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How to Clean Laminate Floors

What's the trick to clean laminate floors that shine? Read on for maintenance tips, everyday cleaning methods, and stain removal how-tos.

Laminate Floors: Preventive Maintenance

Laminate floors get their beautiful appearance from a photographic reproduction, which is layered inside protective plastic coatings on a supporting core of wood-based material. Even though laminate floors look like hardwood, they cannot be refinished. So it's worth your time and effort to keep them clean and free from damaging grit and moisture. Put mats by exterior doors, runners or area rugs in high-traffic areas, and floor protectors beneath the feet and corners of heavy furniture.

General Cleaning

Follow the manufacturer's care instructions for your new laminate floor. If you inherited a laminate floor when you moved in, plan on taking care of it by sweeping, dusting, or vacuuming up loose dirt. Wipe up all spills right away. Light damp mopping will help if simply wiping is not enough. Avoid wet mopping, which can result in water seeping behind baseboards. Never use wax or acrylic products because they can damage the floor's finish.

Stain Removal

Laminate floors do not stain easily. Your first line of defense is a manufacturer-approved cleaning solution. For particularly tough stains, try the following remedies:

  • Blood: Remove with window cleaner, then wipe with a damp cloth. Follow by wiping with a dry cloth
  • Candle wax: Let the molten wax harden before carefully scraping it off with a plastic knife.
  • Chewing gun: Freeze the glob with a plastic bag of ice before scraping the hardened gum off with a plastic knife.
  • Grease and tar: Remove with mineral spirits.
  • Heel marks: Remove by rubbing with a pencil eraser.
  • Ink and crayon: Remove with rubbing alcohol.
  • Nail polish: Remove with rubbing alcohol.
  • Shoe polish: Remove with rubbing alcohol.

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