How to Care for Laminate & Hardwood Floors

This post includes a product review, for which I was compensated with free product.  I am very choosy about the products I review, and I will always give my 100% honest opinion on the product.  I promise!

The Big White Box is getting new floors!!!  We are making excellent progress on our DIY floor install and are about 75% finished with the ground floor.  I couldn’t wait to get my sofas and rug arranged on the new living room floor this week!  I am really enjoying just looking at the beautiful laminate and seeing how it flows from room to room, even though it’s not completely finished.

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

Yes, they are LAMINATE!  I don’t think they look it, but they are!

I love these floors so much I actually WANT to clean them!  So I’ve been researching and experimenting with how best to take care of the new floors, because I know firsthand the cost and work involved in getting new flooring.  So today I’ve put together a few tips and ideas for taking great care of your laminate and hardwood floors so they will go the distance while retaining their beauty.

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

Protecting Your Floors

First tip is to keep your floors clean – duh!  Keeping your floors clean is the best way to protect them from damage, and there are a few ways to do this.  First, definitely clean up any spills immediately, especially liquid, as it will seep into the joints and bow your beautiful floor in no time.  I can’t stress this enough.  If you procrastinate, you will regret it.

If you have an ice/water dispenser on your fridge, it’s a good idea to put down a small throw rug in front to catch those sneaky ice cubes that escape from the freezer when no one is watching.  Also, a mat in front of the kitchen sink with catch drips as you wash dishes and/or load the dishwasher.

Another tip is to take your shoes off at the front door or entry point you use.  This one is going to be an adjustment for me.  It may be helpful to have a bench to sit on with baskets underneath for shoe storage, similar to the one I shared in this post.

bench 3

Here you can see the old, yucky tile floors

Lastly, you can protect your floors by using rugs in high traffic areas and entry points.  Namely, at the front door, back door and mud room or garage door, you will want to put down small rugs to catch dirt and gravel that come in from the outside.

It’s also a good idea to use large area rugs in family and dining spaces, as these tend to be high use, high traffic areas that get subjected to a lot of spills.  Many of us do a lot of eating on the sofa (you know who you are), and the floors around the sofa can get damaged if there isn’t a rug to catch spills.  A great rug pad should be used under all rugs to again, protect the floor, and also to prevent the rugs from slipping around, which can be a safety hazard, as well as just plain annoying.

I’ve got several great rug pads from Rug Pad Corner and they are really great pads.  Unlike most rug pads, they are nice and thick, so they make the floor area around the sofa much more cushy and comfortable.  I really like this feature, because I have a toddler boy that thinks its the greatest thing to run and jump on the sofa, which of course, always leads to falling off the sofa.  I feel a lot better knowing he has some cushion under him.

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

Also, the rubber backing on these things is amazing – those rugs are not going anywhere.  RugPadCorner stocks rugs for every type of flooring, including for those with radiant heat flooring, so whatever you have, they’ve got you covered.  Also, their rugs are made with natural recycled felt or natural untreated rubber, never any chemicals, glues or adhesives, and utilize only American made fibers and materials.  They are 100% American-made!

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

Lastly, they cut each rug pad to order, so if you want a pad for a 5×8′ rug that’s just a bit smaller, you can choose to have them trim it down when you order; you can really customize the size, which is great.  Head over and check out their selection and features at rugpadcorner.com.

Cleaning Your Floors

Cleaning laminate floors especially can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done your research.  Laminate these days is highly durable and scratch resistant.  One thing it’s not is water resistant.  The smallest bit of water sitting on the floor can warp the boards.  So I’m gonna put this in all caps and bold it to emphasize it’s importance:

DO NOT MOP LAMINATE FLOORS WITH REGULAR MOPS AND WATER!

The key to cleaning laminate and hardwood floors effectively, yet safely, is to use the right products with a scant amount of water.  You just want the slightest bit of dampness to pick up dirt and sticky stuff.  If you have a spot that really needs some scrubbing use a damp cloth and scrub with your hands.  Otherwise, clean the floor as follows.

Use a non-brushing vacuum such as stick vacuum to get all the dirt and food particles up; or just do it the old-fashioned way with a broom and dust pan.  Next, get a microfiber or cloth mop such as this one that I have.  Mix up your cleaning solution according to the recipe below in a spray bottle made for cleaning solutions.

