Project Guide

How to Clean Laminate Floors

Difficulty: BeginnerTime: 2-4 hours Print

Laminate floors may look like wood, tile or stone. However, you can’t just treat them like other floors. Cleaning laminate floors requires a focused approach and less water than you might think.

This guide will teach you how to clean laminate floors. It will also cover removing stains and protecting your floors so they’ll look great longer.

1. Establish Weekly Cleaning Habits

A gray sectional couch sits under a window as the sun shines onto bright and clean laminate floors in a living room.

Sticking to a steady routine is the best way to clean laminate floors.

  • Sweep regularly with a soft-bristle broom to collect pet hair and dust. An angle broom will be more helpful to get into corners and along baseboards.
  • Vacuum weekly. Use a soft-brush attachment to avoid scratching the flooring.
  • Use the hard floor setting on the vacuum cleaner. This stops the beater brush from rotating so it won’t scratch the floor.

Tip: Where you live can affect how often you should be cleaning laminate floors. For example, if your house is near the beach, you might constantly track in sand. In that case, you’d need to vacuum more than once a week.

2. Deep Clean Occasionally

A person wearing gray shoes pushes a flat mop to clean laminate floors.

As you figure out how to clean laminate floors, use water on them sparingly. Standing water can cause the floor to bubble or swell. It can also separate the seams or fade the floor’s color.

  • The best way to clean laminate floors is to use products made especially for them. If you don’t have laminate floor cleaner, you can use a teaspoon of unscented clear dish soap in a gallon of water. A teaspoon of baby shampoo in a gallon of water will also work. Be careful not to soak the floors.
  • Use a damp mop on your floors every two to three months. Do not saturate the mop. Instead, wring out the mop until it is almost dry, then wipe over floors.
  • You can also use a laminate floor mop.  Made of microfiber or other highly absorbent materials, these mops are designed to work without excess liquid.
  • After mopping, go over floors with a dry microfiber cloth or a dry mop to make sure there’s no water left on the floor.
  • For deeper cleaning, you can use a steam mop very sparingly on laminate floors. Be sure to dry the floor immediately after steam cleaning. Use a clean, dry microfiber towel or mop.
  • Avoid oil-based cleaners and products designed for cleaning wood floors, cabinets and furniture. They can leave streaks that are impossible to remove.
  • Don’t ever wax or polish your laminate floors.

3. Spot Treat Stains

A person wipes a liquid spill off wood-look laminate flooring with a microfiber cloth.

  • Blot spills with a microfiber towel as soon as they happen.
  • If wax or gum falls on your floor, freeze it with an ice pack. Then, carefully scrape up the frozen wax or gum with a plastic scraper or plastic knife. Wipe the area with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth to pick up any residue.
  • Oily spots or color stains, like marker, lipstick or ink, can be treated with acetone or nail polish remover. Place a small amount of the liquid on a clean cloth and wipe up the stain. Follow with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth to pick up anything that’s left. Be sure the area is dry to the touch when you finish.

4. Protect Your Flooring

A person walks across a laminate floor on the balls of their bare feet.

Your laminate floors can’t be refinished, so treat them with care. Taking extra steps to keep them in peak condition is worth it.

  • Never use a floor buffer or polisher while cleaning laminate wood flooring.
  • Don’t use abrasive or acidic cleaners. Harsh cleaners might strip the protective coating from the floor.
  • Don’t use steel wool or scouring powder. Both can leave scratches on your floor.
  • Never try to slide anything heavy across the laminate floor. Use protective mats under all heavy furniture or anything with castors.
  • Place felt pads or furniture slides under the legs of your furniture to protect your floor from scratches.
  • Use only laminate-approved vinyl rug underlays under area rugs. These underlays keep rug backing from sticking to or scratching the flooring and the rug itself in place.
  • Place entry mats at outside doorways to keep dirt, oil and other materials from outside from being tracked onto the floor.
  • To prevent scratches, keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
  • If you wear heels or cleats, take off your shoes before you walk across your laminate floors. Heels and cleats can leave marks on your floors.

Learning how to clean laminate floors can help you keep them in peak shape. You should sweep and mop them regularly. Use a specialty mop to clean them without excess liquid. Though laminate floors are water resistant, if they are soaked in water, they can be damaged.

The best way to clean laminate floors is to use products especially made for them.  Need supplies for cleaning laminate floors? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.