If you’ve ever had laminate wood floors, you know that they can be a beautiful addition to your home. But, that beauty can cut short once you see your first streaky floor. You aren’t alone, as the small grooves on the surface of your laminate flooring make this challenging. If you are at your wit’s end with your floor and need a bit of help, that’s where this article will come in handy. If you want to learn how to clean your laminate floors without streaking, check out the rest of this article.
7 Reasons Why You Have Streaky Laminate Floors
To understand how to prevent floor streaking, you first need to know of their causes. Here are seven of the most common reasons you have streaky floors:
#1: Excess Water
Modern cleaning chemicals and techniques do not need you to use bulk quantities of water. Excessive use of water can cause streaking and prevent a floor from drying. Also, try and avoid mop heads that keep a lot of water – string, and spin mops.
#2: Buildup from Cleaning Products
Using improper floor cleaners can cause a large amount of residue to be left behind. Once this residue is wet, those cleaning products move across the floor. Cleaning products that you do not lift with your mop leave behind a streaky mess.
The problem increases if you use an improper ratio of cleaning solution to the floor. Pay attention to your cleaner’s packaging when preventing this product buildup.
#3: Impurities in Your Water
When you clean your home, it is only natural for you to gather water from your tap. Local water supplies are often full of minerals and inorganic impurities. Those impurities may cause streaks.
To address this problem, you can buy distilled water or prepare it at home for free. Distilled water does not have the minerals and impurities that you have from tap water. Using filtered water options reduces the number of built-up impurities on your floor.
#4: Leftover Dirt and Footprints
Alongside minerals and old chemicals is the dirt that gets built on the flooring. The residue left behind by dirt and footprints can be difficult to remove. This residue can be as tricky as the stuff from tap water and improper cleaners. Standard mops tend to spread this dirt and oil (front footprints) around.
This is why choosing a spray mop over a string or sponge mop is an option. When you see that your pad has collected enough floor gunk, rinse them in the middle of your cleaning. The next section reminds us that this comes with its own set of challenges.
#5: Using a Dirty Mop or Dirty Water to Rinse Your Pads
After the first square of the floor, you can’t expect your mop to last through the rest of it. Even if you decide to use clean pads, cleaning the cleaner is crucial throughout your process.
As your water begins to get murky, change it out. Please don’t wait until the water gets black with gunk, as the remaining floor will keep that mess. You can say the same about switching out pads. If you wash the mop heads or pads before they get gross, your floor will show the difference.
#6: Using the Wrong Type of Cleaner
It’s easy to look at the words “floor cleaner” and snag it off the shelf, assuming it will work for everything. Laminate may be cheap to install, but they have unique requirements. As a result, you shouldn’t buy something that isn’t for laminate floors.
It would be best if you also didn’t buy cleaners that have strong chemicals. Below are a few examples of cleaner types that won’t leave behind a nice finish on your laminate floors:
- Lemon cleaners
- Pine cleaners
- Oil soap
- Ammonia-based cleaners
Using any of these has the potential to ruin your floor.
#7: Using Too Much Chemical Cleaner
If the buildup from old cleaning products can cause streaks, using too much cleaner will do the same. Check the product info sheet (on the bottle’s surface) to see the ratio they need.
When mopping, this ratio is usually per quart of water. Otherwise, spray-on cleaners mention the amount of cleaner per square footage.
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Tools You’ll Need For a Streak-Free Mopping
Now that we know the common causes for streaky flooring, we can discuss the tools. With the right tools, you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your house. Here is what you will need:
#1: A Flat Head Microfiber Mop or Microfiber Spray Mop
Your first tool for success is a flat head microfiber mop. Microfiber mops are best for cleaning laminate flooring due to their super absorbency and dirt-trapping properties.
With a flat head mop, you will have easy control over the spread of cleaning products on your floor. Be sure to choose a mop that comes with extra refill pads. These extra pads will allow you to focus on cleaning the floors.
Related: Also read the best type of mops to use on laminate wood floors.
#2: Spray Bottle
Spray bottles are necessary to provide a controlled release of cleaning solution. By getting one as part of your floor cleaning arsenal, you have much control over the level of moisture you use.
Be sure to get one with an adjustable nozzle that allows you to limit your sprays to a fine mist.
#3: Microfiber Cloth
A microfiber cloth alongside your mop will provide you a method in which to buff the floor dry. Having an option to dry the floor is critical with damp mopping. Even if you don’t do wet mopping, immediately drying the floor after wash prevents streaks.
#4: White Vinegar
White vinegar is an environmentally friendly disinfectant for any surface in your home. Because it isn’t extreme, vinegar is perfect for laminate floors. You can also use smaller ratios to clean countertops, bathrooms, and any area in your home.
You might also like: Can you use vinegar on laminate floors?
#5: Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a disinfectant that is usually in doctor’s offices, which is a good sign. It also has a neutral ph, meaning that it is not acidic. Combine that with alcohol’s fast-drying abilities, and you have an effective clean.
#6: Essential Oils
Essential oils by themselves will not provide any disinfectant benefits. Using in tandem with other cleaners provides you with a fantastic aroma. Given the wide variety of options, you have complete control of the scents in your house.
