Asked on Sep 03, 2014

Floors are looking dingy

My laminate wood floors are looking very grimy. I just swept and mopped them yesterday. I've been using about 3tbs. Murphy Oil to a pint of water in my sprayer mop, but everytime I do this they look grimy and dingy about 20 mins. afterward. Any tips on how to spruce up my floors naturally?
My dingy floors.
  41 answers
  • Shari Shari on Sep 03, 2014
    I'm afraid the Murphy's Oil is the problem. It is most likely leaving a residue that is building up and building up. My laminate is darker than yours but I've gotten the best no-streak/no-residue results with Bruce Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner that I bought at either Lowes or Home Depot in the flooring section. I just squirt a little of that on a damp mop. Also about 8 months ago I bought a steam mop for the tile and vinyl floors in my house and I occasionally use it on my laminate. It leaves all my floors squeaky clean and streak free with nothing but steam BUT you have to be very, very, very careful with a steam mop on laminate because as you probably know, too much water can be the kiss of death for laminate. My laminate is super sensitive to water. The steam mop I bought ( ) has a High, Medium and Low setting so I just QUICKLY run the mop around on the Low setting ... or ... I get the mop pad damp with the hot steam, turn the steam completely off and move the mop quickly over the laminate floors. At this point, you are going to have to find something that cuts the residue the Murphy's has left. White vinegar? Ammonia? A product like the Bruce cleaner? I don't know--you'll probably just have to experiment. This article (and the link within it to HGTV) might help you.
    • See 2 previous
    • Shari Shari on Sep 04, 2014
      @Ashley Schroeder $5.48 according to the Lowe's website (but they carry it in the store so you don't have to order it online). You don't have to use much so the spray bottle has lasted me over 4 years.¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dbruce%2Bhardwood%2Blaminate%2Bcleaner&facetInfo=
  • Shari Shari on Sep 03, 2014
    Just wanted to add that if you have other types of hard floors in your house you might want to consider buying that Bissell steam mop I linked to in the above comment. It is absolutely AWESOME! Best purchase I've made in ages. Mopping used to be my most dreaded chore but I actually find it tolerable, even enjoyable now! I don't know if I would have purchased it for laminate only because of the need to be so careful with laminate but it sure makes easy work of mopping the less water sensitive floors (tile & vinyl) I also have. If you do get a steam mop, you are going to want one that has a choice of steam levels so you can control how much steam is directed onto your laminate. That's not a feature all steam mops offer. I use the High on my tile, Medium on my vinyl, and of course, as I said, the Low (or no) steam on my laminate.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Sep 04, 2014
    You might want o use a product called QuickShine They have a cleaner ( No Bucket)and clear coat( quICK sHINE). It is recommended by several handmen and I've used it. Made my real wood floors look like brand new afTer 35 years of grit and grime and other cleaners. I tried all kinds and this worked the best. I got mine at Walmart. here is a short cut to it online.Check out all his stuff and great tips too. No I'm not part of his stuff just use it. You can call him anytime to get help too.
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    • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Sep 05, 2014
      @Sharon Well I've used it a long time and never have had that problem at all. I have real wood floors myself. Johnnie says there is no build up due to what is is made of. Are you sure we are talking about the same product. It is put out I think by Holladay house but not for sure. Go to his site and look and ask or call him for help. He has been in businees for 30+ years. By the way I just moved after 35 years and this house has all tile everywhere.So now I use steam cleaner. Yea.....
  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Sep 04, 2014
    I haven't tried it myself, but saw where someone posted on another site about using baby shampoo on her hardwoods. She said it made them look shinier. Your mileage may vary. If I had some baby shampoo handy, I would try it myself and let you know.
  • Findleyscorner Findleyscorner on Sep 04, 2014
    My daughter's floors look great she uses Bona
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Sep 04, 2014
    Be careful using a steam mop on Laminate. I use vinegar and water. damp mop using this and your floors will shine and it wont' harm the Laminate.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sue Mobley Sue Mobley on Sep 04, 2014
      @Barbara C I quit using vinegar on my laminate because it left streaks BAD.