Cleaning Solution:

Mix in a spray bottle:

– 32 ounces water

– 1/4 cup vinegar (2 oz)

– 10-12 drops essential oils such as lemon or orange, helps to cut the dull film that can develop after cleaning. ♥Ask me about essential oils♥

*Ratio of vinegar to water is 1:16 – use this ratio to mix in any quantity you want.

You will use this solution by spraying the mop directly, not the floor, and then using the mop to clean the floor. This is how you get just enough dampness to clean but not enough to risk any damage to your floors.  I’ve also found that if you use too much solution, you get a little film on the surface as well.  If you do get a bit of film, go back over the floor with a clean, dry mop head or even a Swiffer with a dry sweeper pad on it, to sort of buff out the film, and give a nice sparkle to your freshly cleaned floor.

Simple overview of caring for laminate and hardwood floors, including cleaning tips and a natural 3-ingredient cleaning solution.

So go ahead and try this cleaning method and let me know what you think.  Got any other tips or ideas for laminate or hardwood floors?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. JaneEllen says

    Oh yum your floors are gorgeous. Wondering why you chose such dark flooring? Thanks so much for saving many the chore of finding out correct way to clean those gorgeous floors? Enjoy them.
    We have ghastly carpet and ceramic tiles all thru our house. The tile is so cold in winter and if you drop anything on them you can count on it breaking, aaaarrrggghh.
    We bought this house (actually single wide mfg. home) already how it is. Didn’t really like it but we aren’t wealthy and live on our SS so had to be happy with what we could afford, after living in MT and then Western KY the prices here were out of reach for us. Plus we were still paying for our home in KY when we bought this place.
    Little by little we’re working on fixing house up. We’ll be living here no doubt rest of our lives and I don’t care to feel anger at having to live with “things” that I really dislike. Hopefully we’ll be taking carpet up in living room and bedroom soon to be replaced by laminate flooring. I can tolerate carpet in other 2 bedrooms that are used for crafting and sewing.
    I have several area rugs so will have something to cut the cold until I find something that suits my taste much more.
    Did you buy your living room area rug from company this post is related to? I love look of it and the edge of it has style more than other rugs similar to it. So glad I clicked on your post, always like to learn what I can, very helpful. I keep one credit card I use to get things I want for our home as that’s only way I’ll get what I want. Happy week

  2. says

    I love your floors. I think they are the same as mine.

    Saratoga ? I believe? Home Depot?

    So gorgeous and so affordable. We constantly get compliments when anyone visits our house.

  3. says

    My grandma just got some really nice laminate floors that look similar to yours. I really appreciate the tip to put a rug in front of the water and ice dispenser on the refrigerator. The grand kids often spill there, so hopefully that will keep a lot of water from getting into her floor!

  4. says

    I didn’t realize that there were so many different options available for cleaning hardwood floors and taking care of them. It is interesting to me to learn that wet spills need to be cleaned up immediately. I have always thought that it wouldn’t do much to spill something liquid on hardwood, but it makes sense that it could soak in. I think it is also important to make sure right from the beginning that your hardwood will be able to last by making sure you have it installed correctly by a professional. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. says

    Wow, I agree, your floors definitely look like real hardwood and not laminate! We have laminate and our floor definitely doesn’t look that good. I really appreciate the tips about cleaning up spills right away, though. I didn’t do that with one spill that ended up getting into a joint and now there’s some slight raising/warping in that spot.

  6. PlatinumCo says

    I love your floors. I think they are the same as mine.also jump into this link by Platinum Flooring Company is a full service hardwood flooring company, store and e-commerce site carrying solid, engineered and laminate flooring from all the best brands at affordable prices. Our catalog consists of over 8700 products from several brands, enabling us to cater to each and every home and place of business http://www.platinumflooringcompany.com/

  7. Jessica says

    Could you please respond with the information on where you purchased this laminate and the color?

  8. says

    I would never have guessed that your floors are laminate! They look absolutely beautiful. I’m glad that you pointed out the importance of only wetting down the mop when cleaning the floors and not the laminate or wood itself. The last thing you want with such beautiful floors is to damage them with too much cleaner. Thanks for the article!

  9. says

    I love laminate floors, too! They make the room look so nicely finished and fresh. Thanks for sharing tips for keeping them in their very best condition!

  10. says

    I absolutely love your floors, I can hardly believe they’re laminate! I’ve also heard that you should only use enough liquid that your floors will be damp, but will dry quickly. I’ll have to give this cleaning solution a try, so thanks for sharing.

  11. says

    Thanks for the tips on floor cleaning! Making my own solution seems like such a better option than store bought chemicals. Your floors look great! Thanks for sharing!