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Clean Wood Laminate Floors Naturally

by Tiffany in A Green Home, Green Cleaning

Wood Laminate Floor

Our new place has wood laminate floors. So far I am not crazy about them… I would much rather have real hardwood floors but it is what it is. They get scuffed easily and they feel so thin it is like walking on vinyl. It is actually a very thin layer of wood with a couple paper layers on top that are printed to look like a wood grain. Then a coating seals the paper.

You can easily strip the top coat and start degrading the paper if you use harsh chemical cleaners and then you have ruined laminate floors. But all the scuffs and visible spots make you want to clean it… a lot! Oily cleaners are a no-no because it collects on the surface and attracts dirt and dust.

I think I have found my system for dealing with these floors and it is no muss no fuss… just the way I like it… green too. Just remember that if you have new laminate floors under warranty you will need to pay attention to their rules but you should be fine.

1. Sweep the loose stuff – I use a good old fashioned broom and dustpan and sweep up crumbs and other loose debris.

2. Fill a small bucket with warm water and add 2-4 tablespoons white vinegar.

3. Take two terry cloths and wet them in the water and vinegar solution. Wring them out and walk across the floor with them with sweeping motions. Scrub scuffs with your toes.

4. After the floor is clean you can let it air dry or take two microfiber towels and walk with them on your feet to dry and dust the floor.

Viola…beautiful floors and the vinegar smell only lasts 15 minutes or so. Another super easy way to clean these floors is to use the Rubbermaid Spray Mop. The spray bottle can be filled with vinegar and water, or any cleaner you want, and the cloth pads are washable. LOVE it!

  • Green Fundraising

    I don’t have this type of floors, but I’ll share the info. Good, practical info for a lot of people to know!

  • Julie

    Very good info to know!! I will share with others that I know. Thanks for posting and I hope you have a great day.

  • this same method works on tile and grout as well :) best way to clean a floor in my opinion, and the cheapest!

  • jennifer

    I have laminate wood floors too and I use a steam mop to clean and then an almond oil made for laminate floors to shine it back up. It works really well and floors are not at all sticky.

  • Mommaluv

    I have wood laminate, but none of the issues that you seem to have with it. We have really thick (the thickest out there), dark cherry wood laminate (wish I could post a pic) and it has no scuffs. The thing I like most about it is that it looks great and I don’t have to mop much since I rarely see any dullness or anything. However, vinegar with some tea tree oil or lavender oil to make is smell good is also my favorite way to clean them. I use a re-usable microfibre mop and it works great :)

  • Jackie

    I also have laminate and only recently started to have the same issues as you. I loved them when I first got them and now not sure if it’s because they are getting old or b/c I have 3 kids now running all over them!!! Anyway – I agree – water & vinegar is what I’ve been using as well :)

  • Not the cheapest choice.. but safe, clean and wonderful. I started using the Shark Steam mop on my laminate floors and it is amazing. Less wetness than any mopping and just water! I am hooked..just thought I would toss it out :)

    • Cassie

      I have used the Shark Steam mop only twice on my laminate floor and although it seems to do a good job, I’m a little confused with ads that say “do not use a steam cleaner”. Also, the laminate seems to be dulling a little….did you read about that almond oil for laminates? Another thing I thought was forbidden.

      • I am surprised you can use steam. The top layers of a laminate floor are paper… seems that paper would not hold up to constant steaming.

  • We just moved in December and our new house has a darker laminate wood floor and I HATE THEM!!!! We had real light oak wood floors in our old house and they were so much better. With two little kids and 3 Malamutes they never look clean and they scratched in a manor of minutes. They show everything! I have been cleaning them with vinegar and also a natural cleaner but they never look clean for long. I will try the cloths, I hope it works better because I am about ready to tile!

  • I feel your pain here and when I first got my floor I could not stand it. Steam cleaning is supposed to be bad but actually it does work very well on my floor. The best advice I can give is the Shaklee Basic H (it really does work wonders here so that is the only reason I’m saying this) AND the microfiber. I love my microfiber when it comes to the floor and the less water the better for streaks. Good luck!

  • We too have laminate floors in our home. I also hate them. I have 2 kids running around and they always look dirty and dull even right after I mop! I’m going to try the water and vinegar method I have a microfiber mop as well. Thanks for the tip!

  • I think it’s the microfiber that makes the difference. I had laminate floors and started cleaning them this way a couple of months ago and they finally don’t look streaky. I’m here via ohdeedoh and I’m excited to check out your blog.

  • Cara Mirabella

    We had laminate installed about 5 years ago and I still love them even with two dogs, a toddler, and a 40-year-old-husband that doesn’t know how to wipe his feet!

    Then men who installed them told me to use vinegar to clean them!

  • I have a spray bottle that I keep in the kitchen with water and vinegar. I use it to spot clean my floors and my cabinets. Best part is that the kids can use it!!

  • Joan

    Thanks for the info. My Mom always used vinegar and water for almost everything…it brought me back!! I just got the Shark steam mop and I must say I love it. I spray vinegar and water lightly on the floor and it keeps streaks away. I live in Hawaii and our windows are always open and fine dust gets in and coats the floor so the vinegar mix works great. I also have laminate floors and wasn’t sure if steam was okay but before the floors got pretty wet and now they don’t. Anything green is always a plus!

    • Kandi

      does your shark steam mop still do ok?

  • Leina

    I have tried everything from the flooring manufacturer’s products, steam mops, windex, to my own concoctions and no matter how i clean it, it still looks cloudy!

  • Kandi

    I had to use vinegar and water and then towel dry to keep streaks away. Pain!!! I switched to using bona spray for laminate floors and the washable pads that came with it. amazing. No towel drying afterwards. I just got the shark steam mop, as long as you go with the grain, it does not streak and takes half the time. Is it ok to use on laminate floors?

  • Kathy

    My problem are the footprints. No matter how hard I try, they appear as soon as someone steps on the floors. does anyone else have this problem?

    • Gigi

      YES….they make me crazy. I especially have doggy prints all over the floors. I clean them with water/vinegar and usually do this at night when everyone is in bed. They look great for a day then back to seeing all the prints. I thought they would be much easier to maintain, but it’s a pain!

  • Anthony

    1 cup White Vinegar / 1 Gallon water. This is the best way i have found to clean hardwood floors.It doesn’t leave that nasty buildup and because of that they stay cleaner longer. You can use that same mix on windows and as an all purpose cleaner. Just don’t use on stone like marble or granite.

  • Jennifer

    It worked awesomely…THANK YOU!

  • Shan3grn

    I would really try the tips that you have shared, one of the good advantages of laminate flooring is that it is very easy to clean. Thanks for the great information you shared.

    tile flooring ideas

  • Shan3grn

    Well, I just use a clean cloth in cleaning our wood laminate floor and it really works. I don’t often use hardwood cleaners in our floor to avoid damage of course. I love this blog, it gives helpful information.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, vinegar is a real life saver! it has a thousand uses, and rarely fails to do the job.

  • I’ve heard vinegar will ruin laminate.  Any experience with this? 

    • Jennifer Gallegos

      It hasn’t ruined ours and I use it each time I clean the floor. We have Pergo laminate flooring.  I just make sure to wipe off the excess water/ vinegar mixture.  Hope that helps!

    • It did not ruin ours.

    • Debby

      Vinegar is what was recommended by the company that made my flooring.

  • Feonacy Tyson

    The Floor Gurus in Greenville SC
    Your articles are actually inclusive signified out of respectively theme.