  • Agatha, Agatha, on Sep 04, 2014
    I have had great results on all types of flooring using hot tap water, bottle lemon juice and a few drops of cooking oil. Your floors will smile back at you. I also polish my furniture with it.
  • Lisa Snodgrass Lisa Snodgrass on Sep 04, 2014
    Since we're on the subject, we just purchased 2400 sf of vinyl wood-look plank flooring in a dark grayish-blk color for our business, and it also looks dull, and in a few areas has some even duller-looking glue residue. Warm water is the primary recommendation for cleaning, but do any of you have any other suggestions? Thank you!
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Sep 04, 2014
    I use warm water about a gallon and i add 1/4 cup vinegar and less sudsy ammonia. Cleans really good. Then i simply drag my vacuum out low setting and the roller brush buffs it to a shine. Some days I just run the vacuum over it and it buffs it right up. I was told not to use steam cleaner on laminate. This is so inexpensive and small amounts of cleaner are not offensive but effective.
    • Patricia Moran Patricia Moran on Sep 04, 2014
      @Cindy tustin Vacuuming with the roller brush is a great tip. I would not have thought of that!
  • Denny Ross Denny Ross on Sep 04, 2014
    rejuvinate for floors is awesome
  • Jcw Jcw on Sep 04, 2014
    I reponded to another thread about my use of rejuvenate on floors. I just want to state to be very cautious with this product. I had used this for my cabinets and loved it. However when I used the floor product it made my floors shine, but also every mark after that showed. Even from kid's plastic toys. I tried all types of cleaning products including all natural methods mentioned on Hometalk My next step was flooring professional that said this product lays on top of the flooring and this is what is scuffing. I do have bamboo wood flooring instead of laminate, but I would certainly use in out of sight place first to test. Now my only option is to sand and refinish or new flooring.
    • See 3 previous
    • Jcw Jcw on Sep 05, 2014
      If only these floors were in my house in West Plains, I would take you up on your offer.
  • Dolores Dolores on Sep 04, 2014
    My floors were dingy, too. I called the manufacturer. They told me to use white distilled vinegar and water. That's been about 6 years ago, and my floors look shiny all the time.
    • See 2 previous
    • Ashley Schroeder Ashley Schroeder on Sep 04, 2014
      Thanks Delores, I'm going to get out my vinegar and give it a try!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 04, 2014
    Do’s Do dust-mop and vacuum your floor frequently, especially in high-traffic areas; only use a vacuum with a soft bristle brush. Do keep pets’ nails trimmed and their paws free of dirt, gravel, grease, oil, and stains. Do use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight, and rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help your floor age evenly. Do remove shoes with spiked or damaged heels before walking on floor. Do avoid exposure to water as much as possible during inclement weather. Don'ts Do not wet-mop or clean your floor with water or other liquid; for slightly damp maintenance, lightly spray laminate cleaner on a duster and wipe dry immediately. Do not use any type of cleaning machine such as spray mops, steam cleaners/mops, power cleaners or buffing machines. Do not use wax, polish, oils, soaps, detergents, shine enhancers, varnish, silicon or ammonia to clean floor. Do not use harsh cleaning aids such as steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal or scouring powders. Do not use 2-in-1 cleaners with polish that may contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss. This is the cleaning guidelines from Armstrong, I would call whoever the manufacture of your floors and tell them you have used Murphy's. The problem with Murphy's is it is a vegetable oil and putting it in your floor causes a waxy build up. And it dulls the floors. But use cleaning guidelines and the manufacture to clean your floors before you damage them. Send me the name I will even find the phone number for you, I have been in the cleaning business for a long time and have seen a lot of floors ruined by not using the right cleaners.
