Laminate flooring is a beautiful, resilient alternative to hardwood flooring that is a great solution for spaces that get too much moisture or are otherwise not ideal for hardwood. Laminate floors are also a cost-effective alternative to hardwood floors for rental properties and other high-traffic areas that you want to upgrade the appearance of.
But how do you care for laminate wood floors? Do you know how to keep laminate scuff-free and how to make laminate floors shine? The keys are in regular preventative maintenance and protecting them from excess moisture damage.
We’ll teach you how to clean laminate wood floors without streaking, how to protect laminate wood from damage and wear over time, how to shine laminate flooring and how to restore laminate floors that have sustained damage. The good news is, many of these answers are as cost effective as laminate wood floors are themselves!
How to make laminate floors shine with DIY ingredients
Let’s begin with the most direct answer to your inquiry of how to shine laminate wood floors. Laminate wood flooring is made of wood, but unlike hardwood, is finished with a realistic looking printed wood pattern. Because of this printed top layer and the compressed wooden inner layers, laminate flooring should not be soaked with water, making mopping tricky.
So how do you clean laminate wood floors? Good news! It’s even simpler than mopping and you probably have the ingredients at home already.
Here’s how to make laminate wood floors shine with a homemade cleaning solution that won’t leave streaks:
- Sweep or vacuum your laminate floors and remove furniture from the floor to get into hard to reach areas. Use a hardwood floor vacuum attachment so as not to scratch the floor, or use a soft-bristled broom.
- Gently remove any residue like gum or other sticky substances with a razor blade.
- Mix a solution of 1 gallon warm water and 1 cup white vinegar. The vinegar will clean your floor without leaving streaks! Some DIY solutions also include 1 cup rubbing alcohol to sterilize and further clean the area. We recommend adding the alcohol for high-traffic or high-touch spaces, like the floors of gym spaces or daycares.
- Pour your solution into a clean spray bottle and spray directly on the floor. Your solution should cover the entire area without puddling.
- Use a dry, microfiber mop or dry microfiber cloth to rub the solution into the floor in the direction of the wood grain. Wipe the floors clean and repeat in areas with heavy dirt.
- Allow the floor to air dry. Make sure it dries completely before returning furniture and floor coverings.
- Repeat as needed.
Simple right? The vinegar solution is excellent for avoiding streaks that can be left behind by chemical-based products, and many flooring experts recommend it because it is not only cost-effective, but it works!
Or, shine laminate floors with these natural products
Not the DIY type? Or maybe you don’t have the materials you need to shine laminate flooring this time, and want to get the job done fast. Here are some great store-bought laminate cleaners to help deliver the same beautiful sparkle:
- Bona Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner uses a water-based, minimal additive solution that isn't as natural or safe as your DIY solution, but can be a good alternative. Plus, the spray bottle saves you from buying one and can be refilled with your vinegar solution when you finish it. See which solution works best for your laminate flooring shine!
- Grove Floor Cleaner Concentrate can be diluted with water and smells absolutely fantastic. With all-natural ingredients and plastic-free packaging, Grove products give you a streak-free laminate shine and less product waste. If you try this product and you love it, they also offer monthly deliveries of replacement solutions.
- Nature’s Miracle Hard Floor Cleaner uses minimal ingredients and is a great solution for pet parents! This solution effectively cleans pet messes and grease without being harmful to your pet.
Using the wrong cleaning products on your wood laminate floors can create streaks, be harmful to pets and family members, and even sometimes cause damage to the floor surface or floor finish. Be sure to check all laminate floor shine and laminate floor cleaners for compatibility and safety. Always read the Material Safety Data Sheet for the products you choose to clean your dull floors, laminate or otherwise.
Preventing laminate scuffs: how to protect laminate floors from damage
Preventing laminate floor grime and scuffs is a great way to protect your laminate flooring shine throughout the year. These preventative maintenance and protective practices can help maintain your shine longer, adding to the longevity of your laminate wood flooring and reducing the amount of mopping you’ll need to do.
One easy way to protect your laminate flooring is by covering high-traffic areas with a small rug or welcome mat. This company creates customized doormats at affordable prices for exactly that purpose. This will prevent some dirt and grime from being tracked through your home or commercial space. If the laminate is in your home, you can also ask your family and guests to remove their shoes in the door to prevent sneaker-streaks, dirt and gravel from scratching your floors.
Avoid using soaked mops and any cleaning tools that are abrasive when cleaning your laminate flooring. These can create scratches and water damage. Similarly, waxes can cause build up and streaks that can be difficult to get rid of once applied.
Use felt pads under furniture to prevent scuffs as furniture gets moved or bumped. These are a durable, eco-friendly option with great reviews. You can also make or upcycle your own to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Clean spills as soon as you notice them to prevent water damage. If a spill has gone unnoticed for some time, it is possible to remove water from beneath the floorboards, though water beneath laminate is much more likely to have caused permanent damage due to the ultra-porous nature of compressed wood fragments. Water-damaged laminate floor boards will likely need to be replaced.
How to restore laminate flooring damage
Unlike traditional hardwood, laminate flooring can not be easily refinished because its outermost layer is a screen-printed image of wood, not the wood itself. This means that laminate floor restoration will often mean laminate floor replacement, so caring for your floors properly is very important.
Here’s how to tell your laminate flooring needs replacement:
- Floorboards are warped, twisted, or severely shifted from their original placement.
- Large cracks or gaps appear after damage or after many years of improper care.
- Discoloration from water damage that doesn’t disappear with cleaning.
- Laminate begins to peel or grow mold in its crevices.
Sometimes, you can replace the damaged floorboards without having to replace the entire floor. However this is still a time-intensive task that requires removing molding around the room, thoroughly cleaning the area and replacing the floorboards. Wikihow offers simplified steps to replace your laminate flooring, or you can watch a DIY instructional video here.
While replacing damaged laminate flooring is possible on your own, you’ll need some tools and a few days to get the job done properly. If you’re trying to replace only a section of the floor, be sure to match the species and stain varieties before you begin tearing up old floorboards, which will not be salvageable.
When you need an expert to restore laminate floors, call us.
Not ready to replace your own laminate flooring? No problem, we offer free estimates to determine whether you’d be better off leaving the work to your local experts. While DIY floor replacement is possible for the handy homeowner, we can take your flooring job to the next level with the right tools and years of experience.
Do you have a question about your laminate flooring options or need some guidance for your DIY project? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We’ll walk you through your options and give you more tips and information to make your project a success.