Laminate floors are now a trend among homeowners. The floors have numerous advantages. First, the floors are inexpensive, yet durable. Thus, you do not have to break bank to install them. They also come in different styles, textures and colors that mimic real materials like ceramic tiles, slate or hardwood. Laminate floors will surely give your home a nice aesthetic finish.
However, the floors come with their challenges. If you have tried cleaning any laminate floor, you will agree that it is not an easy task. You need to know how to clean laminate wood floors without streaking.
Effective Ways to Clean Laminate Floors
The planks that make laminate floors consist of wood layers, fibers and a protective painting on the surface. The protective layer of paint gives the floors their attractive gleam. However, this beautiful finishing poses a challenge when it comes to cleaning.
A wrong method for cleaning and you might end up damaging your beautiful laminate floor. It is thus imperative that you use cleaning methods least likely to cause damage. The choice of cleaning equipment and materials is also critical. Some cleaning material can leave you with many regrets.
Before you embark on cleaning your laminate floor, you need to consider several factors that will influence your choice of cleaning method and the tools to use. First, consider whether your floor handles light traffic or heavy traffic.
Consider also whether there are stains to remove from the floor. Once you determine these, you can then prepare your tools for cleaning. A vacuum and a microfiber laminate mop are essential in cleaning your laminate floor.
Sweeping and Dry Mopping
For a floor that experiences light traffic, sweeping and dry mopping will be enough to keep it clean and free of streaks. You can use a plastic or bristle broom to sweep the floor. However, using a broom needs extra care.
A broom may leave some scratches on the floor. A vacuum cleaner is a better alternative. It is much faster and poses less risk to the floor than the broom does. Vacuuming will get rid of grit on the floor and help retain the floor’s shine. If left on the floor, dirt and debris can cause scratches and dents to your floor.
Ideally, a laminate floor vacuum should not have a beater bar because the beater bar is likely to damage the floor as the brushes vibrate. The vacuum should also have telescopic wands to hit tight spots. Some vacuum models are better suited for laminate floors than others are.
Robotic, canister or stick vacuums have lower brush settings that make them ideal for laminate floors. The soft rolling brushes in such vacuums help prevent scratching of the floor during cleaning. Thus, they protect the floor from streaks.
Sweeping will not get rid of all the dirt and dust from the floor. You will need to dry mop the floor to get rid of that. Dry mops can pick the finer dust particles cling on the floor surface. As you clean, the dry mop will get saturated with dust. Replace it with a clean pad to achieve optimum results for your floor.
Sweeping and dry mopping may be effective for floors that experience light traffic. However, floors it may not be efficient for floors that have heavy traffic. The ideal cleaning method for such floors is wet mopping. Wet mopping may sound simple. However, it has its challenges.
Using normal water may leave precipitates on the floor, making the laminate floor lose its appeal. The white precipitates that streak the floor are due to the alkaline nature of water. To counter this effect, use white vinegar.
To make the vinegar solution, you need a quarter of a cup of vinegar and two gallons of warm water. Warm water works better than cold water, as it does not leave streaks on the floor. You will need a micro fiber mop for mopping the floor.
A micro fiber mop is best suited for wet mopping laminate floors because it is soft and possesses groves to pick and hold on to dirt easily. A robot mop is equally effective for this task. Always ensure that the floor is dry before stepping on it.
To avoid stepping on the floor before it dries always clean from inside outwards. That will allow you to exit the room without having to walk across a wet floor. Ensure there are no wet patches as the water is likely to damage the laminate floor surface. Use a soft towel to dry any water on the floor to avoid streaks.
Removing Stains from Laminate Floors
Stains can be an eye sore. However, you do not need to fret too much about them. You can easily remove them using a mixture of window cleaner and rubbing alcohol. Spray the mix on the stain and wipe gently with a soft towel.
Cleaning Solutions for Laminate Floors
Some of the ideal cleaning solutions for laminate floor include vinegar, window cleaner, gentle soaps and store bought-cleaners. Store-bought cleaners come in different brands. However, be careful to choose laminate floor-specific cleaners. Always avoid products with a strong detergent and alcohol, as that would cause streaks to your floor.
Vinegar is one of the safer cleaning solutions for laminate floors. It is also easy to use, as you only need to mix it with water to achieve optimum results. However, be careful to dilute it well. An abrasive solution will damage the floor and leave you regretting.
Gentle soaps such as baby shampoo can also be good cleaning solutions. They are not abrasive, hence cannot destroy the floor. However, using too much soap would leave soapy streaks on the floor.
Window cleaner is ideal for removing stains. However, you must be careful as some window cleaners contain alcohol, which is abrasive. They could therefore damage your floor, besides leaving streaks.
Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors
Although cleaning laminate floors seems challenging, it is not that difficult. The mistakes people make while cleaning make it seem like cleaning laminate floors is a mighty task. You need to avoid the following mistakes to make your cleaning more effective and free of streaks.
• Using too much water to mop
When cleaning a laminate floor, using a lot of water is not advisable. Less water is preferable. Using too much water has the potential to damage the floor as it may soak into the wood. The outcome may be peeling off the surface painting or loosening of the wood.
• Using bleach
Bleach may remove stains, but it is not good for laminate floors. It can soak into the wood or erode the shiny finish of the floor. It can also stain the floor’s color causing it to lose its luster.
• Using rag mops
Avoid using rag mops as they would slather extra water, which is harmful to your floor.
The Crux of It
A clean and spotless floor is aesthetically important for your home. It gives it a welcoming ambiance. However, many people find it difficult to keep laminate floors clean and free of streaks. Most find cleaning these floors a challenge.
Common but avoidable mistakes continue to cause damage to laminate floors. To maintain the gloss that a laminate floor gives your home, you need to know how to clean laminate wood floors. To achieve optimum cleaning outcomes, you have to get the washing ingredients right.
The method of cleaning is highly dependent on the traffic the floor handles as well as whether you are cleaning stains. Always try to vacuum before mopping as that picks up debris that would otherwise scratch the floor. With the right equipment and the right method, you will be able to have clean floors without streaks.