Not sure how to clean your laminate flooring? Here are some simple tips for cleaning laminate without causing damage, warping, or wear.
Laminate flooring is durable and should last a long time – but you still need to care for it correctly!
In this article, we’ll go through some simple tips for cleaning laminate flooring without damaging it. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions related to laminate floors.
How to Clean Laminate Flooring
1. Check Your Floor’s Cleaning Instructions
Always read your laminate floor’s instructions before cleaning it for the first time.
Each manufacturer has different recommendations for cleaning their floors, including which products are safe to use, so it’s important to stick to these guidelines.
In most cases, you’ll only need a vacuum cleaner (with a floorhead that’s safe for hard floors) and a damp mop to clean your laminate. The key is to only ever use damp cloths or mops, rather than sopping wet ones, as excess water on laminate can soak through and cause serious damage.
Avoid Using Steam Cleaners on Laminate Flooring
Most manufacturers don’t recommend using a steam cleaner on their laminate flooring. The hot steam can penetrate the floor, leading to warping and damage to the seal.
In fact, using a steam cleaner on laminate may void the warranty – even if the steam cleaner brand claims that the product is suitable for this type of floor. It’s best to be safe and use a regular mop.
2. Vacuum Regularly Without a Rotating Brush Bar
Regular vacuuming is essential for keeping laminate clean. A vacuum removes both fine dust and larger debris from the floor, including sharp material that could cause scratches. Vacuuming also picks up dirt in tight crevices that would otherwise be difficult to remove.
We only recommend using a vacuum that doesn’t have a rotating brush bar for cleaning laminate though. Powered brush rolls can scatter debris and may even scratch the floor.
In most cases, a cylinder vacuum cleaner is the best choice for laminate, as these typically don’t have a brush roll. For more information about choosing the right vac, read our guide to the best vacuums for laminate flooring.
Tip: You can still safely use an upright vacuum with a brush bar to clean laminate flooring, but only if the brush roll can be switched off.
3. Only Use Cleaning Products Designed for Laminate
If a cleaning product isn’t specifically labelled as safe for laminate, you should assume that it’s unsafe. Using the wrong cleaner could damage the floor’s seal, stain the surface, and leave unsightly streaks on the laminate.
Similarly, you shouldn’t use polishes or wax on laminate flooring.
4. Use a Damp Mop Once Per Month
Vacuuming gets rid of loose debris and dirt, but it doesn’t thoroughly clean laminate flooring. For that, you’ll need to use a damp mop.
Use a microfibre mop with a reusable head. Make sure the mop is damp rather than wet, as you don’t want to oversaturate the floor. You can also spray a small amount of laminate-specific floor cleaner for a more thorough clean, before wiping with the mop.
As a general rule, you should mop a laminate floor at least once per month. You may need to mop more frequently in rooms that have a lot of traffic though.
Important: Traditional mopping uses large amounts of water, but it’s vital not to do this on laminate. Pools of excess liquid can cause warping, fading, or stains, which is why the mop should only be damp.
5. Quickly Clean Up Spills
Modern laminate flooring should be resistant to water, but only for small spills and brief periods. The longer you leave a spill sitting on the floor, the more chance there is of it penetrating the laminate and causing damage.
To prevent this, make sure you clean up any spills as quickly as possible. Use a damp cloth to remove the residue, then dry the area with a separate dry cloth. Never leave puddles of water sitting on the laminate.
6. Never Use Steel Wool or Scourers
Laminate flooring has a durable coating, but it’s not designed to be cleaned using abrasive tools. Avoid steel wool, scourers, or any other rough cleaning cloth when cleaning your laminate.
7. Protect Your Laminate Flooring
The better you care for your laminate flooring, the longer it’ll last. Here are some tips for protecting your floor from damage and dirt:
- Only use a well-wrung mop and dry the floor after cleaning. A soaking wet mop could allow water to soak through the laminate, leading to bubbles or warping.
- Have a “no shoe” policy in your home. Wearing shoes indoors brings in grit, dirt, and other debris that could damage the floor.
- Make sure your pet’s nails are kept short. Sharp nails can scratch laminate and cause it to look worn.
- Always have a front door mat to reduce the amount of debris enters the home.
- Use protective furniture pads to prevent your laminate being scratched. You should also pick up any furniture when moving it, rather than dragging it across the floor.
8. Use Ice to Remove Gum or Candle Wax
If gum, candle wax, or something similar has become stuck to laminate flooring, use ice to harden the substance. You should then be able to gently scrape it off with a soft plastic tool (don’t use a hard tool for this.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use Floor Wipes on Laminate Floors?
Yes, you can use many floor wipes to clean small patches of laminate floors. However, make sure that the floor wipes you use are safe for laminate.
What Should You Not Use When Cleaning Laminate?
There are a number of cleaning tools you shouldn’t use for laminate. These include any abrasive cleaning products, steel wool, chlorinated cleaners, wax, scourers, or polishes.
You also shouldn’t use large amounts of water to clean laminate. A damp mop is fine, but there should never be puddles of water on the surface.
Caring for your laminate flooring doesn’t need to be complicated. Regular vacuuming with a laminate-safe vacuum and monthly mopping is probably all you need to keep your laminate looking clean.
It’s important to avoid damaging laminate flooring though. Excess water, abrasive cleaners, and wax shouldn’t be used on laminate. And, when it comes to cleaning products, only use those that are labelled as safe for laminate.
Do you have any questions about how to clean a laminate floor? Please let us know in the comments section.