If you’ve recently installed laminate wood flooring in your home or office, congratulations! Laminate floors offer all the beauty of real hardwood floors but with improved durability and wear-resistance. Caring for laminate wood flooring is no more difficult than caring for other floor types, once you know what you should and should not do.
Cleaning Your Flooring
Laminate flooring must be cleaned regularly to keep it looking great. Otherwise, dust, dirt and sand particles can build up and scratch the surface of the floor. A Swiffer, a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment will work well. Vacuums often clean best on floor edges and near baseboard molding.
After cleaning the loose dirt, apply a small amount of laminate floor cleaner to the floor then run a damp sponge mop over the area with the cleaner. Go with the grain of the wood in smooth, even strokes. Be very careful to wring out the mop so it is only damp, not wet. Using too much water can damage this type of floor.
If there’s too much water, dry the floor with a clean cloth; otherwise let it air dry to prevent streaks. Clean in small sections, and do not rinse unless suggested by the directions on the floor cleaner. Be sure that your mop has no metal edges that could scratch the floor.
Many different types of laminate flooring cleaners are available. If you choose to use a homemade cleaner, remember that steel wool, scouring powder and other gritty cleaners are not recommended for this surface. A mixture of one-quarter cup white vinegar in a gallon of water works well for cleaning and disinfecting. If you choose to use ammonia, only use a very small amount as this can strip away the floor’s protective sealant. When in doubt, follow the flooring manufacturer’s guidelines.
Never polish or wax your laminate floor, as this will damage the finish. It’s designed to stay shiny with just regular cleanings. Murphy’s Oil Soap and pine floor cleaners are also not recommended because they can leave a dull, soapy residue.
Tips for Stain Removal
Laminate floors are generally stain-resistant, but some stains can be stubborn. Here are some tips to remove some of the more difficult materials.
Blood - Spray with an ammonia window cleaner and wipe with a damp cloth. Remember that too much of this can strip the finish.
Grease – Set an ice pack or package of frozen veggies on the stain until it hardens, and then scrape it off with a plastic spoon or other plastic utensil. Wipe up any residue using the window cleaner.
Crayon – Rub the stain with a damp Magic Eraser or mineral spirits.
Chewing Gum – Remove what you can with a plastic knife and wipe away the rest using mineral spirits on a soft cloth.
Heel and Scuff Marks – A damp Magic Eraser or even a pencil eraser will usually remove these.
Your floor’s manufacturer may also have good suggestions for removing tough stains, so be sure to check with them.
Keep It Looking New
Along with regular cleaning, there are other things that can help keep your laminate floor looking like new.
With regular maintenance, your laminate floor will look like new for years to come!