Laminate Floor Cleaning & Maintenance

Laminate flooring has emerged as an extremely popular alternative to traditional wood flooring. When you take into consideration the beauty of these floors, cheaper cost, and its ease of installation, it is easy to see why.
Laminate flooring is pretty easy to maintain. The most important weapon in your arsenal is a trusty broom or vacuum (with beater bar turned off!). This is true for any floor surface in your home. Side note: If you ever hire a professional cleaner (carpet, tile & grout, etc.) always ask what their first step is. If they don’t vacuum or sweep first, then you need to immediately look for a more “Professional” cleaner. Once you have gotten all the excess “dry soil” off your floor, then basically all you need to do is a quick mopping. I highly recommend a microfiber mop, as they are perfect for these floors.
For weekly maintenance you can just use water. Make sure you ring out the mop as much as possible, as you want to avoid too much moisture. The pad should just be damp. You should also avoid vinegar on your laminate floors. I see a lot of people on the internet that recommend this as a budget cleaner, however, vinegar is an acid. If you repeatedly expose your floor to acid it can potentially damage the aluminum oxide coating of the laminate, thus dulling your floor. If your floor requires more cleaning power than a damp pad, then there are cleaners available that were engineered specifically for that.
Avoid waxes and polishes as well. Again, there are other products available that will restore your shine without any of the adverse effects. Finally, there may be no better defense for your flooring than a strategically placed mat or mats. This can make a huge difference, especially if your laminate floor is by an outside entry point.
Perhaps a bigger problem for laminate floors are scratches from pets or furniture. The reason scratches give laminate floor owners such a headache is that a laminate floor is actually a picture of wood placed on melamine which is placed on a particle board and coated with aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide coating – which is the top surface (wear layer), is very thin. Unlike wood, laminate cannot be sanded down and refinished. Therefore if you get scratches your options are limited. At this point you basically have 3 ways to go. You can replace the entire floor, buy a special repair kit and try to fill in the scratches by hand, or buy a laminate cleaning product that can hide those scratches. Obviously this will also depend on the severity and frequency of those scratches, but needless to say replacement is the “if nothing else works” option.
Laminate flooring does require some special attention and care, but all in all, it is a very easy to maintain flooring option. They are designed to last up to 20 years, and with the proper care and maintenance, there is no reason that they can’t stay beautiful throughout their life. When you consider everything, it is no wonder that they have become such a popular option among homeowners.