How to clean laminate flooring
This is our ultimate guide on how to care for and how to clean laminate flooring.
In this guide, we will cover:
Top tips for tough stains
As you start to think about how to clean laminate flooring, it is important to keep in mind these top tips.
Think of these as the rules to live by when caring for and cleaning your laminate flooring.
- Clean stains as soon as possible!
This is one of the big mistakes we want to advise against in this guide on how to clean laminate flooring.
Never leave a liquid or spill of any sort to stand on your floor. The most effective way to clean stains? Take a clean, white cloth with a Ph neutral cleaning solution or washing up liquid applied to it. Dab the area affected gently and gradually lift the stain out. NEVER scrub the stain vigorously – this will only further grind the stain into the laminate flooring.
- For hard to shift liquid stains such as Oil, Paint, Markers, Lipstick, Ink or Tar, use nail polish remover.
Apply some to a clean, white cloth and dab over the affected area. Then, wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
- For stains that are heat set onto your laminate flooring such as candle wax or chewing gum: use ice!
Ice can harden these soft stains up to the point that they can be carefully lifted with a plastic scoop. Want to make sure that none of the stain spreads to the surrounding area? Place a clean, white cloth or tissue underneath the ice to catch any resultant spills as it melts down. For the most effective application of ice, bag it up in a clear, plastic bag (make sure the bag has NO colour). Then, place the bag on top of the tissue or cloth and place it on the stain.
- Never use an abrasive cleaning product or material on your laminate floor.
Almost all major spills or stains can be cleaned with softer cleaning products, so avoid any chlorinated or ammoniated cleaning products. Also, avoid abrasive materials such as wire wool when trying to lift hard to shift stains. These will cause scratches to the flooring that will ruin its finish.
- Have a regular cleaning schedule with a specialist laminate flooring product.
We do not in any circumstance recommend using oil or wax based products to clean your laminate flooring. These will damage the photographic top layer of the flooring causing its attractive finish to dull and fade. Instead, we recommend you use a pH neutral cleaning solution to clean your laminate floor. You can make one at home using standard washing up liquid and vinegar you can buy in any local supermarket. Want your floor to have that just buffed shine? Then add a few drops of baby oil into the solution.
- Avoid rubber!
The easy explanation without blinding you with science? The chemical make ups of rubber and of laminate flooring disagree, causing discolouration of your laminate flooring.
Preventative measures to protect your laminate flooring
There is more to consider than just how to clean laminate flooring. Often, prevention can be just as vital to your laminate flooring maintaining it's condition. There are a few different preventative measures we always recommend to protect any type of flooring in your home.
Mats and Rugs
It sounds so basic but so many homes with laminate flooring installed don’t think of it.
Mats and rugs are a simple and straight forward way to help protect the appearance of your new flooring. We recommend that every entrance and exit doorway to your home has both an external and internal doormat. This will give you two chances to catch the dust and debris of the outside world. You should also lay rugs over the high traffic areas of your laminate flooring to protect it in the same way. There is a secondary benefit to using mats and rugs as well. Mats and rugs can insulate your laminate flooring and protect them from the transfer of moisture from feet to floor. This will keep your laminate floor looking in a better condition for longer.
Use furniture coasters.
Looking to avoid those big scrapes and scuffs on your new laminate flooring?
Heavy furniture such as tables, sofas and beds can damage flooring. Pressure marks, indents and scratches are all potential risks of furniture laid on laminate flooring without protection. To prevent this damage from occurring to your laminate flooring, you should consider using furniture coasters. Furniture coasters are a tool that creates a separation between flooring and furniture. It allows flooring to retain its natural appearance by a) spreading the pressure point's weight evenly and B) being a physical separation between floor and furniture. Please keep in mind, however, that furniture coasters made from rubber are not in any circumstance suitable for use with laminate flooring. The best material for furniture coasters you can use is felt.
Shoe free zone
Every home should be a shoe free zone even if you have laminate flooring installed throughout.
Shoes are a major danger to your new laminate flooring. They carry visible threats like dirt, moisture and grit. They also carry hidden ones like germs and toxins – some of which are the same as those found on your toilet seat! Shoes with rubber soles are especially high risk to wear on laminate flooring. Remember, we mentioned above that rubber can cause a discolouration of your laminate flooring because of an adverse chemical reaction. Encourage your guests to remove their shoes upon entry.
Place a shoe rack by all entrances so guests are prompted to remove them on entry.
Now you’ve learned about the preventative measures you can take, it’s time to look at the tools you will need to use.
Tools you will need
Now we have taught you about the preventative measures, it's time to learn how to clean laminate flooring. To successfully clean your laminate flooring, you will need to use certain tools.
These tools are:
- Cylinder vacuum cleaner or dustpan and brush
- pH neutral cleaning solution
- Microfibre mop
We will talk you through the tools you need to use and why you need to use these specific variations now.
Vacuum Cleaner OR…
Planning on using a vacuum cleaner for removing dust and debris from you laminate flooring? Make sure it doesn’t have a rotating brush bar attached to it. Rotating brush bars can damage the top surface of your laminate flooring and ruin the photographic finish. Ideally, use a vacuum cleaner with a cylinder body. These models are lightweight – more so than upright vacuums - and have wheels. The wheels mean you won’t have the weight of the entire vacuum bearing down onto your laminate flooring. Avoid using a cordless vacuum for anything more than tight crevices, nooks and crannies. They simply don’t have the required suction to be an effective and consistent cleaner.
