It's durable, affordable and can lift the aesthetic of any room in the home. Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners to roll out or lay down. Although it can take a beating in high traffic areas and still look good, keeping it clean on a regular basis will ensure that the flooring maintains its original luster year after year.
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There are a few ways to clean laminate, depending on the type that you have and the amount of grime in the dimples and grooves of the flooring.
Maintenance for Laminate
The tiny particles of dirt and grit that gets brought in on shoes or from animals and kids can scratch the surface of the laminate. When left to build up on the floor, it can damage the laminate and be hard to fully remove.
Sweeping or vacuuming laminate at least once a week will keep it clean and prevent daily dirt from getting ground into the flooring. Run a good, lightweight microfiber laminate mop over the surface of the floor to pick up grit that get brought in from outdoors.
Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner
There are a whole host of cleaning products safe for vinyl planks, and you can find some in your own kitchen cabinet. Affordable and highly effective, a homemade cleaner using vinegar as an astringent can keep laminate floors clean without damaging the product. Mix equal parts of vinegar and hot water as a foundation. You can build on that by adding a few drops of mild dish detergent for truly dirty floors.
For regular cleaning, put the mix in a spray bottle and lightly spray the floor before mopping up. For bigger problems, such as muddy tracks across the floor, put the mix in a bucket to give the floor a good scrubbing with a laminate mop.
Cleaning Vinyl Floors with Grooves
You can spend a lot of time cleaning the surface of the laminate only for it to look dull due to ground in grime within the grooves. If the laminate flooring is truly dingy with a layer of grime, then the grooves may need special attention.
Cleaning grooves in laminate flooring requires cotton swabs, nylon brushes or other tiny tools that can push cleaner well into the dips and divots of the vinyl. Test the laminate's ability to handle the type of nylon brush you are using so that you don't inadvertently scratch the surface and create miniscule grooves that will collect even more grime over time. Always test the type of cleaner, especially harsh commercial cleaners or bleach, before cleaning the laminate with the product.
Make a paste of baking soda and water and brush it into the grooves. Let it sit for 15 minutes or up to an hour before rinsing away. A citrus-based, vinegar solution or commercial cleaner like CLR can also work well to remove ground in grime from the grooves in laminate flooring.
Dos and Don’ts When Cleaning Laminate Flooring
The best way to clean textured vinyl flooring is to use an astringent that won't damage the floors and put in some elbow grease. Work slowly from in small areas toward an exit. For cleaning grooves in laminate flooring, apply a cleaner by hand and let it sit before cleaning the entire floor.
Laminate is a durable product, but it does not hold up well to all manners of cleaning. Cleaning vinyl floors using steam cleaners can seem like a good idea, but the steam and subsequent drops of water and cleaner can find their way between vinyl planks or seams in the floor and cause it to warp or bend.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.