Tips For Cleaning Laminate Floors

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We recently had gorgeous laminate installed in our living room and I just had to take the opportunity and ask the installer what he recommended for washing it. Although it’s much easier to care for than real wood flooring and I’ve had it for years in other parts of the house, I want to maintain the high gloss that this one has (it would be a shame for it to dull over time or be plagued with streaks from washing).

BucketHere’s the advice he gave me…

Directions:

  • Regularly use a soft brush attachment on the vacuum or use a swiffer style tool for picking up dirt and hair. Sweep or vacuum in the direction that the pieces are laid so that you pick up all the crud between the grooves instead of trapping it (especially if it’s mock-hardwood style that has the grooves between each “plank”).
  • Mix a couple quick squirts of gentle liquid dish detergent in a pail of warm water. Wring out the mop well so there won’t be any water dripping then use to damp mop the surface. No special cleaner/fluid required!

My sister-in-law has a tried and true recipe that she finds will give a streak-free result:

  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 1 to 2 squirts of liquid dish detergent
  • Bucketful of warm water (about a gallon)

Using this homemade remedy for the last 7 years hasn’t affected the gloss/shine at all and she would notice it–she’s got very particular eye for that sort of thing. If there are streaks, increase the vinegar amount gradually until the solution is just right.

Did You Know: Many manufacturers require that only their brand of cleaners are used or the warranty is voided. On one hand I understand it (For example: if bleach was used to hose things down–should you really be eligible for all new product under the warranty?), but on the other hand–total ripoff considering there are suitable solutions that are cheap and effective (you’re locked into buying their product for the lifetime of the warranty–which can be up to 30 or 50 years for some brands). Just a heads up that checking the warranty guide first is a good idea before rolling up your sleeves and trying a homemade batch.

Title

  • Put felt pads on everything, underneath furniture legs, tv stands, coffee tables to help prevent scratching.
  • Place an area rug in the common seating area (by the couch in front of the tv for example). Helps prevent damage in this high-traffic area as well as a layer of protection for accidental spills from beverages.
  • Lift furniture when moving pieces rather than sliding them.
  • Remove tough stains like shoe polish, spilled nail polish, tar, etc., with an acetone based nail polish remover.

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Published: August 28, 2009
Updated: November 7, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
106 Comments to “Tips For Cleaning Laminate Floors”
  1. Shana says:

    We bought Quick-Step laminate flooring and this is the information we were given in regards to cleaning it…

    NEVER use a wax, polish, oil, or varnish coating on the floor. Do not use soap-based detergents, oil soaps, or one-step clean and shine type products, or any product that squirts liquid directly on the floor.

    For dry maintenance, use a dust mop or vacuum cleaner. Avoid vacuum attachments with ‘beater bars’, which could damage your floor.

    For damp maintenance: Apply diluted QS Quick Clean cleaning product or water lightly to dry, soft cloth (never directly to the floor), wipe over floor. (Never use other cleaning products or detergents!) This product cleans the floor very well and leaves a satin shine. Only use a WELL WRUNG OUT CLOTH. ALWAYS WIPE DRY IMMEDIATELY AFTER until no moisture is visible on the floor. If you do not wipe it dry, the Quick Clean product has virtually no effect.

    WET MAINTENANCE IS ENTIRELY FORBIDDEN! Never wet mop or use wet or steam cleaners on your floor.

    We use the QS Cleaner on the floor, however, I think the point is..if you use some sort of liquid to clean it…you might want to spray it on a cloth or make sure it is all completely wiped up. Any moisture that will just sit on the flooring can cause damage.

    I thought this might help in addition to this article.

    • Eileen says:

      We had Quick Step laminate installed in 3 bedrooms and have been so sorry ever since! I have tried every method known and still have to deal with footprints all over the flooring. In our previous home we had Pergo laminate in EVERY room and never, ever had a problem like this. We were tight on money when we moved into this home and figured we would go with a less expensive product…BIG mistake!

      • Loretta says:

        We had the same nightmare experience with our laminate floor streaking so bad with several cleaners that were specifically for those types of floors. I finally discovered that spraying the flooring with straight rubbing alcohol and wiping it a microfiber mop leaves it completely streak free! And it also leaves your stainless steel appliances sparkling clean, too!!

      • Patty says:

        I must agree with you, Eileen! We had QuickStep put in our living room and hall and we, too, regret the choice. The flooring store owner recommended it highly and we aren’t flooring savvy, so we (foolishly) believed him. I have not been able to get that floor clean since day one. It looks filthy, even after cleaning it with QuickStep’s “recommended” product. Streaks, footprints…ugh!

        So I am gonna try some vinegar and water, altho I know the streaks won’t go away until I hand buff each little area as it is cleaned. And forget about any shine with that lousy flooring. It’s pretty dull.

  2. Maureen says:

    We purchased a dark cherry laminate floor. Unfortunately the finish is very dull! We would like to clean it with something that gives it a little bit of a shine?
    Any suggestions? We have tried the cleaner the company recommmended, swifter, wet mop and special laminate floor cleaner from Lowes.

