by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated August 26, 2013)
Laminate flooring can be a beautiful, cost-effective thing. However, some salespeople will try to convince you to buy a spray bottle of super-expensive cleaning solution, claiming that there is no way for the floor to remain pristine when using other cleaning fluids. This isn't necessarily true, as I've discovered. There are several ways to safely clean a laminate floor, many of which are quite inexpensive.
For example, one popular method is to use a three-part mixture of one part vinegar, one part alcohol, and one part water. Some aficionados of this method even add three drops of dish washing liquid to this solution. The alcohol disinfects, and also evaporates quite quickly, the vinegar cleans marvelously, and the water leaves a streak-free shine.
There are people out there who insist that Windex is the best idea anyone has ever had for keeping laminate floors tidy. They just buy the economy size from industrial stores, such as restaurant supply stores. Still others will tell you that hot water is all that they need to use on their laminate floors. Be sure to dry your floor as soon as possible, so that water doesn't seep into the floor, which can happen if you have any puddles left on the floor for an extended period of time.
Some swear by microfiber mop covers, claiming that they keep a laminate floor clean without any cleaning solution at all. But what if you spill something on the floor and prefer using something closer to an old-fashioned mop to clean it up? I've seen some people recommend using the Swiffer wet-jet mop system and substitute other brands of coverings for it, from Home Depot's terry mop head that comes with elastic all around it, to plain old paper towels.
Here are a few specific spot problems and how you can deal with them effectively:
No matter what method you use to keep it clean, your laminate floor will become dull-looking if it gets enough tiny scratches in it, so vacuum and/or sweep it regularly and keep mats or shoe scrubbers at the outside entrance(s) to the building. If you already have a problem with scratching, your floor's manufacturer may have a touch-up stick that you can buy to restore your floor's shine.
Finally, if there are trials that your floor cannot withstand and you need to start over, you can have someone come to your home and replace a plank or more of the floor. If done well, it will be indistinguishable from the rest of the floor.
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