How to clean laminate floors to get yours sparkling

Knowing how to clean laminate floors properly isn’t difficult, but there are a couple of important rules to follow

laminate wood flooring with a wooden dining table and chairs, and a green panelled wall beyond
(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co.)

Knowing how to clean laminate floors is something households with this type of flooring should be sure to clue themselves up on. While it’s not complicated, there are a few important rules to know to ensure your floors stay in the best condition possible and avoid damaging them.

Laminate floors are surprisingly fragile and need to be maintained carefully. They are made up of layers of synthetic materials bound together by a laminating process, and because of the slightly less durable materials used in their production, cleaning laminate floors is arguably not as simple as cleaning wood floors or even tile floors. 

With the help of experts, we've rounded up the best laminate floor cleaning tips, whether you're dealing with a large spill or regular maintenance.

How To Clean Laminate Floors

Although laminate might appear to be a low-maintenance material, it can actually be easily damaged if cleaned in the wrong way. 

'Laminate floors are pretty unique,' says Rhonda Wilson, Quality Lead Cleaner over at FreshSpace Cleaning 'They’re made up of a few layers: a wear layer, a decorative layer, and a core layer. These layers are usually made of materials like high-density fiberboard and melamine resin, topped with a protective coating. So you must be careful with how you clean them.

'Using any generic floor cleaner can damage these layers, and the chemicals can eat away at the protective layer and leave behind stuff that makes it look dull,' she explains.

So what methods and products should you use when cleaning laminate floors?

Rhonda Wilson
Rhonda Wilson

Cleaning expert Rhonda Wilson is the Quality Lead Cleaner at FreshSpace Cleaning, and has been a part of the time for five years, joining in 2019. She has been in the cleaning industry more generally for 20 years, and takes great pride in making places look spotless.

1. Use Water And Paper Towels For Small Spills

A dining room with a statement feather light, green walls and laminate floors

(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co.)

When it comes to addressing any small spills or crumbs of food, cleaning a laminate floor is straightforward and doesn’t require any specific materials.

'If you want to clean up a small spill, just grab some paper towels,' Rhonda says. 'They soak up the liquid fast and stop it from spreading. Then, spray a small amount of water onto the floor via a spray bottle, wipe it with some kitchen paper towels, and you’re done.'

A small amount of water will help to lubricate the floor to make it easier to clean, and it won't cause any damage, either.

Hula Home Continuous Spray Bottle
Was $14.99, now $7.99 at Amazon 

Hula Home Continuous Spray Bottle
Was $14.99, now $7.99 at Amazon 
Use a spray bottle such as this to gently spritz your laminate floors with water and wipe clean with a paper towel or soft cloth.

2. Use A Vacuum Or Soft Brush For Daily Cleaning

Laminate floor gaps

(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Rhonda Wilson also advises running a vacuum around your laminate floors before you get onto any more intensive cleaning methods. 'Vacuuming is super important before you get into properly cleaning your laminate floor,' Rhonda tells us. 'It removes dust and any dirt, crumbs, and hair, so they don’t get spread around later on.'

In fact, skipping this step could damage your floors if you’re not careful. 'If you skip vacuuming and go straight to cleaning, you might end up scratching the floor. Dust is pretty abrasive, so you must get rid of it first. Once you’ve vacuumed, you can use any cleaning solution you like, and it’ll work much better because it can properly penetrate the floor and eliminate all the dirt and stains.'

As well as vacuuming, Charlie King, cleaning expert at Greenway Carpet Cleaning Las Vegas, explains that soft brooms or mops are ideal for maintaining laminate floors.

Opt for microfiber mops – such as Don Aslett's Microfiber Mop from QVC – or soft-bristle brooms to clean laminate floors. 'These tools effectively pick up dirt and debris without causing scratches,' says Charlie. 'While vacuuming is good for picking up lots of dirt and debris, for lightly soiled floors, sweeping works well.'

