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How to Care for Laminate Floors

How to care for Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is easy to clean and care for. Built to stand up to wear and abrasion, it also exhibits the beauty and shine of hardwood flooring, without the requirement of regular waxing and polishing. The best ways to clean laminate flooring involve a vacuum cleaner, a dry mop, and/or a damp towel for difficult spills.

The Basics of Laminate Care

Dirt is the primary enemy of laminate flooring and leads to fine scratches that can make the floor look dull and used. The best way to clean laminate floors is to use ammonia and water, or vinegar or any other window cleaning product. First sweep or vacuum up loose dirt, then mist the floor with your cleaner and a mop. Later, buff it up using a terry cloth towel. Microfiber pads are also quite effective and help you avoid cleaning fluids. Also, check the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning procedures. Some of them make their own laminate floor cleaners.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your laminate flooring as good as new:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft flooring attachment, a broom, a slightly damp cloth or mop to remove dirt, grit and debris.
  • Add glides or cushion protectors under chairs and table legs to prevent possible scratching.
  • Put floor mats and foot brushes at all outside doorway entrances to keep away dirt.
  • Damp mop using warm water for a better evaporation rate.
  • When mopping, change water as necessary to keep clean.
  • While damp mopping, avoid any standing fluids on the floor – including your pet’s water bowl. Do not saturate the floor and wipe up spills immediately.
  • Do not use floor polish or wax products. This leaves a film on the floor and causes it to attract more dirt and leave streaks and footprints.
  • Avoid soap-based and abrasive cleaners, scouring powder, citrus oil products and steel wool as they affect the floor’s décor layer and damage the finish.
  • Never sand, lacquer, or refinish your laminate flooring surfaces.

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Advanced Tips for Laminate Care

Cleaning spots on laminate flooring can be a bit tricky. Here are some tips on spot cleaning:

  • To remove oil, paint, permanent marker, tar and rubber heel marks, use a neutral cleaner on a clean light colored cloth. Alcohol or a nail polish remover containing acetone can also be used.
  • To remove blood, juice, wine, beer, soda pop and pasta sauce stains; warm water can be used. If needed use a neutral cleaner with a light colored cloth.

To remove candle wax or chewing gum, first harden with ice and then scrape very gently. Wipe the rest with warm water and a clean cloth.

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(96) Comments

  1. What about Bona laminate floor cleaner and shine products? They seem to work great. should
    I not be using these?

  2. I am having problems with my laminate floors. The rubber backing on my throw rug left a film on my floor and it does not come up..Tried everything to remove it. It looks dirty. Let me know what I can do to get my floors back like they were.

    • Hi Liz,

      I would first recommend trying vinegar and water. Use your discretion as to how you want to apply (I would recommend a very MODERATE amount). Try adding warm water and vinegar or a steam mop on the plank (not the seam). Again it has to be done carefully since you don’t want to apply a lot of water on the floor. A steam cleaner can possibly help as well, but be careful when using this and make sure you adjust it to the correct setting. Different steam cleaners and different settings are designed that are applicable for different uses. While the laminate surface itself won’t be affected, it would be the seams of the laminate that you need to concern about. If you go with this route, make sure to read manufacturer fine prints and ask your local store for assistance.

      It is entirely possible that the underlayment through time and heat of being on the floor has affected the surface. If that is the case then there isn’t anything that can be done.


  3. My housekeeper has used pine sil to mope my laminate floors, then when I complained of streaking she went back to vinegar and water. Now she had me get her a shark steam mop that she says works wonderful on laminate floors. My floors look dull. How do I get the satin shine back on it? What should I tell her to do to fix this problem of dull, streaky floors.

    • Unfortunately laminate is a synthetic product.Using chemicals on it can dull the luster on the product. As it is a synthetic product this is not something that can be re-obtained.

      Generally spealing the most effective way to clean the flooring is the simplest. Regular sweeping and the use of a lightly damp cloth wet with a litle bit of water is the most effective method. You do not want to use any cnealing product as repeated use can have a diverse affect on the appearance of the flooring.


  4. i put quick shine wax on my laminate floors. worst thing i couldve ever did. how can i get this wax off or do i have to just replace my floors?

    • Hi Dell,

      As laminate is a synthetic product, it is not recommended that any sealants, waxes, etc. be applied to the product as doing so often results in a negative outcome. If the wax shine does not come off by cleaning with water then you might want to contact the manufacturer to see what they suggest. You should be aware however that any cleaning agents with harsh chemicals / cleaning solutions etc. may also negatively affect the laminate (can cause a diverse effect on the appearance).

      See what the manufacturer suggests as there may be a viable solution instead of replacing your floors.

      Rodney Noriega

    • Hi Jo G,

      It is not a good idea to put a sealer on laminate floors as it would not adhere to the flooring. The surface of laminate floors is impervious, and as such the sealer would only benefit surfaces with porous substances.

      Rodney Noriega

  5. I have put laminate floors in most rooms in my house. I chose this over wood floors becasue after reading many reviews it was the product that would wear best considering I have 3 little dogs.
    I have had the one in my living room for about 3 years and just installed in my office, two bedrooms and hallway this year. I use decorative area rugs in heavy traffic areas to protect those areas ( you can get beautiful rugs on overstock at great prices and you can get different sizes with same pattern) my bedroom looks great with a 5.5 round rug centered in the open area.
    Cleaning I use a Swiffer wet jet, a Swiffer vac; When my cleaning guy comes every two weeks he uses vinegar;amonia and water.
    I love my floors and was happy to see the carpets that looked worn and dingy go.