  3. SirDon says:

    I have been a floor covering cotractor for 30 years. I have istalled most laminate and hardwood floorig on the penisula in the Sa Francisco Bay Area. Mostly upscale. I would never recommend using acetone on anything unless it was a last resort. Products like mineral spirits and goo gone the citrus kind will remove most anything with out harming the flooring. Here is what I tell my customers. Dust mop or vacuum without a beater bar. I like Swifters the dry kind. Clean spills when they happen and use windex or any other amonia type cleaers for removing sticky spills. Maureen you can’t make a laminate floor shiney unless it came that way. Soap build up is the worse thig that usually happens to wood, laminate and vinyl flooring. Amonia will not leave a residue. If you do have hardwater or soup build up, that is when you should use a vinegar and water soulution. Wipe down the floor with the solution and try with a cloth. If you allow the solution to dry o the floor you have done nothing.

    • Amanda says:

      This is good to know. I have 2 cats and a dog. So they naturally track in dirt and leave paw prints on the floor. So when I want to do a full clean on the floors and not just spot clean do I just spray windex with amonia and use a dust mop and dry it up? Will that leave any residue that will cause foot prints and smudges in it?

  4. Chrissy Gundersen says:

    I am sorry to inform you all that you have been misguided in your methods of trying to keep your laminate floors clean.
    It’s ironic that everyone says how moisture is the biggest enemy and then recommends which moisture to use.
    Here is what you need to do and I guarantee you will never see your floors so clean.
    Get on your hands and knees and wipe the floor clean with a DRY Magic Eraser.
    They will be spotless and there will be no risk of build up but rather the opposite effect, that being no build up at all.

    • may says:

      Careful before using DRY magic eraser – it’s a great product but given the chemical components it is made of as well as possibiity for minute scratches – the product may eventually dull the floor finish. I do not know this for certain – but not willing to compromise the integrity of my flooring.

  5. Louise says:

    I’m about to clean my laminate floor and have been reading alot of tips.
    Vinegar (1C to 1 gallon warm water) is what I’ll be using – soap will leave a dull finish. Maybe not today, but with each use it’ll be noticeable.

    I wouldn’t use the DryEraser either – I’ve seen the finish come off on a wall painted four years ago – it will also dull the floor.

    • Margaret says:

      I have high gloss laminate. I used the recipe at the top of the page (1/2 cup vinegar, 1-2 squirts liquid dish detergent & 1 gal warm water) Sat. to clean my floors. According to the person posting the recipe it will leave the flooring streak-free. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG When they dried you could see the streaks so I used a cleaner I had bought for laminate, well it left spots. I was so upset by this time I got out another microfiber cloth, wet it in warm water and squeezed it dry and went over the floors a 3rd time. When they dried there were no streaks or spots. I haven’t had the laminate very long and everyone that I talked to said they loved theirs, well I HATE mine because it’s been so hard to clean. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know because I’m at the point that I’m ready to cover it up if it hadn’t cost me so much.

      • Krystina says:

        I use a steam mop on my floors .. there will be a couple streaks if the microfibre pad gets too wet but it’s worth giving it a shot! I was in love with mine until it broke.. I think I will be trying vinegar and water now.

      • Dawn says:

        How about a microfiber mop with wet and dry pads and telescopic adjustable handle? =) I use the wash pad dry and spray the floor with water to avoid using too much water. It’s what I’ve used for the last 3 years and nothing works better and saves time and no chemicals to worry about.

      • Linda says:

        Boy! do I ever hear you Margaret. My sentiments exactly !! If ever I discover a cure for all the cons re: this flooring I will write a whole book of remedies for same …. but don’t waste any time watching for this impossible feat. Know it cannot happen!!!

      • Brenda says:

        Margaret, try this…it really works well for me. I gallon of warm water with one cap full of JetDry dishwasher spot cleaner. Be sure to wring out your mop well so that you are only using a “damp mop” not dripping with water. You will see that they will dry spot free. GOOD LUCK!!

        • Brenda says:

          Brenda, OMGosh, I just tried your formula, it REALLY does work!!!!! Thank You sooo much!! Like many others on here I have tried EVERYTHING and have been left with streaks, foot prints, dull floors you name it….. but this really works! My floor has NO streaks my little fur babies are not leaving paw prints yea!!! And my floor is really shining!! The main thing is to mop with the grain of the flooring and use a really damp mop I rinsed my cloth out every time after each time I mopped an area then dipped it back into the solution and now I do NOT have dull streaky floors!! Thank You!!!!!

      • Mary Ann says:

        I just moved in to a place with laminate floors. I really hear you Margaret. It is a beautiful apartment but I can not get the laminate floors to not streak. I have tried vinegar and water, have bought 3 mops so far; everyone keeps saying to try different methods and it streaks no matter what. The floor is brand new. I wonder if it is best just to wash it with water. I have a bottle that is a spray on one of my mops. I am so frustrated. HELP!!!!!!!! I HATE MINE TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Who has time to wash floors?

      • donna says:

        I agree, I’m really starting to hate them now, guess im going to have to get on my hands and knees!!

      • JC says:

        I totally know what you mean about everyone loving their floors but yes I hate mine. I think if it wasn’t a dark cherry colored flooring would make a huge difference like a light wood color. I love how they look but they are pain to keep clean. We have bought a special floor cleaner and a degerent that you use in it mixed with water and right away it was great. We also tried several different sprays and they all leave streaks and they caused a build up on the floors. I started to mix vinegar and water in a squirt bottle and I dry mop first to pick up dirt and hair and than I spray the floors in sections and use dry mop (like a swiffer with mircofiber cloth)to wipe it up and that got the soap scum off the floor and does bring the shine and color back a little bit but since we used all those other brands of cleaners prior the floors just don’t look like they used to. But so far the vinegar and water alone really works well. It does leave a vinegar smell in the air but if you have pets or kids it is good cleaner to use around them instead of harsh chemicals…plus my puppy doesn’t like the smell so it keeps her off the floor till it dries :)

        • Stormy says:

          Nope, a light wood color doesn’t help at all. We have a blonde pine color in our bathroom where our washer and dryer sit and I find dryer fuzz everywhere! I can’t get rid of the smudges, footprints, or the hair I shed. It’s a disaster. I can’t wait to get rid of mine!

