It can be quite challenging to take proper care of wood and laminate floors due to various factors including the pets not to mention the children as well. However, it is of prime importance to maintain the proper appearance of the floor to make your residence appear its best.
You’ll come across two types of residential wood flooring nowadays: real wood (engineered or solid) and laminates which are prepared to imitate wood. The solid hardwood flooring is made from planks which have been manufactured from only one piece of timber. On the other hand, the engineered hardwood is prepared from layers of materials which have been glued together along with a hardwood layer at the top. Laminate flooring is almost similar; however, the upper layer happens to be a photographic material which is made to look like wood. Both laminate and engineered wood come with a protective layer of finishing.
While cleaning the wood floors (solid, laminated or engineered) it is imperative to comprehend whether your flooring has got any finishing or not. It is feasible to understand whether the floor is finished or not by dropping one drop of water on the floor. In case the drop sits over there, then there is no doubt about the fact that the flooring is finished. Otherwise, if the water drop sucks in and then vanishes while leaving behind a dark spot, it implies that the wood is not finished by any means.
While cleaning the floor, ensure that you do not cause any harm to it. For this, you need to be meticulous while selecting the method you want to apply for cleaning it.
In the subsequent paragraphs, we will mention some important cleaning hacks you ought to know for your wood and laminate floor.
1. General cleaning
a. Sweep the floor regularly
Make it a point to sweep a dry dust mop across the floor surface at the interval of several days to get rid of the dirt.
i. Although laminate floor tends to be quite resistant to scratch, scars can be caused by excessive grime, dirt, debris, and hair if you allow them to build up in the course of time. However, it is feasible to prevent such scratching by sweeping the floor from time to time.
ii. It might also be a sensible idea to make use of a dry dust mop along with a soft brush attached to it to get the job done.
iii. Try not to use any standard floor brush since the stiff bristles can cause extensive damage to the floor surface. Make it a point to sweep in the same direction in which the laminate floor tiles have been laid. This will enable you to eliminate any debris which might get trapped in between the grooves of the floor pieces.
b. Clean up any kind of liquid spill with the help of a piece of soft cloth
i. Never allow any kind of liquid, not even water, to stay on the floor for a considerable period. It is possible for the liquid to stain or even damage the laminate floor protective wear layer.
ii. Use a piece of dry cloth to soak up the excess liquid.
iii. Make the cloth moist before cleaning the area of the spill to get rid of any leftover residue.
iv. Use a piece of dry and soft cloth for making the spot dry. Never allow the region to stay wet.
2. Hot water
a. Use hot water for filling a bucket. It is not imperative for the water to be exceedingly hot, but it should be at least lukewarm.
i. Make it a point to perform a comprehensive, wet wash every couple of months to get the best results.
ii. We often consider hot water to be one of the most effective ways to clean floors, since, if done properly it won’t leave any streak.
b. Soak a sponge mop in the water and also wring it out such that it becomes only partially moist.
i. You might also use a conventional-style mop; however, it will be more convenient to control the saturation level of these sponge mops.
ii. Make it a point to wring out the mop prior to using it. It is even possible for water to stain the laminate floor in case you allow it to stay on the floor in puddles. Take proper care so that the mop is only partially moist before using it on the laminate.
c. Provide the floor with a thorough mopping. Make it a point to cover the whole floor beginning from the middle and then work your way out.
i. It would also be sensible to work from one particular side of your room to the other. However, try to avoid working from the room’s exterior to the center given that you need to walk across the floor while it dries.
ii. You might require re-soaking and also re-wringing the mop several times at the time of the cleaning process given that it is only partly moist.
d. Make the floor dry. Allow the laminate to air dry in case it is only a bit damp. Or else, use a piece of clean and dry cloth to make it dry.
i. Refrain from using any abrasive piece of clothing since it might cause damage to the floor.
ii. Allow no water puddle to remain on the laminate for a considerable period.
a. Prepare a mixture of water and vinegar which is considered to be one of the most effective laminate floor cleaners that will give you instant results. Pour half cup of white vinegar into a 32 pounds spray bottle. Use plain water to fill the remaining part of the bottle and then shake to combine.
i. Diluted vinegar will be useful in case the laminate floor has any stain on it that can make it appear dull or faded.
ii. It is very difficult to use vinegar in its pure form since it is abrasive in nature; and therefore, it is imperative for you to combine it with water.
iii. Apart from this, you might also consider preparing an identical vinegar-based solution by mixing 1/3 cup of vinegar with three squirts of liquid dish detergent plus 1 gallon of warm water.
b. The solution has to be sprayed on the laminate in small quantities at a time.
i. Never spray the whole floor with vinegar at any given time. It is imperative to wipe off the solution from the floor almost instantly and spraying the floor simultaneously will allow you to avoid cleaning off the vinegar before it erodes the laminate’s protective layer.
c. Wipe the solution using a piece of damp cloth. Spray the vinegar solution on the floor, and then use a piece of damp cloth to wipe it off.
i. You might also make use of a soft microfiber cloth. Never use any cloth that is abrasive.
ii. Make it a point to wring out the cloth before using it. Never soak the floor using water given that allowing moisture to stay on it for a considerable period might make the floor wrap.
d. Make the laminate dry. In case a substantial amount of water is left behind, do not forget to soak the water up using a piece of dry microfiber cloth.
i. If only a small amount of water is left behind, it will be prudent to allow it to air dry without any risk of the laminate getting damaged.
