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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. i have laminate flooring and to protect it from our dogs we had rugs covering it, now the flooring underneath the rugs is dull, how can i restore it?

  2. Bernadette Bollins


    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team

      Hi Bernadette,

      Thank you for your inquiry! I would suggest using a solution of one part vinegar to ten parts water lightly spritzed on a micro fiber cloth to wipe down the floors. This should remove the film and help keep the floors clean. There are a few other laminate floor cleaning products but I would suggest trying them on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure if doesn’t leave a film. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. I have laminate flooring it was here when we bought the house. The house is on a slab. Our floor is pulling a part there are places 1/4 how can we push those back? This flooring is no longer available and we don’t have any spare boards to replace it with. We have been told it is because moisture from bein on a slab. This is a condo so you can’t get under to look at it. Thank you for any information .

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for getting in touch! If the floor is coming apart it could very likely be that the humidity in the area is too low and the planks are shrinking. If there was moisture coming up from the slab the planks would absorb the moisture and expand. I would highly suggest getting a humidity reader and check what percentage you are at. It would be best to be in between 35-50%. You can also try getting a humidifier in the areas the planks have separated to bring the planks back to their original size. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  4. Help, I have heard about this flooring causing cancer lately, I’m remodeling my kitchen what shall I do? I want wood look

  5. I moved into a place with newly installed dark laminate flooring. Beautiful. But its been a year now, and though it is still beautiful, I really hate this floor. It is impossible to keep clean. Foot prints, shoe prints, hand prints, you name it start showing up immediately after cleaning and keep showing up days later. A cleaning professional said that the floor either needs about 48 hours to dry, OR I need to dry it right after I clean. And by drying it, she meant get down on my hands and knees and POLISH it with a towel. Which works- sometimes- but is way too maintenance-intensive for me. I have had wood flooring before which had some kind of polyurethane (?) finish on it. -I just wet mopped it, and stood back to admire the results. Can I put some kind of acrylic or poly OVER this awful laminate? Help! Would like to do something asap before the floor gets too dinged up. THANKS

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team

      Hello Karen,

      Thank you for your message.

      That is unfortunately the nature of the beast when it comes to dark flooring. Although extremely beautiful they will show dirt much quicker than on a lighter, “more dirt camouflage type of colored floor” for lack of better terms. Extra work is needed however you should never wet mop a laminate floor as that can cause moisture to get into the joints which may eventually cause a swelling or de-lamination. Instead try a wood flooring cleaner and spray a mop head so as to use a dry mop which should ease up your cleaning process. Here is a link to one of our more popular laminate flooring options Care and Maintenance page for more information on this: http://www.builddirect.com/pdf/laminate/toklo/care-maintenance/toklo-care-maintenance.pdf

  6. I have laminate floors in 5 rooms. I was buffing them with a floor buffer, then I used a laminate floor product on the for cleaning and shine…. Now I have a BIG mess! They are very streaked now when I mop them, If I keep mopping them, can I remove all the cleaner that I had used on them to remove the dullness and streaks?? If I clean them with a steam mop and buff them, will that help in time? Please help me. Thanks!

  7. Hi I recently had new floorboards put in and then I mopped them. The problem is that a couple of then have got bubbles in them can you please tell me how I can remove them without damaging the floorboards thanks

  8. I know that engineered hardwood floors and other types of wood flooring require that you climate control your home and keep humidity between 30 – 50%. Is this also a requirement for laminate flooring? I don’t see it specifically mentioned with the installation / maintenance guides for the laminate flooring products shown here on the Build Direct site.

  9. I have laminate flooring and it’s dark I have tried cleaning it with the cleaner that I bought at time of purchase and it leaves looking good till you walk on it then you can see every footprint and smudges it’s driving me crazy trying to keep it clean is there a seller that I can put on it to keep the footprints and smudges off I need help .

    • Their aren’t any sealers for laminate, since that top layer is not a material that will absorb sealant of any kind. When it comes to laminate, damp mopping and minimal cleaning product use is generally best practice. But, having said that, here’s something offered from us that might be worth talking to a salesperson about: //www.builddirect.com/Floor-Care-Products/Hardwood/Laminate-Refills—Ultra-Concentrated-Cleaner/ProductDisplay_10573_p1_10085598.aspx

  10. I recently had flooding from my upstairs bathroom, which is directly over my dining room and living room. The ceiling collapsed, damaging the DR and the LR. I had laminate flooring installed in both rooms, since the carpeting was ruined in the dining room. However, the LR had oriental carpeting, not ruined, but had to be cleaned.

