How To Clean Laminate Floors Without Damaging Them?

Laminate floors and hardwood flooring, in general, are sensitive enough and need different cleaning methods than other floor types. You should better forget about just grabbing your broom and mop and start cleaning. It might not sound very easy, but in fact, it is. You just need to change your cleaning habits a bit and keep your vacuum cleaner and steam mop away for a while, so you won’t have bubbles on your floors and have to repair them.

The rule of thumb is that you should never wet laminate floors. Both water and floor polish products can cause damage to the laminate. You might, though, have noticed that every time you spill a liquid, it pools on the layer. However, if it sits on the top for long, it’ll eventually pass through the protective layer.
And this is the major problem.

Moisture will seep into the crevices between the tiles, creating swelling. The swelling will start to expand, leading to the tiles not to be able to return to their original size. What’s more, the floor will probably begin to wrap on the ends of the laminate boards and finally to peel away.

You don’t have to worry, though. Cleaning your laminate floors might be a special-treatment process, but it is achievable. And with our help, you can do it without the need for buying special and expensive tools and cleaning products. Read on to find out the cleaning ways without damaging your delicate floors!

Method 1: Regular cleaning with a soft bristle

Everyone has a broom at home! If you didn’t use it much in the past, now it’s time to do so. Clean your floorings every day with it, on condition of course, that you don’t have any carpets laid.

All you’ll need is a soft broom. Sweep with a soft broom your laminates to remove all the debris and dirt. And that’s all!

Sweeping every day or regularly depending on the foot traffic, you’ll keep the floors clean without scuff marks.

Note: It’s important to sweep in the same direction as the laminate is laid. Otherwise, you’ll push the debris between the cracks of the laminate tiles.

Extra tip: Instead of sweeping with a simple broom, you can also use a dust mop to dust the floor of hair and dirt that is accumulated every day.

Method 2: Use hot water

Every time you mop (and that should be every two months) use warm water. It won’t damage the protective layer of the laminate, plus it won’t leave any streaks.

You’re going to need:

  • A bucket
  • Hot water
  • A mop
  • A dry, clean, microfibre cloth (if necessary)

Just follow these steps:

  1. Start by filling the bucket with water. It needs to be so hot that it’s not boiling hot and not lukewarm at the same time—something in between.
  2. Soak the mop into the water and soak it out very well.
  3. Mop the floor thoroughly starting from the centre to the exterior, following the laminate boards’ direction.
  4. Let the floor air dry. If there’s no such possibility, then get a dry, clean microfibre cloth and wipe the entire floor.

Method 3: Use vinegar

I’m sure you saw that coming, right? Vinegar couldn’t be missing from our guide since it is the ultra-natural cleaning agent, used for cleaning your shower glass, your washing machine, or even your microwave. It’s also a smart way to clean your sticky hardwood floors.
So, here’s what you need to create your vinegar cleaning solution:

  • A spray bottle
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) white vinegar
  • Water
  • A damp mop or cloth
  • A dry microfibre cloth

Steps:

  1. Pour the vinegar into the spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Shake the bottle to mix the two ingredients.
  2. Spray the mixture onto the floor. Don’t spray the whole floor at once because you should wipe vinegar away before it wears down.
  3. Mop the floor with a dry mop or cloth. 
  4. Let the laminate air dry. If that’s not possible, then wipe it with a dry cloth.

Note: Don’t use pure vinegar directly because it’s somewhat abrasive. Always dilute it with water.

Extra tip: You can also use liquid dish detergent to the solution. Combine 80 ml vinegar, 3 tablespoons of dish detergent and water and follow the same instructions as shown above.

Method 4: Use a mild detergent

One more method you can try while cleaning your laminate floor, without using special laminate floor cleaners or abrasive cleaners, is using a mild detergent or even a baby shampoo. Yes, you are correct: baby shampoo is a perfect choice because it’s gentle enough not to hurt the floor.
All you need is:

  • A bucket
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of baby shampoo or mild dish detergent ( adult shampoo can’t be used)
  • Warm water
  • A mop
  • A dry microfiber cloth

And the steps to success are:

  1. Fill the bucket with water and dissolve baby shampoo or dish detergent.
  2. Soak the mop in the soapy water and mop the floors up starting from the one side of the room till the other, following the same direction, and cover the whole floor.
  3. Finally, let air dry your floor or just wipe it with a microfibre cloth.

How to remove stains from the laminate flooring

Floor stains may occur during a busy day in your home or office, which need a different cleaning process. Let’s find out how to clean some of the most common stains off your laminate flooring.

Bloodstains

Blood is a very stubborn stain, that as we all know can not easily be removed from clothes. Fortunately, things are easier in our case, and just a window cleaner can get the job done. Spritz a small amount of window cleaner on the blood stain and using a warm, damp soft cloth wipe it right away. Voila! Bloodstain is off.

Soda, alcohol, crayon marks and ink stains

Soda, alcohol, crayon marks or ink stains can easily be removed these stains from your laminate floor just by using a damp microfiber cloth.
In case you can’t get rid of the ink stains this way, grab a detergent or ink remover and dump it onto a clean cloth. Using this cloth wipe the stain. Afterwards, wipe the spot again with a new clean cloth soaked into water.

Nail and shoe polish

A nail polish remover added onto a microfibre cloth can easily remove any nail, and shoe polish stains from your floor. Scrub the stain gently with the cloth until removed. Then soak a new cloth in water and wipe the spot again.
Heel marks and scratches
For such kinds of stains like heel marks or shoe scratches just use an eraser and rub the marks until there’s no sign of them on your laminate. So simple!

