When it comes to the question of whether it is safe to steam clean your laminate floors, the answer is a resounding no. These floors are very sensitive to humidity and moisture, and water can sneak into even the tiniest of cracks, causing potentially permanent damage.
This damage happens because laminate floors are typically made from a layer of fibreboard. When this board gets wet it can swell and will eventually start to buckle.
There are a number of easy tricks to cleaning this type of floor while ensuring that it stays in perfect condition.
How to Clean a Laminate Floor Without Steam
1. Remove excess dust or debris
It’s important to eliminate the dust and dirt that has gathered on your laminate floor before you put any moisture onto it.
Vacuum cleaners can be particularly risky as they could cause scratches on the laminate, but there are specific attachments for certain vacuums that are designed not to damage a ‘hardwood’ type of floor.
If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner that is compatible with such an attachment, try using a soft, indoor brush to sweep the floor. This should still effectively pick up any dirt that may have been a scratching risk.
2. Use a microfibre mop
The gentlest material to use on this type of floor would be a microfibre mop or cloth. Using this product in mop form would be the easiest and most efficient in terms of cleaning a bigger space.
Do not wet this cloth with water as this will still damage the floor. Instead, make up a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water and put it into a spray bottle. Spray this solution sparingly onto your microfibre mop and then gently wipe it across your floor.
Laminate is created using a resin that is designed to keep water from penetrating it, but sometimes moisture will still sneak through the cracks. Make sure to clean along the length of the panels, not horizontally against them.
If your mop seems to be absorbing too much of the solution, wring it out carefully away from the floor.
3. What to do for those extra tough stains
When you have marks caused by oil, paint, markers, and other harder-to-remove materials, grab a clean cloth and wet it with a little bit of nail polish remover. Use this sparingly but it should help to lift any particularly stubborn marks.
Try to stay on top of stains and catch them as soon as they happen. If you notice a spill happening, use a damp cloth to wipe it up carefully and then use a dry cloth to fully dry the area.
4. What to avoid
Do not use a wet mop on this type of floor, as this will cause even more damage than a steam cleaner would have. In addition, using soap, any oil-based detergent, or a liquid cleaning product may cause warping, delamination, and potential joint-line separation.
Any extended exposure to water can harm your floors, so it is key to have entry mats at any door that leads onto laminate flooring, to catch any excess water that may be brought in on those rainy days.
Using steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or harsh chemicals on laminate flooring could cause permanent damage to your floors.
Laminate floors are designed to maintain a consistent shine without you having to put any extra products on them. It’s not advisable to use polish, wax, or varnish on this type of floor.
If you have pets in your household, keep an eye on the length of their nails as their claws can easily cause scratches on your laminate floor. It’s also likely that moving any furniture without lifting it properly will cause irreparable scratches.
5. Final steps in the cleaning process
Once your floors have been cleaned, try using a soft, dry cloth to remove excess moisture from the flooring, and consider opening any doors and windows to the room as well to ventilate the space properly and get those floors swiftly dried.
If you do come across any scratches on your laminate floor, there are kits available that are designed to repair or cover these marks. In the event of extensive damage, it is possible to replace planks individually.
There are certain brands that have created products specifically designed to steam clean laminate floors, but in general, it is best to keep steam and excessive moisture away from these types of floors.
An adventurous book lover with an animal obsession and a proclivity for travel and spontaneity. Used to passionately despise cleaning but has grown to enjoy it thanks to learning all the best tricks and shortcuts to guaranteeing a stress-free routine and a spotless home.