Those laminate floors look magnificent, blend with your home’s rustic or contemporary style, and add warmth to your home. But, are they as easy to clean and care for as they appear? Sure, they are glossy (or even matte), and a damp rug may get the dust and dirt off them, but, are you using the best laminate floor cleaner to protect those surfaces and to keep them shining for years?
And even with the right cleaner, do you know how to clean the laminate floors? You may not know this but cleaning laminate floors is different from cleaning hardwood floors. Though they look alike, they react to cleaners differently and require different cleaning procedures, and the laminate floors require more specialized care than the hardwood floors.
You cannot refinish the laminated floors when they get damaged or stained. The only solution to damage is getting replacements – a pricey and avoidable cost.
Wondering how to make the most out of these floors, despite the special needs on care? Simple: clean it right and use only the best laminate floor cleaner. Take more time when shopping and pick the appropriate cleaner.
The good news: this article delves into the features of some of these cleaners.
But, before we go into those details: what is a laminate floor and why do we need to clean them carefully?
Laminate floors, laminate flooring or floating wood tiles refer to a type of economical flooring that comprises a multilayered synthetic product fused together through lamination. It is not plastic, contrary to popular belief, and its design ensures protection from moisture, indentation, and balance while enhancing longevity.
Made out of particleboard wood, it is a kind of hybrid floor. Laminate mimics wood and is referred to as wood in that: it’s pressed wood, and the top is the only part which looks like wood as a result of the accurate photograph which is covered in a clear and a durable wear layer. Thanks to these structural features, laminate flooring performs better, looks better, and feels great under your feet, hence its use in high-end homes.
Why should we be careful when cleaning these floors? Well, this flooring is not glued down but the laminated boards are attached through notches placed in the ends and sides, and you could dislodge them easily. The other reason: you cannot sand and re-varnish the laminate flooring in case of damage thanks to the top coating which protected the pressed wood particles inside – this top finish erodes when you use harsh chemicals.
Which type of cleaner do you need for laminate floors?
Common laminate flooring has a clear and protective layer easily corroded by chemicals: this has two thin sheets of paper which is impregnated with melamine. It also has an inner layer made of wood composite – this layer is susceptible to water damage. These structural features mean that you have to remove water quickly and you also have to be careful about the chemicals you use.
How many times have you been to the cleaning section of your favorite store only to go home with the wrong product or empty-handed because you didn’t know what to pick? Uncountable? Well, today is your lucky day because we will highlight what you need to look for in a laminate floor cleaner.
Chemicals in the cleaner
Though most chemicals promise to leave the floor streak-free, it’s hardly the case as most of the chemicals will erode the top layer of the flooring material making the laminate flooring dull and susceptible to cracks and warps. Friendly ingredients in the chemicals include oils and vinegar. Others contain all-natural ingredients as well.
Chemicals you should avoid in cleaners include petroleum chemicals, alkylphenol surfactants, or the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) found in common household cleaners.
You may also use mild dish cleaners and ammonia-free cleaners to prevent abrasion and dullness.
Unsafe cleaning materials and methods
- All kinds of soaps
- Cleaning agents with wax, petroleum oil, or polish because these will leave the floor looking dull.
- Commercial floor cleaning agents as they leave a haze on the floor
- Liquid soap – this is abrasive
- Floor steam cleaners and wet/ steam cleaning systems
- Steel wool: this will discolor and dull the flooring
- Damp mops – by holding in too much water, the mop may cause warping of the laminate boards.
- Acetone-rich agents, unless you are removing a film from the flooring
- Do not use bleach: bleach will soak in causing permanent stains, and it could also discolor the flooring because the wood laminate on the floor is highly porous.
- Products that offer the alluring “protected shine.” We’d all love to use such products, right? But, despite the promise it gives, such products will dull your floor surface while leaving it scruffy and scratchy – these products have a filler/film.
To be safe, you may want to use the flooring manufacturer’s cleaning solution. It’s also recommended that you use the cleaner gently – even if you have a pet or a plant, you shouldn’t use your favorite cleaner all the time. Often dusting gets rid of the dust or dirt without damaging the laminate floors.
The catch, however, lies in using a soft microfiber cloth rather than a sponge or other fabrics with too much water. And even when wiping the surface, you should only spray the microfiber mop rather than drench it in water.
