Many of today’s laminate flooring choices look good and are relatively easy to maintain. With a little basic maintenance and some cleaning tips, you can keep your laminate floor looking great for years.
One of the prime enemies of laminate floors is dirt. Dirt can act like an abrasive and scratch or dull the finish on your laminate floor. To reduce the amount of dirt that reaches your floor, floor mats or foot brushes near entrances are a good idea. Regular sweeping or mopping with a damp mop, broom or vacuum without beater bar will help remove dirt without damaging the flooring.
Another enemy of laminate flooring is water. Water can work its way into the seams between boards or around the edges of the flooring and cause joints to swell or buckle. You should avoid standing water on your laminate flooring. Pet water bowls, for example, over time could result in damage to the flooring if your pet regularly spills or drips its water. If you choose to damp mop your laminate floor, don’t use too much water and be sure to wipe the flooring afterward with a clean, dry cloth. Never dump water or other liquid on your floor including when mopping.
The best process for a basic cleaning of the entire floor is the following:
- Remove as much dirt as possible from the floor by sweeping or vacuuming
- Dust flooring with dry cloth, Swiffer sweeper or similar product
- Apply wood laminate floor cleaner to the flooring and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Dry with clean, dry towels to remove any remaining water from the flooring.
Most home improvement stores carry cleaning products for laminate flooring. Be sure before purchasing any cleaner that it is specifically for wood laminate flooring. It may also be a good idea to check the warranty information for your particular brand of laminate flooring to see what they recommend for cleaning your flooring. Recommendations vary among manufacturers. Some recommend the use of ammonia or vinegar, while others offer their own line of cleaning supplies. The bottom line is you do not want to do anything or use any product that might void the manufacturer’s warranty for your flooring.
In some cases you may not need to clean the entire floor but just remove a stain in a particular area. A couple stain removal suggestions based on the type of stain include the following:
- Alcohol or acetone-based nail polish remover can be used to remove stains such as permanent marker, tar, heel marks, oil or paint
- Warm water may be all you need to remove stains like blood, wine, juice or sauces
- Spills like candle wax or chewing gum should be hardened with ice first, scraped off gently once hardened, and then the residue can be cleaned off with warm water.
Some other general hints and types to keep in mind:
- Using glides or floor protectors on furniture legs can help reduce scratching on laminate flooring.
- Always lift furniture or heavier items when moving them on laminate floors. Don’t drag them across the floor.
- Do not use floor polish products or wax. This will attract dirt and leave streaks or marks on the floor.
- Avoid using products that could damage the finish on your flooring. This includes soap-based cleaners, citrus-based products and steel wool.
- Never attempt to sand or refinish a laminate floor surface.
With these simple steps for maintenance and cleaning, you should be able to keep your laminate floor looking like new for years to come.