How to Clean and Maintain Laminate Floors

by Team HomeServe
mop and bucket of water sit on a hardwood laminate floor awaiting mopping

Many homeowners opt for laminate flooring over hardwood because it’s resistant to moisture, scratches and stains. But even this tough material can take a beating, especially in high traffic areas like the kitchen. If your laminate floors are looking stained, dull or grimy, it’s probably time to give them a deep clean.

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Cleaning laminate floors the right way isn't difficult, but you need to make sure you’re using the right tools and cleaners so as to avoid damage. Here’s how to clean and protect your laminate.

close up shot of a glass bottle of white vinegar and a scrub brush ----------------------------------------

What’s the Best Laminate Floor Cleaner?

Some materials can stand up to harsh cleaners, but you don’t want to clean your laminate floors with the same type of chemicals you would use to degrease your oven.

Use cleaning products that are labeled for use on laminate floors, or refer to your laminate flooring manual for specific product recommendations. Gentle, unscented dish soap dissolved in hot water works as a simple homemade laminate floor cleaner. If your floor has a filmy or waxy buildup, combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of hot water to help remove it.

Regular Maintenance for Laminate Floors

Keeping laminate floors clean requires a regular routine of sweeping and mopping. Additional deep cleaning every few months is also important.

Sweeping or Vacuuming Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring needs regular sweeping or vacuuming to keep dust and debris in check. Sweeping with a soft-bristled broom works well for daily upkeep. Vacuum once a week. Use a soft-bristle attachment, or choose the hard floor setting on your vacuum cleaner so the beater doesn't spin. These methods prevent scratches on your laminate.

Mopping Laminate Floors

Occasional mopping will help get rid of the stuck-on dirt. You only need to pull out your mop once every two months. A microfiber mop is soft and gentle on the flooring.

Standing water is laminate’s enemy. Too much water can cause bubbling and swelling. It may also fade the laminate or cause it to separate at the seams. When mopping, wring most of the water out of the mop. You want it to be just damp, not soaking wet. Wipe the mop over the floor, rinsing and wringing out the water as needed. When you're done, go over the floor with a dry microfiber cloth to absorb the remaining moisture.

Cleaning Up Spills

The best approach for cleaning spills on laminate floors is to act fast. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately to prevent them from soaking into the flooring and causing bubbling or separation. This also keeps stains from setting in and prevents damage from harsher spills, like acidic substances.

If you spill something like wax or gum on the floor, place a bag of ice on it to harden it. Then, use a plastic scraper to gently pry up the spill.

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Things to Avoid on Laminate Floors

Abrasive cleaners and tools can damage your laminate floors. Skip tools that might gouge the surface, such as wire-bristled brushes and steel wool. You’ll also want to avoid commercial cleaners that aren't labeled for laminate floors. Oil-based cleaners can damage the sealant on your laminate floors or leave streaks and residue. Acidic cleaners may also damage the laminate surface.

Skip the steam mop on laminate floors. The combination of heat and moisture can damage the adhesives used in the flooring.

Protecting Your Laminate Floors

Protecting your laminate floors from scuffs and scratches is another way to keep them looking clean. Put soft pads under your furniture to prevent scratches. Place welcome mats by the doors to collect dirt and moisture that gets tracked in from the outdoors. Rugs in busy areas of the room also prevent wear and scratches. If you have furry family members, keep their nails trimmed to prevent claw marks on the laminate.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.