  • Jody Lange Jody Lange on Sep 04, 2014
    Ladies thank you for the tips. I didn't know what to use either.
  • Vanessa Thenya Bondurant Vanessa Thenya Bondurant on Sep 04, 2014
    @Cindy tustin, I wish I'd known sooner not to use a steam cleaner! My floors kept getting duller and duller. I'll try your methods this weekend. Thanks for the great info!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 04, 2014
    I have had mine down for 9 years and it looks like it was put down yesterday. I do not like a shine on floors so I picked one without a gloss. Love it. I just damp mop mine with water with one of those mops that have pads and then put a dry cloth on my mop and dry it. Every so often, I will use a wet swiffer pad to get the germs!
  • Rose Marie G Rose Marie G on Sep 04, 2014
    I spray a minimal amount of Murphy's on the floor, use the Swiffer and rub it into the floor about once a month. The floor is never slippery and the Murphy's gets rid of that lack luster look. The room also smells nice from the Murphy's.
  • Marty Miller Marty Miller on Sep 04, 2014
    Always follow manufacturers recommendations for cleaning and maintaining your flooring. You should get that info from the person you buy the floor from. If not, reputable manufacturers will have that info on their website. I've been in the flooring business for 28 years and there is no manufacturer that recommends Murphy's for their flooring. I've seen a number of wood floors whose finish was destroyed by that product.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 05, 2014
      I grown every time I see people even suggest this for floors! Thank you!
  • CK CK on Sep 04, 2014
    If your floors manufacturer doesn't recommend a specific cleaner, then vinegar/water solution is usually safest and best. Murphy's Oil Soap has oil. It will get that little bit of 'grimey' feeling on it over time that's very difficult to get rid of.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Sep 04, 2014
    I just this mixture for my laminate floor and for other cleaning uses as well. 1 cup water 1 cup vinegar 1 cup alcohol 2-3 drops dish soap (Castile, Dawn, etc.) 5 drops lavender essential oil 5 drops orange essential oil 3 drops tea tree essential oil Fine-mist spray bottle - 24ozIt looks like you are adding all these essential oils, but Ijust added one, lavender. You may usewhat you like best.
  • Corby Corby on Sep 04, 2014
    I have dark laminate and I too was noticing them getting dingy. The floors I have don't have a high gloss shine to them, I didn't want that, but they still appeared a bit more grayish then I like. I looked for several products and the one that has worked the best for me is OrangeGlo for wood floors. It says on the container not for laminate, but I have yet to understand why... my floors look amazing after using it.
    • See 3 previous
    • Corby Corby on Sep 05, 2014
      @Melissa results are available, use up and down arrow keys to navigate.MelissaWhich one? The OrangeGlo or the product from Holloway House?
  • Pat Pat on Sep 04, 2014
    I use vinegar and water....put 1/4 cup vinegar in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water. I spray about four foot by four foot at a time and then use a terry towel cover for my swifter to mop the floor (after I have swept it, of course). When done I put a dry terry cloth on my swifter and go over the floor again and it is clean and matte shiny not shiny, shiny.
  • I heard you use water on laminate use a cleaner we just had it put down and thats what they told us
  • I meant to say dont use sorry
  • Sheri Frizzell Sheri Frizzell on Sep 04, 2014
    Murphy's oil and better yet lemon juice and olive oil mix are great on hard wood floors especially old ones, but not on laminate floors. There are cleaners specifically made for laminate. Try switching to one of them.
  • Tegma Tegma on Sep 04, 2014
    I've had laminate for 8 years, and they still look new. I don't use anything but a damp sponge mop, and every few months, a "Laminate oil" sold at Lowes. Anything else is not recommended by mfg., and very little water is recommended.... Definitely not Murphy's Oil, which is only for hardwood floors.
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 05, 2014
      No it's also not for hardwood. It will also dull the finish on hardwood floors.
    • Becky Becky on Sep 08, 2014
      What was your solution? I too have laminate floors that are not shiny and I hate mine because it shows every water spot in the kitchen. What's your solution for that?