      • NL Girl says:

        Margaret, you keep saying “when they dried”. I think the point of some of the postings is you can’t “let it dry” – you have to completely dry the floor yourself with a soft cloth. Otherwise the residue just stays on the floor, leaving undesirable results. Good luck!

    • Karen says:

      HI what type of vinegar do you use? Do you worry about the vinegar smell.

  6. linda says:

    the installer that installed mine said a dust mop sprayed with endust helps keep the floor clean and shiny seems to be working fine for me and i have 2 teenagers in the house and little ones in and out all the time

  7. kristine says:

    i just finished reading the comments from margaret. is the floor not real slippery after using the end dust? i have tried various solutions on my floor to & have not been happy with the streaks. after washing an area, i have had to take a cloth & wipe the floors on my hands & knees. i finally used a dry mop to wipe it down with tonite. i love my shiny floors but absolutely hate the streaks!!

  8. Gail says:

    I have shiny dark cherry laminate flooring and it is beautiful. We got laminate because it was guaranteed not to scratch and so far, so good! The trouble with it is it shows streaks when any kind of floor cleaner, even plain water, is used. We got the Bona cleaning system (washable terry mop heads and cleaner, especially made for laminate). The bad news is that although the cleaner is really good, the floor must be dried with a terry cloth AS YOU GO. Leaving the floor to air dry always produces streaks, even with vinegar, although the streaks are less noticeable. So again, the key is drying the floor immediately after wiping it with any cleaner. A lot of work! These floors were really expensive, so I’m not about to replace them and it’s cheaper than going to the gym!

  9. kim says:

    I’ve used this formula twice now. The first time I used the mop, and it was just ok. This time I used a rag and pulled a cinderella :) I also tried the floor with a towel and it looks great!! I also added a couple of drops of lavender essential oil. So, it smells great and looks great! Thanks Tipnut!

  10. maya says:

    I have a very dark laminate floor with a glossy finish. I use method wood floor cleaner. it is very good. it doesn’t leave any streaks and it smells like almonds. my problem is that the clean floors dont last. you can see every footprint, shoe print and my cats paw prints. an hour after I wash it, it looks as if I didn’t do anything. please help!

    • cherie says:

      I find the best products to use are the vileda wet jet and pine sol lavender.I fill the bottle with about 500 ml of water and 2 teaspoons of the cleaner..I wet the vileda pads and then ring them out well, and the solution lasts 3 full cleans of 1000 sq ft, and to avoid streaks, i mop with the lay of the floor. I never have to dry the floor, and the scent is amazing. The prints on the floor from doggy and my family in 5 min are nearly unavoidable, laminate floors are covered in an aluminum oxide coating that shows every touch ( think of any stainless steel appliance) I wear house slippers, wash the floors often, and wash the dogs feet every few days.

  11. Adean says:

    I have the same problem , my floors are dark laminate and with in 5 mins of me washing my floor you can see every step someone has taken . I have tried all sorts of cleaning methods . I can not find one that does not leave it dull and show every foot print with in mins . Please help !

  12. Glenny says:

    I have light cherry laminate floors and even though I am constantly cleaning them, they never look clean. I’ve tried vinegar water, clear water, steam mop and endless sweeping but they still look dull and smudges appear as soon as you walk on them. I absolutely hate them.If I had to do it over I would put vinyl flooring everywhere because I have that in my hallway and front and back porch and those floors never look dirty.

    • Darlene Perales says:

      I too have what they call piano finish dark laminate, I even had the Home Depot come and do and inspection because you can see footprints and smears just after it’s cleaned, he said “yes that is not good” and then got the report that they wouldn’t replace it. They gave me a Bona kit but it doesn’t work either, I am so unhappy. They told me to mix denatured alcohol and distilled water to clean it…I don’t know what else to do.

  13. Debbie J says:

    Endust isn’t a wax. It is just to help pick up the dust instead of preading it around. You spray it on the dust mop of swiffer. I am wanting to get laminate flooring in my house. I will probably just damp mop mine. I don’t like to use a lot of water when I mop my kitchen floor anyway. (It isn’t laminate). We have a lot of grandchildren and have carpet now. The carpet is playing havoc with my allergies.

    • CANDY says:

      IF U DO GET LAMANATE FLOORING,GET LIGHT FLOORING!!! DARK SHOW’S EVERYTHING!!!

      • Connie says:

        I have very dark “Oakstock” Pergo laminate. It shows darker “wood grain” lines. Beautiful and never shows any streaks or footprints. I think this is because I bought a better product (Pergo) and I chose a design that has dark, almost black wood grain patterns. Great choice. P.S. I clean with ammonia and distilled water, which is what Pergo recommends.

  14. Annie H says:

    I just had my laminate floor installed and I love it. I’ve been searching for the best and easiest way to clean it. The room it was installed in is 20 x 20 so I have no intentions of doing it on my hands and knees.(I’m 72 yrs old.) The salesman reccommended windex and I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for vinegar. Since windex comes in a vinegar rather than an amonnia base I’ve decided that would work best for me since I have a dog and dogs are drawn to the amonnia odor.

