How to Clean and Maintain Laminate Floors

Sweeping-the-floor

In the recent past, there has been a sharp increase in the use of laminate floors for indoor decor. While most people used to consider it the pathetic duckling when it came to home flooring, this negative perspective is slowly changing. It has become an alternative to solid wood options for good reasons. First, it is cost effective and produces an excellent finish and lustrous appeal due to its excellent photographic reproduction ability.

However, it is relatively delicate, and if poorly maintained, reckless homeowners may find themselves incurring a lot of costs in replacement of the laminates. It is for this reason that each person should be equipped with strategies of cleaning and maintaining it to ensure it maximizes its service life. Before delving into cleaning and maintenance practices, it is essential to familiarize with the types of laminate floors.

Types of Laminate Floors

Smooth laminate: The flooring appears smooth, just as the name suggests. Additionally, it has a lustrous finish.

Textured laminate: these flooring surfaces have a grainy feel and resemble real wood. Often, they are used on floors which have high traffic.

Hand scraped laminate: These laminates have a rough texture, and it may be difficult to distinguish it from real untreated wood.

Cleaning Practices for Laminate Floors

Mopping-the-floor

Laminate floors should be cleaned with damp microfiber cloth or mop. It is essential to ensure the material used in making the mop is soft. That is because if it has a rough texture, you run the risk of causing abrasion on the surface.

Liquid or powder detergent can be used to ease the removal of greasy and oily patches. However, you must ensure that the detergent you are using does not contain active ingredients such as bleach as they can corrode the surfaces.

Warm water is preferred over cold water. Water used for cleaning should not be excessively hot, that it may pose a risk to the person mopping. Most people argue that warm water prevents the formation of dirt streaks on laminate floors, more so where moping has been done.

Apart from that, ammonia-based detergents should be avoided at all costs. It has been proven that ammonia reacts with the laminate floors, and can leave permanent unsightly patches. Additionally, it results in the creation of pores on the laminate, which makes them susceptible to soaking during cleaning.

Step By Step Cleaning Procedure

Removal of Dust Particles

When you are going about your cleaning operation, the first step should be to remove dust particles from the floor. A good old broom should do the trick. However, care should be taken for two reasons:

  • Should the broom have pointed sticks, it may leave scratches on the surfaces.
  • Dust particles can cause abrasion to the surfaces while they are being swept, and therefore, they should be gently removed.

It is for these reasons that a lot of finesse is required to remove dust particles. Alternatively, you can decide to use a vacuum for laminate floors. The one thing that many homeowners don’t know is that there are vacuum cleaners specifically designed for use in laminate floors. Once you are satisfied that you have removed all the dust particles, you can proceed with to the next step.

Moping

Add controlled amounts of detergent to a bucket of water. Although most people support the idea of using warm water, there is usually not much difference in the final result. Using a microfiber cloth, gently mop from the farthest corner of the room towards the door in a circular motion. Always remember to drain off excess water using a properly wrung mop, and leave every point dry.

It is noteworthy that all the furniture should be lifted every time they are being moved from one point to another since their edges can cause the laminate to wear off with time. On the same note, should the water become dirty, you should replace it . A clear indication that the water you are using has become dirty is the formation of dirt streaks on places you have just passed with the wet mop.

Drying the Surfaces

A common mistake is leaving pools of water for long periods once you are done cleaning. While it may be perfectly normal to do so in tiled or marble floors, with laminate floors, the case is different. That is because the excess water causes the laminate to degenerate. Therefore in extremely humid areas, you can use a dehumidifier to ensure that all the surfaces are dried as fast as possible.

At times, the surfaces being cleaned may have tough stains and unsightly patches. These could be caused by oil spills, ink, or even tar. In such cases, you may have to purchase acetone and use it to clean the surface using a clean and soft fabric. You should not be tempted to scrub vehemently as it may cause the surface to wear out.

If the stains are still persistent, you can soak the patch using a cleaning rag which has been dipped in vinegar solution and leave it there for an hour or two.

Maintaining Laminate Floors

Simple strategies can be adopted to ensure that your laminate floors look great even after several years of use. By observing the following tips, you can be able to get maximum value from your laminate floors.

  • Place entry mats on every door opening. These mats are useful in collecting dirt and particles from shoe soles. Overlooking even the tiniest particles can be the beginning of your problems since it inevitably causes abrasion on the laminate surface.
  • Vinyl rug underpayment should be laid in rooms which are prone to slippage.
  • Heavy objects and furniture in the room should be fitted with floor protectors and load bearing bases. These bases are often wide to ensure that the load does not cause the furniture or equipment to poke the delicate surfaces. In case there are metallic chairs, tables or beds, rubber capping should be placed on their legs.
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    The indoor relative humidity should be maintained between 40% and 60%. That will prevent wrapping of the laminate floors. Additionally, fluctuation of moisture is known to cause uneven expansion and contraction, which may destroy the floors. Constant humidity can be maintained with consistent use of a dehumidifier, especially in regions that have naturally high humidity.
  • check
    Any liquid spills should be cleaned immediately. Water and other liquids are known to soak laminate floors, which can interfere with their structural integrity over time. The areas that are most affected and should be given more attention including bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.
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    For pet owners, it is advisable to keep your pets’ nails trimmed. It is not unusual for cats to playfully run around the house. However, if they have sharp nails, they will inevitably cause scratches on your laminate floors.

Final Word

While laminate floors are an excellent decor that attenuates the attractiveness of your home, its serviceability boils down to how good it is cleaned and maintained.  In cases where it has been there for several years and has become dull, you may be required to apply a layer or two of floor polish to regain its shine again.