How to clean laminate floors properly without damaging them

These top cleaning tips for how to clean laminate floors will help to keep your flooring sturdy as well as sleek—all it needs is some TLC to keep it at its best

laminate floors with sun coming through the curtains, plus a table in the background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's durable and beautiful, but when it comes to how to clean laminate floors, you need to know that you can't treat laminate as you would other flooring. Why? Put simply, it just won't look its best if you do. 

To keep your floor looking great for years to come, it's important to follow precise cleaning instructions to ensure you maintain the floor's quality and look.

Just as we would when working out how to clean a washing machine, how to clean an oven, or how to clean a dishwasher, knowing the right steps to take is imperative to ensuring you don't damage your laminate floors. After all, our floors undergo a lot of stress over the years from people walking on them, furniture, and any spills or knicks. 

How often should I clean laminate floors?

Before learning how to clean laminate floors properly—and without damaging them—you need to know how often you need to tackle them. 

Just as you would when cleaning your kitchen, the frequency with which we should be cleaning laminate floors varies. Typically, you should be cleaning your floor weekly, and spot cleaning as required. And deep cleaning is necessary every two or three months to keep your floor looking as good as new. 

How to clean laminate floors properly in three steps

Cleaning your laminate flooring requires a little extra attention to detail, but it's a straightforward process that can be done in just a few easy steps.

1. Sweep and vacuum

Every week you'll want to perform a thorough sweep and vacuum—you can get away with sweeping throughout the week and vacuuming one day on the weekend. If you plan on performing a deep clean (our next step), you should always do this step first so the surfaces are free of loose daily debris.

  • Use a dust broom or soft bristle broom to sweep the entire floor. An angled broom can help you clean hard-to-reach corners and baseboards. If you have pets that shed often, you may need to sweep a few times a week to keep the floor hair free.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner that has a hard floor setting. The brush in the vacuum that's used for carpeting can harm your laminate.

When sweeping, move all of the dirt into one place and either put it in a dustpan to discard, or use your vacuum cleaner to remove it. 

2. Deep cleaning

Laminate floor shouldn't be cleaned with water or other chemical cleaners. While spills do happen, cleaning the entire floor with water should be done very minimally. Using too much water can cause the flooring to swell and bubble. The laminate can fade or separate, too. Instead, your once-every-three-months deep cleaning should be done using:

  • Laminate-specific floor cleaner 
  • A damp mop, almost dry, to wipe over the floors (a laminate floor mop works well) 
  • A microfiber cloth (a kitchen essential) or dry mop after using your laminate mop 

Note: If you do use a steam mop, which is not recommended but still done by a lot of people, the key is to dry the floor immediately after steam cleaning. 

3. Spot cleaning

This is recommended when you spill liquid on the floor or there's a risk of staining. If an accidental spillage does occur, use a microfiber cloth to blot up the spilled liquids—the same method to use if any spills happen when working out how to clean a microwave, too. It's important to focus on areas of the floor where the boards come together to prevent any warping or swelling.

In the event that gum or wax drops on the floor, you can freeze the spot using an ice pack. When frozen, use a plastic scraper to remove the item that's stuck to the laminate. Once the offending object has been lifted away, use a microfiber cloth to remove any leftover residue. 

If there are color stains on the flooring, including marks or oily spots, acetone can be used—but only in very small amounts. When it comes to how to clean laminate floors, the gentler the better.

laminate floor

(Image credit: Getty Images)

And if you want to know how to get stains out of carpet, take a look at our guide.

Common mistakes to avoid when cleaning laminate floors

Damage can occur if you try and clean the floor using the wrong materials, so when you're planning how to clean laminate floors, ensure you're using the right products. . To avoid these common mistakes, check cleaning product packaging to make sure that they are suitable for use on laminates, set your vacuum to a hard-surface setting (where possible) and don't use any cloths with abrasive surfaces that might scratch the floor. 

Additionally, you can (and should) protect your floors from damage, wear and tear and dirt by laying down entry mats in doorways or entryways. The mat will absorb any oils, debris, water or other substances that people track indoors from outside. 

Vinyl rug underlays can be placed under rugs to avoid any carpeting from scratching or damaging the floor. 

On a final note, if you have cats or dogs, be sure to keep their nails properly trimmed. Their claws can scratch up your floor, even unintentionally.  

Keep all this in mind and the right routine for how to clean laminate floors will soon become second nature—and its beauty and shine will be properly maintained to enjoy for longer. 

The best steam cleaners can sometimes be helpful for laminate floors too—see our guide.