  15. Isabelle McCoy says:

    I have the same problem as Maya & Adean (above). Our floor cleans beautifully with a swiffer damp pad or just a damp cloth but EVERY FOOT PRINT shows regardless of shoes on or shoes off. What can I do….I hate it….and I was so eager to have the flooring installed.

  16. All Floors Inc. says:

    Cleaning laminate flooring is simple- dirt and dust are easily removed with a vacuum or broom. Yes, keep in mind always never to use any of the following products on your floor: ammonia based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax based products, detergents, bleach, polishes and oil soaps, or abrasive cleaning soaps.

  17. Marg says:

    our new light colored lalminate floors have been hit by our pets…left a urine spot, and I can not seem to get the spot back to the color of the other floor. How can I fix this problem?

  18. Corinne says:

    I have found that warm water mixed with a small amount of my front loader washing machine fluid or powder works wonders. Cuts through everything, no suds, no streaking. Highly recommend.

    • Arsenia says:

      We just had installed laminate flooring in our home. So far you are the only one who seemed to be successful in cleaning your laminate flooring.
      What brand of washing machine fluid or powder are you using ?
      Thanks.

  19. Miriam says:

    Sigh! We had a house fire over a year ago, and we replaced the large downstairs, except for the den, with high gloss laminate flooring. I have nothing from the installer regarding how to clean, have read many, many reviews, and have not found the best, and easiest way to clean spots. Over 45 years ago, we had hardwood floors with 2 small children, and a dog. At that time, I used a dry mop sprayed with Endust. (Guess from 1 of the emails, it still exists.) With all of today’s technology, I thought Swiffer Wetjet would be the easiest way to go. It streaks! I tried wiping the spot with water. It spots! I then dried the area of each try with a microfiber mop. It is “hard work”. The mop does not want to move over a partly damp floor. The microfiber mop is great for picking up dust, but it is more work than I want for simply cleaning the damp laminate. I thought steam mop, some rave about that, some say don’t do it. I remember the phrase “water on wood–no good”. I think I will try the endust on the microfiber; if that doesn’t work–I’ll try it on a dry mop I will have to buy. I will have more cleaning equipment than I ever had before.

    • Marcia says:

      Miriam,

      I use a mop with washable/removeable microfiber pads by “Bruce”. I purchased it at Lowes and it works like a charm! Mine was purchased with a cleaner for “Hardwood & Laminate Flooring”. This cleaner works like a charm also! I use the pads dry when just dust mopping as well. I never see streaking on my laminate “Oakstock” Pergo flooring.

      Marcia

  20. Cassandra says:

    I also have dark cherry laminate and tried many things and everything left my floor streaky. I did some research and found a recipe that works for me. I use equal parts water, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. The vinegar and water clean and the rubbing alcohol makes it dry quickly so I don’t have to go back and dry the floors. I just use a mop with microfiber/terry pads and I have had great success. I think I need to get some new mop heads that have the ability to do some scrubbing though since my 8 month old is quite the mess maker now. I hope this helps!

  21. Marley says:

    I have dark cherry laminate floors they look great when i mop them and have the wet look if only they would stay like that is there anything we can put on them to make them have the wet look?? and stay like that

  22. kayle says:

    The guy who installed our new dominate floor did such a bad job, and now we have 3 dogs. The floor was never sealed, so regardless of what it said I use future floor wax. I kick the dogs out for the day and I wipe the floor down with windex and clean rags and then I do 3 coats of wax. It seals the floor and keeps it shiny. The upkeep isn’t too bad either, vinegar and water and once a year I strip the floor with ammonia and do it again.

  23. Kay says:

    Thanks for all of the great information, everyone. I have a very specific question. I have glossy laminate floors that I have been cleaning with a product from the store that provided the flooring. The product has always been fine but the store has discontinued it. I tried a cleaner from Home Depot but it deposited major residue on the floor that dulled it immediately. I then cleaned the floor with a vinegar and water solution that worked like a charm. I then used Bona on the floor as it stated it was for glossy laminate floors (from Home Depot), but I didn’t realize it was a polish. The floors actually came out great. Until… I tried using it again on a small area that is now dull. How can I fix this? I tried the vinegar and water solution again and the floor just looks dull. Should I match the bad area with the Bona again so it is glossy and then switch to something else for daily/weekly cleaning? Help!

  24. Sharon says:

    I have laminate flooring in my kitchen. I tried the above recipe and followed the directions. It did clean my floors great, but it streaked really bad. What most of you don’t realize is it isn’t the solution, it’d the mop used to wipe the floors. It’s too wet. I went over it 3 times and after the third, I dried it as I was going and had no streaks. It’s extremely time consuming but it does the job well. Next time don’t use a mop, try rag and s towel to dry it with as you go. I have to get down on my hands and knees to clean it, but it turns out great.

  25. Mizzoo57 says:

    Thanks everyone for the ideas! After reading the comments, I mixed 1/3 water; 1/3 vinegar & 1/3 Jet Dry in a spray bottle & used a clean, dry dust mop. My floors are STREAK FREE and that’s a first in 4 years! I think you could substitute rubbing alcohol for the Jet Dry & it would do a good job too. I’m going to get a better microfiber mop head but this is such an improvement! I have tried every laminate floor cleaner on the market & they all streak. Thanks again for the ideas!

    • Emily says:

      Yep….I have used 1/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, & 1/3 rubbing alcohol since my laminate flooring was new 4 yrs. ago. Does not streak and looks the same today as it did when it was installed!

