Cleaning laminate flooring the wrong way can leave streaks behind, so it is crucial to know how to clean a laminate floor without streaking.
The best way to do this is to keep it well maintained, catch spills early, and use the right kind of cleaner. Additionally, be sure that the floors are completely dry before using them after cleaning.
Let’s take a look at the most common reasons for streaks on laminate flooring, as well as the steps you can take to prevent them.
Reasons Laminate Flooring Streaks
Some reasons why laminate flooring streaks include:
- Too much water
- Cleaning products residue buildup
- Minerals or impurities in water
- Leftover dirt
- Using a dirty mop or mop water
- Using the wrong cleaner
- Using too much chemical cleaner
Steps to Take to Clean Laminate without Streaking
Before you can clean the floor, you will want to gather your supplies. To clean the laminate floor without streaking it, you will need:
- A flat head microfiber mop, or either a steam mop or a traditional bucket style mop
- Hot distilled water
- Microfiber towel
- Floor cleaner
Follow these steps to keep your laminate flooring clean and streak-free.
The most important step to take in properly cleaning laminate is to keep it well maintained. Good floor maintenance starts with regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris. If any dirt is left on the floor when you start to mop, it will get smeared around with the mop and could scratch the floor.
If you use a vacuum on laminate, be sure to only use one that has a hard floor attachment. Never use a beater bar on laminate.
Some people find that placing an outdoor mat by entryways helps cut down on mud and such being tracked in on shoes. Others insist on family members and guests only wearing socks when walking on the floors.
Whatever you do, make sure you tend to any spills as quickly as possible. Also, never use waxes or polishes on laminate flooring.
A couple of other tips to keep the floor looking its best and lasting a long while are to never use too much water on laminate flooring, and always keep the curtains closed when the sun is at its brightest, so sunlight doesn’t cause the floor to fade.
Using the right mop is very important when cleaning laminate flooring. Use a flat head microfiber mop to keep moisture out of seeping into the flooring seams. If you prefer to use a traditional mop and bucket, make sure you keep the mop head wet and follow the tips in our guide to keep your floor clean.
When you start to mop, move the mop in the direction of the grain on the floor. Another secret is to start in the middle of the room, and then walk your way toward the doorway to reduce streaks caused by your footprints while cleaning.
If you prefer, you can use a steam mop on laminate flooring provided the floor is well sealed.
Only use hot water on laminate flooring to keep it from streaking. Do not bring it to a boiling point, but make sure it is hotter than simply lukewarm. The heat in the water will keep the dirt from sticking to the floor.
Sweeping and a hot water mopping are often all that are needed to clean a laminate floor. But, if you find you need something more, use a gentle cleanser.
If the cleanser is oil-based, it will likely leave footprint marks when your pets or family members walk across the floor. The wrong cleaner could also leave a haze and streaks behind.
Some cleaners or products that contain certain ingredients will end up damaging laminate flooring. Never use the following on laminate:
- oil-based soap
- fabric softener
- ammonia-based cleaners
- steel wool
- abrasive cleaners
- acidic cleaners with a pH higher than 7
Some gentle cleaners that work on laminate flooring include:
- Vinegar – Mix one cup, 240 ml, of vinegar with one gallon, 3.8 liters, of water, and pour it into a spray bottle. Another excellent disinfecting cleaner is to mix 6 ounces, 177 ml, of white vinegar with 6 ounces, 177 ml, of rubbing alcohol and distilled water.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda is a common ingredient in many baking recipes. It is sometimes called sodium bicarbonate. To use as a laminate floor cleaner, mix 2/3 cups, 160 ml, baking soda with ½ cup, 120 ml, of dishwashing powder, and 2 tablespoons, 29.5 ml, of distilled white vinegar combined with one gallon, about 3.7 liters, of warm water. After you mix it together, pour it into a spray bottle.
- Baby Shampoo – Mix 15 ml, .5 oz., of baby shampoo with a bottle full of warm water. Shake the spray bottle until it bubbles.
- Tea – Black tea contains proanthocyanidins that work well as a cleanser. Boil water, let a teabag steep and then mix it with a gallon, about 3.7 liters, of warm water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
For spot cleaning consider using these methods:
Rubbing Alcohol – Use a cotton ball to apply rubbing alcohol to stains on laminate floors. Never allow the rubbing alcohol to stay on the floor for too long, or it will cause the floor to look dull or streak and even start to peel off the protective coating layer of the flooring.
An acetone-based fingernail polish remover or a window cleaner can work as a spot cleaner as well.
The secret to using these cleaners is to only dab a small amount directly onto any stain on the floor, and never leave it soaking into the floor for very long. Make sure the area is rinsed well after using this spot-remover method. And, finally, dry the floor thoroughly.
Dry the Floor
The most important step of all is making sure the floor is completely dry after you clean it. If any stagnant water is left on the laminate flooring, it could ruin it and cause it to streak.
Use a microfiber towel, so you don’t scratch the floor. As you dry the floor with the cloth, make sure you walk backwards toward the doorway to minimize footprints. Also, make sure the cloth is clean before using it.
If it becomes dirty while you are drying the floor, have another towel ready to use.
Knowing how to clean a laminate floor without streaking is very important from the start so that you never use the wrong cleaners which can cause a big problem. Be careful to tend to any spills immediately, and keep the floor swept clean regularly.
When it comes time to clean the floor, use hot distilled water and the proper cleaner. Don’t ever use too much water, however. And, make sure the floor is completely dry after mopping.