Do you have laminate flooring in your home that’s looking dull and unappealing? We ran into this problem too, and fortunately, there are solutions that don’t involve ripping up all the flooring and starting again!
You can restore the shine to laminate flooring by cleaning it and using the appropriate products on it. White vinegar and cleaners that have been specifically formulated for use on laminate are your best options. With the correct techniques and some buffing, you’ll get your floor looking great again.
How do you clean laminate flooring?
Firstly, it’s important to know how to clean your floor properly. Unsuitable products and harsh, abrasive cleaning pads are likely to make your floors dull. They will scratch the laminate and ruin its shine.
Step 1) Sweep the floor
You should start by removing as much loose dirt as possible from the floor using a brush with soft bristles. Make sure you get into all the corners. Leftover dirt may cause scratches when you start buffing the floor, so this is important.
If there is any dirt stuck to the flooring, you can either use a slightly damp cloth to remove it, or move on to the next step.
Step 2) Vacuum the floor
If your floor was already quite clean, vacuuming it may not be necessary. However, we find that vacuuming helps to get more of the dust up and can remove stubborn bits of dirt that our broom doesn’t shift.
Make sure you are using your vacuum cleaner on a setting that is suitable for hard floors. Don’t use a carpet beater mode or anything similar. This will scratch the floor and could leave permanent marks.
Step 3) Use an appropriate cleaner
Don’t spray cleaners on your floor unless they specifically state that they are suitable for use on laminate flooring. Many cleaners will damage the laminate and strip out its shine. You should also avoid using plain soap and water, as this may cause the floor to warp.
However, there are plenty of suitable options.
For example, you might want to try the Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner. This has been formulated for use on laminate flooring and it should help to lift stains and spills, without dulling the laminate. It’s also a biodegradable formula that is safe for pets and eco-friendly.
You should follow the manufacturer’s directions, but in general, you will need to spray a little cleaner on the floor in a small area and work gradually across the room. This kind of product tends to go a long way, so do not add too much of it.
Work your way across the room, spraying the floor in sections and then using a soft mop to spread the product around and work any dirt loose. Most mops will do, but this 18” Professional Microfiber Mop is a great option because it’s so soft. It is also easier to squeeze out, so you won’t be applying too much water to your floor.
The microfiber mop will shift dirt without scratching the flooring, and it comes with washable replacement pads.
Step 4) Allow the floor to dry
Once you have finished mopping, you should let the floor air dry. You may find that it helps to open a window to encourage evaporation. Don’t let anyone walk on the floor while it is drying, because footprints will ruin the shine you are aiming to achieve.
It should take about 30 minutes for the floor to fully dry. When it has, check on it and see whether you are happy with the shininess. This should have restored most of the life.
I’m always amazed by the difference a thorough clean and mop makes to our laminate floors. I used to think that soap and water was the best way to clean them, but laminate cleaners create a much better glow.
Step 5) Buff if necessary
You might find that there are still some dull areas on your floor, particularly in high foot traffic points. If that’s the case, don’t worry.
Take a microfiber cloth and firmly buff those parts with it. It may take some rubbing, but the soft fibers of the cloth should restore the shine. If you are struggling to rub with your hands, try standing on the cloth and twisting it back and forth with your feet. I find this is the best way to get it to shine.
Can I use vinegar on my laminate floors?
A lot of people use white vinegar to bring the shine back to their flooring, and this works well in my experience. The vinegar cuts through grease and residue, without damaging the laminate.
However, I wouldn’t recommend putting neat vinegar on your floors, just in case. Instead, mix one cup of white vinegar into a gallon of warm water. Dip a rag into this and then squeeze it out so it’s damp.
Use the rag to rub the area of your floor that is greasy, and then allow the vinegar to evaporate. The smell will disappear quickly. Many people use this to get their laminate floors shiny again, and it’s a good, natural alternative to some of the cleaners you can buy.
What makes laminate floors dull?
As well as regularly cleaning your floor, there are a few things you can do to prevent the dullness, or to decrease it. You should avoid using anything that hasn’t been specifically formulated for laminate floors. Here are a few things to be wary of:
- Floor polish or wax. These are generally designed for wooden floors, and they will make the laminate look and feel sticky. Wood absorbs them, but they will sit on top of laminate, creating an unattractive film. They will also make more dirt stick to the floor, ruining its appearance. Some polishes are intended for laminate, but most are not and should be avoided.
- Too much water. Make a point of wiping up spills and splashes as soon as they occur, so that they don’t sit on the laminate and spoil its shine.
- Abrasive pads. If you have some stubborn dirt on the floor, it might be tempting to grab something with a bit more scrubbing power, but this will simply scratch the laminate. Scratches gather dirt and look dull, so they need to be avoided as much as possible.
- Steam mops and other wet cleaning methods. Laminate isn’t designed to cope well with a lot of water, and these methods could cause it to lift. Soapy water may also damage the shine. While the traditional mop and bucket are fine for most cleaning, it has no place in cleaning laminate floors.
- Excess dirt. The more dirt collects on your laminate flooring, the duller it will look. There is also a risk that dirt will create micro scratches in the laminate, gradually dulling it. You should therefore encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before stepping onto laminate flooring, as this will massively decrease the dirt coming into your home.
A final tip for keeping your floor shiny is cleaning them regularly. That might sound obvious, but if you don’t let the floor get dull in the first place, it will be easier to buff it up and make it beautiful. You should therefore sweep it and vacuum it once per week at least, and more often if it needs it.