      • Brenda Edwards says:

        Thank so much for the tips I am getting ready to purchase cherry laminate floors in livingroom,kitchen,and diningroom. I have three little dogs I dont need a streaked floor and footprints. The water,vingar and jet dry sound good.

      • Penny says:

        Glad to hear this. I am sitting here with my floors be installed at this moment and all the negative cleaning ways was beginning to scare me.

        • Bonnie says:

          I bought the top of the line laminate satin finish. I HATE IT, HATE IT! I had hard wood floors in my other homes and just loved them. I use Bruce cleaner and a microfiber mob and every footprint, dog paw, spot, and streak is there everyday! I clean it a few times a week and it’s horrible! If I could afford to get rid of it, I would tomorrow. This is more work then cleaning the whole house. Do yourself a favor stay away from laminate!! I have also used Bona cleaner and vinegar and water nothing works!

  26. monique says:

    I also have high gloss laminate and have tried numerous products. I just did the vinegar and water with a couple squirts of dish soap, worked ok. I didnt know I was supposed to dry as i went tho and there is a film left. I then did the cinderella thing with endust. They look, ok…..my question is has anyone tried Halloway House Quick Shine? I have looked for it and havent found it yet, just wondering if it is worth it…..Thanks!

    • Patricia says:

      Don’t waste your money buying Halloway House Quick Shine. It doesn’t work! I’m still trying to find something to make my bathroom laminate tile to shine & no luck. I don’t want to use wax on it anymore.

  27. crystal says:

    I used the jet dry and the water and it worked great. The first solution worked a bit but the viniger and soap made my floor sticky. I went to the store and bought murphy oil they say you can use it on laminate and thats what i have, dark laminate. I also used a glass cleaner cloth and washed floors on my knees. Very sad cause i have a lot of floor area which i feel exhusted afterwords. Then the cat comes out of the litter box, PAW PRINTS EVERY WHERE!! I need help with that. How to eliminate paw prints. Currently i have a peice of carpet for when they get out of litter box.

    • Judy says:

      I have the same problem, paw prints everywhere. I have a very large area to clean and before I can finish, paw prints on the area I just finished. I love the look of the floor but who has the time or energy to clean it on your hands and knees every day. NOT ME. Is there anything out there that will protect the floor from every drop of water or the constant paw prints?

  28. Tricia says:

    I clean a dentists office that has laminate throughout. The high traffic leaves footprints from snow salt etc. I wash with vinegar and a little dawn, and wring out the mop well, I don’t get streaks I think the key is to have only a damp mop you have to wring out well. But back to the problem when I’m finished you can see where peoples footprints are left like I said I think salt debri is ruining finish. Would the endust on dry mop help? And if so does this make it slippery at all?

  29. Heather says:

    I fill a spray bottle with water and pine sol. I sweep my floors with a Swiffer dry dust mop. Then spray a fine mist of my cleaner and then mop with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to NEVER use fabric softener on your microfiber cloth or that can contribute to leaving residue on your floors. I don’t have streaking and like th fresh scent of pine sol or one of their other scented cleaners.

  30. Mandie says:

    Ya, i just bought super dark laminate flooring, and I have 2 rottweilers. Sooo needless to say, after it was installed I was OBSESSED with figuring out how to keep it clean longer than 5 minutes. Because after that, I have footprints all over.
    I bought every possible cleaner. I first tried vinegar and water, and I got a haze. But after endless research, I realized that you have to buff the shine up to avoid footprints. So it ended up being a bit of work, but you basicially just put kind of a rougher, older bath towel on the floor, and step on it. then kinda scrub away, and it buffs up the shine. I tried it just in my kitchen, and made my dogs trample all over it, and it worked! I only do this once a week or 2, then i can spot clean through the week. What a relief! Hope this helps someone.

    • Nan says:

      Mandie, you are a lifesaver!!! We just had laminate floors placed in our sitting and dining room 2 days ago and the paw prints from the dog and the kids footprints were everywhere. I tried out what you recommended on a centre section of the floor(about 2 foot square) and then walked all over it with my shoes on and no footprints to be seen!! Thanks so much for your wonderful advice! Now back to work on the rest of the floors…

  31. Linda says:

    I love my laminate floors and I have no problems with streaks. I use 1 capful Mr. Clean to a gallon cool to warm water. I use a regular cotton mop but I really wring it as much as possible. I never have a problem with footprints or streaks. ( DO NOT use Murphys oil soap) It will cause everything to stick to the floor! I think everyone must be using a sponge mop which I don’t like. My mop is cotton and only slightly damp.

  32. Kristi says:

    My floors used to be shiny and now they are dull. I use vinegar and a little dawn to clean them using a towel that is squeezed as dry as I can. It looks great after but by that night it is dull and looks terrible. Do I need to strip and then some sort of wax? Thanks for the help!

  33. KQueen says:

    I work at a building centre and encounter all kinds of problems. According to our flooring department (these guys have more than 20 years experience each) , using dish detergent will leave you with residue buildup that looks terrible and is difficult to remove. When it comes to something as important as floors, because they are an expensive investment, I think it is best to use something recommended for laminate floors. I use a concentrate and know it always works great.

