Laminate floors look impervious to wear and tear. But the wrong cleaning technique can damage laminate floors over time. Harsh chemicals eat away at the finish. Even water may saturate and loosen tiles. To maximize the longevity of your laminate floors you must familiarize yourself with the best way to clean them.
Sweep Before You Mop
Mops are designed to loosen and lift a thin layer of embedded dirt from laminate floors. Before you mop, you have to sweep the floor to lift the bulk of the dirt first. Otherwise, large particles of grit can actually scratch the laminate floor as you mop. Over time these tiny scratches will strip the shine away from your laminate floor.
Sweep using powerful, broad strokes. Sweep from one side of the room to the other and put the collected dirt in a dust pan. If the floor still looks gritty after the first pass, sweep again. The more dirt your remove with a broom, the easier mopping will be.
The Best Cleaning Solution
The best cleaning solution for any laminate floor is the one provided by the manufacturer. However if you’ve moved to a house with existing laminate floors or have lost trust with the manufacturer, these products are no longer an option.
When the manufacturer-recommended cleaning products are unavailable, the next best thing is a pH neutral cleaner. Most quality all-purpose floor cleaners are pH neutral. But before you buy, read the label. Avoid bleach, ammonia or citrus-based cleaners. Mix the cleaning solution in a bucket with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Best Tool
The best tool for cleaning a laminate floor is a sponge mop. But not just any sponge mop will do. Look for a high quality model with good wringing action. Clamp wringers often work better and last longer than roller wringers. When in doubt, look online for reviews of the model you intend to buy.
If you already have a sponge mop at home, investigate it’s suitability before you use it. How does the sponge look? If the sponge is falling apart or missing in places you must discard it. When you mop you run the risk of running the sponge’s handle over the floor and leaving permanent scratches in your laminate floor.
If the sponge is permanently discolored with dirt, it has to go. You will never get your floor clean with a dirty sponge. When you dip the mop in the water, the dirt will loosen and spread. Instead of cleaning, you’ll spend the afternoon transferring dirt from one end of the floor to the other.
If you do not have a sponge mop, the next best tool is a microfiber mop. Microfiber is great at trapping and lifting dirt from the floor. However, the microfiber gets dirty quickly. If you are cleaning a large room keep several clean microfiber cloths on hand.
How to Wring out the Mop
Mopping laminate looks like it should be as easy as pushing a mop around. You can do that, but that is not the best way to clean a laminate floor. Here’s the right way to do it: stick your mop in the bucket and extend it all the way to the bottom. Swirl the mop around gently to mix up the cleaning solution.
Pull the mop out and wring it out while it’s still over the bucket. Keep wringing until the mop stops dripping. Wipe it on the side of the bucket if necessary. The less water you mop with, the less risk of excess water seeping underneath the laminate and loosening the adhesive that holds it in place.
How to Mop a Laminate Floor
Once you have the right amount of solution on your mop, you’re ready to start cleaning your laminate floor. Start at the corner of the room furthest from the door. Push the mop back and forth across the floor using medium pressure. Rinse the mop frequently, every minute or so. The cleaner you keep your mop, the cleaner the floor will be. Keep mopping and rinsing until you mop yourself out of the room.
How to Dry a Laminate Floor
If you have used the minimum amount of water to mop, the laminate floor will air dry itself. However, if you notice areas of puddled water five minutes after you mop you will have to hand dry the floor. Toss a scrap towel on the floor and buff out any wet spots with your foot.
Now that you know the best way to sweep, mop and dry your laminate floor you have all of the tools you need to keep your laminate protected. You should sweep once daily or as often as possible. Save mopping for when there is soil on the floor that the broom no longer picks up.