The Basics


Laminate Flooring Types


Laminate Flooring History


How Laminate Flooring is Made


Is Laminate Right For Me?


About Laminate Flooring


Buying Help


Laminate Buying Checklist


Laminate Flooring Buying Guide


Installation & Care


How to Install Laminate Flooring


How to Care For Laminate Floors


Laminate: Pro or DIY?


Laminate Resources


Laminate Flooring Glossary


Frequently Asked Questions about Laminate Floors


Laminate Flooring DIY Videos



How to Care For Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring is easy to clean and care for. Built to stand up to wear and abrasion, all you really need to clean your laminate is a vacuum cleaner, a dry mop, and a damp towel for difficult spills.

The Basics

iStock 000007558909XSmall 225x300 How to Care For Laminate Floors

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 your 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. Micro-fiber 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 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.

Advanced Tips

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.

Related posts:

  1. How to Care for Your Area Rug
  2. How to Care for a Bamboo Floor
  3. Renewing the Renewable: Cleaning Your Bamboo Floors

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{ 1 trackback }

Care & Maintenance | BuildDirect Blog
June 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul March 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm

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!

Donna Fritz April 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

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

Donna Fritz April 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

The name of my flooring is Project Source—if that matters

Gary Sandur April 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

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.

Lu May 3, 2012 at 1:26 am

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?

Lu May 3, 2012 at 1:38 am

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

John De Franco May 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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
John

Donna May 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

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.

Rodney Noriega May 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

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).

Rodney

Dee June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

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.

Carol Hopkins August 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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?
Thanks

Rodney Noriega August 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

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,

Rodney

Diana September 17, 2012 at 3:04 am

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….

Damian October 28, 2012 at 9:19 am

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!

bill goforth November 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

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.

Help.

bill goforth November 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm

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.

Help.

Doug December 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

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.

Dick December 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

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

Nicole December 7, 2012 at 4:24 am

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!

hazel robar January 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

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.

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Lucy February 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

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?

Terri Turner March 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

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.

Kirsten Haroldson March 26, 2013 at 10:47 pm

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?

DD July 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

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,
DD

vicki homerick September 2, 2013 at 9:43 pm

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?

Bruce Klingler October 31, 2013 at 12:16 am

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.
Bruce

carol November 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

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?

robert L. January 29, 2014 at 8:07 pm

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??

charles meier February 2, 2014 at 1:34 am

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

Kathy Harrelson March 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

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!!

C.Karam March 19, 2014 at 2:22 am

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.

Mizm March 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm

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 .

Rob Jones March 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm

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: http://www.builddirect.com/Floor-Care-Products/Hardwood/Laminate-Refills—Ultra-Concentrated-Cleaner/ProductDisplay_10573_p1_10085598.aspx

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