There are tremendous benefits from installing laminate flooring in your home. Not only does it add to the overall quality, appeal and wow factor – but it is also very easy to maintain and clean. Compared to carpet, laminate flooring is a breeze and you never have to worry about what is lurking underneath – like dust, dust mites, and mold. Laminate flooring has become a growing trend among new homebuilders, and many people are ripping out the Berber’s of the 90’s in lieu of installing laminate floors throughout their homes.
Learning how to clean laminate flooring is an essential part of keeping it looking new. You have to remember that laminate flooring is NOT real wood, and is instead layers of engineered materials compressed on top of one another. Most of them come with moisture locking installation features that keep spills from seeping through the seams. However, if the seems on your floor are not tight – you might have a problem with debris and liquids building up beneath the floor. If you had it professionally installed, you should contact the folks who put it in and have them come out and fix the problem.
There are a few items that are a must have when you have laminate floors. A broom with soft bristles, vacuum cleaner, and mop are basically the essentials. The first step in cleaning the floors is to sweep them thoroughly. If you leave debris on the floor and then try to mop it up, you risk scratching the surface of the flooring. You should also vacuum around the edges and cracks of the floor to make sure that all the loose dirt and dust is being cleaned up. Once the floors are free from loose materials, it is time to mop.
Many people today have replaced their traditional mop with something like a Swiffer Sweeper. These work pretty well on laminate flooring – however, they don’t have the power to remove scuffmarks and sticky stains as well as a mop. Before you choose a cleaner to mop the floors with based on scent – check with your floor manufacturer. You can probably look it up online, or call a 1-800 number to ascertain which kinds of products are not recommended for your flooring. Some floors do not do well with ammonia or bleach based products, which can potentially ruin the finish. There are specific cleaners made for laminate flooring – but by and large, these are not much different from some of the products you can find in a local store. A quick look at the ingredients will prove you are paying more money for a product that is virtually the same as Mr. Clean or Lysol.
When you mop your laminates, make sure that you use warm or hot water – and that you squeeze all the excess moisture from the mop. To clean laminate flooring, you shouldn’t need a lot of water. IF there are particular areas with ground in or ossified dirt, simply use a hand sponge rather than douse the entire area with water and cleaning products. The flooring should be damp, but not wet! If you have a wood-grained looking laminate, you might want to mop in the direction of the grain so that streak marks will not be left. Mop the entire floor with your cleaning product, then drain the mop bucket, rinse the mop and go over it again with clean, hot water to make sure that you get up all the excess residue from your cleaning product.
Some floors, do better when they are dried after they are mopped. Many people also like to choose products such as Mop n Glow, which give the floors a glossy appearance. The problem is that these products actually leave a film on the flooring and are not meant for laminate flooring. If you have a non-glossy laminate floor, it is best to leave it that way. Using products designed to leave sheen, can yellow light colored floors and cause a lot of inconsistencies in the floor after cleaning which is hard to fix. In fact, these products require you to use ammonia in order to remove the product. Best bet is to avoid them.
One excellent solution for cleaning laminate floors is a mixture of vinegar and water. You could mix it up in a spray bottle, and simply spray the floor and mop as you go. This way you aren’t exposing the floor to excess moisture. Before you use any products, again – check with the manufacturer to see what products are recommended.
Learning how to clean your laminate flooring may be a bit of trial and error. The most important element in keeping them looking new and avoiding scratches, is to keep them free from debris that could accidentally scour the surface. At doors and entries, you may want to keep a throw rug designed for catching dirt from shoes so that you aren’t constantly sweeping. However, there is some relief in knowing that your laminate flooring is much cleaner than carpet. With carpet, you often don’t see the dirt once it gets trapped in the under layers and padding. At least with laminate flooring, the dirt is visible and you can always be positive that you are removing all of it.
One last thing to avoid with laminate flooring is steam-cleaning products. These are normally safe for tile and real hard woods ONLY. Since laminate is made of various materials – often the temperature of these steam floor cleaners is to hot and could cause the layers of laminate to pull away from one another over time.
Enjoy your floors! With proper care, they can last a very long time and will only add value and coziness to your home.