Charlie King
Charlie King

Charlie King is a cleaning expert and the founder of Greenway Carpet Cleaning Las Vegas. With decades of experience in the cleaning industry, he has garnered extensive knowledge of various cleaning techniques, including the specialized care required for laminate floors.

3. Use White Vinegar On Bigger Patches Of Dirt

For tougher, more ground-in stains or dirt, Rhonda Wilson advises utilizing one of the best and most multi-functional natural cleaning solutions – white vinegar. 

'If water alone isn’t enough to remove the spill, no worries; just mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle,' she says. 'Then, spray the solution onto the area and wipe clean with a soft, damp cloth or mop.' This should lift the stain right up, as vinegar's acidic nature helps dissolve dirt quickly and isn't damaging to laminate. 

If you don’t have cleaning vinegar to hand, Rhonda says a mild dish soap solution can work for laminate flooring, too: 'I dilute Dawn dish soap in warm water, dip a cloth, gently clean or scrub, then rinse it with clean water.'

4. Try Lemon And Baking Soda For A Better Scent

Lemons in a bowl on a wooden table

(Image credit: GettyImages)

There are a couple of alternative natural cleaning solutions that are also suitable for cleaning laminate floors, which could be a superior option if you often deal with unpleasant smells in your home, such as pet odors or food spills. 

'Lemon and baking soda can be used to tackle grime and odors; both are great for cleaning laminate floors,' Charlie King tells us. And the process is incredibly simple. 'To clean with lemon, mix fresh lemon juice with water in a 1:3 ratio, and apply the solution with a damp (not wet) cloth or mop to your laminate floors. This not only cleans and sanitizes the floor but also leaves a lovely fresh scent,' he shares.

Cleaning your flooring with baking soda is a little more complex but still very straightforward. It's best to use baking soda for specific spots on your laminate floor rather than the entire floor.

Charlie says, 'for tougher stains or odors, make a paste with baking soda and a bit of water. Apply the paste to the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub very gently with a soft brush or cloth. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth afterward.'

It’s important to be very gentle when using this method, as baking soda is slightly more abrasive than lemon or white vinegar.

JSCARLIFE Deep Scrub Cleaning Brush
Was $10.99

JSCARLIFE Deep Scrub Cleaning Brush
Was $10.99, now $9.99 at Amazon
Use a soft-bristled brush such as this to avoid damaging your floors.  

5. Use A Dedicated Laminate Floor Cleaner

It may sound obvious, but there are plenty of cleaning products out there specifically designed for laminate flooring – and these will be made up of all the right ingredients in order to avoid damaging your floors.

'If you use a cleaner made specifically for laminate floors, it’s a whole new ball game,' Rhonda Wilson says. 'They’re made to clean the floors without messing them up, keeping everything looking good as new. They’ve even got ingredients in them that help keep dust away and to stop those pesky scratches from showing up.'

For example, this Bona Multi-Surface Floor Cleaning Spray from Walmartis a great affordable option for laminate floors.

The importance of maintaining your laminate floors

laminate flooring in a child's playroom, with wood shelving unit and a children's toys

(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co.)

One of the best ways to ensure you’re keeping your laminate floors looking as smart as possible is simply to keep on top of cleaning them. 'Establish a regular cleaning schedule to prevent dirt buildup,' Charlie King suggests. 'Depending on foot traffic, aim to clean laminate floors at least once a week.'

'Building this habit can also help to prevent damage to your laminate flooring in the long run', says Aaron Christensen, Resident Cleaning Expert and VP of Growth at Homeaglow. 'Weekly sweeping or vacuuming your laminate floors will reduce possible scratches from grit and floor debris accumulating. But it’s worth remembering that if sand or dirt is often tracked in, you will need to vacuum more often.'

To ensure that your laminate floors remain in pristine condition for years to come, place doormats at entrances to minimize the amount of dirt and grit being brought indoors, and use felt pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches. 

Contributing Editor

Amy Hunt is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor primarily covering homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, commissioning and editing the homes, books and features sections of the website,

In 2019, she won the AOP Digital Journalist of the Year Award, for her work on Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine.