Laminate flooring is relatively easy to care for, but occasionally you'll run across those messes that need a little extra cleaning power: doggy drool, to name just one. If you choose the wrong type of cleaner, you risk damaging the shiny finish. But buying specialty cleaners for each surface in your home is a pricey proposition. Instead, opt for a homemade laminate wood cleaner that's economical, easy to make and safe for children, pets and the environment.
Vinegar to Disinfect
Distilled white vinegar is a safe and affordable cleaner for many areas of your home, including countertops, mirror and window glass, cabinetry and several types of flooring, including laminate. The acetic acid in this common household ingredient has anti-microbial properties that help kill some strains of germs. Adding white vinegar to your homemade laminate floor cleaner not only helps loosen dirt, but it leaves a clean and sanitized floor behind as well, which is especially helpful for parents of crawling babies or for homeowners looking for green cleaning solutions.
Dish Detergent for Cleaning Power
A few drops of plain old dishwashing liquid adds muscle to your vinegar-and-water homemade laminate floor cleaner. Soap contains chemicals called surfactants that alter the surface tension of water, encouraging it to spread out over a surface, instead of just beading up. Soap also helps loosen and disperse soil in water, making it easier to rinse away. Dishwashing liquid is relatively cheap and easy to store; plus, it's an ingredient many people keep around the house anyway.
Isopropyl Alcohol for Streak-Free Shine
You probably already have a bottle of isopropyl alcohol tucked away in your bathroom medicine cabinet. Used commonly as a stand-alone cleaning product, isopropyl alcohol also works as a quick-drying agent when added to some cleaning solutions. If you want to avoid streaks on your laminate flooring after cleaning, add isopropyl alcohol to the vinegar-and-dishwashing liquid mix.
Essential Oils for a Fresh Scent
Vinegar is a green and economical solution for cleaning, but its fragrance leaves a bit to be desired. The strong smell of vinegar dissipates once it's dry, but while you're using it, your home can smell a bit like a pickling plant. Avoid this by adding a bit of essential oil, such as lemon, lavender or pine, to your cleaning solution.
Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner
Get the best cleaning power from all of these ingredients by combining them in the following natural laminate floor cleaner recipe: Add 1/3 cup of water, three drops of dishwashing liquid, several drops of essential oil, 1/3 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1/3 cup of white vinegar to a clean spray bottle. Shake gently, spray sparingly onto your laminate flooring, and use a damp mop to spread. Allow the floor to dry naturally.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
Hydrogen peroxide from your medicine cabinet and baking soda from your kitchen cupboard combine to make another green cleaner that's safe for laminate. Fill a spray bottle with undiluted peroxide and spritz it over small areas of flooring at a time. Follow with a fine sprinkling of baking soda, and use a soft, damp cloth to work it around the area. Keep a bucket of clean water and a clean cloth on hand for rinsing: Any baking soda left behind will leave a dusty film.
Anne Goetz shares her parenting and career experience with North American Parent, Hagerstown Magazine, c0ws.com, Lhyme.com and a variety of other online and print publications. A mother of two with a degree in communications and a long history in management, Goetz spends her spare time hiking, camping and blogging. She is the author of the site, An Unedited Life: The Ultimate Blog for Freelance Writers.