5 common laminate floor cleaning mistakes to avoid

Don't let simple cleaning mistakes damage an otherwise pristine floor

A dining room with wooden panelled walls and laminate floors
(Image credit: Carpet Right)

Thanks to its durability and versatility, laminate flooring has become a staple in many US homes. However, maintaining its quality over time requires more than a casual sweep. Many homeowners unknowingly make cleaning mistakes that can shorten the lifespan of these floors.

Experts agree there are certain dos and don'ts when it comes to maintaining and cleaning laminate floors. To get the job done properly it's important to avoid common pitfalls that could lead to damage or dullness.

Below, we reveal the top five cleaning mistakes to avoid when tackling this task. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors

As laminate floors are fairly delicate, there are a few methods you'll want to steer clear of to avoid unnecessarily – and accidentally – damaging them:

1. Using a steam cleaner

A dining room with light laminate floors

(Image credit: Carpetright)

'My number one rule when you clean laminate flooring is never to use a steam cleaner,' says Rhonda Wilson, Quality Lead Cleaner at FreshSpace Cleaning. 'The reason for this is that laminate floors are incredibly sensitive to heat and excess water. The heat and moisture from steam cleaners can get into the floors over time and make the edges all wonky.' 

So, what can you use as an alternative? 'Instead, grab a wet/dry vacuum. They’re great because they can switch between cleaning dry stuff like dust and pet hair and cleaning up wet messes like spilled drinks or bathroom spills,' Rhonda says. 'Just make sure to follow up with a dry pass, so everything is left nice and dry.'

2. Leaving water to gather on the floor

In a similar vein, it’s also important to address any water, coffee, or other liquid spills as quickly as possible – as leaving this to sit on top of your laminate has the potential to ruin your flooring. 

'Excess water can seep into the seams of laminate flooring, causing damage,' explains Charlie King, Founder at Greenway Carpet Cleaning Las Vegas. 'Always wipe up spills promptly to avoid this.'

3. Ignoring the manufacturers' manual

A kitchen dining room featuring white laminate floors

(Image credit: The Wood Flooring Co.)

'It’s tempting to dive straight into cleaning your floor without considering the instructions and recommendations for looking after it from the manufacturers. But it’s a mistake to skip this step in the process of caring for your laminate flooring,' explains Aaron Christensen, VP of Growth at Homeaglow.

'Laminate flooring materials can vary based on the manufacturer, so check what cleaning products are recommended for your specific floor. If you are going to substitute products, ensure that they are using a similar cleaning agent.'

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

4. Using too much product:

Director of Merchandising at Floor Coverings International Sean O’Rouke explains that using too many cleaning products on laminate floors could be as damaging as using too much water: 

'Don't use too much cleaning product on laminate flooring, as this too could have an adverse effect on its quality and the way it looks.' 

Not only could too much product leave your laminate floor looking dull, but it could also attract more dust and dirt over time, too.

5. Using certain vacuum attachments

It may not be something you've ever paid attention to, but – while vacuuming is a great way to clean your laminate floors – you should be cautious about the type of attachments you use when doing so.

When vacuuming, ensure that your canister attachments won’t damage your laminate or that your upright stick vacuum has a hard floor setting to elevate the beater bar above the floor. Using the wrong attachments could lead to scratches on your flooring.

Sometimes, the temperature and humidity of our homes can cause laminate flooring to expand and shift. Learn how to fix laminate floor gaps to ensure yours stays seamless and beautifully maintained year-round. 

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 womanandhome.com. 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.

With contributions from