How to Clean Laminate Floors

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How to clean laminate floors: Maybe it was the cry for help about how my house is a wreck, or sympathy for the fact God gave me 2 toddler boys… whatever the reason I am super thankful for laminate floors. They are durable and once you learn to clean them – they are a God send. OH, and a quarter of the price but with the same look as hardwoods.

Updated on 10/15/2015 with the latest on cleaning laminate. Just want to keep this up-to-date as I find better ways to clean. Remember, these are just suggestions on what has worked best for me.

Folks, let’s be honest here. THIS mom was not equipped with the gift of being able to clean and organized. Throw in 4 kids, 3 of which are boys – and well… yeah, our house is rarely clean. I know that this chapter in my life – it is to be okay that toys are all over the floor and that I find mystery substances in random places EVERYDAY. All I ask for people is SANITARY.

We moved into this house a little over a year ago. It is sloooowly becoming home. While I really do love the house, the neighborhood, location, etc….  the top reason I wanted the house, is now one of the things I hate about the house.  We have about 75% hard floors. There is a mixture of slate and laminate through out the house, upstairs and down. It sounded like an absolute dream, right? It’s been a NIGHTMARE.

How to Clean Laminate Floors

How to Clean Laminate Floors

I have tried vinegar, Bruce flooring spray, Murphy’s Oil, Spray and Mop, I could go on – but my head hurts thinking about all of the chemicals I’ve tried to keep this floor clean.The laminate always looks blotchy, no matter what I used to clean it. I just want clean laminate floors, how hard can this be??

I’m not sure where I found this mixture, but I played around with the amount of each ingredient and here is what I use as a laminate floor cleaner.  You can get each of these ingredients, including the squirt bottle at the dollar store. The $4 you spend will leave you enough extra ingredients to use for the rest of the year.

Here’s what I now use to clean my laminate floors

DIY Laminate Floor Cleaning Solution

Fill the rest with warm water. Shake. 

Microfiber Mop

microfiber mop for cleaning laminate

This is the microfiber mop I use. I have tried a few and this one has a big head for covering a large area – which means quicker clean time (WINNING!)  Speaking of cleaning mop covers…

Microfiber Mop for cleaning laminate flooring

To clean the microfiber mop cover, I’ve found hand washing with vinegar and dish soap to be best and then throwing in the dryer. Sounds like a pain, it’s not too bad. I personally have found that the traditional detergents seem to leave crud in the microfiber mop when cleaning.

Buffing Laminate with a Towel

I have heard some people swear by buffing with a towel after as well. If you have that much time – have at it! This mom can barely get dinner on the table.

Again, this is the formula that I use. I know some people don’t like using alcohol but I think the minimal amount in this mixture works well.

All of that kid goo, you know the mysterious stuff you have no idea what it is, but either one of the tweens or toddlers or dog left it there, yep it this stuff leaves my floor the cleanest without the film I’ve seen other solutions leave.

Different Laminate Types

This is our third house with laminate. Remember, each laminate is different. Our last house had glossy laminate, this house has dull laminate. We are about to put in hand scraped laminate. You need to find the best way to clean your flooring and each type has required a different method.

I hope this helps you have clean laminate floors without much fuss, nor sticky or filmy floors!

how to clean laminate floors

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Molly Thornberg is a creator. She made 4 awesome kids, too-many-to-count blogs and disasters anytime she tries to DIY. She is an introverted extrovert, believer in grace, all-around geek and total type-B parent. Molly and her family circus reside in Dallas, TX

64 COMMENTS

  1. I to have looked high and low for a good laminate cleaner.Glad I found you. Im concerned about the residue the soap leaves on the floor.Can you comment on this.
    Also dose this formula leave a hi shine.Im also wanting a good shine as it was when I bought it.Can I use reg.wax?

    • I don’t have a huge problem with residue with our current floors – they aren’t high gloss though. With high gloss, you may need to buff (maybe getting a second microfiber mop just to use to buff? Don’t use it for cleaning, just buffing.)