  6. My daughter left a hot steam mop in the middle of the laminate kitchen floor. I now have a white rectangle in the floor. Any suggestions on how to cover it up or bring back the color??

  7. Gwenevere Morgan

    In looking at all info about maintaining and cleaning cleaning my laminate floors, I am curious as to whether I am able to put an area rug on them without harming the floor.

  8. Your daily schedule for cleaning laminate floors should consist of regular vacuuming with a SOFT brush on the end so you won’t scratch the floor. Even though the laminate floor is designed to be scratch, fade, dent, stain and burn resistant : you should still take care. When needed, a wipe down with a damp cloth or soft mop will return the flooring’s original shine. Sweeping and dust mopping can be done between vacuuming.

  9. My engineered Hickory floor was mopped with oil soapy cleaner and now there anytime I wipe up a spill with damp cloth there is black on the cloth and the bottom of my children feel get black on them when they walk on the floor for a while. What can I do to correct the damage to the finish.

  10. Just moved in apt with brand new wood laminate flooring. It is such a pain to keep clean. I am constantly mopping with water or windex for the sticky stuff. I find myself mopping like 10times a day trying to keep it clean from footprints or even the mop leaves marks or streaks. Its driving me nuts. What am I doing wrong? Btw I have 3 kids and a husband and we all take our shoes off before coming in.

  11. I have used mop and glo on my laminate and now it has a film on it and it is driving me nuts. I have used a vinegar water mix and an ammonia water mix trying to get it off to no avail. Any other suggestions on how to get the film off? I was thinking of using soft scrub, is that safe or not? Please help!

  12. Hi i have put police on my laminate floor and its now built up, no matter how many times i wash the floor it still looks dirty, can you advise me what to use to get it clean again. Very Desparate.

    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks for getting in touch. When it comes to laminate, you never want to use any cleaning solutions, waxes, varnishes etc. as they may contain a chemcial solvent which might not co-exist naturally with the laminate, and result in a “dirty” or “filmy” appearance.

      The best form of maintenance also happens to be the easier. Simply use a lightly damp cloth or mop using ONLY water.

      Hope this helps.

  13. how do i clean my laminate floors, had dog, and my floors have ridges and i feel like i cant ever get it clean. my son is 18 months and always rolling all over! Any ways to remove dirt without damaging floors? please help, driving me nuts!

  14. What is the best way to get your floors to shine again? We do wipe up any spills or water spots right a way, but when we moved in our townhome no one told us how to keep the shine?

    Please help

  15. After installing, there is a fair amount of wax along the surface edges of my planks. When I clean them off using a laminate cleaner, the cleaned areas now squeaks when I walk on them with my tennis shoes. Is this just because its “squeaky” clean and will stop when some dust builds up? The areas I haven’t cleaned makes no noise.

  16. I have the same problem as Debra the only difference is that I put the mop and glo on not the maid. How do I safely remove the wax?

    • Hi Dennis (and Debra, too)

      Whenever it comes to laminate flooring, you never want to use any harsh chemical solutions to clean the product as they may tarnish the flooring. The best bet would be to use a lightly damp cloth repeatedly over the affected section until the wax spots have successfully been removed.

  17. I know you are not suppose to use mop and shine products to clean laminate, but my maid did not. Not only did she smear it all over the floor, she drips product along the way so now I have wax spots. Any ideas on how to strip the product off the floors?

  18. When I bought flooring even the sales person recomended laminate. The installer said it didnt matter to him. I really wanted hardwood but went with laminate on the salesman’s advice. I live alone. Three years later I find out that I made a really bad mistake. I probably will wind up putting carpet over it or tearing it uo and use real hardwood.

    • Hi Bobby – sounds like you had a bad experience. What sorts of problems have you had? Maybe we can help you solve them.

  19. I use vinagar and water solution in a spray bottle with a soft terry cloth padded mop to clean my laminate wood floor with and still get streaks what else can I do. I have 2 pomarainians and they leave tracks when they come in so I am cleaning the floor several time a week. I also make sure that the terry cloth is always a clean SE HELP

    • A suggestion, if these are minor scratches and not full-fledged gouges, is to go to your local home improvement retailer and get a colored wax pencil especially for flooring. You can roughly match the color of your floor to what they have on offer. Then, it’s a matter of applying the pencil to the scratches in question, which will also help to seal the boards from surface moisture.

      I hope that’s helpful and good luck. 🙂

  20. Pingback: Care & Maintenance | BuildDirect Blog

    • Hi Mary Jane,

      A steam cleaner on a laminate floor is not a good idea. Remember, the upper layers of the laminate floor is actually what’s called a paper layer. Paper and hot steam don’t mix too well. As far as drool, or other pet offerings, a dry mop is your best bet. Make a note of where your pet hangs out, and monitor the area regularly. Keeping moisture off of the surface is one of the key areas in caring for laminate floors.

      Thanks for your question! 🙂

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