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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. We have a little dog who has had a few accidents on our laminate flooring. If a few spots we did not get to it in time and the moisture has caused some edges to slightly rise up at the seam. Is there a seal or wax that I can put in these areas to better protect them.

  2. we use a liquid floor cleaner that says it is good for laminate floors. However, a few days after the floor is “moped’ we find a white sand like substance on the floor especially in high traffic areas. Any idea what could cause this. There is no sand around where we live.


  3. what causes a white land like acculation on our laminate floors. There is no sand where we live but a few days after the floors have been cleaned with a lamanite floor cleaner the substance appears.


  4. Hi,

    All laminate flooring websites say ‘never lacquer a laminate floor’. Why?

    Does this go for real-wood ‘engineered’ floors, bamboo etc?

    Is it a moisture/buckling issue, a ‘sealing the whole thing solid’ issue, etc?

    I love he high gloss finish on the floorboards achieved with a plastic coat type lacquer, and would like the same from an engineered wood/bamboo floor…

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Just installed beautiful glossy laminate floors. Also have dogs. So I would be very interested in the answer to the question above, How do you clean urine if its been standing for a while?
    Thank you….

  6. I have laminate flooring in my livingroom. I recently purchased a steam floor cleaner. I want to
    know if I can use this on my floor?

    • Hi Carol,

      If the steam floor cleaner is a form of concentrated moisture, it should be avoided as much as possible.

      Generally speaking the most effective way to clean the flooring is the simplest. Regular sweeping and the use of a lightly damp cloth (wet with a little bit of water) is the most effective method. You do not want to use any special cleaning product, vinegar, etc., as repeated use can have a negative affect on the appearance of the flooring,


  7. I am thinking about getting laminate floors and
    Was wondering if steam mopping is a better
    Way to clean the laminates?
    How do u clean urine if it has been standing
    a while?

    Does the sun effect the color and buckling ?
    Thank you.

  8. I have a dark stain on my laminate cork floor from urine. Is there any way to remove this? Soap and water didn’t do anything.

  9. I have a floating wood floor installed April 2011. I was gone from Novemver 2011 until May 2012.
    Some of the boards buckled while i was away. I have automatic thermostats the go on 4 times in a 24 hour cycle so the house temp. never goes below 68 degrees. The installer told me that the lack of moisture caused the problem. The square footage is about 1260. 6 boards are in question. He suggested having a humidifier installed in the centeral heating/air unit. What are your thoughts.
    Thank you

    • Hi John,

      This is most likely a moisture issue, and that you may require a humidifier to maintain a controlled environment for your lamiante flooring. I suggest you contact the manufacturer to see what the optimal room environment should be. If the environment is outside of that, you should look to purchase a humidifier / de-humidifier to address the issue. Your installer is most likely correct in that regard, that the lack of moisture caused the issue (as most of these issues are caused by moisture).


  10. Floors feel gritty and sometimes sticky even after cleaning with water and light mop. Also, sometimes somewhat slippery. Is there dampness under it perhaps?

  11. I think the laminate floor feels sticky or gritty most of the time, even after using a damp mop and warm warmer used sparingly. Sometimes I think it is slippery. Is there any truth to any of these thoughts?

  12. We just installed a laminate floor in a foyer and I would like to place a mat in front of the door. I know that rubber backed carpets can yellow / discolor linoleum. Is the same true for laminates? Thanks Donna Fritz

    • Hi Donna,
      With laminates have very durable protective coatings on them, mostly aluminum oxide these days, you will be fine with a mat like that. It is a great idea to do that as it will help prevent any scratches or water damage as well from the outside elements.

  13. We have a five your old laminate floor in our dining room / front hallway. When we first moved in we put down a 5′ x 6′ door mat and never moved it. Now I got rid of the mat and after cleaning huge amounts of sand, the floor is much duller (no shine) where the mat used to be, compared to the rest of the floor. Is there any way to restore this portion of the floor to match the rest? Thanks in advance!

  14. I have laminate flooring and never had any problems for six months. I have a golden retriever and she never made any scratches on the floors. I now have scratches appearing on the floors. The scratches started to appear after I started to use a different laminate floor cleaner. Could this be the reason I now have scratches? Is there any way to get rid of the scratches using a different cleaner/scrubbing product?

    • Hi Mike,
      For cleaning purposes i would only recommend using in slightly damp cloth, or a microfiber mop with just a little bit of moisture. For the scratches if they are deep you can use color fill tube to fill in the scatches. I have added the a link below to the color fill tubes so you can read up about them.