      • I have laminate and hardwood, tile in bath, but I also have gotten streaks from every product I have bought,ca Ching ca Ching, I am going to try yours. It will save money too. Thanks for posting this.

    • I worry about residue, not because of shine, but because of babies crawling and cats cleaning their paws and therefore ingesting the chemicals in Dawn. Use Sal Suds instead of Dawn.

      • Where do you get Sal Suds? I looked at Home Depot and Lowes. My grocery stores don’t carry it either. Also tried Walmart, Target and KMart. I live in So Cal. Many thanks!!

    • I use microfibre cleaning cloths (wet) to clean spots as I go thru my day.
      For bigger clean, I will use an eco friendly cleaner about 2-3 times/yr.
      Otherwise, I simply use water. Still shiny after 10 years.

  2. I own a cleaning business, and the best product I have found for laminate floors is Bona for laminate- not the one for hardwoods (which will leave streaks). I you don’t want to mix up your own concoction, this is the way to go. The floors are clean and look great when we use Bona for laminate (green stripe on the bottle).

    Good Luck!

    • I’m new to cleaning laminate floors………….I have one of those steam cleaners for floors – any thoughts or experience with those on laminate floors and the recommendations in this thread? thank you in advance……

      • Karen, we recently had laminate floors installed and all the floor salespeople I spoke to said to definitely NOT use steam mops on anything other than tiled flooring because you are injecting moisture into the cracks and while at first it may not seem like it’s doing any damage, over time it will damage your floors. I am definitely going to try the mixture above with my microfibre mop.

        • I also was told, NO STEAM, minimal water. The water seeps between the planks and gets on the plastic underneath the laminate, no where to go except seep into the flooring

      • I live in cathedral city, ca. In a mobile home park for seniors. I have laminate flooring throughout and I also was new to cleaning laminate floors. I came across the “shark sonic duo” and I will never, ever use anything else.
        I have 4 large parrots and a husband who is the park’s handyman and you can just imagine the torture my floors go thru. Because of this, I now have my own cleaning floor business for 25 homes in my mobile home park. They will not let anyone else clean their floods! This machine just doesn’t clean there is also a polisher. I call it my little bug. It is light weight and is like a buffer with head lights. It also has a plus that it does not use chemicals as as I stated I have 4 large parrots and I cannot use anything chemical. Soap and vinegar does not shine plus I don’t like the smell of vinegar! Yuk!
        It does cost $200.00, but it pays for itself the first time and the shine lasts around 3-4 weeks depending.
        Hope this helps,
        Miss Yelena

      • The heat in the steam mops DESTROY the protective coating on laminate… I thought I was cleaning them good with that method…. now 5 years later I am kicking myself in the a$$ big time… my floors are ruined…. no protection and scratched up beyond repair. Every footprint shows… they are dull and impossible to keep looking clean… I am buying time looking for a temporary solution… or last ditch effort to get them looking at least ok…until my kids are a little bigger and destruction by them is outgrown before I reinvest in new floors. But I can tell you… NO STEAM mops and no Mr. Clean with febreeze…. as clean as it smells… that is another culprit in my laminates demise…. lol
        They say a dry sweep and spot clean is the only upkeep laminate floors need.
        Until we ruin them anyways.
        But since my floors are at that point… I will be giving this recipe a go!
        Thanks!

  3. what size squirt bottle did you use? says to fill w/warm water but wasn’t sure what size bottle you used. Thanks for sharing your receipe

  4. I use vinegar (for cleaning mixed with water 1 part Vinegar + 3 Parts water)in cleaning all types of floors ;the only difference i add 1/4 cup cooking oil to add luster to the hard wood floor. Also you can clean Kitchen counter tops with vinegar and water.( granite, porcelain, tile.).

  5. I also have a cleaning business and most of what I use to clean everything is 1/2 70% alcohol and 1/2 water. I use a Libman fillable mop. believe me when I say I have tried everything! I prefer the ergonomics of the libman (red) refillable but kept breaking them. If you don’t clean for a living I suggest that one. The alcohol and water mix cleans everything from countertops (no matter what they are made of) to shines and COMPLETELY streakfree glass and faucets. It dries quickly so that is why it is ideal for floors! Doesn’t sit on the wood or laminate.

