Steam mops give your floor a much cleaner and sanitized finish when you are done cleaning them. One of the common questions I get from customers is whether or not it is a good idea to put vinegar in their steam mops.
White vinegar is a good cleaning agent that kills germs due to its mild acidity. You can add vinegar to your steam mop if you are cleaning tile floors, linoleum, and vinyl floors. DO NOT use vinegar in your steam cleaner if you are cleaning a hardwood floor because it will break down the chemical finish.
It is good practice to rinse out your steam mop with water after. Vinegar is an acid and if it is left in the boiler it may cause damage to the steam mop. For extra safety, fill with clean water and run some clean steam through the mop to clear the vinegar solution from the release valve and nozzles.
Truly, nothing beats a solution of water and white vinegar. It cleanses, removes germs and provides a very cheap homemade cleaning solution you can make on the go.
Benefits of Cleaning with Vinegar
White vinegar solution is acidic in nature, containing about 4 – 7% acetic acid. Some household concentrations are a little bit higher and can be used for cleaning purposes.
White vinegar at a 50/50 ratio with water can be very good at cleaning surfaces in the house including the bathroom, countertops, microwaves, coffeemakers, floors, toilets, bathtubs and even carpets.
Here are the benefits you get when you put vinegar in your steam mop:
- Vinegar gets rid of stubborn stains and buildup on floors.
- “It can dissolve away soap scum, brines left by hard water, and glue left behind by stickers.”
- The acetic acid in white vinegar is a great disinfectant and sanitizer. It will kill germs and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli from your floors.
- It also gets rid of odors from floors.
I found that diluting vinegar too much is less likely to give you the best cleaning experience. So, if your floor is something other than stone (marble) or wood, you can try to increase the concentration a little bit to get the best dirt-removing power out of your homemade cleaning solution.
Why is Vinegar Bad for Hardwood Floors?
Vinegar has many benefits for cleaning household items and floors, but may come with its own side effects on wooden floors.
Using a steam cleaner with vinegar on a hardwood floor can cause peeling, cracking, and cloudiness in the finish.
Wooden floors usually have a chemical coating on top. This is meant to protect them from damage and keep them in crisp shine. Vinegar is an acid (however mild). It will break down the finish and leave the floor looking dull and discolored.
In addition, too much water on hardwood floor will start to damage the surface gradually. Within no time, you will notice that your is warping, swelling and bulging at some points. This is very common even with steam mops, especially if you clean too frequently.
Here are tips to better clean your hardwood floor:
- Always use a solution that has a neutral pH in your steam mop to avoid damaging the floor.
- A microfiber mop on the head of your steam mop is a good pick for wood floors. It will leave it dry.
Alternative cleaning solutions
One of the best solutions you can make at home and use to clean your floors is soap and water.
…basic soap and water are most effective for truly cleaning surfaces of dirt and grime, so a homemade cleaner makes the perfect cleaning solution.
This kind of DIY solution will definitely come in handy if you do not want to add vinegar in your steam mop solution, or when an acidic solution is likely going to damage the floor.
How to Clean Vinyl Floors with Vinegar
Note that steam mops can damage vinyl plank floors because water can easily seep between the planks and weaken the glue that holds them together. If your floor is not planked, you can follow your normal procedure as usual only this time you are using a vinegar-water solution in your steam cleaner.
How to Clean Tile Floors with Vinegar
For cleaning tile floors with a steam mop, you can add vinegar to your regular solution. Here’s the recipe:
- Mix half a cup with about 1 gallon of warm water.
- Sweep your tile floor using a vacuum or a mop in order to remove any loose dirt.
- Pour the mixture into the steam mop.
- Start to clean the entire floor with the steam mop using the vinegar solution.
This will leave your porcelain floor sparkling clean with no unpleasant odors.