Laminate Flooring: 11 Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping them Clean

Wondering how to clean laminate flooring and keep it looking as great as it did upon installation? Even though your laminate wood floors may look as good as hardwood floors, that doesn’t mean you should clean them the same way. The best way to clean laminate flooring is not the same method you would use to make those hickory planks in your living room shine.

Clean your laminate floors carefully to keep them looking like new.

Photo: Olga Zarytska/Getty Images

Laminate planks need special care because, unlike hardwood floors, the surface can’t just be refinished if stains, scuffs, or other types of damage occur. To avoid pricey repairs and replacements, it’s critical to maintain the flooring material and treat it with care—especially in high-traffic areas. (Wearing stilettos around the house is one way to increase wear and tear!) But don’t worry, keeping your floors looking good doesn’t take a lot of time, work, or elbow grease.

“Regular sweeping or vacuuming, with occasional mopping, will extend the life of your floor and keep it looking as good as the day it was installed,” says Jennifer Meska, director of merchandising at LL Flooring, who mentioned that laminate tends to be less expensive than real wood, so its become a go-to option for many homeowners and builders.

Whether you have new laminate or vinyl floors or simply want your existing surface to look like a new flooring installation, here are the best laminate flooring tips, and the mistakes to avoid.

1. Do read the cleaning instructions that come with your laminate flooring

Before you get cleaning, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your floors. The brand may have specific recommendations based on the materials used. Most companies have detailed product guides and instructions on how to clean laminate floors on their websites. Read carefully as using harsh or abrasive cleaning products can null the warranty.

2. Don’t let stains sit on the floor

“If something spills, clean it up immediately,” says Steve Evans, cleaning expert at Memphis Maids. “Use a dense microfiber cloth or a sponge and gently blot until you absorb whatever has spilled.” Tackle stains pronto. Even if your laminate flooring is water-resistant, if you leave liquids for too long, they can potentially damage or discolor the surface.

3. Don’t use abrasive tools

Technology has made a lot of recent laminate flooring materials scratch-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you should reach for abrasive (steel wool, for example) items. You’ll want to use a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to sweep up debris. If you’re vacuuming, be careful to use an attachment without a beater bar or rotating brush, which could scratch the surface.

4. Do (carefully) mop the laminate flooring every two months

Mop every two months or so.

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To keep laminate floors fresh, mop them every two months. Damp mops (a.k.a. microfiber mops) are gentle enough to use on laminate flooring. If you’re going to use a regular mop, just wring it out until it’s almost completely dry.

5. Don’t use too much water

“The number one factor to keep in mind is that laminate floors do not get along with water,” Evans says. “At least, with excessive water. Keep water and liquids to a minimum whenever you’re cleaning these floors.” Even if the flooring material is water-resistant, you don’t want the water to pool or seep through the top layer, which could potentially lead to extra installation costs that come with replacing the laminate planks. That said, a traditional mop bucket is a no-no for laminate floors. If you forget to pick up all the water it can also cause staining or fading.

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