    • I also use water/alcohol on my laminate, cleans way better than any of the expensive cleaners i have tried and honestly its gotta kill some germs!

  6. THANKS EVERYONE. Im going to try a lot of this advice.But I think I will skip the steamer.I allso use the blue stripe mop.IT IS WONDERFUL.I bought 5 bags of the micro fiber mop heads.

  7. I tried this for a couple months. Then I noticed my wood laminate looking dull and no longer smooth. Back to vinegar, water and a touch of alcohol. No waxes or other cleaners again !!

  8. After living with laminate flooring for several years I discovered a cheap and effective cleaner for them. I buy the large bottle of Great Value window cleaner at Walmart for $1.97. About 1cup to a large bucket of very warm water. We also had a water softener in our home and that might have made a difference. I use a regular microfiber string mop to get in all the nooks and corners. It cleaned even the heavy traffic areas and left a glowing finish. I always mopped with the grain as much as possible.

  9. I have a 2000+sq foot home with all laminate flooring and thus is THE BEST way to clean them. I also have 4 kids and they ride their scooters throughout and this even cleans the streaks that they leave. I clicked to see if this was a different method and surprised to see it the same! And cheap and fast!

  10. Hi I use a detergent pod dissolve in hot water soak soft med size dish towel wring towel out no drips wash floors and it smells great shines beautifully I do use also a dry towel to wipe with after cleaning buff the shine 🙂 thank you for your idea as well!!!

  11. You must rinse every bit of this solution off! Dawn and vinegar are not good for laminate long term (know a floor guy and have experience)
    We bought a bottle of laminar cleaner from mannington ( and believe me I would love to make my own, hence the bad experiences). 1/4 cup to a Gallon water …I bought a turbo mop from Walmart …I mop and let dry. The floor is amazing! A very quick process! No buffing

  12. I also have laminate flooring and I have been cleaning my floors using the Kidman micro mop with the spray nozzle purchased from Menards. The removable washable pads can be washed in washer. The floor installer recommended 1 capful of household ammonia to the spray container. I have had my flooring for 3yrs and it looks like day 1.

  13. I’m sixty and have been using this same method and there is nothing better. Good for you in letting everyone know what actually works. Here is one thing I do that really works well for me. I get a clean string cotton mop and after wet mopping with your solution every few feet, I take the dry cotton mop and go over what was just wet mopped. You won’t believe how great the floor looks. It picks up what the wet mop misses. It might add 2 extra minutes to you mop time. But, being that you’re a young mom with four little monkey’s, I realize two minutes can be crucial. Anyway, thanks for your helpful info.

  14. I also clean for a living but it was when we installed (shiny) laminate in our home 15 yrs ago that I tried everything on the shelf and finally settled on window cleaner. You want something that dries fast which reduces streaks. Alcohol or ammonia solutions sprayed on (therefore sparingly) seem to be best. Flat mops “smooth” over larger areas. I like the red Rubbermaid flat mop. Laminate is installed with glue so steaming can’t be good in the long run & less moisture is best. I may try this solution but with less Dawn just because I’m afraid of cloudiness being left behind. A little Dawn goes a long way.

  15. I will try your recipe. Sounds great. I also went through lots of products and the best I found for for my laminate is Zep. I absolutely dislike my floors. A cleaning nightmare. I hate housecleaning and don’t want to spend double time cleaning floors. Who want to mop, then have to dry. really? By the end of a cleaning day, laminate looks like it need to be cleaned again. Also shows every dust particle known to man. As soon as I can afford it, I am getting rid of my laminate. Sooo high maintenance. I feel “lied” to by many who said, easy cleaning. lol yes, grime comes off easy since it is so smooth, but easy 10+ times a hour, day, week, etc.. if your on the fence, don’t install laminate unless you are a cleaning freak, not clean freak, cleaning freak. It requires lots 🙂

  16. Hint for the cleaning cloth/microfiber part…Old fuzzy socks also work great. The fluffy ones I wear wear out on the heel. Just slide sidewaysie over the mop head.

