How to Clean Laminated Floors
Get Rid of the Streaks on Laminate Flooring
You've purchased that beautiful laminate flooring, but now it turns into a streaked mess when you clean it. Even some of the specialized cleaners cause the same smeared-looking mess. What you should do?
Help is on the way. I suffered from the same problem but have found the solution.
Our laminate flooring came with instructions to clean it with only warm water. Because we have two dogs, I didn't feel this was sanitary. In the kitchen, the floor gets a bit greasy, and plain hot water just did not do the job. I'm going to share a homemade cleaner that does the trick.
Before you try my solution, however, it's a good idea to try it out on a small spot in the corner somewhere, just to make sure it works well for your floors. It works well on mine and also comes highly recommended by others.
Words of Caution
- Never leave a laminate floor wet. Always squeeze out the mop until it is almost dry. Leaving water on the flooring will cause it to warp.
- Don't use regular floor cleaners, including oil soaps or any product that says it will give shine. It can ruin the glossy finish.
- Don't use waxes and polishes. The floor will turn out a smeary mess and you might have problems removing them later.
- Don't use ammonia or any product containing it. Ammonia can damage the finish of your floor
- Never use a steam mop. It isn't recommended for laminate and it can cause the floors to warp, sometimes immediately. Many say that it also leaves the floors streaky.
- Do mop up liquid spills immediately. It isn't good for anything wet to lay on the floor. It can cause warping. Mop up after people or pets tracking in snow, rain or mud right away for the same reason.
- Do keep sand swept up. Laminate flooring is tough, but sand over time can scratch it.
- Do keep felt pads under the legs of furniture. This will help protect the floor.
- Be sure to check the manufacturer's suggestions for cleaning the floors.
- Always use a clean mop. If you don't, you'll have streaks.
Items You'll Need to Clean
- A vacuum cleaner or dust mop is needed to clean up dust and dirt before you start. A broom will work too.
- A clean mop or a a rag to clean the floor. A regular squeeze mop will work fine if you keep the water wrung out completely. I like to use the Rubbermaid Reveal if the floor isn't too dirty, because it comes with two washable pads that can be laundered. It also has a container to hold the water and cleaner. When the floor is muddy, you should use a regular mop.
- You'll need water and a bucket, if you're not using a product like the Reveal.
Make Your Own Cleaner
This cleaner is recommended in various dilutions as the only homemade cleaner that works. I tried it and it worked for me; it left me with beautiful shiny floors without wiping afterwards. I used a little less vinegar and more hot water, and it still worked fine.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 gallon hot water
- Just a small squirt of dish soap (use only a small amount!)
- First, vacuum or dust mop the floor and remove all loose sand and dirt. This step is important because sand is abrasive.
- Mix the vinegar, water, and dish soap in a bucket. I use a 2-gallon bucket for this.
- Use either a mop, microfiber cloth, or a terrycloth rag and get it thoroughly wet in the bucket. Next wring it out until the mop or cloth is just damp—not wet. This step is important. If it is too wet, it isn't good for the floor and will leave streaks.
- Mop the floor in the same direction as the grooves. This will prevent dirt from collecting where the planks meet.
- This is all there is to it. If your cloth was wrung out well enough, you won't need to dry it, and you can enjoy the shiny floor again.
Removing Buildup From Other Cleaners
If you already have a buildup from other cleaners that you've used, you may need to use a purchased product to get it off. Try the recipe above first and if it doesn't work, try . Don't walk on the floor for one hour after using. If the buildup still isn't off, do it again. Then clean with the vinegar and water solution above. Bruce Laminate Floor Cleaner
Mopping with a regular floor mop seems to work best. You do need to see that it is wrung out so well that it is almost dry.
I use the Rubbermaid Reveal Mop when I am in a hurry or to just clean water spills. It has a container to hold the cleaner and a spray nozzle that sprays it on the floor. Then you just mop it up. The mop covers are microfiber and fit on the bottom of the mop. It is sold with two of the covers and is machine washable. It will leave streaks if you don't use a clean mop cover every time and the floor is really dirty. You also need to see that the mop cover doesn't get too wet. If it does, put your extra cover on and don't spray as much cleaner. If your floor is extra dirty, these special mops seem to just smear the dirt around.
I've never tried the Bona Mop, but it comes highly recommended along with their Bona Tile and Laminate Cleaner. You can't walk on the flooring after using it until it is completely dry. This is only recommended to remove old floor cleaners and then to use the vinegar and water treatment or another laminate floor cleaner. This can be repeated twice if necessary.
Other products with good reviews are Orange Glo and Abbey laminate floor cleaners. The Bruce Floor Cleaner for Laminate Floors that is mentioned above is also recommended by users.
Be careful about which cleaners you choose. I love Murphy's Oil for cleaning grease in the kitchen, but don't use it on laminate wood floors. It says on the bottle that you can, but after I used it, my floor was a smeared-up mess. Every step I took, I left a footprint. You can imagine the mess I had with dogs. I needed to redo the entire floor. Many of the other cleaners leave the same problem.
Have you had problems with streaks on your laminate wood floors?
What's Worked for You?
Have you found a product or method that works well? Let us know in the comment section below.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.