Making the best homemade cleaner for laminate floor
By now (thank the internet), you and I know that the best way to clean laminate floors (and save money) is by using natural ingredients at home. Most of these ingredients are in the kitchen, and the best part is that they are safe. But, there’s the huge risk of using the wrong homemade ingredients leading to damage.
Baking soda mixed with water: baking soda is a magical ingredient that should be present in any home. It removes stains effortlessly and is nonabrasive.
Borax with water: mix these two and then spray on your microfiber mop to clean the floors. Be careful about the amount of water you use and wipe surfaces dry when done.
Vinegar and warm or hot water: The most popular homemade cleaning solutions for laminate floors and other surfaces, it has been in use for centuries. The best part: vinegar is affordable, and it lasts a long time. Mix the two in equal parts, put in a spray bottle (or a mop bucket), and get to work.
Vinegar, lemon juice, and water: besides the citrusy scent and the antiseptic properties of the lemons, this mixture will leave your floors streak-free. And even if you cannot stand the smell of vinegar, note that it dissipates quickly – you may add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar-water mixture as well.
The only catch when adding essential oil is that it will reduce the floor’s shine.
Vinegar, water, and liquid dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle. This mixture will work magic on your high gloss laminate floors. As one of the best recipes for homemade laminate flooring cleaners, you need 3 parts water, one-part vinegar, and 1 squirt of dishwashing detergent.
Pencil eraser: You did not see this one coming, did you? Well, besides being an invaluable resource in school, you could use it to remove scuff and heel marks on the floor.
To remove gum or candle wax, cover the area with ice, let it freeze, then scrape it off gently with a non-abrasive plastic scraper.
Alternative and Easy: Best Laminate Floor Cleaner
Black Diamond Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner
A biodegradable, hypoallergenic, effective, and American-made floor cleaner, Black Diamond Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner is one of our best floor cleaners for laminate floors. It meets most, if not all of your floor cleaning needs since you could use it to clean hardwood, real wood, and natural & engineered flooring. Created with ease of use in mind, you only need to spray it on the floor, wipe it once, and you are good to go – no rinsing necessary.
It’s made using Black Diamond’s triple-action poly-shield (PS3), it prevents soil from attaching to the floor leaving you with streak-free shines. Being water-based, you could use this cleaner to remove almost all kinds of stubborn stains. With one wipe, it gets rid of spills, dust, dirt, and footprints.
- Non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients
- PS3 additive used results in streak-free floors
- Versatile; works on hardwood laminate floors.
- Hypoallergenic formula makes it safe around kids and pets
- It doesn’t have a strong scent
The hypoallergenic formula of this cleaner makes it safe to use at home and around kids and pets. You don’t have to worry about your allergies flaring up when using this cleaner.
The very best part, however, is its non-toxicity brought about by the use of biodegradable ingredients. That means that you don’t have to worry about increasing your carbon footprint. Perhaps you may reuse the container with a homemade solution, later on, making your home as eco-friendly as possible.
Aren’t you tired of the laminate floor cleaners that promise heaven but fail to meet your expectation soon after? Thanks to PS3 additives, this laminate cleaner removes all streaks, dust, dirt, and footprints in one wipe. The only downside is that it doesn’t retain the natural shine of the laminate floor planks.
- Streak-free cleaning without rinsing
- It is biodegradable
- It’s hypoallergenic and nontoxic hence safe for use around kids and pets.
- It doesn’t have a chemical smell but gives off a sweet but subtle scent
- It works on hardwood and laminate floors
- The floor will not be as shiny as it should be
- It will stain the mop head
Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer
Have you been looking for a laminate flooring cleaner that not only removes streaks and dirt but also restores and protects the shine on those planks? Rejuvenate could be what you have been looking for. And that’s not all: you won’t need to use every weekend – one use lasts months!
As the name suggests, it is a rejuvenating solution. It will also protect against UV damage.
- It is low in VOCs
- Seals, restores, and protects floors
- It’s made of polymers that make it a powerful agent for protecting your home.
- It is versatile. You can use it on linoleum, laminate floors, hardwood, ceramic tiles, terracotta, terrazzo, fiberglass, slate, flagstone, or marble.
- Works in 45 minutes only and it will last months.
- Gets rid of scratches and restores that shiny polish on your floors
- Mop-on application
- This restorer increases traction of kitchen and bathroom floors by as much as 50 percent.
- 32oz bottle covers 650 square feet.
