How to Clean Laminate Flooring

How to Clean Laminate Flooring

If you’ve just installed a laminate floor, then you might be questioning how to clean it. It’s a little bit different than what you might be used to, but thankfully it’s actually an easy process overall.

We’ll show you how to do it, step by step and stain by stain and soon you’ll be an expert in your own right.

Victoria, Homethods Author

What Not to Do

Before we get into the actual cleaning process, it’s important that we cover what not to do when you’re trying to get things clean. There’s a few major errors you can make which can range from irritating to voiding your warranty and ruining your floor.

Here’s what you need to remember for the most part: laminate floors are covered in plastic, they are not hardwood. This means that cleaning them can be a bit counterintuitive if you think of them as wood. You’re actually cleaning plastic, so you’ll need to use different tactics.

Mopping with Water

Laminate flooring is water-resistant.

It is not waterproof. Using a standard mop and bucket to try and clean your floors is a great way to ruin them permanently. Even if it doesn’t, there’s much more effective ways to handle the whole thing that won’t risk destroying your floors.

What will end up happening is that the extra water will seep through the cracks in the floor and cause swelling. It’s just no good, and repeated attempts will make things quite a bit worse.

Using Oil Based Cleaners

Do not use oil based cleaners. You’ll be left with a hard to remove film, in addition to dulling the finish of your floors it will also collect grease and grime and it’ll take a long time to get all of it off of the floor.

These cleaners are used for hardwood floors and cabinets, so some people make the mistake of thinking the polish will work just as well. The problem is that laminate flooring has a thin layer of plastic which seals the pores of the wood, so the oil just sits on top.

Fancy Cleaners

We’ll show you in just a moment how to clean your floors with a fantastic homemade solution that will leave no streaks and keep your floor shining. It’s tempting to use a bunch of money up trying out different cleaners, but sometimes it really is better to stick to the basics.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

1.) Dust Mop or Vacuum

Step 1/4

Before you break out the cleaners, you’ll want to dust mop or vacuum the floors.

In most cases a dust mop is your ideal tool. It’s simply easier to get into corners and if you’re careful a dust mop will almost always end up with a much better finish than a vacuum. It’ll also take roughly the same amount of time.

Mop selection needs to be done carefully. You don’t want a standard rag mop of any type, and you’ll quickly find out that squeegee type mops are all but useless on laminate flooring. Instead, try a microfiber dust mop for the best results.

Don’t even bother with a broom, until you need to get the dust up at the end.

Starting at the corners of the room, sweep all of the dust, debris, and anything else you might find into a centralized location.

After that, you’ll just need to pick it up with a small broom and dust pan. If you have a low enough threshold, you might want to just sweep it outside but the good part is that the dust and dirt is now gone.

Sweep along the way the boards are laid for the best results. This will allow you to collect all of the dust and dirt from the cracks, as well as the stuff which is sitting on the surface.

If you really want to be thorough, try running a vacuum along the planks afterwards, focusing on the cracks.

If you insist on using a vacuum, thinking it will save you labor, that’s your choice but make sure you pick one that’s right for the task. Most vacuum cleaners are optimized for cleaning carpet, and you’d be surprised at how fast you can handle things with just a dust mop.

Try to find something which has a setting for bare floors. In most cases, this will disable the brush which can cause things to spread around quite rapidly and make vacuuming more of a task than you’d probably like.

Unfortunately, any grime will remain at this point, and that needs to be taken care of. Rather than breaking out the water, let’s get it done cheaply and without doing any damage to our floors.

Clean laminate flooring

2.) Make a Cleaning Solution

Step 2/4

Rather than spending a bunch of money trying out different cleaners, try making your own solution. You’ll need the following:

  • Water
  • White Vinegar
  • 70% Isopropanol(Rubbing Alcohol)
  • A Bit of Dish Soap
  • A Spray Bottle

Gather it all together. You don’t have to be a chemist to pull this one off.

You’ll be mixing one part alcohol, one part vinegar, and one part water together then adding a few drops of dish soap. The measurements don’t have to be exact, just use a measuring cup and you’ll be fine.

After you’ve mixed the primary ingredients together, you’re going to want to add a drop or two of dish soap. Make sure you don’t add too much, literally a couple of drops rather than a couple of squirts. Put it in the spray bottle, and set it to mist.

Look at the bottle in your hand: what you have in your hands is one of the best homemade cleaners you’ll find anywhere. It’s virtually streak-free, tough enough to handle most grime, and won’t damage… well, anything. It’s good for pretty much anything you might want to clean in the house.

It also has a very strong odor. Well, nothing’s perfect.

3.) Mop with the Solution

Step 3/4

There are two ways to go about using this solution.

If you’re looking for a quicker solution, simply spray some of it on a clean mop head and go over anywhere you think looks to grimy, greasy, or dirty after your initial cleaning.

If you want the maximum shine and cleaning, however, you’ll need to spray it on the floors and let it sit for a couple of minutes. After it’s sat for three or four minutes, go over it with a clean dust mop until it’s all swept up.

You’ll notice quickly that your floors look fantastic. If you’ve been using commercial cleaners for an extended period, it can take some time in order to get through some of the leftover residue but keep at it and you’ll be doing well.

If you’re still having trouble with streaking apply a small amount of Pledge furniture polish and wipe it away with a microfiber cloth.

Keep in mind this really isn’t a polish, it’s a cleaner. It’ll do quite a bit of cleaning, but if the floor’s coating is damaged or scratched it’s not going to restore the shine.

You also might want to open a window or two, the vinegar smell can be quite overpowering.

4.) Proper Care of Laminate Flooring

Step 4/4

Once you’ve got the whole thing clean, you’re going to want to make sure that you take proper care of the flooring in order to prolong it’s life.

Some stuff is common sense, don’t get them overly wet and dry any spills made as quickly as possible.

If you encounter a particularly harsh stain, don’t spend too long on it. Instead you should be able to take care of the problem with some 100% acetone. This is also the way to fix things if some misguided soul has used an oil based cleaner on your floors in an attempt to help.

If you use large amounts of acetone, make sure you take precautions like proper ventilation.

You should always use something underneath the legs of furniture on the floor. Felt pads are probably your best bet in most circumstances and it helps if you apply them before you even install your new floor.

One other thing to keep in mind is to try and keep sunlight on the floors to a minimum. Even though the veneer showing on laminate flooring isn’t real wood it will still get sun faded over time. This means that you should have drapes in any windows in the rooms where you have laminate flooring laid.


Proper care and cleaning of your laminate floors will go a long way in keeping them in tip-top shape for years or even decades. Keep at it, and you’ll find out that cleaning them is quick and easy if you keep on top of things and they’ll last for a long, long time to come.