Grease stains

Grease stains can easily be removed using ice to harden them. Cover the stain with an ice pack. When you can feel it harder, scrape the frozen stain with a plastic knife. Be careful and not use any sharp objects to wipe the stain away. After that, just clean any residue by using a window cleaner. Spray the spot and wipe it with a damp cloth and you are done.

Cheating gum or wax

If by any chance, chewing gum or candle wax stick on the laminate, you can easily remove them without doing any harm to the floor. Place ice on it to make it harder. Once it has hardened, use a plastic scraper or knife or even a credit card to scrape the gum/ wax away. Then wipe any residue with a soft damp cloth.

Tips on how to maintain it clean and in good condition

Keeping your floors clean and in good condition isn’t as complicated and challenging as you might think. You just need to have a cleaning routine, take some precautions and follow the below tips we’ve found for you to help you maintain your laminates for a long time.

  1. Use a shoe rack and a welcome entry mat to keep dirt and mud out of your house and protect your laminate and generally your hardwood floors from scuff marks.
  2. For those who own a pet, trim your pet’s nails regularly to eliminate the chances of them scratching your floor.
  3. Wipe right away using a damp cloth anything spilt. Don’t let it stay, cause stains will be created.
  4. Don’t use a wet mop. Always wring it well. Mopping with a wet mop may cause warp your floors.
  5. In case you have any furniture which sits on wheels, use a protective mat underneath them and never try to pull them around, either they are with rollers or not. Otherwise, you’ll probably scratch the floor.
  6. What’s more, you better consider having felt pads to the furniture, especially to those you move mostly, like chairs. Or place them on a rag to protect your floor.
  7. Vacuum or sweep your floors at least twice a week to collect the buildup dust. To be more precise, you can do it as often as you think is the best, depending on your needs. However, mopping shouldn’t, by any means, be done so often.
  8. If you want to fresh your floors, then mop them every couple of months by using a damp microfiber mop, as it’s the best type to use on laminates. But, if you don’t have a microfiber mop and you use a regular one, then be sure to wring it very well, until it’s dry. We advise you, though, to avoid using a sponge mop. Sponge mops need to be clean and with no residue to prevent scratching your flooring, plus they might push dirt into the crevices instead of cleaning them.

What not to do when cleaning your laminate floors

We’ve asked professionals what not to do when cleaning laminate floors, and we share with you the don’ts of cleaning laminate.

Don’t let the stains stuck on the floor

Wipe spills right after happening. Liquids can damage your floors, so it’s essential to keep them away from it.

Don’t use any hard or abrasive materials

When you use your vacuum cleaner, don’t use a beater bar or rotating brush as there’s a great chance of scratching the laminate. If your vacuum doesn’t come with special attachments, you better use a soft broom or a dust mop to get rid of dust and debris.

Don’t use too much water

Water is the deadly enemy of laminate flooring. It can do irreparable damage, and that’s why mopping you laminates the way you knew now belongs to the past. Laminate floors hate water, and as explained above, you should mop them every couple of months.

Don’t use cleaning products that aren’t suitable for laminates

Oil-based cleaners, wax and polishes may remove the protective coating or leave streaks. Opt for special laminate floor cleaners that are made for hardwood floors and make sure that you always read the label to verify it’s suitable for your floor needs. You may also consider creating your own DIY cleaning solution. Combine a tablespoon of dish soap with water, or if there is dirt or stains mix hot water with a cup of white vinegar. Just remember to use a damp mop and spray the cleaner on the mop and not directly on the floor.

Don’t use steel wool and abrasive cleaners like bleach

There’s a high chance that you’re going to scratch and damage your flooring if you decide to use bleach or steel wool, so we highly recommend staying away from them.

Don’t neglect to wipe your shoes on a doormat

Dirt and mud stuck on your shoes not only make your floor dirty, but they can also damage it. A welcome doormat will collect all the dirt off your shoes and keep your floors safe and clean.

Frequently asked questions about cleaning laminate floors

Does water ruin laminate floors?

Laminate floors and water don’t go together. Laminate can be resistant to water if you wipe it right after spilling some on it.

However, if you neglect to do so or if there’s a flood, then things will probably turn bad. Ok, a flood is the worst scenario; Yet, if the water is spilt on the floor without wiping, you’ll probably have to tear up the entire floor. And the reason is that underneath the floor there are some sensitive to water materials, like cushioning ones. An expensive and challenging situation that most probably you‘d like to avoid!

Can you use a wet Swiffer?

A wet Swiffer might be the best way to clean small areas of a laminate floor. For larger areas, you better opt for the Swiffer WetJet though.

Can I use a steam mop?

Unfortunately, the use of a steam mop on laminate floors is inadvisable. Heat and moisture can be rather harmful to your sensitive floor.
It might cause warping, losing and peeling. 

How to hoover a laminate floor

Since dirt, dust and grime are easy to be seen on laminate flooring, you should hoover regularly. However, when it comes to vacuuming, you must show some extra caution with which attachments to use. Some hoovers are or have compartments suitable for such floorings, so, you better use these every time you hoover to avoid any marks and damages.

What’s more, you should be sure that there isn’t any dirt stuck on the hoover’s wheels as it may scratch the floor. The way you should hoover is the same as sweeping. Follow the laminate tiles’ direction to collect all the debris and avoid shoving them into the grooves.

You might feel like cleaning a laminate floor a bit confusing and like you have to read a manual before starting the process.
However, we can assure you that it isn’t as difficult as it may sound. Just follow the above steps, and you‘ll find the entire cleaning process piece of cake!

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