How To Clean Laminate Floors

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Hardwood floors are my dream, but some of the laminate flooring options out there are amazing — and surprisingly well-priced. If you decide to go for laminate floors and invest your labor and hard-earned $2+/square-foot — or even if you're renting and find yourself with laminate through no choice of your own — you'll want those floors to be as shiny and clean as possible. Here are some of our best tips for cleaning laminate floors.

Baby Shampoo. As The Huffington Post says, "Since it’s safe enough for baby, it’s safe enough for your floors." Simply add a tablespoon of the gentle stuff to a bucket of water, wring out the mop, mop the floors, and wipe dry.

Alcohol: Not Just For Drinking. Better Homes & Gardens has helpful stain removal tips, including this one: humble rubbing alcohol removes ink, crayon, nail polish, and shoe polish. I live in fear of ruining floors with nail polish!

Vinegar...Maybe? Crunchy Betty recommends using equal parts vinegar and hot water for the cleanest, shiniest laminate floors, but HGTV says a little bit of vinegar might be okay. "Used in abundance, though, it can remove the protective seal on your floors." Pergo says that vinegar can be used for heavy cleaning, at a ratio of 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of water.

No Murphy's Oil, No Pine Sol. HGTV has a long list of laminate floor tips, including the assertion that Murphy's Oil and pine-scented cleaners make your floors streaky and dull.

Ammonia For The Delicious Stains. If you have Pergo floors, the company recommends using water and ammonia to clean wine, chocolate, and juice stains.

Don't Wet Mop. Everyone agrees on this one: as Better Homes & Gardens puts it, "Avoid wet mopping, which can result in water seeping behind baseboards." Instead, wring out your mop well, or lightly spray your cleaner on the floor and wipe up immediately.

No Water At All? I went to Lowe's last weekend to see their laminate flooring options in person, and a few were very impressive. Their cleaning advice? "Never clean or wet mop floors with water. Water may permanently damage the floor. Use a cleaner specifically designed for prefinished hardwood flooring and/or laminate flooring, like Bona or Bruce Floor Cleaner, to clean your floor."

If you have laminate floors, please let us know what works for you!

(Image credits: Flickr User Djenan Kozic under CC BY 2.0)