A stylish, modern look and high durability make laminate floors a smart choice for any home. They’re perfect for the kitchen and dining room, where families spend lots of time. Laminate floors are also hardy and easy to clean—perfect for families with kids or pets. And they can withstand high traffic and significant abuse better than natural hardwood floors. But accidents do happen. Odds are your kids (or pets) will leave footmarks wherever they go.
Here’s how to keep footprints off laminate floors when things get messy.
Preventing footmarks on laminate floors
Dry or wet, marks usually show up on laminate because the material is highly reflective. Even a glint of light can reflect onto your flooring, so you need to prevent reflectivity if you want to avoid marks that stand out.
Thinner styles of laminate flooring are more reflective than those that are 1/2-inch thick. But even the thick varieties reflect more than wood or carpet. So if you want to avoid visible footmarks, choose a color and sheen level that doesn’t accentuate them.
The best way to keep footprints off laminate floors is to regularly sweep them. A broom is best for daily dusting:
- Move all furniture away from the walls.
- Sweep the floor in wide swaths, starting at the doorway.
- Brush crumbs toward the center of the room.
As you work, repeat these steps in different areas of the room.
How to clean footmarks off laminate floors?
If your kids (or pets) leave marks on the floor, you’ll eventually need to clean them. Sometimes a quick sweep will take care of things. But sometimes you’ll need a cleaner. Here’s what to use and how to use it:
Dirt and spills: Use a spray cleaner. Spray onto a soft cloth and apply to the marks. Or spray the cleaner onto the cloth and then wipe the floor.
Spit-up, baby food, and other messes: Warm water is usually all you need to get rid of these on your laminate floor. Pour a small amount of water on a cloth and use that to wipe up the mess – don’t drag the cloth over the floor.
To add a little extra shine, add a drop or two of dish soap to the water.
Hard-to-remove stains: Try a powder cleaner instead of a liquid one. Pick up residue before applying the powder and after wiping down the floor; otherwise, you’ll create a sticky mess. After you’ve wiped down the floor with the powder cleaner, use warm water to rinse away the residue and the stains.
How to prevent footprints and other marks on laminate floors
There are steps you can take to prevent footmarks and other marks in the first place. Here’s how:
Use a doormat at the entrance to your home to trap dirt, debris, and liquids before they can reach your flooring.
Keep your shoes off before entering the house. This step alone will prevent many marks on laminate floors and other flooring types.
Put rugs near entrances.
Rugs near doorways not only add warmth and style, but they can help keep dirt and debris from traveling across your floor. Choose a color that complements your floors and place your rugs where people usually track in dirt.
Choose soft rugs.
Carpet definitely has its advantages; it’s soft, it’s comfortable, and it can add warmth to a room. If you don’t want to go the carpet route, consider a rug with a padded surface. Memory foam is becoming popular in housewares because of its comfort and durability.
Keep pets off the floor.
It’s hard to keep pets off of anything when they’re in the mood to curl up anywhere. But you can try! Put pet beds near where they like to sleep, so they can rest on those instead of your floor.
Who doesn’t like company? But if you have a lot of visitors coming to your house, you’re more likely to have footprints on your laminate floor. If you can limit the number of people who come into your home, you’ll have less dirt and damage.
Use the right tools to clean.
Vacuum or sweep with a dust mop or scrub brush on a regular basis to remove dirt and debris that can leave marks and stains.
These steps will also keep your flooring looking its best year after year.
Tips for immediately cleaning footmarks off laminate floors
Crumb-free and dust-free doesn’t mean mark-free. Kids and pets often step in something that’s more than just crumbs. When that happens, you need an instant solution to clean footmarks off laminate floors.
Dried food is easier to remove than fresh sauce or gravy, but both will stain your flooring if not treated immediately.
Bait your kids and pets into helping by telling them it’s a game: Whose foot can fit inside the mark? That should make it easier for them to stand in the spot you need to treat.
Then take these steps:
- Vacuum to remove as much debris and dirt as you can.
- Soak up any liquid with paper towels or a rag.
- If the mark is still visible, spray it with a light, odorless soap or cleaner such as Formula 2000. This approach works for other stains, too: Try hair remover for pet stains, urine, and blood; nail polish remover for paint; and bathroom cleaner for dirt and grime.
- Focus on the edges first, then work toward the middle, so you don’t spread the stain while scrubbing.
- Let the solution sit for 15 minutes or longer, then wash or rinse away the solution and inspect the flooring to see if the mark is still visible.
If the mark is still visible, repeat the steps above until it’s gone.
Prevent footmarks with coir doormats
When shopping for a doormat to help you prevent footmarks, look for one made of coir. This natural fiber absorbs moisture and dirt, helping to keep it off your laminate flooring.
Coir doormats come in a variety of styles, from simple to elegant. Select one that fits your home’s design. Then position it at the door everyone uses most. Your feet will get used to stepping on it, and you’ll reduce footprints — and the chances of stepping in something yucky.
Why do the footmarks appear on laminate flooring?
Laminate is a man-made material composed of several layers and a protective finish or coating. Footmarks occur when skin, dirt, and moisture penetrate that coating.
The coating that finishes the floor protects the layers beneath it from damage and moisture. But carboxymethyl cellulose is soluble in water — and human skin can contain up to 60 percent water. Hence, the skin moisture easily penetrates the protective coating, causing the underlying layers to swell.
This swelled material can’t expand through the layers above it, so it breaks through to the surface. That’s when you see the footprint marks.
How long does it take to clean laminate footmarks?
It can take 30 minutes or longer to clean footmarks depending on their size and depth. Typically, you’ll need to use a damp cloth or wipe, then rinse or wash the solution away. Then you’ll inspect to see if the mark is still visible. You may need to repeat the steps.
Follow these tips to keep your new laminate flooring looking great for years to come.