One of the biggest advantages of laminate floors is that they are made to look good for many years with a minimum of effort. Most laminates come with a 10 to 25 years residential warranty against staining, wearing and fading, depending on the brand. All you really need for cleaning are a vacuum cleaner, a dry mop and a damp towel for more difficult stains. Laminates are built to stand up to wear, but to keep them looking like new, here are a few recommendations.
Be aware that large pieces of sand or rock can cause visible scratching. These are usually easy to catch by having floor mats and foot brushes at outside doorway entrances. Dirt which gets pass the mats and brushes can cause invisible scratching that eventually leads to dullness. So, vacuum and mop regularly to keep grit off the floor. For dry cleaning, vacuuming is usually sufficient. Microfiber pads are also quite effective and, if available, lets you avoid involving fluids. Never clean with abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool.
Damp clean laminate flooring using a vinegar or ammonia-based solution. For example, you can pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into a 30 to 32 ounce empty spray bottle filled with plain water for a quick solution. Then, dampen a terry mop or a Swiffer with water and mop, spraying the floor as you go along. When damp mopping, avoiding standing fluids so you do not saturate the floor. Wipe immediately!
Other possible cleaning fluids that have been suggested include combining vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water (equal parts) – 1/3 white vinegar, 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 water, and 3 drops dishwashing liquid (1 quart total) – Swiffer WetJet wood floor cleaner – Windex
Tips on spot cleaning:
To remove oil, paint, permanent marker, tar, rubber heel marks, use a neutral cleaner on a clean light colored cloth. If needed, use alcohol or a nail polish remover containing acetone. To remove blood, fruit juice, wine, beer, soda pop, pasta sauce, use warm water. If needed use a neutral cleaner on a light colored cloth. To remove candle wax or chewing gum, first h
arden with ice and then scrape very gently. Wipe the rest with warm water on a clean light colored cloth.
If your laminate is scratched, see if you can buy a touch up stick from your manufacturer. The area you repair will look, hold up to traffic and wear just like the rest of the laminate floor.
In case of more severe damage, which is unlikely to take place in most of the homes, a trained professional can be called to replace a plank. The new plank should be almost indistinguishable from the rest, if done properly.