How to Clean Laminate and Hardwood Floors
Laminate floors are very easy to clean and maintain. Laminate is often used in living rooms, kitchen and other areas at home. Waterproof laminate is even used in the bathrooms. Some types of laminate are even hard to distinguish from the parquet or other types of hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors are very warm floors and are easily cleaned and maintained, almost as laminate floors. Wooden floors quality depends on the quality of the wood and perhaps even more important, on the quality of the wood finish. High quality finish protects the wood and prevent the moisture or even liquids to enter the wood and cause it to buckle and even rot over time.
Nonetheless, laminate and hardwood floors do require some maintenance and must be cleaned regularly.
The most annoying issue with cleaning such floors are ugly streaks and stains after cleaning – these stains are often caused by too much or wrong cleaning agent (detergent), floor dust, too much moisture used for cleaning, or too hard tap water.
To avoid such stains and to clean laminate and wood properly, be sure to:
- Vacuum the floor first, with proper hard floor attachment, having in mind that you are vacuuming laminate and wood, not the tiles (tiles have much harder surface than laminate or parquet). Vacuuming will remove dust, hair and other dirt and debris from the laminate and wood and prepare it for ‘wet’ part of the cleaning.
- After vacuuming, slightly moisten the microfiber cloth or mop pad in warm water, with low dose of laminate cleaner or even without it and wipe entire surface. Since most of the dust and dirt are already removed, single microfiber cloth or pad will cover larger area before it has to be replaced with a clean one. After cleaning with barely moist cloth/pad, floors are almost instantly dry and can be walked over within seconds. Since very little water is required for such cleaning, in area where water is very hard and contain plenty of mineral residue, distilled or demineralized water is recommended.
In order to avoid using water completely, one can use laminate/hardwood floor cleaner in the form of spray – just vacuum the floor and spray the floor with the cleaning agent and wipe everything with dry cotton cloth or microfiber pad. And the floor is clean! Such cleaning use no water and is recommended especially for older and sensitive wooden floors, and where wood finish is not in perfect condition. Of course, be sure to read the cleaning agent instructions and test it on the small floor area, before the first use.
Such laminate and wooden floor cleaners help remove spills, stains, streaks, oil, dust, footprints and other dirt from such floors. Be sure to choose eco-friendly and biodegradable, hypoallergenic floor cleaners, especially if you have pets and/or kids.
Even without specialized laminate and wooden floor cleaning agent, such floors can be cleaned using cleaners commonly found at every home.
Plain water is the most cost effective floor cleaner. If the floors are not too dirty, they are cleaned without cleaning additives in the water.
However, to remove oily and similar stubborn stains, one can add neutral soap or some similar gentle cleaning product like hair shampoo.
Long story short – laminate/hardwood floor cleaners do excellent job and they are not expensive. Single spray bottle can be used to clean rather large area, thus, they are highly recommended for cleaning floors like laminate, hardwood and other similar sensitive floors. And when we say ‘sensitive’, that is sensitive when compared with tile floors.
Care tips for the laminate and wooden floors
The first and the foremost care of laminate and other sensitive floors is to avoid scratches and dirt.
This means that high heels on the sensitive flooring are not recommended :) Also, dirt in the form of sand, small pebbles and similar can cause dents, scratches and cracks in the floor finish.
Thus, it is important to prevent the dirt from outside to enter the area where there are laminate and other sensitive floors.
Pets, especially larger dogs should be trained not to scratch floors – no hole digging indoors.
Toys – large(r) toys with hard surfaces and especially hard edges, should not be used on laminate and similar floors. When they are tossed around, they can scratch the surface and make it look – old and ugly.
Furniture like tables and chairs should be with soft rubber or felt glides, or some floor mats or at least low-pile carpets should be used.
Vacuum cleaner vs broom - a good vacuum cleaner is much better choice than a broom, because the broom often scatter around the fine dust particles, while vacuum cleaner sucked all of the dirt in. Also, if the broom is not soft enough, the broom itself can damage the sensitive floor surface.
Use of scouring liquid or scouring powder in combination with scouring sponges or brushes are allowed for the removal of stubborn stains on the laminate floors, if such floors are certified for such cleaning. Such cleaning can damage hardwood floor finish, so be extra careful on wooden floors.
Dried dirt, like chewing gums are mechanically carefully removed using a plastic spatula or similar plastic cleaning aids – again be very careful to avoid damaging the floor surface.
Spilled liquids like water, soda, coffee etc., must be immediately wiped using dry or moist cloth or microfiber cleaning pad.
If the floor is only slightly dirty, pour is vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray with it. Laminate flooring should be exposed to as little moisture as possible. Vinegar helps to remove dirt, but also pet and cooking odors. The vinegar fragrance will vanish as the floor dries.
Although vinegar is cheap and have many other advantages, general laminate and sensitive wooden floor cleaning agents are not expensive, and in the long run can save you plenty of time and can help your laminate and wooden floors look almost brand new.