laminate Flooring
Vacuum and clean your floor on a regular basis. Keeping the floor free from dirt and debris will prevent scratches from appearing. There is no need to do a full cleaning with moping and buffing every week, but vacuuming or sweeping the floor once every week is recommended.
Make sure to use furniture pads on furniture that you tend to move often, such as chairs and armchairs. Dragging furniture across the floor without pads might end up scratching the surface. Below is a full list of handy protection tips you should definitely follow.
Laminate Protection Tips
- Attach Felt Pads under furniture legs; these can be found in most local DIY stores. Alternatively, you can buy them online.
- Place area rugs in high-traffic areas. Especially where office chairs with casters are used, they are notorious for scratching laminate floors.
- Avoid walking on the floor in shoes. Wear socks instead, as they don’t cause wear on the laminate.
- Maintain a room temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This prevents moisture problems.
- Use doormats at entrances to avoid bringing in the dirt. Large doormats are ideal for families.
- If you have a dog, nail trimming will prevent them from scratching the floor. Plus, most dogs like their nails to be trimmed now and then.
What Is The Best Vacuum For Laminate Flooring?
We always advise choosing a vacuum cleaner with two settings; carpet and hard surface. Using the hard-surface setting turns the rotary beater bar off, making sure your laminate flooring doesn’t take any damage from vacuuming.
There are a lot of vacuum cleaners out there. Our favorite is the Dyson V15, although other options from brands like Bissell or Shark are great too.
With that being said, the super hard and smooth surface of laminate flooring makes it really easy to vacuum, and you won’t ever have a problem caused by the material of the floor, keeping it free from dust, debris, or loose dirt.
What Is The Best Mop For Laminate Flooring?
As mentioned above, the Bona Spray Mop is definitely the tool choice when it comes to cleaning laminate flooring. It is super effective and easy to use. If you want to see it in action, watch the video on youtube. The spray mop makes sure that just enough water is used, and you never have to worry about damaging your floor when cleaning. With the spray mop, lifting and moving heavy buckets of water is definitely a thing of the past. The design of the mop also makes it easy to reach corners and areas under furniture and frees you from moving heavy objects every time you are about to clean.
Which Cleaning Solution Is Best For Laminate Flooring?
From our experience, the best cleaner for laminate flooring is, without a doubt, the Bona Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner. Bona Multi-Surface Laminate Cleaner is used by professionals all over the world on a daily basis and is totally safe to use on laminate floors. Make sure to read the label, nevertheless.
If you’re looking for a more affordable cleaning solution, it can be found right in your kitchen. It’s really easy to mix up your own cleaning solution using household vinegar and water or washing up liquid and water. Use the ratio 2 dl household vinegar and 4 l water. When using washing-up liquid, a teaspoon of liquid is enough for a bucket of water.
Adding a few drops of essential oils to your cleaning solutions will do the trick if you miss the smell of other cleaning products. Amazon holds a wide variety of oils, everything from lavender to cinnamon and eucalyptus. Finding your favorite smell is easy.
Keeping your laminate flooring clean and in good condition is really easy. As shown above, vacuuming and mopping is enough. No harmful chemicals are needed, and no special tools/equipment. There are a few things to avoid, like using too much water or abrasive tools like steel wood or rough cleaners. Even if the surface of laminate flooring is really hard and resistant to normal wear and tear, scratches are known to appear when using abrasive materials or dragging heavy, non-padded furniture across the floor.
If you are about to invest in laminate flooring and want to know more and compare the different brands you can choose from, feel free to visit our laminate reviews section. Also, if you’d like to share any of your cleaning tips or ask any questions, leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Can you clean laminate floors with a steam mop?
The short answer is no! Since laminate flooring can be a bit sensitive to moisture and heat, combining the two and cleaning with a steam mop is a bad idea. There are a few new types of laminate flooring that are water resistant, making it possible to install laminate flooring in bathrooms, but most are not. To play it safe, use a vacuum cleaner and a spray mop.
How can you add shine to a laminate floor?
The most effective way is to follow the six steps above and pay extra attention to the buffing part. Using a microfiber cloth right after mopping the floor will give an extra shine to the floor, especially if you have used vinegar and water solution.
Can you remove stains from laminate flooring?
Of course! Just don’t use any harsh, rough abrasive tool. Use a microfiber cloth and vinegar, and water solution. Spray the stain and then wipe the area vigorously. You might have to repeat the procedure a few times, but the stain will eventually be gone. However, do bear in mind that some stains are permanent, and the only option is to hide the spot using a furniture repair kit.