Get up to4 free estimates
for ANY type of Contractor near you
- No Obligations
- Stop Paying Too Much For Your Contractor
- No Spam Calling
- Screened & ID Checked Contractors only!
As new and existing homeowners look to revamp the look and feel for their home, they often find themselves in a bit of a predicament concerning flooring: spend the money on professional installation of tile or wood flooring, go it alone and risk spending even more money backtracking to fix potential mistakes, OR go with an easy to install and maintain laminate option.
Laminate products have come a long way from the linoleum floors of the fifties. At any local home improvement store, you can find do-it-yourself laminate kits that come in all types of sizes and styles. From high-end tile looks to sections that resemble hardwood flooring, the laminate options on the market today address a wide range of aesthetics that look and feel authentic at a reasonable price point.
But as the old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, that is likely the case. Despite the ease of installation, there are some things to consider when installing, maintaining, and cleaning laminate floors. Below you will find a list of pro tips as well as the best cleaning products on the market to make sure your laminate flooring looks and feels just like the real thing for years to come.
Wipe up spills immediately! Leaving standing water or any other liquid on the surface of your flooring increases the odds that it will seep into your subfloor. Certainly, that is what the underlayment is for, and if you have used a moisture repellent underlayment, you should be fine. Still, putting the subfloor to work unnecessarily is never a good idea.
In the same light, place waterproof mats underdog or cat bowls, at the base of the sink, under Christmas Trees during the winter, and wherever else the odds of water spilling and sitting stagnant on the laminate surface are high.
Avoid using shine promoting products! We will discuss alternative cleaning products in more detail later, but for now, suffice to say that the surface of your laminate is exactly what it is meant to be. Adding an additional sheen will only compromise the intended finish.
Additionally, wax based products built upon the surface of the laminate and leave a film that is difficult to remove. Scented cleaners, like Pine Sol, often have soapy compositions that go unseen while these products are being used. These soaps can remain on the laminate finish long after use, and like wax, will dry and build up.
If your laminate is a wood aesthetic, be conscious of the fact that IT IS NOT REAL WOOD. This means no Murphy’s Soap for the same reason as other scented, soap-based cleaners.
Vinegar is another no-no. While it is a great, all-natural cleaning option for most surfaces, it is also extremely acidic. High concentrations of Vinegar could completely eat through the finish of your laminate surface. If you are going to use Vinegar, do so in a lightly concentrated mix, heavily cut with water.
Watch your step! This is universal to flooring in general, but it is worth saying with specific regards to laminate. Shoes without rubber soles like stiletto heels and men’s dress shoes and boots can seriously damage your laminate surface. Your tile finish laminate may look so good you forget that it isn’t real stone. Remember, it is made of a composite material that is far more susceptible to scarring and chipping.
The same is true of your animal’s paws and claws. Keep them trimmed, if not for the sake of your floors, then certainly to avoid pesky scratches during play.
And finally, always pad your furniture legs. Certainly, the rearrangement bug will bite you at some point and you want to be prepared to shake up your floor plan without worrying about ruining your floor surface forever.
Sweep often! The best way to keep your laminate floors pristine is by consistently sweeping with a soft bristle broom. The dust, dirt, and sand that is dragged in from the outdoors and sits on your laminate can do real damage is stepped on and rubbed into the floors finish. Have a broom or dry Swiffer handy so those aggregates stay in the garbage.
While it isn’t necessarily recommended to mop your laminate due to the water that can get underneath, it is understandable that sometimes a deeper clean is necessary. When spring cleaning, use a damp mop, not something fully soaked. Dip your mop head in a mixture of hot water and ring it out completely before you take it to the floor.
You can steam clean your laminate floors occasionally but be advised that consistent steam exposure can cause your laminate sections to warp and buckle.
For isolated stains, window cleaner or other all-purpose surface cleaners should are not recommended for consistent use. These too can cause damage to the finish of the laminate
Below are the best cleaning products by category with accompanying links.
A spray designed and formulated specifically for laminate and wood flooring. It is best to use this product with a microfiber rag. It boasts a streak-free clean that cuts through stains. If using for a whole floor cleaner, Black Diamond recommends using a dry mop. The product is pet and child-friendly and subtly scented.
Sold in a 128-ounce jug, this premixed cleaner is best for a whole scrub of your laminate floor. Use with a microfiber mop on your floors, but ZEP is also great for baseboards, other trim work, ventilation grates, and any other surface in your home, really. This cleaner leaves a non-stick, dull shine on your laminate. Some reviewers have noticed a streaking, but this can be avoided by cutting the product a bit or adding a dry pass with a microfiber towel after mopping.
If and when your laminate beings to show some wear and tear, Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer is your best bet. This is a great product, not just for laminate, but for all surfaces. Simply apply to the scratched surface and buff out imperfections just like you’re waxing a car. Rejuvenate dries in around 45 minutes and leaves a layer of protection on your floor surface that protects from future scratching, adds traction (up to 50%), and protects from UV light to avoid a fading sheen.
If your laminate surface is meant to shine, but you have noticed a fading over the years, this product is the right choice. Quick Shine is also great in helping redeem some of the other potential cleaning choices you have made that may have dulled the finish of your floors. In just one use your flooring will return to its freshly cleaned shine. Quick Shine is best used by squeezing a line of the product across the floor and working it into the surface with a microfiber mop. The shine from just one coat can last up to three months on severely faded floors.
This product is great if you are someone who works hard at keeping the products in your home organic and child and pet safe. Because laminates can be finicky surfaces, it is often difficult to find natural cleaners that are not too acidic. With all the effort you have put into finding great natural products, it would be a shame to have to make a sacrifice for what is potentially the largest surface area in your home. Better Life is the answer. The product comes in a packaging with two 32-ounce bottles. It is rinse-free and comes in fresh citrus or mint scents. Most importantly, it is plant based free of all harsh chemicals.
Bona is one of the most recognized names in laminate cleaning supplies. This product, a four-piece set that comes with a microfiber mop, dusting pad, cleaning pad, and 32-ounce solution, is a one-stop shop for all things laminate cleaning. The solution itself is non-toxic, rinse-free, and formulated to take care of some heavy-duty grime. This is perfect if you’ve been on the hunt for a good cleaning product for a while, and your floors have begun to show some signs of neglect.
We all love our pets. We love them slightly less when they have the inevitable accident in the house. This product is perfect for puppies or misplaced litter boxes. The deodorizing Hardwood Cleaner helps to cut the odor of urine and other pet odors that always seem to bake into hard floorings, and worse yet, find their way underneath where they are left to fester. Each bottle is 32 ounces and is sold as a spray. Folex requires no rinsing. Simply spray and work into the surface with a microfiber cloth or mop.
Laminate flooring is the perfect option for homeowners looking for a brand-new flooring look without the cost and fuss of installation. That said, they are not necessarily easier to maintain. Laminate can be a tricky surface to treat, and these floors are slightly less forgiving to water and surface damage. Still, if you understand these shortcomings it is easy to keep your floors in perfect working and aesthetic condition. Learning how to protect your laminate floors and what products to use when the family dog or a leaky sink unleashes its fury will ensure your laminate investment was well worth it.