Cleaning & Maintenance of Laminate Flooring
One of the main advantages of laminate floors is that they are made to look good for many years with a minimum of effort. Laminate floor coverings come with a 10 - 25 years residential warranty against staining, wearing and fading. All you need for maintenance is a vacuum cleaner, a dry mop and a damp towel for some types of stains. Laminates are made to stand up to wearing and at the same time keep their new look. Here are a few maintenance recommendations.
Scratches on Laminate Floors
Large pieces of sand or rock can cause visible scratching. These are usually easy to avoid by having floor mats at doorway entrances. Dirt which gets through the mats and brushes can cause invisible scuffs which may, later on, lead to dullness. Vacuum and mop regularly the floors such particles away from the floor. For dry cleaning, vacuuming is usually sufficient. Microfiber pads are also quite effective and, if available, lets you avoid involving fluids. Never use abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool on laminate flooring.
Home Made Cleaning Products
Damp clean laminate flooring using vinegar or ammonia-based solution. For example, you can pour a 1/4 cup of vinegar into a 30 to 32-ounce empty spray bottle filled with plain water for a quick solution. Then, using a cloth mop, clean the floor while spraying as you go along. When damp mopping, avoiding standing fluids so you do not saturate the floor. Wipe immediately!
Other possible cleaning fluids include:
- 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)
Here are some tips on spot cleaning: Removing oil, paint, permanent marker, tar, rubber heel marks, use a neutral cleaner on a clean light coloured 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 coloured cloth. To remove candle wax or chewing gum, first harden with ice and then scrape very gently. Wipe the rest with warm water on a clean light coloured cloth.
If you get your laminate 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 severe surface damage, which is unlikely to happen in most of the homes, a professional laminate floor fitter can be called in to repair a plank or more by replacing them. If the work is done properly the new planks will be undistinguishable from the rest.
Sometimes repairing a plank or more in the middle of the room, however, may lead to lifting up a number of boards to get to the first line of the floors. This is unavoidable due to the click fitting system used by many manufacturers, which holds the floor together.
The end of laminate flooring life comes with signs of wearing, a high number of scratches and dullness - this is the time when the floors needs to be replaced and installation of laminate flooring again is required.