If you have laminate flooring, you made an excellent choice. It is cheaper than both carpet and hardwood and lasts significantly longer. It is fade proof and more stain resistant than other flooring materials. This is a result of its construction, which consists of a top layer of melamine plastic that is intended for heavy wear. It is also much easier to install than many other flooring options, which is good to know if you are considering installing it on your own versus hiring a professional.
Don’t forget about the environmental advantages of laminate flooring either. It is a much more environmentally friendly option than traditional hardwood flooring and its minimal upkeep means using fewer harmful chemicals that contribute to global warming and waste. Laminate also comes in a wide variety of color and texture options. There are only a few situations where laminate flooring is not ideal. For example, if you live in a house with a lot of moisture, your laminate may swell and become moldy. It is also impossible to repair once it is damaged and it will need to be replaced. In all other situations, laminate is an excellent choice.
That said, laminate floors still need to be cleaned every once in awhile. Luckily, they are extremely easy to clean and bring to a high polish. Unlike wood flooring, you do not need to use polish or wax. Follow these simple steps to make your laminate flooring look even better than new.
Sweep it Up
The first step in cleaning laminate flooring, much like with other cleaning projects, is to sweep the floor. Make sure to do a thorough job, and remove all dust, crumbs, dirt, and pet hair. Do an especially thorough job of cleaning along the walls and underneath furniture. If you have pets, you will notice that most of their shed hair tends to migrate to these locations. This is the same for dust bunnies of all kinds. Do not neglect to sweep under furniture, as changes in air pressure can take the dust out from under the couch and put it back on your newly cleaned floor. It is best to use a dustpan and broom to accomplish this, but if you would prefer, a vacuum on the lowest pile setting will also work well.
It is important to stay away from soap-based products when washing laminate, as they can cause the flooring to look even duller than it may already be. Instead, add a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water. With a soft mop, clean the entire floor. You may opt to use a commercially available cleaner that is intended for laminate flooring, but a vinegar-and-water mixture works just as well, if not better. Be sure to scrub at any stuck-on dirt that you may come across.
Empty your bucket with the vinegar mixture and fill it back up with regular warm water. Once again, mop the entire flooring surface, checking for spots that you may have missed on your first pass through. Rinsing your floors like this will help to eliminate the vinegar smell and take care of any grime build up. Dry the floors by hand with a dry, lint-free cloth using a circular motion.
Time to Shine
Hopefully, you have already purchased a bottle of floor polish made specifically for laminate (be sure to double-check the bottle. Wood polish will not work and could lead to undesirable results.) Apply the polish to the furthest corner and work your way backward, meaning out of the room. Do this in small sections, spreading it with a clean mop or microfiber towel. Allow the polish to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, repeat the process a second time. For the highest level of shine, make sure to stay out of the room for 24 hours to let the polish set in.
As mentioned above, you can use a cleaner intended for use on laminate flooring if you would rather not use vinegar. Another option is to mix one part ammonia with three parts water. Remember, do not use any products intended for hardwood when cleaning and polishing laminate. This can lead to floors that are sticky and lack shine.