Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of that dirt and all sorts of tough stains from your floor. The question I get all the time is if you can use a steam mop on hardwood floors. So, Can you steam mop hardwood floors?
Yes, but do not use steam mops on unsealed hardwood floors. Steam exposes your wood floor to extreme heat and water. This can cause damage – warping, bending and rotting. If your floor is sealed, you can clean it with steam on the medium or low setting. We’ve done detailed reviews of steam mops for hardwood floors here.
Is a steam mop safe for wood flooring?
Using a steam mop on unsealed hardwood flooring will damage it and probably void your warranty.
Steam mops blast hot water at high pressure to remove dirt and kill germs. Even with sealed hardwood flooring, there may be openings in the seams and joints. Hot water can seep through them and cause bad smell and rot.
Pro tip: Avoid using steam mops on unsealed wood flooring. Floor cleaners, dish soap, and vinegar will dull the floor’s finish with consistent use. Wax will also leave a residue over the surface, making it attract a lot of dirt and grease.
Ensure that you do not use too much liquid or water on wooden floors. For example, vinegar can damage your floor if used too often. A steam mop will cause water to seep through the wood and dampen it.
Will a Steam Mop Damage a Hardwood Floor?
Some companies say that their steam cleaners as safe for use on hardwood floors. So, why are we telling you not to use the steam cleaner? Will it damage your floor?
Manufacturers indicate that their steam mops can be used on various hard floors, including vinyl, tile, and sealed wood. But all the tested models left residual moisture, some more than others. A wood floor that appears sealed might have crevices where water can seep in and cause damage.Consumer Reports
If you choose the wrong one, you’ll end up with a floor replacement and that level of budget on your hands. Some steam cleaners and mops come with a mechanism that allows them to dry up the existing or moisture that is left on the surface. This is why they are marketed as safe for use on wooden floors.
While this is likely to be true, I would advise that you proceed with caution. Examine your floor first to ensure that it is sealed. If your floor is not sealed or it isn’t finished, you are likely to end up damaging it when you apply a steam mop. So, the safest way is to use other means of cleaning a hardwood floor other than using a steam mop.
What Do The Experts Say?
Something I noticed over the years of my cleaning service provision is that hardwood floor associations discourage the use of water or any steam-producing machines for cleaning the floors.
In fact, I could not find any major hardwood floor manufacturer who recommends using a steam mop or a steam cleaner on their wooden floorings.
So, apart from damaging your floor, there are a few problems you’re going to run into if you insist on using a steam mop.
- You are likely to run into warranty issues if your floor gets damaged because of this method of cleaning.
- The second issue is that your floor is likely to start producing an unpleasant smell due to the overgrowth of mold.
Manufacturers of laminate floors also warn against the use of steam-producing appliances to clean their products. What options do you have?
According to the National Wood Flooring Association, You may generally use a dampened (near dry) mop to maintain a wood floor; however excessive moisture can cause damage as can steam cleaners. (Source)
Consider the following before using steam to clean hardwood floors:
- There is no manufacturer of the steam mop out there who recommends using the device on a floor that is not sealed.
- If you have a warranty with your supplier, you’ll likely render it null and void if you use one of these steam machines.
- Steam cleaning produces water in vapor form. Moisture can seep through the smallest of cracks or hairline fractures and end up sitting inside the floor.
It does not matter if you have an engineered hardwood floor because it is likely going to suffer the same problem with a steam mop as would any other wooden floor.
Best Steam Mop for Wood Floors?
Steam mops are safe for sealed hardwood floors, but you must choose a low or medium setting. You want to make sure the mop does a good job cleaning while causing very minimal damage. We’ve done detailed reviews of steam mops for hardwood floors here.
Some of my favorite top-rated picks include the following:
- Heats from plug-in to steam in just 20 seconds.
- Adjustable steam level settings.
- Kills 99. 9% of bacteria* on floors without any cleaning chemicals. (Tested on E. Coli bacterium)
- Lightweight design - only 5 lbs.
- 3 in 1 steam mop allows you to clean both on and above your floors with a fully upright steam mop, extension Wand and...
- On board tool kit allows you to carry tools while you clean grout tool, angle tool, flat scrapper tool, bristle scrub...
- Bonus tools: flat surface tool with mop pad, clothing steamer tool, bristle scrub brush for above floor multi surface...
- Swivel steering to get into tight spaces and wall mount for easy storage. For indoor use only. Cleaning Path Width: 13"
- XL water capacity
- Super-heated steam is ready in 30 seconds and provides 99.9% sanitization on hard floors with no harsh chemicals
- Three levels of Intelligent Steam Control ensure you have the right amount of steam for every cleaning job.
- Shark Steam Pocket technology provides two-sided cleaning with every pad.
How to Clean a Hardwood Floor
Cleaning hardwood floors is simple. If it is sealed, you may use a steam mop to deep clean it, remove stains and disinfect. If you have an area rug or carpet over the wood floor, use the carpet cleaning guide to get it sanitized and disinfected.
Here’s how to clean hardwood flooring without damaging it”
- Sweep the floor to remove any loose dirt and particles. You can also choose to vacuum or dry-mop it.
- Dampen your mop a little bit if your floor is coated with polyurethane. Use clean water together with a little bit of dishwashing soap.
- Wring out the excess water from the mop before running it on the floor.
- Mop in back-and-forth movements but be sure to go with the grain. This will prevent visible streaks remaining behind.
- Buff up the floor in circular motions with a microfiber cloth to remove any residue soap and excess water. This procedure will leave your floor dry and shiny.
Always use a wood floor cleaner that your manufacturer has recommended in their care guide.
One of the best ways to take care of a hardwood floor is knowing how to clean it well. Here are a few rules that will help you maintain your floor in tip-top shape.
- Do clean any spills as soon as possible. this will prevent permanent stains.
- Always use a regular mop.
- Do you use the map that is paired with a microfiber pad. Stringed mops likely to leave a lot of water on the surface.
If you are cleaning freak, avoid cleaning your floor like every other day. This will not only wear it out but possibly damage the coating on top. If you are at that point where your flowers lost its luster, ensure that you apply polish quarterly.
- Avoid using vinegar and water because vinegar, being acidic, will wear off the coating and leave the floor dull.
- Avoid soap and water. This two and any wax-based cleaner are likely to leave residue on the surface.
- Do not use steam cleaners. Do not put heat and excessive water on your floor. This is the kind of thing that causes long-term damage.
How About Deep Cleaning Hardwood Floors?
Some people will tell you that deep cleaning may require the use of a steam cleaner. However, I found that the best way to deep clean your hardwood floors to use a formula that is specifically meant for intense cleanse. Using Steam for deep cleans risks applying too much heat, damaging your floor or sealant.
One of my favorite solutions for this purpose is the Bona PowerPlus Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner. It makes it easy to loosen any type of tough buildup and get rid of it really quick.
Remember to do this kind of work in the spring or just before winter, and always use the microfiber pad for the job.
- Safe for all unwaxed, unoiled, polyurethane finished wood floors
- Oxygenated formula penetrates for a deep, powerful clean
- Solution loosens tough, heavy build-up
- Bubbling action helps lift away stubborn debris