…Dustpan and Brush.
Not happy with the performance of any of the vacuums you have tried? Try the old school option of a dustpan and brush. Be sure that you choose a brush that has soft bristles. Hard bristled brushes, despite what you may hear stating otherwise, can cause gradual damage over time. This advice applies to vacuum cleaners as well. Try to use the softest brush attachment you have available – this will be the most effective at caring for your laminate flooring.
pH neutral cleaning solution.
Avoid using a traditional string mop when cleaning your laminate flooring. These sorts of mops tend to carry excessive amounts of water in their strands. This means there is potential for damaging the laminate flooring with excessive water as well as the subfloor. The most suitable mop for cleaning laminate surfaces is a microfibre mop. Microfibre mops are effective at removing stubborn dirt and stains and use a minimal amount of water as well. This means are economical, eco-friendly and effective as a cleaning tool. We will now discuss the main steps of how to clean laminate flooring: sweeping and mopping.
Sweeping your laminate flooring
Step one of how to clean laminate flooring is doing a thorough and comprehensive sweep.
As we suggested earlier, the most effective way to sweep your room is either one of two ways.
- Manually with a dustpan and brush
- Use a combination of a cordless vacuum and a cylindrical vacuum.
Choosing to vacuum? Good technique is as follows:
1) Make sure to empty your bag or cylinder before you begin vacuuming.
2) Dust thoroughly around the room before you to start – clear anything from the top surfaces downwards.
3) Move the vacuum backwards and forwards as your motion for a thorough clean that is safe for the laminate’s appearance.
4) Make sure to vacuum slowly. Though it may feel tedious, it is much more effective.
5) Use attachments for those hard to reach areas such as underneath furniture.
6) Alternatively, switch over to your cordless vacuum for those hard to reach nooks and crannies. Try and avoid a vacuum that has rubber wheels as this may discolour the surface of the laminate flooring.
Mopping your laminate flooring
As we alluded to earlier, the most effective way to mop laminate flooring is to use a microfibre mop. Microfibre mops are highly absorbent; they soak up water from flooring and ensure that the surface is left almost completely dry after use. Very little water is actually needed for use mopping when using a microfibre mop head as well. We always suggest that the best way to mop is by using multiple mops:
- A mop for use as a general cleaner with or without a pH neutral cleaning solution.
- Another mop for rising purposes
- A third mop for drying purposes.
Want to mop your floor correctly? Follow these steps.
1) Start by placing your mop bucket at the opposite end of the room to where you want to start mopping.
2) Then, plunge your general cleaning mop. Drain it off slightly before trailing it along the floor to the opposite end of the room.
3) Brush either side-to-side or in a figure eight motion, walking backwards towards your mop bucket.
4) Repeat this step with your rinsing mop until all cleaning product has been washed from the surface of your laminate flooring.
5) Finally, run your dry mop over it to ensure your laminate flooring is 100% dry and clean.
Remember, safety first: make sure those around you are safe when you are mopping. Let them know verbally and with a visual aid – like a sign - that you are mopping.
We asked our customer service department about some of the frequently asked questions we have received about laminate flooring. These were our top five.
Does heat have an effect on my laminate’s appearance?
Yes, heat does have an effect on the appearance of laminate. To balance out the conditions in your home, use a dehumidifier in warmer months and, in colder months, a heater.
Do I need an expansion gap to maintain the appearance of my laminate flooring?
Yes, you do need an expansion gap. Not just for the appearance of your vinyl flooring, but also for the fitting too. Fitting laminate flooring with an expansion gap means that in warmer months the wood has room to grow without warping and becoming damaged.
Is there a remedy for cracks and chips?
Unfortunately, there is no way to remedy damage to a plank of laminate flooring. We recommend you exercise caution with heavy objects over laminate flooring.
Is it safe to use bleach to clean laminate flooring?
No, it is not. We suggest you avoid the use of bleach on laminate flooring. Bleach is a highly corrosive cleaning solution that isn’t pH neutral and will destroy the wear layer and the photographic layer on your laminate flooring.
Can I use a steam cleaner to clean laminate flooring?
Under no circumstances do we recommend the use of steam to clean laminate flooring. Advice from the European Producers of laminate Flooring website (EPLF) - guidelines we adhere to - states that “steam cleaners are not suitable for use with any type of laminate floor”.
What are some quick and easy tips that I can memorise when caring for and learning how to clean my laminate flooring?
To sum up our advice to you on caring for and how to clean laminate flooring:
- Keep a regular sweeping schedule to prevent a build-up of dirt and debris.
- When mopping, be sure to only dampen your flooring, don’t wet it through.
- Clean up spills as soon as possible. Soaked water can destroy the laminate’s core and damage your subfloor.
- Use felt furniture coasters to protect the flooring from heavy furniture or objects.
- Use doormats and rugs to protect the flooring from potential outside hazards.
- Ask those wearing shoes to remove them as soon as they cross the threshold.
This concludes our guide on how to care for and how to clean laminate flooring.
Do you need more helpful content on how to care for different types of flooring? Head back to the advice section. Looking for more United Carpets and Beds content? Follow us on Instagram @unitedcarpetsandbeds and follow the #unitinghomes.