Laminate flooring comes in many different styles, patterns, textures and colours, including those that resemble natural wood. This type of flooring is also affordable, easy to install and durable as it comes with a layer that protects floors against scrapes and stains.
But although it looks like other types of flooring, when it comes to cleaning, there is a right and a wrong way of going about it — including avoiding nasty chemicals! Here are some tips on how to clean laminate floors naturally.
Step 1 – Vacuum or sweep
Just like other types of flooring, laminate wood floors should be regularly swept or vacuumed to remove dust, dirt, pet hair, and other household debris. Ensure you use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and a soft bristle broom, then vacuum or sweep in the direction your floor is laid to catch debris between the interlocking tiles. You should also wipe up any spills as soon as possible with a dry cloth, paper towel or sponge.
Step 2 – Mop
To thoroughly clean your laminate floors, a light, slightly-damp mop is recommended. Avoid sponge or string mops that absorb a lot of water — drenching laminate floors can cause water to puddle in the cracks and lead to them fading, bubbling, warping, or separating at the seams. Microfibre mops require less water and glide across floors, and those with a swivel head will also allow you to cover large areas and easily access the areas under chairs and tables.
When mopping, dampen (not soak) the mop, and use two buckets of water — one for dirty water and one for clean. Using a dirty mop head is usually the reason why streaks appear on laminate floors after mopping. Because laminate wood floors aren’t actually timber, you should also never polish or wax them and avoid using abrasive cleaners and bleach. So what natural cleaning products can you use?
The best way to clean laminate floors naturally is to create a mix of:
- A half a cup of white vinegar
- A half a cup of rubbing alcohol
- A half a cup of filtered water
- Five drops of sweet orange essential oil
Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly without pooling or leaving streaks, and vinegar helps deodorise and disinfect. The water extends the life of your cleaner and makes it gentle enough to use every day, and the essential oil helps get rid of grease and mask the scent of the alcohol and vinegar. To use, combine all ingredients, transfer to the mop’s reservoir and ensure your mop is almost dry before using. Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture to a refillable spray bottle and spritz a light coating over your floors before mopping up.
Step 3 – Dry
Regardless of whether you use the mop or spray bottle method, your floors should be dried immediately, either with a microfibre cloth or a dry mop.
One of the benefits of laminate floors is that they don’t stain easily. But if a stain appears, there are several natural remedies that can remove them. However, steer clear of abrasive sponges, steel wool and scouring pads as these can permanently scratch your floors.
- Blood—give the stain a spray of window cleaner and then immediately wipe with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth.
- Crayon—apply mineral spirits to a just-damp cloth and rub away.
- Ink—wipe with a damp cloth. If the stain is stubborn, add a little detergent to the cloth.
- Heel marks and scuffs—rub with a pencil eraser!
- Chewing gum—use a plastic knife to get under the gum and once the worst of it is removed, rub off the residue with a soft cloth dampened with mineral spirits.
- Grease—freeze with an ice pack until the grease hardens, scrape off with a plastic knife, and wipe away the residue with a damp cloth and a squirt of window cleaner.
- Nail polish—apply a small amount of nail polish remover and then wipe up with a damp cloth.
- Red wine or cola—simply wipe with a damp cloth.
- Kayla Marple, 2020, The Best Way to Clean Laminate Floors to Protect its Shiny Finish, Better Homes & Gardens
- 2019, 3-ingredient Laminate Floor Cleaner, Hello Nest
- 2020, How To Clean Laminate Floors – Less Water is Best, Laminate Floor Blog