Can I Use a Steam Mop on a Bamboo Floor? NO & Here’s Why

How to Clean a Bamboo Floor Properly

Having a steam cleaner can make your sanitation work simple, fast yet thorough. If you already know the benefits of steam cleaning, then you must be excited about using it on your bamboo floor. But then you are wondering: Can I use a steam mop on a bamboo floor without damaging it?

Do Not Use Steam Mops on Bamboo Floors

You should never use a steam cleaner on a bamboo floor or any other wooden floor for that matter. Introducing steam or moisture into the wooden floor will cause it to get damaged or tear over time. Water damages the structure of the planks so you will end up with a warped and swollen floor.

The best way to take care of a bamboo floor is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and care. If you read the manual, you will notice that most suppliers will recommend that you do not use any water or steam producing appliances to clean the surface.

So, what is the exact reason for not using a steam mop on wooden floors including bamboo and hardwood surfaces?

  • Steam mops produce water in vapor form at a high pressure. This will penetrate the flooring through the plank joints.
  • Bamboo absorbs water and starts to warp.
  • Steam will also discolor a bamboo flooring.

Damage by water is usually very difficult or even sometimes impossible to repair. You might end up with a floor replacement budget on your hands if you clean using a steam mop over and over again.

We all know the benefits of steam cleaning but what alternative methods can I use to clean and sanitize my bamboo floor?

How to Clean a Bamboo Floor The Right Way

A majority of bamboo floors I have worked on come with a polyurethane gloss finish. This kind of surface is very common with hardwood floors. Similarly, you will find it on most floors that are made out of bamboo material.

So now that you already know you should not use a steam mop on your floor, what is the right way to clean it? Here are the steps you should follow:

Step 1: Sweep the floor

The first thing you want to do is to sweep the floor to remove any loose dirt such as small stones, dust etc.

Note: If you don’t sweep or vacuum first, you will end up scratching the polyurethane surface when you put pressure on the mopping sponge. This will leave your floor with scratch marks.

Step 2: Make a cleaning solution ready

In this step, you want to use a recommended bamboo floor cleaning product. Your manufacturer will most likely recommend one in their care guide. One of my favorites hardwood cleaning products that I would recommend is the Bona Ultimate Hardwood Floor Care Kit.

If you don’t have it, you can use your regular soap or Murphy’s soap. Add a little bit of it in your bucket half-full of water and stir to mix well.

Step 3: Mop lightly

Mop lightly on the surface but pay more attention to the areas where there is a lot of dirt. Do this in small circular motions, but if you like you can prefer back and forth motions.

Step 4: Rinse

After mopping the entire surface ensure that you replace the water in your bucket with clean clear water. Use it to rinse with the same circular or back and forth motions in order to get rid of any excess soap from the surface.

Step 5: Dry the surface

Ensure that you leave your floor very dry because it is important for its maintenance. I usually recommend using a microfiber towel or piece of cloth to dry up the excess water that has remained behind.

What Does Your Manufacturer Recommend?

If you do your cleaning by yourself, it is important to know what your manufacturer recommends using on the surface. Some cleaning solutions will be helpful in managing the surface.

If you are not careful you might void your warranty. Read carefully what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning and that includes the mop types as well as the cleaning solutions.

Steam cleaner manufacturers may also recommend that their devices are safe for use on wooden floors, but be very careful with this claim. Mops such as the Shark are said to be safe for cleaning coated wooden floors. However, I always advise that you follow what your floor’s manufacturer recommends.

Tips to Remember

The first thing you should avoid is using a steam cleaner on any bamboo surface.

In general, floor cleaning pads such as the Swiffer wet jet and the bona hardwood floor care kits will do just fine for your floor especially if it is coated.

Even when cleaning remember that bamboo floors scratch easily.  Therefore, ensure that you vacuum thoroughly before you even start mopping.

While most people use Murphy’s Oil Soap, I personally do not prefer it on hardwood floors because the main component is vegetable oil. Any kind of detergent or cleaning agent that contains oil is likely to leave a cloudy residue that will require extra effort to remove.

If you really need to buff for the floor, ensure that you use a microfiber cloth. This is the best way to prevent scratch marks.

I always avoid using vinegar mixed with water to clean bamboo floors the surface as well. This is because the acidity in the vinegar will destroy the finish and leave your floor looking dull.

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