How to Clean Wood Laminate Floors

Maintaining laminate floors is crucial for preserving their beauty and extending their lifespan. Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring has a layered construction with a photographic appliqué layer on top that simulates wood grain. This top layer is susceptible to damage from moisture and abrasive cleaners. However, with proper care and cleaning techniques, you can keep your laminate floors looking new for years.

How to Clean Wood Laminate Floors

Many homeowners wrongly assume laminate flooring is waterproof and maintenance-free. While laminate is more resistant to water damage than hardwood, it still requires careful cleaning to avoid issues like swelling, warping, and delamination. The good news is keeping your laminate floors clean doesn’t require complicated procedures or a huge time commitment. You can maintain a spotless laminate floor with simple cleaning methods and solutions.

Basic Cleaning Techniques

Regular cleaning is essential for preventing dirt and debris buildup that can scratch and dull laminate floors. Here are some basic cleaning techniques to incorporate into your routine.

Regular Sweeping or Vacuuming

Frequently sweeping or vacuuming your laminate floors is a must to prevent sand and grit from acting like sandpaper and causing fine scratches. It also stops dirt from getting ground into the flooring. For high-traffic areas, daily quick cleanings are ideal. For low-traffic zones like bedrooms, every 2-3 days is sufficient.

When vacuuming, use a soft brush head attachment and avoid excessive pressure. Sweeping with a soft-bristle broom is another gentle option. Make sure to reach into corners and under furniture. Removing surface debris regularly makes deep cleaning easier and less frequent.

Damp Mopping

Periodically, damp mop your floors to remove any remaining dirt swept vacuuming misses. Use a well-rung-out microfiber mop to avoid excessive moisture. Hardwood floor cleaners are also safe for laminate floors. Spray the cleaner onto the floor or dampen the mop with the solution. Avoid wet mopping, standing water, and cleaning products containing wax, oil, or silicone that can leave residue.

Mop in sections, refolding the mop pad frequently to ensure you’re using clean surfaces. Wipe up any leftover moisture with a dry microfiber cloth. Allow the floor to fully dry before walking on it. Damp mopping once every 1-2 weeks is usually sufficient paired with regular vacuuming.

Microfiber Mops

Microfiber mops are the best cleaning tool for laminate floors. The ultra-fine fibers penetrate and trap dirt without being abrasive like string mops. Microfiber also doesn’t easily trap sand, lint, and hair like a traditional sponge mop. Look for a mop with a washable pad you can machine wash to eliminate odors and bacteria buildup.

DIY Cleaning Solutions

Common household ingredients make simple, effective laminate floor cleaners. Here are some popular DIY solutions:

Dish Soap and Warm Water

A tiny amount of dish soap combined with warm water cleans laminate floors gently but thoroughly. Use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of mild dish soap per gallon of warm water. Too much soap can leave a film. Dip your microfiber mop into the solution, wring out thoroughly, and mop as usual. The soap cuts through grease and grime without damaging the laminate surface.

Vinegar-Based Cleaners

Mixing equal parts white vinegar and water makes a natural laminate floor cleaner. White vinegar is antibacterial and helps dissolve dirt and stains. While effective, some people find the vinegar odor overpowering. Add a few drops of essential oil like lemon or eucalyptus to mask the smell.

Vinegar is safe for cleaning laminate but can dull the shine over time with frequent use. Make sure to rinse the floor thoroughly after using a vinegar solution. An occasional deep clean with vinegar likely won’t harm your floors.

Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner

This natural DIY cleaner combines the cleaning power of dish soap and vinegar with a touch of vegetable oil to condition the laminate surface.


  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mild dish detergent
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil


  1. Add all ingredients to a bucket and stir to combine. The oil helps reduce streaks and static.
  2. Dampen your mop in the solution and mop as usual.
  3. Follow up by wiping any excess moisture with a clean, dry towel.

This solution cleans gently but effectively while adding a protective layer of oil to prevent scratches and scuffs. Feel free to tweak the proportions to suit your needs. Always do a spot test first.

Commercial Cleaning Solutions

While DIY cleaners are inexpensive and effective, commercial laminate floor cleaners offer convenience. Here’s what to look for when buying pre-made cleaners:

Best Laminate Floor Cleaning Solution

The best laminate floor cleaners are water-based rather than oil-based. They contain surfactants and detergents to dissolve soil. Look for a product specifically marketed as safe for laminate floors. Avoid wax, acrylic, and oil additives.

Bona and Zep are popular brands of commercial laminate floor cleaners available at most hardware stores. Compare ingredients and read reviews to choose the best option for your floors.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Steer clear of cleaners containing the following chemicals:

  • Ammonia – Can dull and fade laminate floors
  • Acetone – Damages the protective sealant
  • Chlorine bleach – Fades and yellows floors
  • Oil soaps – Leaves greasy film
  • Abrasive compounds – Scratches surface

Always check a cleaner’s label before using. Call the manufacturer if you’re unsure about a certain chemical. Play it safe and stick to gentle, water-based cleaners designed for laminate.

