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Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning and Maintaining Laminate Floors

White and bright kitchen with light wood flooring.

Michelle Berwick Design

Laminate floors are easy to clean, and that may very well be the best thing about them. Because they’re made from densely pressed wood, it’s nearly impossible to dent or scratch them, they don’t absorb moisture, and they will stand up to just about anything you can imagine putting them through. Go on, let yourself get creative with it. Promise you, laminate can probably take it.

They practically take care of themselves, which means that when it’s time to clean, you’ve got a lot less work to do. Wouldn’t it be nice if more parts of the house were willing to take some stuff off your plate?

If you're searching for a guide on cleaning and maintaining your laminate floors, you're in the right place. Here's what you need to know.

Kitchen with white cabinets and wood laminate flooring.

Amber Pierce Designs

How Often Should You Clean Your Laminate Floors?

You can clean your floors weekly for a refresh. For weekly cleaning, give your flooring a good sweep with a soft broom or dust mop, and that’s about all. Laminate is seriously that easy to clean, so if it’s a low-traffic floor, very little needs to be done besides sweeping. If you’d like to freshen it up a bit more between weeks, all you need is water and very little of it, or an effective vacuum.

Materials You'll Need:

  • A soft broom/dust mop
  • Water
  • Gentle homemade cleaner (¼ cup white distilled vinegar with one quart of tap water)
  • Spray bottle
  • Damp cloth
  • Microfiber towel
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Vacuum (optional)

Step 1: Keep it Simple for a Weekly Cleaning

For a quick touch-up, lightly dampen a microfiber floor mop, give it a little squeeze to wring out any excess water, and gently work it across the floor. After that, run a dry microfiber towel or mop across the floor to get rid of excess moisture, and pick up anything you left behind. 

Step 2: Treat Your Spills

Spills on laminate can be wiped up easily with a soft cloth or paper towels, but they should be wiped up as quickly as possible to prevent staining or sticking. If there’s any sort of residue left on the laminate, remove it with a gentle homemade cleaner: mix ¼ cup white distilled vinegar with one quart of tap water, pour it into a spray bottle, and lightly spritz the affected area. Let it sit for a few seconds before wiping it up with a damp cloth, repeating as necessary.

If you’d rather use a commercial spray, make sure the bottle says it’s safe for laminate, and follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

Side view of kitchen with light wood flooring.

Michelle Berwick Design

Step 3: Vacuum Away

If you’d prefer vacuuming to sweeping, purchase a machine that is either specifically designed for use on smooth laminate floors, or one that has a specialized manufacturers’ setting for them. Dust-pad dry mops and wet-jet mops (like Swiffer) are also good options. Do not clean them with a steam mop, as their high temperatures could damage the bond between the laminate’s exterior veneers and its densely pressed wood core. 

Step 4: Treat Scuffs and Scrapes

Despite their durability, accidents do happen, and they might require a bit more than a simple sweep and mop. For scuffs or scrapes, grab a number-two pencil, flip it around, and run the eraser over the marks until they disappear.

If something solid is stuck to the floor—like hardened wax or gum—fill a plastic bag with ice cubes, place it on top, and give it a few minutes to harden before gently scraping it up with the blunt side of a plastic knife. If your floor mysteriously becomes covered with crayon art, you can easily wipe it away with a cotton ball dipped in a little rubbing alcohol, then wiping the area with a soft cloth.