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Once you have your new laminate flooring installed, it should look great and form a fine centrepiece for your room. The product will come with a warranty that will last for a number of years or even for a lifetime. But even so, that pristine new floor will not remain so forever as dirt, spillages, impacts and all manner of unforeseen events come along.
So the challenge is to ensure that your laminate floor stays looking as good as new for as long as possible. Dirt and dust can dull a once-shiny floor, with particles causing tiny scratches. The wrong chemicals can do likewise and getting the floor wet can spell trouble.
The good news is, there are many things the householder can do to keep a laminate floor in good shape. The important factor to remember is that while such a floor is relatively low-maintenance and simple to keep looking good, there are mistakes that should be avoided to prevent problems occurring.
The products to be used should not just be the chemical ones the manufacturer approves, but also items that can help with the day-to-day cleaning of the floor. For example, doormats can help by ensuring that dirt from outside is deposited where it should be, rather than walked into the house and onto the floor. Mats that can protect the floor from getting wet are another useful item.
And when the floor does get dirty, a mop and a cloth are the main tools that can be used alongside a soft broom.
Pads placed below table legs and chair castors are another practical item that can help prevent dents forming.
When cleaning laminate flooring there are a number of things to consider. These are not waterproof floors, so while any spills should be cleaned up quickly, nothing more than a damp cloth should be used – and residue dried off. Do not use a wet mop that will soak the material, as this can seep into and under the laminate, causing it to warp and lose its shape. If you do use a mop it should be slightly damp at most and the surface dried off once it is cleaned.
Secondly, the floor can suffer abrasion from the use of harsh scouring devices, so keep the scrubbing pads and similar items in the cupboard. A daily brushing with a soft-bristled broom should help keep dirt off without damaging the surface.
Also, furniture should never be pushed or dragged across the floor as this is likely to cause damage. If a minor scratch does occur, this does not mean a plank needs to be replaced, with hardware stores offering repair kits.
As laminate flooring gathers dirt over time, it will lose its original shine sooner or later. Instead of leaving the laminate flooring looking dull and dirty, homeowners should spend a little time and effort to restore the shine on their laminate flooring.
The most common kind of dirt that can be found on laminate flooring is dust and debris. Such dirt can be easily cleaned away by vacuuming or sweeping. Hard debris and small rocks should be cleaned away gently as they can scratch the laminate flooring. After the dust and debris are removed, use a cloth-strip mop to mop the floor. Many homeowners use cleaning products when they mop their laminate floors, but most of the time, using water is good enough. Put some vinegar in the water to prevent water spots from forming. Squeeze out as much water as possible when mopping, so that the floor can dry more quickly.
If cleaning and mopping do not put the shine back on the laminate flooring, it is likely that the floor is coated with residue. Residue can accumulate over time from a build up of cleaning products, and it is more difficult to remove than the usual dirt and debris. To remove residue without damaging the laminate flooring, put some vinegar on a clean cloth and wipe a small part of the floor. Keep wiping until a shiny spot is revealed under the residue. Then, continue to work on the rest of the floor until it becomes shiny again.
Some laminate floors are dull because they are old, and not much can be done to put the shine back on them. If removing the residue fails to make the laminate floor shine again, then the surface of the floor is probably worn out. In this case, a floor shiner can be used to make the floor shinier, but it will not be able to restore the original shine of the laminate surface. Applying a coat or two of floor polish can also be effective in reviving the shine.
The best way to maintain the shine on laminate flooring is to clean it regularly. Ultimately, the key is to take good care of your laminate floor. It is built to last and, if treated properly, it will.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD