Home » How To Clean Laminate Floors Without Leaving A Film
Laminate floors are the modern home-owners answer to getting the look of beautiful floors without having to pay the price for their natural counterparts. Laminate floors give home-owners the option to have the look of tile, marble, wood or stone thanks to their hyper-realistic design. There’s little downside to opting for laminate floors. Their easy upkeep, durability and endless design options appeal to all kinds of homeowners. Both those on a budget and those looking to splurge understandably opt for laminate floors. For those who want or have laminate floors, follow these cleaning do’s and don’ts on how to clean laminate floors without leaving a film.
Do Use A Microfiber Mop
The best material to use to clean laminate floors is microfiber. Be it a cloth or mop, microfiber is best for laminate floors. It’s gentle enough to not scratch the top layer of the floor yet effective enough to pick up dirt and grime.
Don’t Wet Your Floor
Well-built laminate floors are waterproof. The upper sealant and the seams between planks should keep moisture from seeping in. With that said, you still shouldn’t drench your floors. When cleaning laminate floors, use a damp mop with surface cleaner as opposed to a wet mop.
Although laminate floors can take a spill, the seams open and the top layer will wear over time. This wear and tear is normal. To prolong your laminate floors, avoid wetting it. Excess moisture that seeps through can cause the boards to discolor and curl.
When it comes to moisture and your laminate floors, less is more.
Do Check In With Your Manufacturer For Special Cleaning Instructions
Although laminate floors are generally manufactured in the same way, it’s smart to check with your floor supplier for any specific cleaning instructions and products. You can find this information by calling their customer service hotline, visiting their website, or referring to the floor’s product & care guide.
Don’t Scrub The Floor
Steel wool, bristle brushes, hard vacuum heads and other abrasive cleaning materials are a no-no for cleaning laminate floors. Using them doesn’t provide a deeper clean. Instead, you end up wearing down the top layer of your floor faster. You also risk creating permanent scratches on your floor.
Do Create Your Own Laminate Floor Cleaner
Contrary to the commercial laminate cleaning products you see, you can create your own laminate floor cleaner. Try any of these cleaning solutions to keep your floors sparkling.
Water and Vinegar
Mix a 1:1 ratio of distilled water and white vinegar. Place in a spray bottle and spray on your floors. Mop it dry. Although distilled water isn’t necessary, distilled water eliminates the chance for any mineral buildup from hard water.
A water and vinegar solution is also perfect if you’re already dealing with a film left on laminate floors. The vinegar should be able to break through unwanted residue and allow your mop to easily lift off the film.
Water And Dishsoap
A gallon of water and a generous squirt of clear dish soap is an effective and gentle cleaning solution for cleaning laminate floors. Make sure that you don’t use too much dish soap as this could leave behind unwanted residue.
Dip your mop into the solution and wring it so the mop is damp. Mop your floor as usual. If you do notice a soapy residue on your floor as you mop, proceed to clean your laminate floor as normal. Once your floor is mopped, mop it again. This time, use a mop dampened with water only. You can do a final round with a dry mop to quickly dry up excess moisture.
If you’d rather use ready-made commercial laminate cleaner or one from the manufacturer, read the cleaning instructions for how to use it. Often, the cleaner will instruct that you spray it on the mop and not directly on the laminate floors.
Don’t Use Oil-Based Cleaners And Products
If you want a streak-free floor without any film residue, don’t use oil based cleaners. Although not always obvious, check the label of your product for any oils. This especially goes for cleaning products that use essential oils, have polishers mixed in, or anything that promises shine.
Well-cared for laminate floors shouldn’t look dull to begin with. This is because the top ‘wear’ layer is designed to inherently look shiny and glossy. Using products like oils, wax and polishes on laminate floors simply leave the product sitting on top of your floor boards. The non-porous ‘wear’ layer will only get more dirt and build up if a film of oil is left on top of it.
Do Clean Your Laminate Floors Regularly
Consistency over intensity is better for the cleanliness of your laminate floors. Clean your laminate floors regularly as opposed to cleaning it aggressively when dirt is already visible.
Depending on the activity and how many people live in your home, laminate floors should be swept daily and mopped at least every 2 weeks. More realistically in a busy household, laminate floors should be mopped every week. The key is to use gentle and effective cleaning products that will lift off dirt without stripping off the ‘wear’ layer.
Don’t Let Liquids Sit
As mentioned previously, using too much liquid on laminate floors can cause the boards to warp and discolor. Using too much water is one way to cause this. Leaving floor spills to sit is another.
Clean up water, juice, coffee, tea and any other liquid spill immediately. This is to prevent moisture from seeping. Immediately cleaning up spills also prevents stains. Use a dry sponge cloth to quickly soak up moisture. Spray the affected area with your floor cleaner and wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth.
Do Know How To Address Odd Spills
Life happens and laminate floors aren’t exempt from the inevitable spill, scuff and scratch. When dirt and grime aren’t just the only things to clean off your floor, here’s what you can do.
Candle wax drippings and bubble gum spills
Allow the candle wax or gum to harden. Speed up the process by putting a bag of ice over it. Once hardened, gently lift and scrape it off with an old credit card.
Scuff marks can literally be erased using an eraser. Rub a rubber eraser of the scuff marks until it comes off. Follow up with a vacuum to suck up the eraser dust.
Nail polish spills are best addressed with nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball with nail polish remover and wipe it off your laminate floor the same way you would with nails.
Paint spills, whether fresh or dried, can be cleaned up with a solution of water, vinegar and soap. Apply the cleaning solution to a microfiber cloth and wipe off the paint.
For paint that has dried, apply rubbing alcohol directly to the stain. The alcohol will break up the paint and allow you to wipe it off with your cleaning solution.
Do Protect Your Floors From Scratches
Be proactive about floor scratches. Take simple protective measures to prevent scratches altogether. Common sources of scratches include furniture feet scraping on the floor and untrimmed pet claws.
There are special pads that you can install on furniture to make them slide over your floors smoothly and noiselessly.
As for your pets, keep those nails trimmed and short. Not only will your floors thank you. So will your clothes, curtains and upholstery.
When looking for how to clean laminate floors without leaving a film, the main things to remember are to use gentle yet effective products and to never use too much water. With the right care, laminate floors sparkle and last for years.