  • Katrina Smalley Katrina Smalley on Sep 05, 2014
    Is the steam temp of a steam mop hot enough to strip off the shiny coating on my real oak floor? Have no idea what it is
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 05, 2014
      Do not use a steam mop in wood floors. Your floor is protected by polyuthene the steam will etch it. And your forcing water into wood. Water damages wood flooring, When your cleaning wood floors you are cleaning the sealer which could be several different sealers. Most generally it is polyuthene. So you need to clean the sealer which protects your wood. Forcing water into the wood because it will get through causes damage. Depending in what kind of wood you have depends on how you clean it. But usually it is as simple as a damp microfiber mop. Or Bona for hard wood, exotic is Bruce's hardwood floor cleaner. Or green cleaning for really dirty floors is a drop or two of dish soap mop, rinse and dry.
  • Amy Lindstrom-Sternot Amy Lindstrom-Sternot on Sep 05, 2014
    There's an awesome product made by Rejuvenate called, "Floor ReFresher". It's great for stone, ceramic tile, hardwood, vinyl, linoleum and Terrazo. It comes in a spray bottle. Just sweep your floor clean and apply with a damp microfiber cloth. Best of all it leaves no residue and my laminate looks better then I installed it and the shine really lasts. I purchased it at my local building supply store. Home Depot or Lowe's probably sells it also. Otherwise, try your luck online-I'll never use any other product again.
    • Becky Becky on Sep 08, 2014
      I have heard of this product. There seems to be one to help rejuvenate .& then another to keep it shiny. Have you had to use both products or just the one to fill the cracks and shine it up?
  • Samof5 Samof5 on Sep 05, 2014
    The manufacturer of my laminate said to use window cleaner. Spray it on and mop with a flat duster with a removable, washable pad. I have tried that floor refresh from rejevinate. It did make my floor very shiny, however it showed lots of fine scratches from my dogs and looked horrible after a very short time. It made my floor look like it was all scratched up when it was really just in the the "wax" layer of the rejevinate. That stuff is really hard to get off too. I had to use straight ammonia and a scraper on my hands and knees to get it off. It took hours and there are still a few spots I missed that I will have to go back and redo.I do use their kitchen cabinet product and really like it.
  • Carole Carole on Sep 06, 2014
    I use a combination of 2 cups vinegar,2 cups rubbing alcohol, 1gallon of hot water and a small squirt of Dawn dish detergent (the original blue kind). I use it with a wringer mop and make sure to get as much water out of the mop as possible. My hardwoods come out shiny and beautiful and so does my vinyl flooring and the laminate in burden. Everything else I tried left water spots on my hardwoods. Try this!
  • Carole Carole on Sep 06, 2014
    Sorry that should say the laminate in our den.
  • Glenda Wolfe Glenda Wolfe on Sep 06, 2014
    The comment above that is blocked was done accidentally, was trying to open the comment and tapped 2x's. Apologies, please.
  • John Abrams John Abrams on Sep 07, 2014
    As a flooring professional I would stop using the oil soap it leaves a oily residue behind. I would start using Windex or a similar product it will not leave any residue behind.
  • Katrina Smalley Katrina Smalley on Sep 09, 2014
    Thanks for inputs, my floor is real oak and I was told it has a polyurethane coating. I will def. stay away from steam mops. I've been using a cotton mop in vinegar and water to get dirt up and finish with orange mop and glo, its beautiful when done but I've watched those steam mop demonstrations and start thinking 'my floors have inbedded dirt!' orange mop and glo ok?
