How to Clean Laminate Floors – Less Water is Best
Cleaning laminate floors is a breeze with the right mop. This handy guide will teach you how to clean laminate floors effortlessly so you have more time to put your feet up!
To get started you will need 2 things:
#1 Microfiber Mop
First make sure you have the right mop for the job. The best way to clean laminate floors is with a microfiber mop.
Microfiber mops glide across the floor picking up dirt and pet hair effortlessly. The swivel heads make it super fast to cover large areas, they get under tables and chairs easily, plus they require less water which is best because laminate flooring warps easily if exposed to water.
#2 Cleaning Solution
You can either buy a manufacturer’s cleaning solution or make one yourself (scroll down to see my recipe for homemade laminate floor cleaner below). Either way you’ll need a spray bottle to squirt the cleaning solution onto the mop pad.
- dry mop with your microfiber mop OR use a vacuum on the wood floors setting to suck up big dust bunnies and hair tumbleweeds
- dampen the microfiber pad with warm water and spray on the cleaning solution of your choice
- mop the floor
- when the microfiber pad gets too dirty simply – rinse, replace and continue
- when you’re finished rinse the microfiber pad and put it in the washing machine on sanitary wash
Cleaning laminate floors with string mops or sponge mops will take you longer, leave streaky marks and because they use a lot of water will make it easier for moisture to sink into the cracks.
If moisture gets into the laminate core board it can warp the laminate floors over time.
No matter what the manufacturer told you about their floor having an airtight lock system, unless you’ve bought special waterproof laminate flooring with waxed edges I would never recommend using a string or sponge mop on laminate floor. The janitor in our office in Beijing used a string wet dripping mop and the flooring is warping after only two years of use.
Scroll to the bottom of this page to read my do’s and don’ts for caring for laminate flooring, plus bonus tips for removing exotic stains or stubborn marks.
3 Best Ways to Start
There’s never one perfect way to do anything which is why I’m going to leave it up to you to choose how you get the big dust bunnies and hair tumble weeds off the floor.
Everyone has their own personal routine and if you’re happier to do things a certain way then stick to it.
Here are the 3 best ways to get rid of the big stuff before you begin mopping with water. I’ve started with the fastest method and ended with the slowest.
- Run a vacuum over the floor. Make sure it is set on the wood floors setting*
- OR use the microfiber mop (without water) to get all the big clumps of hair and dust up. You can scrape the debris off and rinse before using the same microfiber pad for wet mopping
- OR dry dust mop with a Swiffer type sweeper
Top Tip – It is best to sweep or vacuum in the direction that the floor is laid in to collect all the dirt between the grooves instead of trapping it.
*Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar because it can scratch the laminate floor. If your laminate floor has a high gloss or piano surface I recommend you avoid vacuuming altogether just to be on the safe side and begin with #2 or #3 instead. This is because even if you set the vacuum to the wood floors setting it can still scratch the floor and scratches on high gloss or piano surface are very obvious in the light.
Just Add Water
If you’ve already been using your microfiber mop to dry mop the laminate floor, you can either scrape off the debris into a bin, rinse and reattach or simply replace the microfiber pad with a spare one.
Top Tip – it’s good to have a spare pad or two so you always have one to mop up emergency spillages with whilst others are cycling in the wash.
- prepare your home made cleaning solution in a spray bottle or just grab your branded one from the cupboard
- dampen the microfiber pad with warm water from the tap (not too soggy) and spray on the cleaning solution
- mop the floor – a microfiber mop cuts through gunk with hardly any pushing down or scrubbing, so relax and let the mop do the work
- when the microfiber pad gets too dirty after one or two rooms – rinse, reattach and continue. REMEMBER – You don’t need to haul a bucket of warm water around with you. One microfiber pad can easily last for two rooms or more so you don’t need to rinse it out in the sink very often. There’s no squeegeeing or high-duty wringing like with a string mop
- when you’re finished rinse the microfiber pad in the sink and hang out to dry.
- After several uses (and the pad appears to be quite discoloured) put it in the washing machine on sanitary wash
And that’s it!
This method of cleaning laminate floors will cut your cleaning time in half, plus it is the safest way to wet mop laminate flooring to prevent serious damage from warping. If you are not convinced that microfiber mops are the best way to clean laminate floors see my article: 10 advantages of microfiber mops for cleaning laminate floors.
Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner
Here’s an excellent recipe for home made laminate floor cleaner that works a treat, especially for cleaning high gloss laminate flooring leaving it completely streak free:
- 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar
- 1 squirt of liquid dish detergent
- put it all in a spray bottle and you’re good to go!
Making your own homemade laminate floor cleaner will save you from ever needing to buy an expensive manufacturer’s cleaner 🙂
Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for Laminate Flooring
- Do not use mops like string mops or sponge mops that use a lot of water (remember – if water corrupts the core-board it will cause it to warp!)
- When wet mopping your floor, do not soak the microfiber mop pad just dampen it
- Blot up large spills with a sponge, dry cloth or paper towel. Do not allow puddles to remain on the surface of your laminate floor for a long period of time because they could cause warping
- Remember, laminate floor is not real wood, so you should never wax or polish your laminate flooring
- Do not use anything with chemicals that promotes a clean and shine
- Do not use bleach or abrasive cleaners for cleaning laminate floors
- Never use steel wool or scouring pads because they are renown for scratching surfaces
Removing Exotic Stains and Stubborn Marks
- Blood: give it spray of window cleaner and wipe with a damp cloth
- Chewing gum: use a plastic knife or something else (non metal) to get under the gum and avoid scratching the floor. Once you’ve prized the worst of it off rub the residue with a soft cloth dampened with mineral spirits
- Crayon: apply mineral spirits to a damp cloth and rub away
- Grease: Freeze with an ice pack until the grease hardens, then scrape off with a plastic knife. Wipe away the remaining residue with a squirt of window cleaner and a damp cloth.
- Ink: Wipe with a damp cloth. Add a little detergent if the stain is stubborn. If it’s very stubborn use a commercial ink remover but be sure to wipe up with a damp cloth once you’re done
- Nail polish: You guessed it, the answer is – nail polish remover. Wipe up with a warm watered damp cloth once your done.
- Red Wine or Coca Cola: wipe with a damp cloth
- Scuffs and heel marks: rub with a pencil eraser. It’s just like correcting your kid’s homework
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I’ve worked hard to make sure this is the most useful resource on the web for cleaning laminate floors. If you’re wondering how I know all this stuff take a look at my about page to learn about my experience in laminate flooring.
Still don’t think this is the best way to clean laminate floors, have any questions or want to share your own tips on how to clean laminate laminate floors? Feel free to post in the comments section!