A very popular choice among homeowners, laminate flooring is long-lasting, affordable, and instantly lifts the aesthetics of a room. This flooring can retain its day-one luster for years if the correct cleaning routine is maintained. However, the cleaning is not as simple as it reads: Often, kids and animals end up bringing dirt and grit indoors. These particles scratch the surface of the laminate and get trapped in between the grooves, which is where things get tricky.
With its grooves filled with dirt, the structure of your flooring weakens and its service life is reduced. The floor also becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and gets incredibly unhygienic. This makes it imperative for homeowners to know the correct steps to clean their laminate floors. We have compiled the most effective cleaning steps to keep your floors shiny for years to come.
If you wish to make the most of your laminate flooring or are exhausted trying to get the dirt out of its grooves, continue reading.
How Not To Cleaning Laminate Flooring
The market is teeming with cleaning products ranging from handkerchief-sized wipes to industrial detergents for floors. However, just because the product is being sold does not mean it’s also good. Laminate is sturdy, yes, but it does not hold up well to rough methods of cleaning.
Before we discuss what to do for a clean laminate floor, we must also establish what never to do.
Can you clean laminate floors with a dry brush?
Laminate floors should only be cleaned with damp microfiber mops or cloths. Any surface that is rough and abrasive, for example, a dry brush, will scratch the topcoat of your laminate and cause it to lose its luster.
Can you clean laminate floors with ammonia?
Ammonia reacts with the laminate and leaves permanently discolored blotches on the surface. It can even erode the laminate, causing deep pores to form; these pores then soak up moisture, weakening the layout, and damaging the laminate by making it warp and bend.
Can you clean laminate floors with a bleaching agents?
Some detergents are marked ‘Ammonia-Free,’ but they still contain other bleaching ingredients. These also erode the surface of the laminate and should be avoided at all costs.
Can you clean laminate floors with steam?
While steam is an effective cleaner for carpeted or tiled floors, it is not the way forward for laminate flooring. The steam ‘seeps’ down to the base of the floor where it condenses into water droplets; over time, this moisture loosens the planks and makes them warp.
With that said, you might be wondering what to use after all, if all this cannot be used. We have that covered for you so read on.
Removing Dust from Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is such a hot favorite because it looks really good. To keep your flooring in its best shape, mop or dust it once daily, at least.
To begin with, strip your floor of rugs and furniture as best as you can. Note that all furniture should be lifted, as furniture edges dragged against the floor can wear it out over time. We also suggest limiting movement across the floor being cleaned, as footprints left on a damp floor are very unsightly.
Next, kick-off your cleaning mission by removing dust particles. For this, you can use a good old broom with soft bristles. Alternatively, a vacuum cleaner can be used to remove dust or debris. Regular vacuum cleaners also work, but if you want the best, there are products designed especially for laminate flooring. Here is a link to a product that does the job: laminate floor vacuum cleaner.
This process removes dust, lint, hair, and debris from the floor. If you have the time, a damp lightweight microfiber laminate mop can be swept over the floor after the dusting for an ever more flawless sheen.
Using Laminate Floor Cleaners
This goes one step ahead of merely sweeping dust off the floor and takes out the stains while simultaneously shining the floor. All you need is microfiber cloth (see popular cloths to buy), a store-bought or home-made floor cleaner, and the willingness to put in some sweat.
Begin by preparing a cleaning agent. Although there are numerous variants of floor cleaners and detergents available in the market, we recommend making your cleaner at home. The results are the same, while the ingredients are safer and cheaper.
To get your homemade laminate floor cleaner, mix equal parts of hot water and white vinegar, and add 3 drops of dish-washing soap. This YouTube video linked below shows an easy way to make your laminate floor cleaner at home:
Now spray the mixture on a lightweight microfiber cloth and start sweeping from the farthest corner. Move towards the door in gentle, circular motions. Alternatively, you can also take the liquid in a bucket, soak a microfiber mop in it, wring it to drain all excess liquid, and sweep the floor using the damp mop. If you pick this method, be careful not to leave any extra moisture on the laminate. You can use a dehumidifier in the room to promptly dry up the floor.
Done every alternate day, or even once a week in rooms with lower traffic, this cleaning routine will keep your floor gleaming and spotless.
Cleaning the Grooves in Laminate Flooring
No matter how well you clean and shine the surface of your laminate floor, grime in the grooves can make it look dingy. There’s nothing to worry about, because cleaning out the grooves is not that difficult. Just work in some elbow grease and revive even the truly grimy of floors.
Get a hold of some cotton swabs and nylon brushes to help push the cleaner into the grooves. Be careful not to scrub, because any consequent scratches will form more tiny grooves, which will collect even more dirt.
If the dirt is particularly tough and requires a stronger cleaner than vinegar and water, we also have a quick fix for that. Dissolve baking soda into the water to make a paste and lightly brush it into the grooves. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, use the regular vinegar-water cleaner to clean out this paste and watch as the grime disappears right before your eyes. If you need a visual demonstration of laminate flooring grooves being cleaned, here is a great YouTube tutorial
While laminate flooring accentuates the aesthetics of a room, its durability truly depends on how well it is cared for. Regular mopping and sweeping will keep the surface and the grooves clean, and an occasional coat of commercial floor polish will retain its sheen. Just remember: always be gentle with your laminate.