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How to Clean Your Laminate Wood Floors

The day your laminate wood floors are installed is a lot like the day you drive a brand new car off the lot. You find yourself staring at their pristine beauty with bittersweet pride, thinking, “They will never look this perfect again.” But unlike the car, laminate wood floors are designed to be beautiful and durable, which means you can recapture that “just-installed look” any time by simply cleaning your laminate wood floors.

It’s actually very easy to clean laminate wood floors. One of the easiest methods is using the vacuum cleaner. Just make sure to turn your vacuum to the wood floors setting, and off you go. Another popular method is to use a dry dust mop, like Swiffer. This, too, is great for quickly removing any dust bunnies or pet hair tumbleweeds.

Here’s a little tip for you: Several laminate flooring manufacturers sell laminate flooring cleaning kits. These kits cost anywhere from $20 to $60 and usually contain a dust mop and bottle of cleaning solution. Save yourself the money and skip the kit. Chances are, you already own a Swiffer or something similar. And below, I’ll tell you how to make your own cleaning solution for next to nothing.

If you have the time and inclination (or like me, you’re about to enter Spring Cleaning mode), you can go for a more professional cleaning. You’ll need a sponge mop, but a dry dust mop can work in a pinch, too. You can buy a bottle of laminate floor cleaner from your independent flooring retailer. Or prepare a homemade cleaning solution using three parts water to one part vinegar. Just pour the solution into a spray bottle and go.

Remember to always spray the mop head. Never spray the floor directly with cleaning solution. (Never spray or pour any liquids directly onto laminate flooring for that matter.) If you’re using a sponge mop, rinse the head every so often with clean water. If you’re using a dry dust mop, be sure to change the cloth a few times, too. After mopping the floor, dry it with a soft cloth or towel to remove any remaining moisture.

And like that, your laminate wood floors are stare-worthy once more. But wait, what is that unsightly blemish over there? Calm down. Even stains can be overcome with a little elbow grease. For juice, wine, or chocolate stains, avoid the urge to lick them up and just dampen a rag with water or some of the leftover homemade cleaning solution (you did save the leftover cleaning solution, right?) and spot clean.

For more gruesome mishaps, like cigarette burns, bits of asphalt, “accidental” crayon marks, or spilled paint, ink, or nail polish, simply dampen a rag with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and spot clean. If candle wax or chewing gum gets stuck to the floor, just wait for it to harden and gently scrape it up with a plastic scraper.

With very little effort and some homemade ingenuity, you can keep your laminate wood floors looking new for years and years to come.