Cleaning Laminate Floors Without Streaks

laminate flooring streaks | Glenn Revere

Every new product — whether it is a computer, ceiling fan, toaster, or flooring — has certain care and maintenance requirements. Manufacturers always include a “care guide” with their warranty information. When you buy new flooring — laminate, carpet, vinyl, wood, stone, or tile — read and follow these instructions. If you don’t, your new flooring won’t look its best or last as long as it should. And ignoring the care guide could void your warranty! This sounds simple, but often the care guidelines are not followed.

I was asked to inspect a laminate floor in a newly built home. The consumer complained that the floor was dirty when they moved in. She tried cleaning it, but it would not clean to her satisfaction. My job was to find out why the floor would not clean up. I have reprinted the body of my inspection report here:

Consumer Statements

Mrs. XXXX stated they had just moved in to their empty home and noticed the laminate in all three rooms was streaked and smeared. She tried unsuccessfully to clean the floors using Zep first, then a combination of 1/3 vinegar/alcohol/water.

Claim History

The floor was dirty at move-in. The consumer was unable to clean the floor.


I noticed the laminate in all three rooms was streaked across multiple boards and smeared throughout the rooms. It appears someone used an oily/waxy product to clean the floor post-installation.

Field Tests

I moistened a terry cloth towel in denatured alcohol and successfully cleaned a portion of one plank in the living room to the homeowner’s satisfaction. She wants someone to clean all of the installation now.

Manufacturer Instructions/Industry References

The Floor Care Instructions state:

“Do not use any cleaning agents containing wax, oil or polish. Left over residue will form a dull film. For tough spots, use a damp cloth or apply a little alcohol or non acetone nail polish remover onto a clean cloth, rub till spot is removed.”


Improper maintenance is site-related only.

Glenn Revere IICRC #113098

It was obvious to me that someone did not bother to read the care guide. Cleaning the laminate after installation by following the care guide instructions would have avoided this complaint.

If the care guide is not given to you after your new flooring is installed, ask for it. If the guide was lost or thrown out, it is easy to go to the manufacturer’s website and get another one. Read it, keep it where you can find it and USE it.


Who is Glenn Revere?

Glenn Revere has been a carpet expert since 1973. He’s a certified flooring inspector and the author of All About Carpets, the only book written to protect and inform you about your carpet choices, from carpet buying and carpet warranties to carpet care and maintenance. You can find him on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


Photo: Glenn Revere

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