  34. Michelle says:

    I have hadlaminate flooring in my house for 12 years or so now! I STILL struggle with keeping them streak-free! It’s terrible! They now make laminate floors with grain in them so they’re not so shiny! That’s my next investment! Thinks it’s time to! But Really.. after this many years, I now have a build-up of funk around my trim and the edges of my doors from using products like Murphy’s oil and such. I have TRIED to get this up with everything in the book with no luck! It’s pretty much a wax build up. I now purchased an expensive steam mop hoping the heat would help dissolve the waxy substance and leave the rest shiny. Well, it didn’t help the build up and it takes about three times of mopping to get the rest streak-free with Orange Glow. I hate mopping anyways, but this is rediculous! Please help me with wax removal ideas!

  35. Stacey says:

    After reading this, and many other forums and tips, I tried a new method and it worked great! I have been using the vinegar/water with a microfiber mop for quite some time, and it was OK but I wasn’t thrilled. Every so often I would steam mop. The other day I misted Bona laminate cleaner on the floor, went over it with my steam mop, then quickly shuffled along the floor with a large, clean towel. Worked great, and I can’t believe how much dirt the steam mop picked up, especially since I had just done the vinegar/water solution the day before. No film, no streaks, feels and looks great. I know you are not supposed to use a steam mop, but I go fairly quickly and never leave it on one spot. I haven’t had a problem yet with the steam after 2 years. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a house rabbit, 2 kids and after 2 days there are no footprints visible or anything. YAY!

  36. Andrea says:

    I installed glossy laminate flooring and it now shows every footprint and dog print just like all the other comments I have been reading. I HATE this flooring, It only looks good if no one walks on it. I was using Bruce laminate floor cleaner and I thought that was the problem so I started using just plain water. Still footprints everywhere. I thought my floor was defective until I read that I am not the only one with this problem. Don’t the manufacturers give out any tips?

    • julie fiore says:

      Andrea. I bought and had installed a dark cherry high-gloss laminate floor from Lowe’s in 2011. For the first 5 months all was fine and I was using the Bruce, which they told me to use. Since then I’ve had an oily type haze all over my kitchen floor. Footprints from people and pets. At my wits end. Now Lowe’s tells me that I shouldn’t have washed my floor weekly with the stuff. The manufacturer, Shaw, tells me to use their product, R2X, which you can only buy from their web site and eventually will take the film off. Wrong. I’ve used an entire bottle and nothing. I’m going to try the vinegar and water thing and see if that works. Believe me, after one week, my floor looks so bad as if I haven’t wshed it in a month. The floor may have been a bit on the expensive side but I can’t live with a floor like this and will save the money to replace it as quickly as I can!!!!!!!!

  37. Lynn says:

    I just tried the swiffer wet jet with the wood cleaner on my new wood floors. Stopped because I got little white pills of wax showing up that I swept up with a broom and dustpan. Obviously the cleaner had wax in it!
    I am going to get some Endust and use it on my microfiber dust mop from now on, and just spot clean with water when I need to.

    I will be returnint my wet jet to the store!

  38. Lynn says:

    Used Swiffer wet jet with wood floor cleaner. Got white pills of what seemed to be wax. Must be wax in the cleaner. Taking back my Swiffer and just using microfiber dustmop and Endust from now on. Will use water in places where I have spots that won’t come up.

  39. Sandy says:

    Omg, Mandie, it absolutely worked! I also have dark, glossy, laminate flooring. And I have been obsessed trying to find a way to keep it clean. I unfortunately used the sprays and it left a horrible waxy build up on my floor that literally drove me crazy. Then the vinegar mixture, soap, the floor steamer, I tried everything! And today, I tried the older bath towel and scrubbed away the wax. It was exhausting, but I got my beautiful floors back, no streaks, no footprints! From now on just a damp microfiber mop, and the old towel when necessary. Thank you so much. You saved me from installing a different floor! $$$$

  40. jen says:

    not sure how well it works but found in a book to use baby shampoo in ur solution

  41. Shannon says:

    I have been using a vinegar and water solution for 7 years now on my laminate floor. It is streak free and shiny. In the beginning I tried the floor products recommended by manufactors, they all created a build-up.

  42. julie says:

    boy oh boy, i was so excited about buying a house with the whole down stairs with laminate flooring.. i was so wrong!!! i absolutely hate them!! im cleaning the floors more than im enjoying the new house. i have tried alot of things to clean the floors and the only thing that seems to work is the vinegar,alcohol and water mix. the people we bought the house from left a floor shine solution here. she treated the floors once a month.its quickshine floor finish! you can get it at walmart. but by the time u get the floors swept and mopped then shined your whole day is gone! and i see alot of spots on the floor that dont come up when mopping. actually have to get on my hands and knees to get it off.. it sucks!!! i have tryed the magic eraser and i dont recommend it. leaves a dull finish and it leaves streaks..

  43. Nellie says:

    For streak free floors: 1 quart warm water with 2-4 drops essential oil (your choice of scent). Remove microfiber mop head from mop handle, dip mop head in above solution, squeeze mop head so it is just damp before attaching it to mop handle. Be sure you have swept and vacuumed the floor well to be sure you have removed all dust and grit. Mop 6′ x 6′ sections at a time, then use an electric floor buffer with a microfiber cloth,felt pad, or sheepskin pad. Buff floor BEFORE floor dries. This will remove any residue from whatever cleaner and whatever dirt is left behind, thus leaving you without streaks. GOOD LUCK! (Whatever solution you use, the electric buffer is the answer to prevent streaks).

  44. Barb says:

    Try using I part windshield washer liquid to 2 parts water with a microfiber cloth. In a spray bottle. I put the cloth on my swifter pad.

