Laminate floors are rapidly becoming a popular choice for homeowners; they're inexpensive, look very similar to natural flooring, and are easy to maintain. Special care needs to be taken while cleaning them, though, because water will damage laminate flooring very rapidly, and the wrong types of cleaner or cleaning tools can corrode or scratch the wear layer. While laminate floors aren't as high-maintenance as hardwood, you should have a professional interior cleaning company like Fresh Start Cleaning inspect and clean your laminate floor at least every two years in order to keep it looking great. When you're doing routine cleaning on your laminate floors yourself, here's how to avoid accidentally damaging them.
Be Careful With How Much Water And Cleaner You Use
If you have laminate floors in your home, it's important for you to know that water is the biggest enemy of laminate flooring. Water will seep between the joints where your floor tiles connect and warp them and cause your floor to buckle. If the wear layer on your floor is damaged, water can seep into the floor tile itself and discolor it. When you're cleaning your laminate floors, never pour water directly onto the floor; instead, spray it directly on the head of your mop or microfiber towel. There should be no standing water left when you are finished cleaning. The floor should be completely dry within five minutes. If there's water left over, soak up the excess using paper towels.
Similarly, you also don't want to use much cleaning solution when you are cleaning your floors, whether you're using special laminate floor cleaner, dish soap, or window cleaner. A few drops will be sufficient. Using too much cleaner will leave residue on your laminate floors, which will result in streaking and a diminished shine. Vinegar is sometimes recommended for cleaning laminate flooring, but you need to be careful and be sure to use very little. The acid in vinegar can damage the wear layer on your laminate flooring, making it more susceptible to discoloration and scratches.
Don't Use Products Made For Wood Surfaces
Using wax or finishes made for hardwood flooring won't help restore the original shine of your laminate flooring and will just make a huge mess. On a hardwood floor, the wax is absorbed into the wood, increasing its shine and protecting it. On a laminate floor, the wax will simply sit on the surface of the wear layer and you'll have to clean it off.
If your laminate floor doesn't shine like it did when it was new, you may have used too much soap when cleaning it. Cleaning it again, using only a very small amount of hot distilled water, will remove the excess residue. Buffing your floor after you clean it will also help; to do this, take a microfiber towel and dry the floor using a rapid circular motion. This will even out small scratches in the wear layer and increase your floor's shine.
Keep Abrasive Cleaning Tools Away From Laminate
Using anything harder than microfiber on a laminate floor is not a good idea. While steel wool and other tools that use abrasion to clean surfaces may work great to remove tough stains on other types of surfaces, they will destroy the wear layer on laminate flooring. Don't vacuum your laminate floors unless your vacuum has an option to turn off the roller brush, whether it's a switch or if it automatically turns off on the vacuum's hard floor setting. The rapid spinning of the roller brush will badly scratch laminate flooring.