    However, living with this new flooring is not as easy as I thought it would be. It takes more care then having to vacuum. I am having second thoughts. I have a Swiffer, but honestly I do not like the results I have been getting.

    In reading your viewer comments, I like the suggestion made by Terri Turner. She put two coats of a polyacrylic clear semi-gloss finish on the flooring in her kennel. She states that this finish seals the seams, and that water and urine do not go into the seams. The floors stay shiny and beautiful. What do you think of this treatment? It sounds like a God-send to me, not to mention that it would protect from scratching. Please respond ASAP, I am at my wits end.

    Also, another viewer asked what type of padding should be put under area carpeting. I would prefer something that would be non-slip. At my age this is very important. Thank you for your response in advance. Carol K.

  11. Kathy Harrelson

    I had no knowledge of laminate flooring when we moved into a house with new flooring. I used a wood floor wax (Fuller brush brand) Of course I have a mess with the wax. How do I remove this wax? I have used vinegar, ammonia, and window cleaner. Help!!

  12. can’t use any water to clean, or spill even small amount of water on this product made by mohalk

  13. how do you get rid of the bubbles that appeared in various areas of a newly installed laminate floor. varied from football size to golf ball size.???? Is it defective laminate??

  14. A small puddle of water (maybe 1/4 cup) was not noticed in a darker corner of the
    laminate floored living room. It was mopped up maybe 4 hours later. It has left ‘bubbles’
    in the flooring that can’t be removed. It was explained to me that the water seeped
    into the wood mixture under the laminate which swelled up & it is therefore permanent.

    Is this just a factor in care of laminate floors? And if so, how do people with young
    children manage?

  15. Have a dark brown laminate floor over the entire bottom floor of my house. Over the past couple of years it has been scratched. Is there anyway to cover or remove the scratches?
    Thank you for your assistance.

  16. My daughter hass a new home with laaminatee flooring. I believe they haave used products on it becaause it streaksss and leaves footprints eeverywhere. What can shhe ddo to remove any buildup of these products the past owners have used?

  17. There was a flood in the lower part of my home with laminate wood flooring. The floor buckled, over time it dried and flatten back out. Now there are gaps in the boards. Is there a way to repair this or is all lost?
    Thank you,

  18. Kirsten Haroldson

    Hi, we recently moved into a new home with laminate floors. Everything I used from water to vinegar to regular soap and it leaves awful streaks. I tried Quick Shine, which stated it can be used on laminate floors, and it looked great and shiny. However, after many uses, it seems to have built up a layer that now looks streaky when cleaning over it. How do I safely remove the build up?

  19. I installed a laminate floor in my small breed dog kennel. Before purchasing the dogs, I sealed
    the laminate with 2 coats of polyacrylic clear semi-gloss finish. Looks beautiful, if there are water or urine accirdents, does not go into the seams, mops up beautifully, the finish adhered very well
    to the laminate. Don’t know why others don’t try this. The floors look absolutely shiny and beautiful, and easy to disinfect them.

  20. There’s a contradiction. First you recommend using vinegar or a window cleaner. Then in reply to a someones comment you say “You dont want to use vinegar or any cleaning products…” How is that?

  21. we have just had laminate flooring installed and would like to purchase small area carpets for high traffic areas. Would you please advise as to which type of backing on the carpets would be best for the flooring, e.g. rubber, the regular weave of the carpet, etc.

    Thank you very much.

  22. LamanatorPlus seems to be a really good product for cleaning and/or restoring laminate floors. It’s supposed to help eliminate streaks and footprints, and also help remove the haze that’s sometimes on new laminate floors from the factory, and remove that haze you get from using certain other laminate cleaners and homemade concoctions like vinegar/water.

    I just ordered some and used it on a small patch of my newly installed laminate flooring. My floors looked horrible after installation! Partly because of that factory haze, and partly due to the dust leftover from my ceramic tile rip-out. So far, I’m very pleased with the results!

    To just dust your floors, use a good quality, DRY microfiber mop for the best results, or even something like the DRY disposable Swiffer sheets. And to clean, just lightly spray your microfiber mop cloth with your laminate cleaner and then mop your floor. Or if you spray your laminate cleaner directly onto your floor, just lightly mist the floor, but don’t saturate it. A good microfiber mop makes a big difference!

    You can wash your microfiber mop cloth by hand or in the washing machine (but don’t use fabric softener). And you can always buy new replacement microfiber mop cloths. Just Invest in a good microfiber mop and find a good laminate cleaner and you’ll be all set!

  23. I have a rental with laminate flooring and it appears that circular rug lay on the floor and had been damp and it left a grey area about 2ft wide. what can be used to bring back the luster

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