Spot Cleaning and Stain Removal

Accidents happen, and laminate floors inevitably get their fair share of spills, drips, and stains. Here’s how to handle messes so they don’t permanently damage your flooring:

Immediate Action

Prompt cleanup is crucial for preventing stains. After a spill occurs, blot the area firmly with paper towels or a dry cloth. Avoid vigorous scrubbing which can drive the stain deeper into the laminate. Remove any solid debris and work from the edges of the spill inward to prevent spreading the mess.

Acetone-Based Solutions

For stubborn spots or sticky residues like nail polish, gum, or glue, try applying a small amount of acetone-free nail polish remover or adhesive remover to the stain. Gently rub the area with a soft cloth dampened with the solution. Avoid excessive moisture and immediately wipe up any remaining liquid. Test first in an inconspicuous area.

Rubbing Alcohol and Nail Polish Remover

Dampen a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol or non-acetone nail polish remover and gently rub stained areas. The alcohol can help dissolve and lift many stains without damaging the laminate. Avoid using straight acetone, which is too harsh.

Special Considerations

Certain cleaning tools and products require special care on laminate floors:

Steam Mops

Steam mops conveniently sanitize floors without chemicals. However, the direct high heat of steam can damage laminate floors by causing delamination or discoloration. Always check the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations before steam mopping.

Use the lowest steam setting, keep the mop constantly moving, and avoid pausing in one spot if permitted. Microfiber steam mop pads are gentler than terry cloth. Rinse the floor with clean water afterward and avoid excessive moisture. Consider hiring a professional for steam cleaning laminate.

What Not to Use on Laminate Floors

Avoid the following cleaners and tools:

  • Wax or oil-based products – Lead to buildup and haze
  • Abrasive scrubbing pads – Can scratch the protective top layer
  • Vacuums with beater bars – Can damage planks and seams
  • Soaps containing silicone – Cause streaks and residue
  • Two-in-one steam vacuum cleaners – Too much steam and heat

Read product labels closely and research any new cleaning product thoroughly before use. When in doubt, stick to the simple, gentle solutions recommended for laminate floors.

Maintenance and Shine

In addition to regular cleaning, some extra maintenance can keep your floors looking their best.

Buffing the Floor

Over time, high foot traffic areas can start to look dull. Use a specially formulated laminate floor polish/cleaner and a microfiber mop to buff the floor and restore shine. Avoid wax-based products and work in small sections. Frequent buffing can help diminish minor scratches and scuffs.

Choose a polish made specifically for laminate floors. Apply a small amount to a microfiber mop and rub it into the floor using circular motions. Work in 3-4 foot sections. Let the polish dry completely before moving on. Buffing too vigorously or using too much polish can lead to buildup.

Deep Cleaning

For a periodic intensive cleaning, remove all furniture and thoroughly clean the entire floor. This allows you to tackle dirt buildup in corners and along edges.

Sweep and vacuum the floor to remove surface debris first. Mix 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of warm water for a grime-dissolving cleaner. For especially dirty floors, add 1/4 cup of dish soap as well. Mop using an S-pattern across the entire floor. Let the solution sit for 5 minutes before rinsing with clear water.

A deep clean restores shine and removes embedded dirt. In high traffic areas, a quarterly deep clean is ideal. For low traffic spaces, 1-2 times per year is usually sufficient. The floor should dry completely before replacing any furniture.



Let’s review some frequently asked questions about cleaning laminate wood floors:

Can you use Swiffer wet on laminate wood floors?

Most laminate floors are compatible with Swiffer WetJet products using the right pads. Some floors have special coatings that can become damaged from the solution. Always spot test Swiffer on an inconspicuous area first. The WetJet pads must be thoroughly damp, not dripping wet. Avoid the Wood Wet Mop version.

How to clean laminate floors without leaving a film?

The main culprit behind filmy residue is over-applying cleaning products. With DIY cleaners, stick to the recommended proportions of soap and water. Rinse thoroughly with clean water afterward and buff dry with a microfiber towel. Commercial cleaners should be diluted properly per the instructions.

How to clean very dirty laminate floors?

Neglected laminate floors may need heavy-duty cleaning to restore their appearance. First, sweep and vacuum thoroughly. Use a solution of vinegar, dish soap, and warm water for grimy floors. Mop with a soft scrubbing pad using gentle pressure. Rinse with clear water and allow to dry completely. Repeat as needed.


Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for preserving your investment in beautiful laminate floors. Now that you know how to care for them properly, you can keep your laminate floors looking pristine and avoid damage.

The most important practices are:

  • Vacuum/sweep frequently
  • Only use laminate-safe cleaning products
  • Blot spills immediately
  • Avoid excessive moisture
  • Test cleaners first
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations

Caring for your floors doesn’t require backbreaking work. By incorporating these simple cleaning methods into a routine, you can maintain the like-new beauty of your laminate floors for years to come. Keep this guide handy and refer back to it anytime you have a cleaning quandary. With a little diligent care, your floors will continue looking fabulous.