So Cheap & Easy! Homemade Cleaner For Laminate Flooring

We recently had gorgeous laminate installed in our living room and I just had to take the opportunity to 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 take extra care 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).

Here’s the advice he gave me…

Directions:

  • Regularly use a soft brush attachment on the vacuum or 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 damp mop the surface. No special cleaner/fluid required!

Note: With any product you apply, make sure to lightly spray the surface and not saturate it. Once you’re done mopping, buff/dry with a soft towel.

My sister-in-law has this tried and true recipe that she finds will give a streak-free result. Is it better than the above? Well the vinegar does help cut the streaking and adds a little extra muscle.

Here’s The Recipe:

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

As you can see, no fancy ingredients required! So cheap, so easy!

Using this homemade solution for the last 7 years hasn’t affected the gloss/shine at all on her laminate and she would notice it–she’s got a very particular eye for that sort of thing.

Quick Fix: If you do find the results are streaky, 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 on the flooring 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).

This is just a heads up that checking the guide first is a good idea before rolling up your sleeves and mixing up a homemade batch or a commercial cleaner that differs from what is recommended.

Assorted Care Tips For Laminate:

  • 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 space 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. Remember to spot check first in a hidden area!
  • Clackity Clack! Keep your pet’s nails neatly trimmed (especially larger dogs). Good quality flooring should hold up fine to their abuse, but when a heavy pup gets excited and starts dancing and scooting around…surface scratches could appear which will dull or damage the finish.

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Comments

    • Bernadette
    Reply

    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

      • Tonya
      Reply

      I tried that and I don’t have any animals and I still got footprints. Oooooooooo so frustrated.

    • Kim
    Reply

    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!!

    • Cleone
    Reply

    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.

    • Beatrice
    Reply

    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.

    • Lori
    Reply

    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.

    • Kathy
    Reply

    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.

    • Tony
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      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.

    • Debs
    Reply

    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???

    • Wendy
    Reply

    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.

    • Cathie
    Reply

    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!!

    • Denice
    Reply

    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?

    • Donna
    Reply

    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!

    • Freya
    Reply

    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.

    • Mr. Lonnie
    Reply

    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

    • Mr. Lonnie
    Reply

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

    • Melanie
    Reply

    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…

    • Nancy T
    Reply

    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.

    • jenny
    Reply

    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

    • sandra
    Reply

    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

    • Julie Cramer
    Reply

    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.)

    • Maureen
    Reply

    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!

    • Mandie
    Reply

    Okay… I say this with great joy. I HATE MY FLOORS. they are terrible. I have 2 dogs and they constantly look dirty. No matter what I tried, mop I used, product I sprayed. Then 3 effing years later after I’ve long given up, I put about 2 tablespoons of baby soap into a bucket of hot hot water…. And I was amazed. No residue, they were shiny! Of course I had to do it twice to actually get them clean, but man oh man they are so oooooh shiny and pretty!

    • Sharon
    Reply

    Use the spin mop from home hardware and hot water with a little vinegar.

    • Heidi Edwards
    Reply

    I clean houses for a living and that means lots and lots of laminate flooring! Of course I cannot leave streaks on the floor for the homeowner to come home to. So this is what I use and it works fabulously! Its my go to cleaning solution for just about any surface.

    Equal parts of

    Vinegar – cleaning agent
    Rubbing Alcohol – at least 70% it dries super fast, hence no streaks. a bonus is it disinfects too!
    Water – well, its water..lol

    First I use a small shop-vac with a horse hair brush to get up all the loose dirt then I put the above solution into a spray bottle, spray a section of the floor and mop with a flat micro fiber mop. I also make sure I mop with the grain of the “wood”

    This solution also works GREAT on tile floors and shower walls!

    That’s it! I’ve used it for years and years with not ill effects!

    • Katy
    Reply

    We just had new laminate flooring installed in our house and recently a can of Minwax stain was spilled on the dining room floor!!! The spill was cleaned up, but the floor had a sticky/tacky feeling after. The person using the Minwax used mineral spirits on the area with no luck. I mopped the floor with Bona wood/laminate floor cleaner and mop with no luck. Then Pledge wipes were used with no luck (only made is slick). Does anyone out there know what can be used to remove the stickiness in that area??? The sticky area is about 3 ft. x 3 ft.

    • Lynne Thoreson
    Reply

    I have been frustrated with my laminate floors too. Had problems with streaking. I tried Swiffer products but they streak too. I found a recipe online that seems to work. First I cleaned it with a Swiffer dust mop. I used a formula of 1 gallon of warm water ,1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of alcohol. I used a spray bottle to apply a very light coating. I purchased a microfiber pad used on Bona mops. I use the microfiber pad on my swifter wet mop. The microfiber pad is bigger then the Swiffer mop but it still worked. First the heavy traffic areas streaked. I went over it a second time. My theory was there was a build up of oils from bare feet. I let it air dry. Did not have to hand dry at all. Came out beautifully. I mopped with the grain of the floor. The microfiber pad is washable and reusable.

    • jane
    Reply

    Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Perfect! No streaks with letting it air dry. Used gallon warm water, 1/4 c white vinegar, cap full dishwasher rinse agent, microfiber mop. Went over doggie footprints a couple of extra swipes. Rinsed microfiber mop and submerged in mixture and wrung it out so it was just damp. Even cleaned some areas across the grain just to test if it streaked. It didn’t. Worked like a charm! Floors look new again.

