Can I Use a Steam Mop On a Vinyl Floor?

Vinyl flooring has come a long way. It used to be that peel-and-stick stuff. Today, it comes in the form of planks that easily click together, making their installation and replacement easy. But what about cleaning? Can you clean a vinyl floor using a steam mop?

Do NOT clean a vinyl floor using a steam mop or a steam cleaner. Even though the PVC material is waterproof, steam can easily penetrate the floor through the grooves and cause damage. The intense heat can also damage the planks forcing them to bend and warp along the edges. If your floor has a nice shiny finish to it, using a steam mop will leave it looking dull.

Steam Mops Damage Vinyl Planks

Do steam mops damage vinyl floors? Steam cleaning comes with a lot of benefits of course. The process is super fast and results appealing. Before you get down with your favorite steam mop to clean vinyl floor, you must understand how the material was made and what damage steam can do to it.

    • Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are 100% synthetic. They are made of plastic material and may be coated with a polyurethane surface.
    • There is no doubt this type of material is waterproof and also heat resistant to a certain degree.
  • There are two types of vinyl floors: Those where the planks are stuck onto the core with glue and those that click together and float. Each of these leaves visible lines and seams where they are joined.

Although vinyl planks are cost-effective, they not do very well and extreme pressure especially when you place heavy loads on them. They may also do poorly when exposed to extremely high temperatures.

The danger with any kind of flooring that is clicked in places these days is that when standing water is left on the floor long enough for it to seep through the seams and down into the core. This will start to produce an unusual smell in your house.

The major problem with steam cleaning vinyl floor is that the plastic material will get damaged by the extreme heat produced by a steam mop machine. If the planks were put together using glue, they will start to get loose and bend. You may also not like the smell the plastic produces when you expose it to extreme heat.

“…colors can fade with exposure to too much direct sunlight and floors can be damaged by extreme temperatures.”Home Advisor

Precautions for Vinyl Floors

One of my customers once asked me why manufacturers of steam cleaners and mops such as Shark and Bissell recommend using steam to clean vinyl floors.

Shark steam mops are tailor-made for this type of flooring, as the only thing needed to bring the original shine back to it is the power of Shark’s intelligent steam distribution system.Shark

When used correctly, you can avoid or significantly minimize the damage steam cleaning can cause on vinyl planks. Consider the following tips when using steam to clean a vinyl floor.

  1. Steam at half-power

If you have to use steam to clean vinyl planks, ensure that you set the steam cleaning machine to half the power in order to reduce heat exposure. This is to prevent the glue from melting and the planks from bending.

Therefore, choose a steam mop machine that comes with variable settings. An example is the Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop. Set it to a low temperature to prevent damage.

  1. Clean Lightly

Now with the right steam mop, ensure that you choose a lighter cleaning method. Do not set it to this scrub mode because it may damage the coating on the planks.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth or mop

Try to prevent direct contact between the steam and the vinyl plank flooring. You can do this by using a microfiber clothing or towel on the head of the mop.

How to Clean Vinyl Flooring

Even with all the above precautions, I would not recommend using steam to clean your wooden or vinyl floor. There are so many risks involved including voiding your warranty. But now that you know that, what is the best way to clean? Here are safe steps to follow to clean your vinyl floor.

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor profile to remove any loose dirt, stones or sand. If you prefer using the vacuum, ensure that you remove the beater bar to prevent scratching the surface.
  2. Put warm water in a bucket and mix it with a little bit of soap. You can alternatively use a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water.
  3. Dip your mop into the bucket, and wring it to remove excess water.
  4. Mop the floor as usual.
  5. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the floor and remove any water and soap that may cause the surface to be slippery.

In order to get the best out of your floor ensure that you maintain it properly in between cleans. You will hardly have the need to deep clean it or use a steam mop in scrub mode. The easiest way to do this is to sweep it every day.

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