Laminate is a great alternative to real wood flooring. Not only is it cheap, it’s easy to fit, maintain and clean. But this durable type of flooring isn’t indestructible. It can still be scratched, and if water gets into the joins catastrophic damage can result.
To clean your laminate flooring without causing damage, a few procedures and precautions must be taken.
Prevention is the best cure
Keeping your floor clean at all times is the best way to prevent scratches, water damage and general wear and tear. The tiniest of dirt and grit particles can cause severe scratches, which might eventually allow water to seep in. Protect your floor by insisting people take off their shoes before stepping onto your laminate.
It’s also a good idea to use mats and runners in high-traffic areas, as dirty shoes can do untold damage to laminate over time. Also, place a non-slip mat at each entrance to your home. And if you ever have to move furniture, place rubber stoppers on feet to prevent severe scratching.
Can you vacuum laminate floors?
The short answer is yes. In fact, some careful vacuuming should be performed on your laminate floors every day. Do some research to find the best vacuum for laminate floors in the UK. Once you’ve chosen one, make sure you use it daily — even if your floors look OK. Choose a model with a hard floor mode, as this will increase performance and provide added protection.
Cleaning your laminate floors
It’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to droppages and spillages. Clean your floor as soon as you notice something with microfibre cloths and a natural cleaning solution. For example, a mild solution of vinegar and water is all you need to clean and sanitise everyday spillages.
Note: Check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before cleaning laminate with vinegar. Acidic substances can remove the protective seal on your flooring if used in sufficient quantities.
Once a week, fortnight or month — depending on your home — you will probably want to perform a more thorough clean. A simple wet mop could cause serious damage to your laminate, however, as it drenches floors in water. Use a squeegee mop, or better still, a steam mop. The latest steam mops use water efficiently, and leave floors almost dry afterwards.
Tip: Don’t waste money on expensive chemicals. Water, a little dishwashing detergent and some vinegar are all you need to make your laminate sparkle.
Expert tips for protecting your floors
It’s important to remember what you can’t do to your laminate floors, and how to prevent premature wear and tear. For example, forget about using substances to add a shine to your flooring. They often cause waxy accumulations that prove very difficult to remove. Just a mild vinegar solution and some elbow grease will always suffice.
Here are a few more laminate care tips:
- Keep your pets’ nails short — they can cause scratches
- Ban high heels
- Avoid pine-scented cleaners — they leave a residue behind
- Sweep or vacuum every day
- Never use ammonia-based cleaners — they can break down protective sealant
- Laminate is naturally shiny, so nothing more than a polish with a microfibre mop or cloth is required
- Use the soft-brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to reach awkward areas
- Clean up spillages immediately — before they get a chance to work their way into the joins between length
Looking after laminate flooring is all about common sense. Shoes, dirt, furniture and water are the enemies of laminate, so protect your flooring from them at all times.