    • Plus we all know socks get eaten in the wash, but only one per pair. I have a batch of mismatched socks. I don’t mind wearing mismatched socks…no one sees them, anyway…but some, like the fuzzy ones, don’t go with any other socks. Too tall, too short, too thick, too thin. This is a fabulous way to give them a second life.

  17. I use your same ingredients minus the blue dawn but PLUS witch hazel. I typically use as much witch hazel as rubbing alcohol. I use twice your amounts and fill the squirt bottle the rest of the way with water, then squirt the floor as I mop with microfiber mop. No streaks, no residue and the vinegar, alcohol and witch hazel will clean without need for Blue Dawn. By spraying direct on the floor the floor dries super fast after mopping. I think the alcohol and witch hazel help with the quick dry.

  18. Someone suggested I get laminate floors rather than hardwood. For me, biggest mistake of my life. I have used every cleaner known to man and could probably retire on all the money spent over the years. My tiny house is part laminate and part carpet. I have 6 dogs running thru the house on a daily basis. 3 are seniors and the carpet is better for them, more traction. I have a great steamer guy for the carpets. When the floors were installed (mine are floating), as we have huge temp changes between winter and summer. The installer wiped the floors down with pure acetone. it looked like a showroom. BUT, I had to have him wash it all off. No chemicals for the dogs, my guests or me. We all walk around barefoot, and acetone can kill a dog if ingested. So my floors have looked like crap ever since. As soon as the seniors go, I am ripping it all out and going back to natural hardwood. I can always get runners in cotton or wool and room size rugs. The laminate has been nothing but a headache and when I purchased it, the floors were more expensive than real wood. Going to give Ms. Byrd’s remedy a try . . . Thanks for reading, as you can tell my floors are rather irksome! Happy cleaning!

  19. We’ve looked high and low for a good laminate floor cleaner…one that cleans well and doesn’t leave a hazy residue behind. Tried some DIY formulas then ran across yours. It works! Like some, I had some concerns regarding the amount of Dawn dish soap, but we don’t see a bit of residue. And not only does it clean well, but it’s cheap! And made with “stuff” I already had on hand. Thanks so much for this tip. And thanks to the other respondent with the suggestion of using fuzzy socks. We all know the left sock frequently gets lost in the wash and I have a few right socks with no mates. Perfect re-use for the fuzzy ones.

  20. Personally I use Murphy’s oil soap and hot water. Just a couple drops into a mop bucket or sink filled with hot water. I ONLY use the Lidman brand mop( the heads come off and you wash them. Strips of microfiber cloth.. I only wash them in water, no laundry detergent!) I cleaned houses for years and this is what we used for hardwood and laminate floors, Just make sure to wring out the mop very well! It will streak if you use too much Murphy’s oil so that’s the key. I love the fragrance!

  21. I use the Norwex Mop – check it out http://www.MichelleRobbins.norwex.biz. Water only or mix a little of our clothes detergent. Spray and mop. Saves Time and Money!

  22. I have tried everything on my shinny laminate floors. I did steam the floors to remove all the products off the floor. Then I bought a bottle of “Rain-X 2 in 1 glass cleaner + rain repellent ” and used it on my floors as a last resort. You do not spray it on the floor but on the mop head. Do not use micro fiber heads. The only mop set that works is “The Original Sh-Mop by ComSenTec Inc. Purchase the cotton heads that go with it they stretch on and are washable. The size of the head is 8×15. I cannot find them locally any more, but Amazon carries it. It is not an expensive set. P.S do not use any other Rain X product this is the one that works.

  23. Diane
    I have been using Avon Bubble Bath. On both my ceramic tile flooring and laminate flooring.
    One cap full in a bucket of hot water applied with micro mop head. Doesn’t leave residue and shines beautifully. My favorite is Lavender. The house smells terrific on cleaning day. “Floors shine like new money”, and is cost effective. Call your Avon lady.
    PS shines tubs and shower stalls also.
    Cheers

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