  15. We just installed laminate flooring a few days ago and we are having a very hard time finding something that will clean the floors without leaving streaks. I have tried vinager and water, plain water, and swiffer and all left horrible streaks. I read another blogger post that she uses 70% alcohol (light mist with a microfiber cloth). I tried it and it works very well, but I’m afraid it may damage the floors in the long run. Has anyone had experience with this?

    • Hi Leena,

      Generally speaking the most effective way to clean the flooring is the simplest. Regular sweeping and the use of a lightly damp cloth wet only with water) is the most effective method. You do not want to use any special cleaning product, vinegar, etc., as repeated use can have a diverse affect on the appearance of the flooring.

      Here are some links for care and maintenance for laminate flooring:



      Hope that helps and let me know if you need any further assistance.


  16. Recently a candle was knocked over (it had been burning for about 4 hours, hence LOTS of wax) and the wax spilled out covering and splattering MOST of the living room laminate. Is ice the ONLY thing I can use to get it cleaned up? Is there a company I can call that will be able to clean it better than I can?


  17. I have a piano finish dark colored laminate floor. In the high traffic areas I had placed area rugs with protective padding underneath, and when I removed the area rugs the floor now has this dull area from where the rugs were placed. Is this normal? Is there any way of getting rid of the dull, faded looking areas? If not, is this something that may be still under warranty as the floors are just 3 yrs old?

  18. hi there i was woundering what to use on my mananate flooring as i have use dettol floor wipes and the sprays and i have used a steam mop i do use warm water and a microfober cloth and after all these attempts my floor still remains dusty and dirty i do hoovor and use a dusting pan bfor i clean flooring

  19. Hi there, I was wondering if a swiffer sweeper (the wet one) is okay to use on laminate flooring? Will it damage it? or leave a film?….

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thank you for the inquiry.

      I recommend using a damp cloth with water to clean the surface of your Laminate Floor.

      A Swiffer should be fine depending on the cleaning solution and the amount used.



  20. I have laminate flooring in several rooms in my house. I’ve been using the laminate floor wipes which seems to do the job but have recently read that these wipes although recommended for laminate floors can be harmful. I’ve tried using just water but it tends to streak the floor. Especially in the hall where the light catches it. Could you please advise me the best way to clean a laminate floor. Thank you.

    • Hi there,

      Water is the best method for sure. It is recommended that you use a high quality, lightly damp mop and clean water. This is the best method to clean. Generally speaking the most effective method to clean the laminate is the simplest, which is regular sweeping and as mentioned, the use of a lightly damp cloth wet with a bit of water. You do not want to use any cleaning product, vinegar, etc. as repeated use can have a negative effect on the appearance of the flooring.


  21. hi
    I left my switched on steam mop on my dark laminate floor for 5 minutes and it left a lightened rectangular mark, please can anyone advice as to how i can restore the original shade?thankyou

    • Hi Emma,

      This is unfortunately a moisture issue. The steam mop has left a mark on your flooring and I would recommend that you replace the affected area with the dark laminate floor (if you have more boards left). Alternatively you can always cover it with a rug or hide it but in terms of restoring the mark to the original shade of flooring, there is not much you can do except replace the area.


  22. I have 3 big dogs who love mud. A simple damp mop/vinegar/water doesn’t clean my floor at all; it only pushes the dirt around. I tried the steam mop, but it streaked. I also read many mixed reviews about it ruining the floor. I have a Hoover floormate, which sprays water and then immediately sucks it back up. Would it be okay to use this as long as I make sure to not leave any water behind? We have the locking/floating laminate floor.

  23. Laminate floor buildup from mop n glo or orange glo, or other acrylic coat type mop and shine products. We moved into a rental two yrs ago that had a cloudy haze on the floors. It was almost tacky but not quite. I mopped and mopped, tried about $200 worth of floor cleaners. Everything from Ammonia to anything else you can imagine. FINALLY found a product that worked for me to get that build up off of the floors. It is called Goof-Off2. I did have to do it on my hands and knees but you wouldn’t believe the layer of that waxy/acrylic cleaner that came off of the floors. After that my floors have been a breeze to clean, then husband mopped the floor recently while I was out of town and he managed to find a bottle under the sink of none other than mop n glo that came with us from our old place so now I am going back to the store this weekend for some Goof-Off2. I cannot remember which home improvement store I got it at. But am sure that a quick google search should yield results. Two bottles allowed me to do 1800 sqft of laminate flooring, with a microfiber cloth. Read and follow all the instructions! It is a LIFE SAVER!!!!!!!

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