What is the best way to deep clean laminate flooring without risking damage? If this is your question too, then this is a highly researched guide on whether you can use a steam mop on laminate floors.
No. Do NOT use a steam mop on laminate flooring. While a steam mop is one of the most effective ways to remove dirt, grime, spills, and all sorts of buildup, it releases steam (water) that will make the floor start to peel, swell and warp.
Can You Clean a Laminate Floor Using a Steam Mop?
It is NOT recommended to use a steam mop on laminate floors. Moisture from the steam mop can seep into the planks through cracks and cause damage. The planks will soon start to swell and warp.
Some brands of laminate flooring have a water-resistant coating. When water spills and sits on them, it does not seep through the seams into the picture layer. Still, you’ll need to wipe off any spills quickly to prevent potential damage. With these types of laminate flooring, you can use a steam mop on a low heat setting.
Best Mops for Laminate Floors
Here are 3 of the best mops for cleaning laminate floors. They include steam mops and ordinary mops.
- LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Mop Cleaning Steamer S7338 for Laminate Floor
- Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop
- Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe Steam Mop
Understand Laminate Flooring First
For proper care and maintenance, it is vital to understand the make-up of laminate.
Laminate flooring is made using melamine resin and fiber board materials at the core. These synthetic materials are then sealed together in a process called lamination. A photographic layer that resembles wood is then placed on the laminated material. At the very top is a clear protective layer. This is why your laminate flooring resembles a wooden or stone floor.
Laminate flooring is easy to install, cost effective, and durable with proper care and maintenance. Its advantages in terms of cleaning and hygiene include the following:
- Some laminate floors contain antimicrobial resin.
- The tough resin coating makes it impact and scratch resistant.
- Laminate is stain, fade and moisture resistant if sealed.
Why You Should Not Steam on Laminate
High traffic areas get scratches that gradually damage the sealant on laminate flooring. Steam mops blast dirt at high pressure. Here’s why a steam mop bad for laminate floors:
1. Steam weakens laminate sealant
Extreme heat from steam mops weakens the sealant on laminate flooring. It also breaks down the adhesive that holds the planks in place. Laminate floors may look like wood, but they are not. Those planks that click together are made of different material that is hard-pressed together.
For a steam mop to disinfect, it has to produce steam at 212 F. These are very high temperatures. Steam is very hot, and the pressure produced by the mop is enough to tear off or weaken the adhesive and joints and make the sheets to separate.
One-time use may not cause enough damage visible to you but continued use will wear off laminate flooring and cause warping. Bulging joints and areas are enough evidence your mop destroying your floor.
Signs that steam is damaging your laminate flooring include:
- A dull appearance.
Pro tip: Constant traffic, pet scratches, and furniture impacts can break the sealant. This exposes the floor to moisture and extreme heat. Place adhesive felt pads on your furniture’s feet to prevent this kind of damage.
2. Moisture can cause rot and mold
Water can seep through gaps and cracks on laminate flooring, causing damage to the picture and laminated layers.
Usually, the picture will start to fade and the floor will produce a musty smell. This is a sign that moisture is sitting inside the planks. You also risk the growth of mold when you use steam to clean laminate flooring.
3. Steam cleaning will void your warranty
Some companies such as Armstrong Flooring clearly state that their warranty does not cover damage caused by water and improper cleaning methods.
This means that even improper cleaning methods, such as using a steam cleaner that will leave or inject a lot of moisture in your flooring will void the warranty.
4. Your floor will lose its shine
Regular use of a steam mop on the floor wears off the upper coating and the shine your floor comes with when brand new.
If you stick to using a steam mop on the laminate material, the shiny finish will gradually deteriorate. You will be left with a dull floor. This is usually true with finished laminate planks that present with a glossy sheen.
Is it a sealed (waterproof) laminate floor?
Sealed laminate floors have a waterproof protective coating on top. It is clear and sometimes shiny. A regular microfiber mop is great for cleaning this type of floor. A floor cleaning solution can help with breaking down stains, dirt and grime.
If you want to deep clean and use a steam mop, ensure you use the low heat setting. This will prevent potential damage. Make sure you leave the floor free of moisture after cleaning it.
How to Clean Laminate Floors
The basic rule of cleaning laminate floors, whether sealed or not, is to keep the floor dry and free of dust, dirt, and sand particles
To determine this, you should check with your manufacturer. Whether Armstrong, Mannington Mills, Shaw, Pergo or Quick Step laminate flooring, follow these tips for the best and safe cleaning experience:
- Avoid using steam cleaners and wet cleaning mops because they will damage the floor.
- Always blot up wet spills as soon as they occur. I always use a damp cloth for this.
- If your floor has tough spots such as paint, grease etc., use acetone with a piece of cloth to remove the dirt.
- Sweep the floor often to remove any loose debris and grit.
- If you are using a vacuum, use a hard floor attachment and avoid the beater bar.
- Do not buff the floor.
I would advise that in order to better clean and care for your laminate flooring, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
What can you use to clean laminate floors?
I have had the worst experience with any cleaner that promises a shiny finish. They usually contain oil, polish or some kind of wax that will always leave a problematic film on the surface. For the best results, you can use the following cleaners:
- Bruce and Bona
- A small amount of vinegar-water solution.
- Bruce Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner
- Shaw – R2X Hard Surfaces Flooring Cleaner
(Q) Can you use Swiffer Wetjet on laminate floors?
(A) Although the manufacturer recommends it for all types of floors, I probably would not recommend using a Swiffer Wetjet on a laminate floor because it exposes your floor to water. Regular usage will eventually weaken the bonds in the pressed sheets and soon you will start to see warping and swellings on the floor.
(Q) Can you use Murphy Oil Soap on laminate floors?
(A) Yes, but only if it is well protected by a strong coating. If your floor is unfinished, avoid using soap and water on the surface because even a small drop will stain and leave a mark that will be difficult to remove. (1)
(Q) Why is a Shark Steam Mop recommended for laminate flooring?
The shark steam mop is one of the best products on the market today. However, the manufacturer recommends using it on laminate floors with care. Adjust the heat level as well as the amount of water appropriately to avoid damaging the floor. If you are not sure how to do it, do not use the Shark Steam Mop on your laminate surface. (2)
Here are cleaning tips for a laminate floor: