How to Mop and Clean Wood, Vinyl, and Laminate Floors

Mop, rags, and cleaning supplies for wood floors

The key to keeping floors looking good is regular cleaning. A schedule that rotates light maintenance with more thorough attention keeps dirt and debris from damaging surfaces. Let’s take a look at how to clean your floors better for vinyl, wood and laminate flooring.

Sweep, Dust Mop or Vacuum Often

A mop cleaning muddy footprints off a kitchen floor, next to a white bottle of cleaning solutionShoes and pet paws track in dirt and dust from the outside, and some crumbs fall onto the floor no matter how tidy the family. All of this can scratch the surface, causing damage only replacement or refinishing will repair.

Keep brooms or dust mops throughout the house to remind you to sweep at least once a week, if not twice or three times depending on the traffic your floors get. Stash one in the pantry, another in the linen closet and so on. If you don’t already have floor mats inside and outside at all entry points, install them with a protective underpad to keep some of the dirt and debris from making its way inside. Always pick up dirt and debris before mopping to prevent scratches, too. You can also vacuum on a hard-surface setting.

Mopping Vinyl Floors

Homeowners love this type of no wax flooring because of its low cost and low maintenance. Also, this type of floor can last up to 15 years if well cared for during its lifetime.

Damp mop vinyl floors at least once a week with a solution of warm water and cleaner made for this type of flooring. Follow instruction on label for specific amounts. Rinse with water to avoid any cloudy residue from forming.

The above also works for linoleum floors if you have yet to replace them in your home.

Cleaning Wood Floors

How you clean your wood floors depends on whether or not they have been sealed. If new, ask your installer this question. If you inherited the floors, rub your finger across the surface. If a smudge appears, the floor likely has been sealed and waxed.

Sealed wood floors typically have a urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic coating. This protects them from stains and water damage. If not using a product recommended by the manufacturer, simply mix ¼ cup of mild or pH-neutral soap with water in a bucket. A solution of ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water also works for hard-to-clean floors, but switch to soap and water for regular cleaning if you find that the vinegar solution dulls your floors. Damp-mop high-traffic areas once a week and less-trafficked areas once a month. Sealed wood floors also require sanding and recoating every five to seven years.

With unsealed wood floors, you should only sweep, dust mop or vacuum regularly; do not use water on this type of floor. Strip old wax, reapply a thin coat liquid or paste wax, and buff once or twice a year. Avoid over polishing as it creates a build-up that dulls the surface.

These instructions also apply to floors treated with a penetrating seal or oil and floors with a lacquer, varnish or shellac finish.

Mopping Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring resembles wood but requires less maintenance since you do not have to polish or resurface it. Manufacturers recommend dust mopping or vacuuming with a soft brush or wood-floor attachment. Spot clean with a slightly damp mop. Manufacturers also make products for more thorough deep cleaning, and they do not recommend soap-based products because they dull the floors.

If you regularly clean and maintain your floors, they will retain their good looks for years to come no matter the material. We can help with both cleaning schedules if you do not have the time to handle these to-do tasks yourself.

For your home cleaning needs, contact the professionals at Molly Maid. Each maid services team comprises insured, licensed and uniformed housekeepers who are regularly supervised. Click here to request service in your area.