Laminate flooring is a popular choice for those seeking the look of hardwood, but also wishing to avoid the higher level of maintenance. It is much easier to maintain than real wood.
Laminate Floor Maintenance Cleaning
What you will need:
- Vacuum with soft brush attachment
- Laminate Floor Cleaner (sold at home improvement stores and large grocery chains)
- Sponge Mop
- Bucket of clean hot water
- Sweep floors to remove loose dust/debris
- Using the soft brush attachment, vacuum floor, making sure to pay special attention to corners where dust and pet hair accumulate
- Following the directions on the Floor Cleaner, apply to small section of the floor (5’ x 5’).
- Dampen sponge mop, being sure to wring out excess water, and run over area of floor cleaner* going with the grain of the wood with smooth, even strokes.
- Rinse mop in clean water and repeat steps 3 & 4 on next section of floor.
- There is no need to rinse unless the directions on the cleaner suggest that you do so.
*Be careful if the mop has metal edges as these may scratch the floor.
Laminate Floor Stain Removal
Although laminate floors are generally stain resistant, some stubborn stains may require special treatment. Here are some of the more common trouble makers:
- Blood: Spray stain with window cleaner and wipe with a damp cloth.
- Liquor: Dampen a cloth with warm water and detergent and rub spot. If that fails, try using a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.
- Grease: Apply an ice pack (a package of frozen vegetables will do in a pinch) until grease hardens, then gently scrape with plastic spoon or butter knife. Remaining residue should wipe away with a couple of squirts of window cleaner.
- Crayon marks: Rub with a soft cloth dampened with mineral spirits. If that doesn’t work, apply toothpaste and rub with a dry cloth.
- Nail polish: Use a small amount of scouring powder, warm water, and a plastic mesh pad. Work the scouring powder into a paste and apply, be careful no to rub too aggressively as it may scratch the finish.
- Ink: Wet a rag with warm water and detergent and rub. If that doesn’t work, try a commercial ink remover.
- Heel Marks and Scuffs: Rub the marks with a pencil eraser. Mr. Clean magic erasers are great for this.
- Chewing gum: Remove excess gum with plastic knife and rub residue with soft clothe dampened with mineral spirits.
Keep Your Laminate Floors Looking New
Although laminate floors are low maintenance and scratch resistant, that doesn’t mean they are indestructible or scratch proof. Taking these simple precautions will keep your floors looking new and scratch-free.
- Keep a broom and/or dust mop handy for daily quick sweeps to avoid accumulation of dirt, dust and pet hair. Swiffer makes a product perfect for this task, such as Swiffer Sweeper® and Swiffer Sweeper Vac.
- Regular floor cleaners, such as the pine scented kind are not recommended for use on laminate as they can leave a dull, soapy residue.
- Murphy’s Oil Soap is not recommended for use on laminate as it can leave it looking streaky.
- For quite clean-up of spots and spills, spray with window cleaner and wipe with a soft cloth. However, do NOT overuse window cleaners that contain ammonia as excess ammonia can strip away the protective sealant on laminate floors.
- Wipe up water and other spills promptly as excess water or other liquid can damage floors and cause warping.
- Laminate floors DO NOT require waxing and applying floor wax of any kind can result in a dull build-up.
- Consider using carpet runners or area rugs (being sure to use non skid pads under either) especially for high-traffic areas.
- Try to avoid wearing heavy-soled shoes or high heels on wood floors. In fact, barefoot is best!
- NEVER drag furniture or other items across the hardwood floor.
- Use furniture pads on the bottoms and legs of furniture (available at any home improvement or supercenters stores).
- If you have pets, keep their nails trimmed to avoid nicks and scratches.
Cleaners for the Environmentally Conscious
With the popularity of laminate flooring, commercial cleaners can be found at most of the larger grocery stores, supercenters or home improvement stores. However, if you are “thinking green” you can find environmentally friendly versions online. Admittedly though, these “friendlier” versions may not be as friendly to your wallet. For a less expensive and environmentally safe alternative, try mixing 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 gallon of water. This mixture should cut through most dirt and grime and leave your floors looking clean and streak-free.