Though you wouldn’t want pets and children on the floor before this mop-on restorer dries out, it has received a Gold Certification for the low levels of VOC emitted.
It cleans a wider range of floor types ranging from hardwood and laminate to linoleum, tiles, vinyl, and terracotta among others. A preferable solution for residential and commercial establishments, it will fill in those scratches on the floor and restore the shine to that wooden floors. This floor cleaning and protective solution does not only fill the scratches on floors but also protects those surfaces against UV radiation which causes discoloration and fading.
Wondering how? Well, it’s a polymer-based floor cleaner. The polymers restore flooring to their original states – shines and scratch-free. The polymer also increases the traction of bathroom and kitchen floors by up to 50 percent. Did we mention that one application takes care of your floor for months? Makes those 45 minutes of drying time worth it, don’t you think so?
- It has a glossy finish
- Protects against damage from ultraviolet radiation
- Covers a large area
- Fills all voids on the floor
- You cannot step on the part of the floor with the restorer before it dries up
Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Finish and Polish
To give your floors a radiant finish so that it looks as good as new every day, get Quick Shine Multi-Surface Floor Finish and Polish: a versatile laminate floor cleaner that leaves your floor with a rich, deep, and long-lasting glow. It also protects the floor.
The best bit: It works on wood laminate floors, hardwood floors, tile, stone, and vinyl floors, among others. Just remember to clean your floors with the cleaner before you apply the floor finish.
- It cleans, protects and polishes the floor
- Works well with reusable microfiber mop pad bonnets
- It’s safe – meets the US. EPA safer product standards
- Easy to use
It’s environmentally steadfast, emits a reduced level of toxins, and it’s less bio-summative than other cleaning formulations. It doesn’t have any heavy metals, inorganic phosphates, hazardous solvent, or harmful surfactants. Therefore, it’s safe to use at home.
It’s easy to use, and it works on most types of floors. Its use is not complicated. You only need to squirt and spread it. The formulation with a water-based polymer increases its effectiveness in creating a deep, rich, and protective glow to floors made of hardwood, laminate wood, stone, vinyl, and tile.
This cleaner/ polish will only work well if you clean the floor before applying
- Gives off a glossy shine
- Protects the floor from damage
- Easy to use
- Not slippery and it doesn’t leave footprints
- It builds up after a few uses and every new layer forming on top of the old one means you will see scuffs. With time, the floor doesn’t look as good and removing those layers is a nightmare.
Better Life Natural Plant-Based Floor Cleaner
Aren’t we all looking for a better life – cleaning and handling chores? This laminate and hardwood floor cleaner promises to make cleaning and maintenance of floors better by allowing you to get rid of spills from floors in seconds, leaving no residues or the need to rinse the floor.
It’s safe to use at home daily even if you have kids and pets as its free of alkylphenol surfactants, VOCs, and petroleum.
Wondering how else it makes things better? Its delicious citrusy and mint scent, free of perfumes will make your home rejuvenating.
- It’s versatile as it cleans safely and effectively restores an excellent shine on ceramic tiles, hardwood floors, stone, bamboo, and laminate, among other sealed types of flooring.
- Petroleum, alkylphenol surfactants, and VOCs-free
- It has delicious citrus and minty scent.
- It is natural and plant-based
This floor cleaner is among the safest cleaners on the market given its natural formulation. It’s made of natural ingredients and infused with peppermint, grapefruit, and bergamot extracts which not only yield the minty and citrusy scent but also clean and restore the shine on your floors without causing any fuss or releasing fumes.
To boost its safety, this product is free of alcohol, sodium lauryl, petroleum solvents, parabens, ethoxylates, ethers, dyes, or synthetic fragrances. It’s also packaged in a recyclable material using solar energy.
The cleaning power of this cleaner comes from the natural ingredients which give it its grease-kicking and grime-bursting powers. A squirt cleans a large surface keeping leaving it streak-free and shining brilliantly. Effectiveness also comes from the fact that you can use this cleaner on more than laminate and hardwood floors – use it on the stone, ceramic tile, or bamboo floors.
- Cleans easily and you don’t have to rinse it
- All-natural ingredients
- Few shipping issues
Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Cleaner
Wouldn’t you buy a surface cleaner that works through the whole house once – a cleaner that will clean and polish bathroom floors and surfaces, kitchen floors, and the laminate floors covering the rest of the house? This Bona Floor Cleaner could be all you need. Made in the USA, this is an effective solution for cleaning the hard surface floors as well as the smoother surfaces thanks to the safe formulation that gives this floor cleaner the power to remove grease, grime, dust, and dirt for spotless and streak-free floors.