  • Marty Miller Marty Miller on Sep 09, 2014
    @Katrina Smalley You should never use a product like mop & glo on a wood floor. It will build up and eventually and may become sticky. Again, consult the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 09, 2014
    What not to use on a wood floor. Murphy's, Orange Glo, steam Mops, Rejuvenate, and my biggest enemy Vinegar. When you clean wood floors you are actually cleaning the sealer that protects your wood. And when that sealer is damaged your wood floors are no longer protected. Using anyone of these products damages your flooring. It will either leave a build up which dulls the finish, steam is forced into the wood directly which will damage the finish, vinegar etches the finish, I could go on and go about how you only need to clean the finish and what happens to to after it's damaged. It's a mess. Since your floors are expensive why would you use ideas from people who know absolutely nothing about your flooring? Going directly to the manufacture is always the best bet! Secondly is going to a flooring dealer and taking pictures of your flooring and taking them. Just because it says natural does not mean it won't damage your flooring.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 26, 2014
      Use a drop or two of Dawn dish soap and rinse and dry. Eventually it will get rid of the spots. It might take a few times.
  • Shari Shari on Sep 09, 2014
    @Sherrie and everyone else who is talking about what they use on wood floors... Don't forget, the original poster of this question said she has laminate floors--not real wood. Laminate and real wood (hardwood) are NOT the same. There is a BIG difference in the two. I've never had real wood floors so I can't speak on how to best care for them but I do have laminate (which I detest with a passion) so I have some experience there. Laminate flooring basically consists of layers of pressed fiberboard with a pretty fake wood-looking top layer laminated on. To my knowledge, laminate flooring is not sealed beyond the laminating process (at least mine isn't). Most laminate flooring manufacturers say do not use any type of soap-based detergents or wax/polish based products as they can leave a dull film on the surface of laminate floors. Shine enhancers are not recommended. Abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scouring powder can scratch that fake wood-looking top layer of laminate (and once laminate is scratched, it can NOT be sanded and refinished like real hardwood floors can). Using a dust mop, broom or vacuum (with the roller brush turned off) is generally enough for routine cleaning of laminate. Too much water and laminate are a bad mix but if heavier cleaning is needed, DAMP mopping laminate occasionally with a mixture of household vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warn water) or household ammonia and water (1/3 cup ammonia to 1 gallon warm water) is recommended by some flooring manufacturers (Pergo, for instance). Using a steam mop on laminate is highly controversial but if done quickly, carefully and with a mop that allows you to chose a low steam setting, it should be no worse than damp mopping. However, with that being said, use a steam (or damp) mop at your own risk and always be on the lookout for damage from too much moisture. Many major manufacturers of laminate flooring have developed their own cleaning products for laminate. Armstrong, Shaw, Mannington, Mohawk, Pergo and Bruce all have their own laminate cleaners, just to name a few. Obviously, using one of the products specifically intended for laminate is the safest way to clean laminate and get the best results.
    • See 3 previous
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 18, 2016
      You are right! Even through I read this I see a wood finish instead of Laminate ! I am humbled!
  • S. R. Letot S. R. Letot on Sep 09, 2014
    Looks like build-up. I'd use a real detergent soap (Dawn), well-diluted, to clean that build-up off, get down to your original finish, and never touch them again with anything but Mop'n'Shine. Two friends selling their houses though they each needed to refinish. Both were taught otherwise by the real estate agent's stylist -- those floors shone like new! And now, so does mine -- a long-neglected 100 year old oak that's probably NEVER been refinished (there are areas that have almost no finish left), but even those are glowing with the Mop'n'Shine treatment!
  • Susan Meggitt Susan Meggitt on Oct 03, 2016
    Laminate flooring is not real wood and should not be cleaned with anything other than what the manufacturer recommends. Using Murphy oil soap has probably caused a film. PLEASE go to a professional in flooring and find out what to do. I would suggest trying whatever they recommend in a small area where no one will see it before doing the whole room.
  • Pat Pat on Oct 04, 2016
    I use white vinegar...about 1/4 cup in a spray bottle and filled the rest of the way up with water. I spray a little bit and then damp mop....not too much water. Then when flloor is mopped , I go over it with a dry mop. My floor looks shiny clean.