  45. becky norris says:

    Swiffer Wet Jet appears to streak everything except ceramic tile, with it’s wide flat head, no floor is completely level so you get the hits and misses that leave streaks. Many kids, pets and contruction projects later – I put an old dish towel into the slits in my Swiffer mop (dry) spray bottle of straight white vinegar (gals brand doesn’t matter and the smell disipates taking odors with it). Mist the floor – wipe it off – change towels if necessary. During marathon cooking sessions same old towel, dropped in front of the stove, spray bottle handy to just step on it and wipe instantly. I take a dollar store string mop, give it a shorter hair cut and use that to clean corners, baseboards etc. – spray on wipe with dry mop.

  46. Patti says:

    Opps…typo. I meant Diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap

  47. Kim says:

    I use a damp mop with just plain water, the go over it with damp mop and Orange-Glo for wood floors. Works great for me.

  48. Colleen says:

    Bout a house with laminate flooring through half the house. I use vinegar, soap and water to wash the floors, we currently have a mom dog + 8 puppies. I love using the vinegar solution, no streak problems, no paw prints left over, cheap, and cuts the ammonia out so pups don’t smell it

  49. Chris says:

    I tried the water/ vinegar/ soap and dried it with a microfibres rag and it looks brand new. I had to dry the rag a couple times because I could see streaks starting, but once dry, it worked great. Thanks for the tip.

  50. Martha says:

    I fill a spray bottle with 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of pure alcohol ( from pharmacist) and 2 or 3 drops of washing up liquid, I use my swiper with absorbent cloth, spray the liquid straight on the floor, and wipe immediately, I have no streaks because the alcohol dries very fast, and it does not damage the floor, I have been using this method for quite some time now with no problems, laminate flooring should never be subject to water or any liquid for a long time, it can swell, but because you wipe the spray immediately it will do NO damage at all, I hope this helps!

  51. Bernadette says:

    I have had my Harmonics Laminate Flooring (Oak) for a year now. I was told NOT to use water on the floor because it would damage the laminate. I use Bruce laminate cleaner and I get it at Home Depot. It is a bit of a pain though. I use a microfiber to dust the entire floors. I then use my Bissel compact vacuum to go over it after I dry mop. I then start in a small area spray a bit of Bruce and go over it with a clean microfiber mop. (use one side to go over the spray and the other side to dry) I make sure I really dry it up. I have never had streaks until last week but I think I sprayed too much on one area. I have 3 microfiber cloths that I use on the mop. I wash in detergent but NEVER use dryer sheets on them. I have a cat so have hair, no kids though that may make a difference. I am going to try the vinegar with some water but I am going to spray it on and not dip the mop in water. Good luck

  52. Kim says:

    I too have dark laminate floors. I absoulutely hate them. How can I get the footprints to go away? I have tried everything but still footprints!!

  53. Cleone says:

    I make a mixture of lemon oil, vinegar and water.
    Make sure you shake it each time you spray it on the floor.
    It is easy to use and shines beautifuly.

  54. Beatrice says:

    Hi, I’ve tried everything from Swiffer Wets, Steam mop, hand washing to End Dust. What I found best is to use warm water with just a tiny amount of Mr. Clean and use a sponge mop. Then as you go, dry with a great big fluffy old bath towel. Not a spot in sight – you get a bonus workout as you rub the towel over the floors while walking around pushing the towel with your feet.

  55. Lori says:

    Holloway House has a floor cleaner product that you dilute with water and use in a spray bottle. When used with a microfiber cloth on a mop or Swiffer mop, spray and wipe- all streaks gone and it smells nice. Good for laminate floors and hardwood.
    Also, Simple Green diluted to about an ounce per spray bottle, works wonderful on getting footprints and dog drool off of hardwood floors. It takes a lot of elbow grease when mopping with a washable cloth mop head, but no streaks and it smells wonderful.
    NEVER USE FABRIC SOFTENER OR DRYER SHEETS WHEN CLEANING FLOOR CLOTHS! Also wash them with vinegar and Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda to remove ALL of the buildup on the cloths. CLEAN CLOTHS are the secret behind streak free laminate and hardwood floor shine! While mopping, change the cloth as soon as it appears dirty. Most likely you will need to change it often but it is worth it.

  56. Kathy says:

    I have had my dark cherry laminate floors though out my whole house for about 6 years now. I have a large yellow lab and two cats and a husband who plays golf often, so I clean my floors a lot! I believe I have tried everything on the market and what does the best for me is a spray bottle filled 3/4 full of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of alcohol. I take 3 microfiber cloths and attach them to a flat surface mop head similar to a swiffer. Mine is red plastic I don’t know the brand. I lay the 3 cloths evenly on top of each other and put the mop head down on the stack and use two pinch clips to hold them together. I spray the solution on the floor and mop. The floor dries instantly therefore there are no streaks. I stop after each room and flip over the microfiber cloth so I have a clean side. When finished I throw the cloths in the washer. The spray bottle lasts for a few cleanings.

  57. Tony says:

    Can anyone suggest how to get what looks like brush marks from a vacuum cleaner brush? The marks aren’t black just smeared. Any suggestions?

    • Nancy T says:

      Tony, I got rid of brush like marks on my floors by mopping my floor with boiling hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap. If your marks are due to wax cracking or the wax was scraped, the hot water removes the scratches. I used a string mop that was rung out nearly dry. You might need to wax again if you want a shiny floor. I didn’t have to but I prefer my floors to have a dull finish.