Note: If you have pets, you can avoid using essential oils in your homemade floor cleaner.
#7: Dish Soap
A kitchen floor has a high potential to become greasy. If you find yourself with this problem, a bit of dish soap in your cleaning solution can make the difference. Be sure that the soap you use has anti-grease properties, or your addition will not make a difference.
2 DIY Natural Floor Cleaners for Streak-Free Laminate Floors
You can make floor cleaners yourself with a little bit of knowledge. In this case, you have one of two choices for the most significant effectiveness. These are vinegar and water or vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Before using either of these, test the mixture in a small hidden area to gauge its effectiveness.
#1: Vinegar & Rubbing Alcohol – Disinfecting Duo
Vinegar and rubbing alcohol are two of the most potent cleaning combinations. Both provide heavy-duty disinfectant power. Vinegar provides the acidic content to break down harder stains while alcohol dissolves oily and stick grease.
In this case, we are going to assume you have a 20-ounce spray bottle. Start with the following:
- Six ounces of white vinegar
- Six ounces of rubbing alcohol
- A single squirt of grease-resistant dish soap (optional)
- Five drops of essential oil (optional)
- Fill the remaining area with distilled water.
Leave about one ounce of shaking room when combining these. If you do it right, you should have water with a mild tint of color from your essential oils or chosen dish soap. With your spray bottle, use this combination to apply a light mist to selected areas.
When using this, work in small spaces. Be sure to check your pad’s surface between areas so it isn’t too dirty. If you don’t have alcohol available, choose this secondary option:
#2: Vinegar & Water – For Everyday Light Cleaning
Vinegar already has a built-in disinfectant. Choosing this cleaning combo by itself is enough for daily use. The smell of vinegar can be a bit overpowering for some, so don’t forget the essential oils! Here’s our suggested ratio:
- About 1/3 of your bottle should be vinegar.
- The rest should be distilled water.
- You should put in five drops of essential oils for scent.
This combination is better if you need your home to have a light cleaning. Vinegar is acidic and good at handling grease. But, this combination has less deep cleaning power than option number one.
Where option number one is for detail, this second option is better for simplicity. If you are looking for a dependable everyday cleaner for your floors, this will work out.
You can also still add the dish soap, but this combination having more vinegar means it is less necessary. By testing out the mixture on dirty areas, you can know its effectiveness before moving to the floor.
Best Way to Mop Laminate Floors Without Leaving Streaks
Now that you have your tools and cleaning solution ready, we can move to the process of cleaning your floor. Follow this step-by-step process for a streak-free shine:
Step One: Remove Stains
The first step to avoiding streaks is to remove any stains before you begin. Focus on these with a 50/50 baking soda and distilled water combination. Wipe these up with a washcloth or sponge before going over the entire floor.
By doing this, you can prevent yourself from spreading the contents of this stain over your floor. Also, you avoid having your broom stuck when performing step two.
Step Two: Sweep, Vacuum, or Dry Mop the Floor
Once you take care of any of the more dire stains, you can begin to remove debris from the floor. You can do this with any of your preferred “debris collection methods.” By not doing this, you allow thicker patches of dirt and debris to spread around the floor.
Check out the best vacuums to use on laminate floors.
Step Three: Spray the Floor Cleaner onto the Mop Pad
By spraying the cleaner onto the microfiber pad, you avoid over-wetting the floor. Both extra water and cleaner can result in that streaky appearance.
Step Four: Mop Small Sections With Smooth, Even Strokes
Pay attention to the grain of the floor as you mop. You will want to mop in the same direction of the grain to avoid streaky appearances. Be slow and deliberate to ensure that the cleaner along the entire floor does not stay in one spot.
Depending on your kitchen’s size, you may split it into anywhere from four to eight sections.
Step Five: Buff (Dry) The Section Before It Air Dries
To understand the importance of buffing, think of how we clean windows. Rather than leave the window cleaner so that it dries, immediately wipe it to prevent streaks. You can say the same of the floors, as a microfiber rag will pick up any excess water or cleaning residue left behind.
Step Six: Check The Pads to See How Dirty They Are
If you have extra refill pads, this step will be much easier for you. If you don’t, rinse the dirty pads regularly during your cleaning process. If your floor looks filthy, you may need to perform these steps several times. This effort ensures you have a clean space.
When cleaning microfiber mop pads or cloths, don’t use a fabric softener or laundry sheet. These items may clog the microfiber pores. These clogs may cause them to leave behind chemical streaks. Instead, clean them with standard laundry detergent with no additives. If you have an advanced injection washing system, you can change the settings to address this. Check your washer’s owner’s manual for details on how you can do this.
If you have floors with residue built from previous chemical cleaners, they may not be easy to lift. To address this, you may need to mop many times to achieve desirable results. Do not add more water, as that may cause streaking that you want to avoid.
We hope that this tutorial was as useful for you as it was for us. With this guide of collected information, you can clean your floors without streaks. We encourage you to share your thoughts on this guide and add any more that come to mind. If you think that this can help someone else, we thank you for sharing. Thanks for reading!