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Tips and Tricks for Streak-Free Laminate Floor Cleaning

Laminate floors? We have tips. Here's how to get a streak-free clean on your laminate flooring

Clean your laminate floor the right way with these tips

There is nothing more beautiful than brand new laminate flooring gleaming beneath the furniture in your home. It’s unbeatable for giving your home a clean, shiny new look. Laminate is less expensive than real hardwood, and is not as prone to scratching, which makes it ideal for families with children and pets.

Laminate flooring is made by taking a photographic applique layer, usually of wood, but sometimes of stone, and then adding a clear protective surface.

But what happens when you mop your beautiful new laminate the way you would a traditional floor and then discover dulling streaks and spots ruining the gorgeous gloss that you loved? Many consumers have panicked if they’ve tried mopping their new laminate floor instead of following manufacturer’s instructions, or doing a quick Google search for proper cleaning and maintenance of their new floor. Cleaning a laminate floor the wrong way can both cause dulling and streaking; it can also void the factory warranty.

Cleaning your laminate floor is not more difficult than with other flooring, but it should be cleaned in a different way than tile or hardwood flooring.

How to Clean Laminate Flooring

Use a microfiber mop when cleaning your laminate flooring. Laminate flooring can warp if exposed to too much water, so never use a traditional sponge mop or a string mop. Instead you can clean your floor with a dry microfiber mop to pick up dust, dirt, hair and pet fur. If further cleaning is needed, you can use the same microfiber mop, but dampen it with a small amount of water.

Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners, waxes, or polishes on your laminate flooring. Never clean your floor with bleach. Bleach can soak into the porous surface of the floor and create problems. It can also remove the laminate coating of your floor and change the color.

If your dampened microfiber mop become too grimy, rinse it, wring it out thoroughly, and reuse it. It’s never necessary to haul around a bucket of soapy water when cleaning a laminate floor.

If you need to use a cleaning solution, use one recommended by your manufacturer, or try mixing a simple solution of soap and water with a capful of white vinegar to prevent streaks. A teaspoon of baby shampoo in a gallon of water and then used with a carefully wrung out microfiber mop is also a good choice. Don’t over-use vinegar, or you may eventually wear off your floor’s protective coating.

When damp mopping your floor, it’s helpful to follow the direction of the wood grain print in your laminate.

After damp mopping, it’s a good idea to buff your floor dry to keep it at the factory level shine. You can buff with a dry microfiber mop, or a microfiber cloth, or even a cloth diaper. If you aren’t buffing, watch your floor for drying time. If it takes more than a couple of minutes for your floor to dry it’s an indication that your mop was too damp for best results.

A good tip for cleaning a stubborn stain on a laminate floor is to spray a small amount of WD-40 or cooking spray and then dry wiping.

Use a pencil eraser to remove scuff marks.

Protecting Your Laminate Floor

Water is not good for laminate flooring. Wipe up any spills as soon as possible, and place mats under your pet’s water bowls. Too much water exposure will cause warping, bubbling, seam separation, or color fading.

Don’t be fooled into using any cleaner that promises shine. On laminate this will end up leaving a dull film.

Never use a vacuum with a beater brush on your laminate floor.

Use protective mats under furniture.

Avoid pine-scented floor cleansers. They tend to leave a dull finish. Murphy’s oil soap is also not a good choice for cleaning your laminate floor, as it tends to streak and spot.

Laminate floors do not require more upkeep than other style flooring, but they do require a different type of cleaning and maintenance than you might be accustomed to. If you treat your laminate floor appropriately, you should get many years of glossy pleasure from your flooring.

Resources — DIY Network, Laminate Floor Blog, Home Depot, The Spruce