4. Mild soaps
a. Add 1 gallon of warm water to a big bucket.
i. There is no need for the water to be extremely hot; however, it must be more than lukewarm.
b. Make use of baby shampoo or a mild detergent. Mix 2 tablespoons of mild liquid detergent or baby shampoo with the water.
i. Never make use of any scented dish detergent since this can create streaks in the long run.
ii. Although baby shampoo is mild to use on laminated floors, do not use any standard shampoo.
iii. Use your hand to mix the water and the soap till the soap dissolves and bubbles appear.
iv. Never make use of abrasive cleaners, for example, bleach.
c. Soak a sponge mop in the solution you just prepared. Ring it out such that it becomes only mildly moist.
i. It will be a sensible idea to make use of soapy water while cleaning the floors that have been exposed to any contamination or even mud.
ii. You might also employ a microfiber cloth, although it will be sensible to use mops since you want to clean the whole floor at a time rather than in small patches.
iii. It is possible for the floor to become distorted in case you use an excessive amount of water. Consequently, it is essential that the mop is wrung out until it becomes only mildly moist.
d. The floor has to be wiped from one side to another. After starting from one particular side of the room, you need to work your way to another side while covering the whole floor area.
i. You may also commence at the center and slowly reach out to the external perimeter of the room. However, make it a point to stay away from reaching out to the center of the room from the outside since you need to cross that area while exiting the room.
ii. The mop has to be re-soaked and re-wrung as required to enable you to move across the floor surface.
e. Make the laminate dry. In case only a small amount of water is used, there is a possibility for the flooring to become air dry quite fast. If it doesn’t show any indication of air drying while you reach the other side of your room, then use your hand to dry it with the help of a microfiber cloth.
i. Allow no puddle of water to remain on the laminate for a considerable period.
5. Getting rid of the problem stains
a. Use a window cleaner to clean any blood stain. For this, you need to spray a small quantity of window cleaner on that stain and use a piece of damp cloth to wipe it away instantly.
i. Make use of a microfiber cloth which is non-abrasive.
ii. Try to attend the stain soon since this will help you to remove it easily.
b. Make use of a plastic knife to get rid of any chewing gum. Use the knife to scrape away the gum and use any soft piece of cloth to rub off any residue.
i. Make the water moist by using mineral spirits to get the best results.
ii. Never use any metallic knife given that it might scratch the floor in the long run.
c. Use a piece of damp cloth to wipe away any wine, soda, ink or crayon mark. It is possible to remove these types of stains using mildly moist microfiber clothing.
i. It might be imperative to make use of mineral spirits to get rid of any waxy crayon mark from the floor.
ii. For some stubborn ink stain, you might be required to add detergent to the piece of cloth to get rid of the stain permanently. Make it a point to clean the area once again using a piece of cloth which is soaked in clean and warm water.
d. Use shoe polish, nail polish, or any acetone nail polish remover. Add nail polish remover to a piece of microfiber cloth and scrub on the stain till it is removed.
i. The area has to be wiped using a piece of microfiber cloth which has been soaked in clean water.
e. Get rid of any heel mark and scuff using a pencil eraser. Just rub the eraser on these marks till the laminate is lifted off.
f. Freeze the grease away. Make use of an ice pack on the spot till the grease becomes hard. Now, use a plastic kitchen knife to scrape this frozen grease.
i. Never scrape the grease using a metallic utensil.
ii. Get rid of the remaining part of grease residue while spraying a small quantity of window cleaner on the area and using a moist cloth to wipe it off.
Warnings and Cautions:
After following all these above-mentioned instructions, you should now be able to clean your wood and laminate floor successfully. However, here we would like to remind you of some essential things that you should try to stay away from.
1. Do not use an excessive amount of water
Water might soak in and thus trigger peeling and separation as well. Never soak any microfiber mop and do not leave any puddle.
2. Never use bleach
Wood laminate happens to be porous, and consequently, the bleach is going to soak in thus triggering lots of problems afterward. In fact, bleach can take off the shine from the floor and might also change the floor’s color.
3. Avoid any product which claims to provide a “protected shine”
These types of products will cause lots of scratches on the floor while cleaning it. Moreover, they can also damage your floor’s shine by leaving residues.
Cleaning a laminate floor isn’t that difficult after all, and you need to do this so as to make your floor appear its best. We have provided you with some affordable and easy methods in this article, but it is up to you which one to follow. Do not forget to vacuum or sweep the floor at regular intervals so as to avoid any kind of scratching. Also, remember to mop the floor using a proper microfiber mop. For this, you can prepare your own cleaning solution or you can even purchase a commercially sold item from the market. Do not use any cleaning product that might scratch the floor and likewise stay away from soaking the floor with an excessive amount of water since this might encourage puddles to form in the long run.