Cleaning laminate flooring – the best ways to tackle dirt using a mop, vinegar and more methods

You've been cleaning laminate flooring all wrong. This is how to get that pristine, no-streak, gleaming finish, using a mop, vinegar and other wonderful ways

how to clean laminate flooring
(Image credit: Carpetright)

It’s an attractive flooring choice that has the look of hardwood without the same price tag. But do you know how to clean laminate flooring? It might look like timber but the method isn’t the same.

It’s important to look after laminate flooring properly because although it has plenty of advantages – such as being easy to lay and durable in addition to its generally lower cost – it can’t be sanded and refinished in the way timber can.

But there’s no need to fret. Use our expert tips to find out how to clean laminate and keep it looking its best. Just scroll down for the essentials.

How to clean laminate flooring

The good news about laminate flooring? It is very easy to clean. Your go-to is a vacuum cleaner which will get the dirt, debris, hair and fur off the floor with the smallest of effort on your part. A canister vacuum is the top option as one of these is a whizz on hard floors. Use the hard flooring setting for a laminate floor.

If you have an upright rather than a canister vacuum, it will still do the job beautifully. Do make sure you turn off the rotating brush or beater bar, though, since this is designed to get down into carpet fibers for deep cleaning. Using this on laminate isn’t a good plan as it will scatter dirt and could scratch the floor’s surface.

Harder work, but equally appropriate, is brushing the laminate floor with a soft broom and scooping up the grot in a dustpan. 

How to deep clean laminate flooring

You can give most laminate flooring a deeper clean by mopping it every so often. This is best avoided if the floor has V grooves or bevelled edges, however, as dirt could get pushed into these. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning your particular floor for guidance.

Be aware that you can’t mop laminate as you would a stone tile floor as water can damage it. If you use a conventional mop, wring it out thoroughly before starting on the floor, but a better option is a microfiber mop. Whichever type you go for, the rule is that the mop head should be just damp, and no wetter.

Mop the floor with a specialist laminate cleaning product, which will prevent steaks and won’t leave a residue behind. This will be sufficient to make a laminate floor shine.

Should you polish laminate floors? The answer is no. Step away from both polish and wax because these aren’t good for your laminate floor and if you clean as above your floor will gleam.

Can you clean laminate flooring with vinegar?

Natural cleaning fans, you CAN clean your laminate flooring with vinegar if you want to (although do double check the manufacturer’s guidelines don’t rule it out). It’s actually a fabulous way to bring back the shine to a floor that’s become dull. 

Make up your cleaning solution with one cup of white vinegar and a gallon of hot water. Follow the mopping rules as before when you’re using vinegar, though. The mop should be just damp to avoid damage and spotting. 

How to remove stains and marks from laminate flooring

If your laminate flooring has become stained, there are a few strategies you can use to get it back to its best once more.

Candle wax or chewing gum stuck on the floor? Apply ice, and once the gunk has hardened use a plastic scraper to work it off. Wipe the laminate clean after the offending substance is removed.

If the laminate has been marked by crayon, ink or paint, rubbing alcohol can get rid of it. Don’t use too much to prevent over-wetting of the floor. 

How do you maintain laminate flooring?

So, you know how to clean your laminate flooring, but what else do you need to bear  in mind to keep it as good as new. These are the rules:

  • Never use a scouring pad or abrasive cleaner on laminate flooring to avoid scratching it.
  • Always wipe up spills immediately. Pools of liquid can damage laminate flooring.
  • Check the labels of cleaning products to make sure they’re suitable for laminate. Look at the manufacturer’s guidelines, too.
  • Lay doormats at all the entrances to your home to catch dirt before it goes any further.
  • Sweep up any small stones, gravel or grit when you seem them as they can scratch the floor. Bear in mind that these can get lodged into the soles of shoes, which is why it’s preferable not to wear outdoor shoes inside. 
  • Lift furniture when you’re moving it and put pads on furniture legs. 

See how lovely your laminate is?

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.