How to Clean Laminate Flooring
With a high percentage of UK homeowners opting for wood laminate floor sanding, here are some tried and tested methods on how to prolong the life of your laminate as well as keep it in great condition.
Whilst there are many laminate-specific cleaners on the market you don’t really have to go to the expense of buying a separate cleaning product. Lukewarm water and a little gentle household detergent works just as well, although always avoid using any products that contain bleach.
Tools of the trade
Before you begin cleaning your laminate for the first time make sure you have to hand a light vacuum cleaner with a hard surface attachment. If you don’t mind getting down on your hands and knees you can use fibre dusters to get right into those nooks and crannies. You will also need a mop and bucket.
If you have a typically busy home with high traffic, children, toys and pets coming through then you will probably find your laminate needs to be dry cleaned two or three times a week. This will involve only the vacuuming or dry fibre dusting – do not wet mop the floor as frequently because it will lead to the laminate boards warping very quickly.
When vacuuming or dry dusting always move alone the same direction as the boards so that all the miniscule hairs and dust that collects in the cracks is removed.
Less is more
When you need to do a mop wash, try not to do so more than once monthly and use tepid water with a little non-abrasive bleach-free household detergent. This works as well as the expensive laminate cleaners on the market, and at a fraction of the cost. Wring the mop out thoroughly before mopping as a sodden floor will, in addition to leaving streaks and water stains, damage the boards. If you do use too much water initially then try to remove it with dry cloths before carrying on with the rest of the floor. Never, ever leave puddles on your laminate.
Granny really did know best
As we now acknowledge that Granny was right when she used vinegar and brown paper for streak-free windows and mirrors, vinegar (minus the paper) is also an excellent floor cleaner. To use this traditional method of floor cleaning, simply add a small cup of white vinegar (not brown malt!) to your bucket and off you go. The detergent ensures the floor is clean and the vinegar brings a non-streaky shine to laminate boards. In addition to saving you money this old method, used sparingly, ensures longevity of your laminate floor.
Other old remedies for removing stains include:
• Red wine. Do not use white wine to remove red wine from your laminate floor. Instead apply a little warm water on a damp cloth and rub in until the stain disappears.
• Erase heel and shoes scuff marks with a children’s school rubber.
• For any kind of ink or crayon marks use a damp cloth. If the stain is resistant the try a few spots of household detergent on the cloth first. When you have finished remember to carefully wipe the area with a cloth dipped in warm water to remove all the detergent before wiping dry.
• If you are unlucky enough to have spilled nail varnish on the floor you can use nail varnish remover (acetone) to remove it. Use the remover sparingly and be sure to wipe clean immediately afterwards.
• Blood stains are best treated with vinegar and warm water on a damp cloth.
• Chewing gum and grease stains can be removed by prising a knife underneath and lifting it away. Of course the grease must be hard for this to be effective.
Because it is constructed from pressed resin and fibreboard, laminate is a simulated wood product and should never be treated like real wood. Do not wax, polish, lacquer or stain your laminate floor. A correctly maintained laminate floor can last up to 10 years or more, making it a cost effective alternative to hardwood flooring.