How to clean laminate floors

Laminate may not have the prestige of hardwood, but what this type of flooring lacks in high regard, it more than makes up for in durability and aesthetic appeal. 

While laminate flooring is more stain resistant than wood flooring, you’ll still want to maintain it so it can remain beautiful for years to come. Experts advise you should clean your laminate floors a minimum of every two weeks. If you’re living with roommates, a more frequent floor cleaning schedule may be necessary.

cleaning laminate floor with mop

Table of contents

What is laminate flooring made of?What you’ll need to clean laminate floorsHow to clean laminate floors dailyHow to deep clean laminate floorsHow to tackle tough stains4 Tips for cleaning laminate floors

What is laminate flooring made of?

Laminate flooring is made out of wood composite: materials like sawdust that have been pressed together. Its resemblance to hardwood flooring is often uncanny, but this type of floor material tends to cost less, scratch less and respond better to cleanings than wood. This is because it has a wear layer that protects the photographic layer underneath, making it less likely to attract scruff marks and dents.

What you’ll need to clean laminate floors

  • Canister vacuum

  • Mop (experts recommend a reusable mop with a microfiber head) 

  • Vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Dish soap

  • Warm water 

  • Medium-sized bucket

Commercial cleaning products are also an option.

How to clean laminate floors daily

Run a vacuum or duster over the surface to remove any dirt and debris from your floor’s nooks and crannies. If you're using an upright model, be sure to turn off the rotating brushes to keep the bristles from scratching your floor.

If you don’t have access to a vacuum, a soft-bristle broom can remove most of the pet hair, dust and dirt that’s accumulated on your floor.

How to deep clean laminate floors

A good sweeping works for a daily clean, but if you’re looking to deep clean your floors, you'll need to mop. Experts recommend a reusable mop with a microfiber head — not only is it the most eco-friendly option, but you also avoid having to buy multiple, costly single-use mop heads. You can also get a spray mop: a microfiber mop that includes its own refillable sprayer.

You can use hardwood floor cleaner to clean laminate (the cleaning solution won’t know the difference!). Or, if you prefer a more natural, pantry-friendly route, you can also make your own solution with just a few household ingredients. 

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the floor.

  2. Mix one gallon of hot water, one cup of vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a bucket. 

  3. Dip your mop in the solution, being careful not to create puddles. 

  4. To avoid mopping yourself into a corner, start from the back of the room and working your way to the front.

  5. Wring your wet mop and give the space a final wipe to remove any traces of baking soda or soap residue. 

  6. Dry the floor using old towels (or just use the paper kind.)

How to tackle tough stains

It’s uncommon for stains to penetrate your laminate floor’s finish and discolor the flooring material beneath it, but sometimes your stain will require more than a mop. 

  • As a general rule of thumb, alcohol is most effective at removing dyes, while acetone works its magic on oil-based stains. Both require proper ventilation, masks and protective gloves:

  • If you’ve got a big paint, tar or grease stain on your hands, use time to your advantage. Wait for the spill to dry and then chip away using a rubber scraper or plastic putty knife.

  • For scuff marks, try buffing it using a tennis ball. If you don’t feel like getting on your hands and knees, you can even cut an X in the ball and stick it to the end of a broom handle, applying gentle pressure to the mark. (No ball? No problem. A school eraser can also do the trick. Just be sure to sweep up any eraser shavings when you’re done.)

  • For permanent marker or pen mark stains, you’ve got a range of options. You can try writing with a dry erase marker directly atop the sharpie marks, then using dry-erase wipes to lift any remaining ink, or you can use alcohol or acetone applied to a cotton swab or ball. Just be sure to ventilate your space and pat the area dry with a clean cloth afterwards. 

  • For coffee, wine or juice stains, you’ll want to clean the spill immediately. If the stain is still visible after you’ve wiped it up, try spraying the area down with a vinegar and water solution, then wiping with a paper towel until clean. 

4 Tips for cleaning laminate floors

  1. To keep your laminate floors clean, wipe your shoes on a floor mat near your entrance, or keep the whole house shoeless. 

  2. Steel wool can scratch your laminate floors and should be avoided. Abrasive cleaners—including those with ammonia or chlorine — are also potentially damaging.

  3. Most laminate floor manufacturers strongly advise against using steam mops. Using these could even void your warranty. 

  4. It sounds counterintuitive, but soap is not exactly BFFs with laminate. Too much of it creates buildup and dulls the appearance of your floors.

Looking for a home where monthly cleaning is always on the books? Bungalow offers private rooms in shared homes that are more affordable than solo housing options in the same neighborhoods. Wifi, utilities, and monthly cleaning are set up before you move in, so that coliving is seamless. Find a Bungalow near you.

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