- It is GREENGUARD GOLD Certified
- Safe to use at home, around kids and pets
- Works on laminate floors, tile, stone, terrazzo, vinyl, sealed porous marble, LVT, No-wax sealed tile, and linoleum floors
- Comes in an economy size refill that is ready to use
- It has a splashless technology for smooth pouring
- It dries out fast as it is water-based
- Leaves no residue
This versatile floor cleaner has a GREENGUARD GOLD Certification which shows the trust behind the brand and the product. This certification is also an indication that the cleaner is safe around pets and children.
Being safe, you can pour the cleaning water down the drain without having to worry
This cleaner is a water-based formulation which dries out fast without leaving the surface looking dull. It’s also been designed with the splashless technology which ensures that you pour just enough cleaner. But, that’s not all: it comes in an economy size refill container that is ready for use. And you can use it on multiple surfaces.
- It doesn’t stain the cleaning mop as it’s clear
- No rinsing floors when done
- You can refill the container
- No streaks
- Leaves a nice shine on the floor
- It doesn’t remove wax built up over time.
Now that we have the best cleaners for laminate floors laid out, shall we get to work?
To be specific, how do you use these products for the best effects? And what else will you need other than the cleaners?
Materials required to clean laminate floors
A vacuum cleaner for those hard surfaces. Contrary to what most of us think, the cleaner will not get rid of those pieces of dirt on the hard surfaces. If you let it, you may end up with scratchy floors which won’t look too good. So, to pick any grit from outdoors and to enhance the shine on your floors, vacuum your laminate floors before using the cleaner. Read more about the best vacuum cleaner for laminate floors.
The alternative is sweeping although it let loose and spread rather than trap allergens. But, there’s one catch: do not use a vacuum cleaner that comes with a beater brush on your laminate floors.
A high-quality microfiber mop, not a sponge or string mops because they use a lot of water which may seep into the cracks on the floor. Check this article out for the best mop for laminate floors.
Your floor cleaner put in a spray bottle. Note that you should spray the dusting microfiber mop and not the floor directly.
Now that you have a cleaner, you should not even think about adding soap to the detergent. As mentioned above, you should avoid soap on the laminate floors to avoid abrasion.
How to Clean Laminate Floors
- Vacuum or clean the floor
- Dampen your microfiber mop with some warm water then spray the cleaning solution on the mop. Don’t use excess water to protect the laminate flooring from soaking up water and warping
- Mop the floor
- If the mop becomes too dirty, rinse it, put it back in the warm water, spray the mop and continue cleaning. Luckily, the cleaners above don’t require rinsing.
- Once you’re done, wash or rinse the mop then put in the washing machine on the sanitary wash.
Pro Tips: How do you take care of the laminate floor’s quality, maintain the shininess, and overall cleanliness?
- Always use a microfiber mop.
- Don’t overuse the cleaner – water works fine sometimes.
- Use little water.
- If water spills, wipe immediately. Laminate flooring is permeable, and you should not let water sit.
- Don’t soak the mop, only dampen it.
- Use clean water.
- Do not wax or polish your laminate floors because you are not dealing with real wood.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach or abrasive cleaners.
- Vacuum or sweep first.
- Use equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle if your cleaner runs out.
- Use elbow grease to remove stubborn stains and dirt and scrape off dirt gently.
- Use acetone (100% pure) to get rid of a film. Elbow grease helps too. Keep the room ventilated.
- Use rubbing alcohol to remove nail polish, crayons, ink, or tackle paint.
- Regarding frequency, clean the floors as necessary using the microfiber mop and some hot water in a spray bottle.
- Protect your floors. Use furniture pads under the legs if you move then frequently.
- Lastly, be gentle and read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Still unsure about what makes the best laminate floor cleaner? Here is something to nudge you in the right direction: the best cleaner is safe, highly effective, requires no rinsing, economical, smells good and safe, and environmentally friendly.
Remember that your laminate floors require a little extra care. Don’t water away from the floors as much as you can and handle the laminate flooring gently.
I bought a bottle of Bona thinking it surely would make my laminate flooring look shiny and clean.
It did not! It looks clean but no shine or glow to it.