Laminate flooring is a very practical alternative to wood and other flooring materials, especially with the huge variety of attractive patterns and surfaces available. Easy care and maintenance are among its major draws. Cleaning laminate floors is easy, as long as homeowners follow a few simple tips. If you use the right products and take steps to avoid excess dust and dirt build-up, your laminate floors should look lovely for years.

The floor mat will trap a huge amount of dirt and keep it from getting to the floors in the first place. Shake out the rug frequently. You will see just how much has been trapped and kept from getting to the floors. This one step could reduce cleaning time greatly. Also, avoid wearing shoes with sharp heel and keep your pets’ toenails clipped. Laminate floors can scratch but this can be prevented by using common sense.

In spite of your best efforts, cleaning laminate floors will be require – as do all floors – from time to time. Try to use products which do not leave excess moisture, as the additional moisture could cause some swelling. If water is used to wipe away a stain, make sure you wipe the floor dry and there shouldn’t be a problem.

It is best to use specific product made for cleaning laminate floors and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Sometimes it may be necessary to clean the entire floor. Here are the steps to take:

1. Gather your materials. For cleaning laminate floors, these should include a vacuum, a mop, lint free cloths and a cleaning solution. Choose a cleaning solution that is specially made for your laminate flooring. Most floor installers will recommend a specific product such as Bona or Pergo when installing the floor. Others recommend vinegar and water.

2. Dust the room first. Use a lint free cloth which attracts dust. Be sure the room has been swept first and pick up any large pieces of paper, debris, etc. If necessary, use a vacuum with a brush attachment and make sure the attachment is soft and won’t scratch the flooring. Before cleaning laminate floors, start from the top of the room and clean windows, shelves and other areas where dust settles (no point in cleaning your floor if dust will fall on it immediately afterwards). Once the dust and debris is off the walls and floor, the major work is done. This preliminary work should not have taken long.

3. Next step in cleaning laminate floors is to mop the floor, using your mop and the cleaning solution. Follow the “grain” of the flooring, mopping or wiping gently, to leave a streak-free shine. While laminate flooring is not a true wood product, it may resemble wood and it is best to mop in the direction of the grain. Work slowly and carefully, using the minimum amount of moisture needed to clean the floor. It is best to start in a corner of the room furthest from the door and work back to the doorway, making sure the entire room’s floor is cleaned. While you are mopping, inspect the floor carefully to make sure that all unsightly stains are removed properly.

4. Make sure you don’t leave the floor wet after you are done mopping. You can use a dry clean cloth to dry the floor.

As an alternative to the steps above, consider also using a modern electric steam mop for cleaning laminate floors. The good thing about a steam mop is that it cleans using only steam without any chemicals, and it does not leave watery residues behind. So it really is a convenient piece of equipment.

Easy cleaning and practicality make laminate flooring a popular and sensible choice for the modern home.