    In the past I’ve tried white vinegar and water, just about a the recommended products on the market and got poor results.

    • Lisa
    Reply

    Help!!! I just bought a house that has dark very shiny cherry laminate. (6 months old) The previous owner waxed them. Not sure with what…Argh. I can’t get it off. Tried everything. I have smears and prints everywhere. Not to mention scratches from my 3 dogs. I’ve scrubbed so much I have developed tennis elbow. I’m ready to replace it but now I’m not sure what to use. I once refinished a 100 year old house and I put 3 layers of polyurethane over the finished product. I never had streaks or scratches they were beautiful. Can you apply poly over new floors?

    I had someone suggest wood look porcelain tile but I just love the look and resale value of real wood.
    Does anyone have bamboo?

    • Michele
    Reply

    I have high gloss piano finish laminate flooring throughout the house. You can see every footprint and anything that touches it. I’ve tried many things over the years from the popular store brand to clean laminates to alcohol and mostly vinegar and water. Nothing helped the streaks until I tried Finish or Jet Dry mixed with water in my spray Reveal mop. Worked very well, with no streaks at all. I used about a cap full to 2 cups of water.

    • Karen
    Reply

    I wish I’d read all these comments before installing my laminate! If I had it to do over, I’d wouldn’t have this stuff. The idea of having to get on my hands and knees to dry this stinkin’ floor, after sweeping AND vacuuming AND mopping is ridiculous! I’ve bought several different mops and have spent a fortune on cleaners Vinegar and water leaves streaks, but at least it’s cheap. Bona is outrageously priced and leaves streaks. Bruce leaves streaks. All the cheaper products I’ve tried also leave streaks. Even hours after the floor has dried, if I walk across it, my footprints show. The floor came from Lowe’s Hardware and didn’t have a sheen to it when it was brand new. The whole thing has been a disaster for me! I called Lowe’s and was advised to use Bona floor polish. $18 for a small bottle and it did NOT work. I dried a small portion of my floor tonight with a microfiber towel. Smudged again! This floor is so time-comsuming. NEVER AGAIN will I have laminate floor!!!

    • Pam
    Reply

    HI,
    Can anyone suggest a way to get whisky white stains off a laminate floor- a few drops
    Thanks
    Pam

    • Sue ramthun
    Reply

    Oh my gosh the mixture of equal parts VINEGAR-WATER-RUBBING ALCoHOL Really Works!! I puthand towel on shoe with rubber band. Spray floors schuffle across with foot to dry. Thank you so much!!!!!

    • Marcia
    Reply

    *****Bucket of warm water & white vinegar. Period. WORKS GREAT. Been doing it for 15 years on a PERGO. Gotta wash an area & buff w/a dry cloth right away. I always do it on my hands & knees. Sorry but it takes time—not a quick & easy thing.

    • Mary
    Reply

    Been struggling with different recipes for my o cedar wet jet with microfiber pads in an effort to clean my pergo laminate flooring. Tied everything recommended and still had streaks UNTIL TODAY!!!! One of the ladies recommended 1/3 water, 1/3 vinegar and 1/3 jet dry. I am beyond thrilled! Now granted, I just finished washing it so no one (or dog) has walked on it yet…but even so, I would still see streaks and today, there are not any! I did notice one area that still has spots, probably from previous attempts to clean it, but I’m going to go over it again and see if they go away. I’ll use a clean pad on it in the next attempt. This is the first time I really liked my floors~ Thank you all for your postings! They really helped!

    • Janet
    Reply

    I just got my laminate floors. I do love them because every time I sweep im know that junk would be imbedded in my carpet. I have a matte finish so Im not looking for shine. But, the streaks are driving me mad. I used Bellawood cleaner that lumber liquidators suggested. I used my steam mop a couple of times. But still streaks. Above someone suggested a magic erase and she got negative responses. But im a huge magic eraser fan. But I’ve never tried it dry. So I did a test in a small area. I was surprised. No floor damage. No streaks and a ton of dirt came up even after I had washed the floor 3 times. Im recovering from surgery and hands and knees aren’t an option. But I remember seeing a magic eraser mop at Wal-Mart. Im off to find one. I plan to just sweep in between full cleanings. I know that wont streak.

    • Beth
    Reply

    It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one going through this! Thank you, I’m looking forward to trying these tips:)

    • marlene
    Reply

    help I listened to a friend and used the shark steam cleaner on my laminate flooring left dull so wiped down with murphy oil soap and didn’t read the instruction used full strength I have gone over it at least 10 times still smeary and showing every foot print help I have company coming ha

    • Barbara Landry
    Reply

    I had dark laminated floor installed in my living room. I use a product called laminated plus, have to go over it every day. My living room has lots of sunshine and when looking across the floor shows every footprint, also scratches and my little dog just walks over it. I hate this,Thereshould be a law against selling this product. I will need to install carpeting over it. I paid $2,000 including installation What a rip off I would advise anyone do not buy this stuff.

    • DIANA STJAMES
    Reply

    i am going crazy Margaret. I cant take these high gloss elesgo floors anymore. I should never have bought them to begin with. I have tried everything but i didnt know how badly foot and finger prints would stay on high gloss floors. I have never seen such bad floors in my life. I tried everything. One day later it looks like you never cleaned for twenty years. help me

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