  58. Debs says:

    We have light colored laminate wood floors and about 1500 sq ft of it! I have tried every kind of mop and solution to clean them, including just spraying with plain old water and the vinegar and hot water method. Even though the vinegar and water method did leave them clean, and with a shine, it still shows every footstep from me, my husband and the cats!!! So it is not only the dark colored laminates that show every step – the light colored ones do too!!! Is there no end to seeing the footprints right after cleaning and drying the floors??? I am not about to get on my knees and do this entire place with a hand rag! (My bad knees and sciatica won’t allow that anyway). Someone, somewhere MUST have a solution – other than rip it all out and put in something else???

  59. Wendy says:

    When it was time for us to get rid of our carpet we kept going back and forth between laminate or hardwood. We ultimately went with laminate. I did not want a high shine so we went with Bruce reclaimed American chesnut, very low luster. I absolutely love it, it shows no footprints whatsoever. So when it came time to clean it I found myself on this site, I tried the 1/3 white vinegar, 1/3 water, 1/3 jet dry in a spray bottle and a swiffer sweeper with a new microfiber cloth. I sprayed the cloth not the floor and started to clean. What a huge mistake it was sticky and showed EVERY footprint I even went behind with a clean rough towel to try and buff up, still no good. I then diluted mixture with more water and I got the same results sticky and showed prints. I then took another clean microfiber cloth wet it and wrung it out completely until it was just damp. I then went over the floor again and BANG no more footprints and it wasn’t sticky anymore. I know they say water is not good but the cloth and been wrung completely it dried instantly. If you have the low luster floors I would stay away from the vinegar mixture.

  60. Cathie says:

    I have Bamboo floors through out the entire house. I take three tea bags and a full kettle of boiling water. Place the tea bags in a bucket and pour in the boiling water….let it sit till it’s just hot to the touch. Use a microfiber mop ring out till it’s just damp…mop away…dries quickly and the shine last a whole week!!

  61. Denice says:

    I used the laminate floor cleaner and it worked great! However, I put it in a device much like a Swiffer sprayer and tried to use a couple of days later and it kind of streaked on the floor. Do you suggest recreating the mixture each time you plan to use it or do you think it is OK to store the leftover and use it at a later date?

    Suggestions?

  62. Donna says:

    Remember karate kid….wipe on, wipe off! Have had laminate for 15 years and have done everything mentioned on this blog and have found no matter what you use it will only work if you do it on your hands and knees at least once a month. I have throw rugs on the traffic areas to reduce foot prints. Pet prints are unavoidable because they sweat through the pads of their feet. I have hardwood upstairs and same deal! We’re all just Cinderellas with no ball to go to!

  63. Freya says:

    I wish I had read this 12 months ago before we laid quickstep in red / bluegum in every room of the house. It is ALWAYS dirty! And its also very noisy but Im getting rugs to deal with that. The only way we found to get streak free floors was with the steam mop. DONT DO IT!!!!!!!! After steaming on a weekly basis for two months parts of the laminate are raising and chipping. we are going to have to colour it and seal it somehow. So now we are left with dirty and damaged floors. I would never buy timber laminate again.

  64. Mr. Lonnie says:

    I use about 3to4 caps of apple cider viniger because it has less acid and fill my oceder water bottle with warm water 1or2 squirts for 4 square ft dry with micro fibers towels making sure the area is dry after doing the whole floor I go back over with water but before you do this take a dry swiffer sweep and go over the floor first and change out the micro fiber towels between the viniger and water

  65. Mr. Lonnie says:

    Try white viniger instead half and half that might do the trick

  66. Melanie says:

    I have laminate all over the house too and what I find works wonder is Avon Bubble Baths. I sell Avon and thought trying it, I used murphy’s oil, and Mr. Clean with Vinegar in my water but I would see spots as soon as it dries up… But Avon BBB, I have no need to wipe down or nothing and no spots at all on the floors. I have 3 kids, 3 cats and a big dog and if it gets to a week then it’s time to wash again but the little bit of spots that shows until then is ok for me…

  67. Nancy T says:

    I mop my carpets with a string mop rung very dry. I use boiling water with a small amount of castile soap. I vacuum and mop my floors once a week on Fridays. As a result, my carpets smell wonderful and are spotless clean. The carpets are worn but acceptable despite having been laid down in 1985.

    I learned this trick from my grandmother who didn’t know better than to mop her carpets.

  68. jenny says:

    PINESOL the purple one.. U use a mircofiber cloth ,rinse underwarm water wring out real good, spray the cleaner on and mop . .I have dark african walnut laminiate and i hated my floor till i did this .. drys streak free

  69. sandra says:

    Hi Hoping you can help me please, I have just had a high gloss walnut laminated flooring put down in my living room , looks lovely but my little westie slips everywhere & I am scared he will do himself a mischief is there any product I can use to tone down the shine and make this floor less slippy?

    Looking forward to your advice .

    Sandra x

  70. Julie Cramer says:

    Thank you for posting. I am at wits end with my Pergo. I have 8 children and dogs. I keep telling them to wear clean socks but I am going to have each child receive a pair of slippers for Christmas and they will leave them at the front door. (That is the plan –hmmm.)

  71. Maureen says:

    Okay, folks, you’ve convinced me. I’ve been shopping and shopping for flooring and was going to put laminate in part of the house and hardwood in the rest. After reading your comments it sounds like I want hardwood throughout!
    Thanks!


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