Steam mopping is quite an easy cleaning solution for many people. It is convenient to steam mop as well as effective in cleaning. Releasing warm steam, it loosens the dirt and disinfects the floor effortlessly. However, many ask about its compatibility with hardwood floors.
A steam mop is not good for hardwood floors. It can contribute to severe damage to the hardwood flooring. As hardwood flooring is sensitive to water and temperature, steam mopping is highly harmful to hardwood flooring.
On that note, I would discuss A to Z about steam mopping hardwood floors: its disadvantages, and suggest some alternatives for hardwood floor cleaning. So do stay with me and learn the matter closely.
Reasons Why Steam Mop Is Not Good For Hardwood Flooring
It may seem like steam mopping is just cleaning with warm water. But the mechanism is not as simple as it sounds. It can severely affect the hardwood floor. But why? Steam mopping a hardwood floor is not favorable for two major reasons.
- Hardwood Is Not Moisture-resistant
Hardwood flooring is not moisture-resistant. But steam mopping cleans the flooring by releasing steam (moisture) to the floor. This moisture eventually saturates the layers of hardwood. This would slowly distort and discolor the hardwood flooring since it is not moisture-resistant.
- Hardwood Can’t Bear Sudden Temperature Change
Releasing steam means there is a sudden fluctuation in temperature. The mixture of extreme temperature and moisture naturally destroys the shape of the wood. This happens as hardwood expands and contracts to cause distortion. The change in this temperature is very harmful.
Where to Use Steam Mop? [4 Recommended Places]
Generally, steam mopping is very risky for hardwood flooring. It has potential risks, and you should find an alternative to steam mopping as it is hard to be so cautious during regular cleaning.
Here are the recommended places to use a steam mop.
1. Vinyl Flooring:
Vinyl is pretty non-porous and highly durable. So steam mopping can’t damage vinyl flooring. Rather steam mop would deep-clean the vinyl flooring removing dirt and marks.
2. Linoleum Tiles:
Linoleum tiles are similar to vinyl flooring except that they are eco-friendly. Linoleum is water-resistant and can bear steam mopping. Steam mop neatly cleans linoleum without any hassle.
3. Ceramic Flooring:
Ceramic flooring is sturdy and non-porous. It has excellent water resistance capability. This is why a steam mop is less harmful. Instead, it would give a perfect cleaning to the ceramic floor.
Most laminate sheets are thick and water-resistant. If the laminate is water-resistant, you can steam mop the flooring. Have a look at the manual to see if the mop suits laminate floors or not.
Be careful of the brands that claim to be suitable for hardwood flooring. Please don’t blindly trust them as there is no authentic authority who says that steam mopping hardwood flooring is safe. Read the manual first to see the conditions for steam mopping the hardwood floor.
However, you must avoid steam mopping to stay away from the potential risks.
Why Not Clean Hardwood Floors With Steam Mop: The Risk Factors
Who doesn’t know that water is an enemy for wood floors? This is where the problem appears with steam cleaning the hardwood floor. A steam mop’s cleaning process involves the steam penetrating the flooring and profoundly cleaning the surface. Here are a few risk factors why you should not clean hardwood floors with a steam mop:
The temperature fluctuation during steam mopping can warp the hardwood flooring gradually, causing distortion. The shape of the planks gets distorted, so you may need to replace the floor ultimately.
As water seeps down, the moisture from it slowly discolors and fades away the shade of the hardwood floor. A discolored flooring needs to be replaced or colored.
Excess moisture is a good condition for mold growth. As moisture gets locked, it, therefore, causes mold growth. Mold makes the flooring unhygienic and unhealthy.
Constant moisture exposure often makes the hardwood floor damp and slippery. This is a massive risk with a home having children and older adults.
It is super risky to steam mop the hardwood flooring when massive risks are involved. So you better skip it!
Alternative To Steam Mop Hardwood Floors
If you want to clean the hardwood floor deep, you should find an alternative to a steam mop. See, steam mopping is not the only effective cleaning way. The other options work pretty well, and they are fundamental!
Here are three alternatives to steam mopping hardwood flooring:
1. Traditional Mop:
Instead of steam mopping the hardwood floor, you can use a simple traditional mop and a wood cleaner to clean the floor. Wood cleaners are designed for hardwood flooring, which won’t harm it. Similarly, a conventional mop does a fairly good job using wood cleaners.
2. Spray Mop:
A spray mop is an advanced technology in which the mop directly sprays a cleaning solution on the floor. The mop head rubs the floor softly yet thoroughly to clean the hardwood. Use a suitable solution with a spray mop to clean the floor effortlessly.
3. Detergent And Water:
A very traditional yet effective cleaning method is to mop the floor with detergent and water. If you do this thrice a week, the wood floor will stay intact and clean. There is no extra cleaning required in this case. Instead of steam mopping the hardwood floor, you can use any of these methods.
3 Precautions For Cleaning Hardwood Floors With A Steam Mop
We don’t recommend using a steam mop on hardwood flooring. But if you still do so, you should be careful. As steam mopping tends to release moisture deep down the surface, you need to prevent it to ensure that the wood is intact.
Two precautions before steam mopping a hardwood flooring are:
1. Seal Hardwood Every Two Years:
You need to seal hardwood flooring every two years. You have no chance of preventing damage to the flooring if the flooring is not sealed and the seal is not intact. The steam mopping can only keep the floor in good condition if it is closed, as the sealant prevents the moisture from seeping to the core.
2. Check The Seal Before Mopping:
Even if the flooring is sealed, you must check that the sealant is working. Pour a few drops of water on an area on the hardwood floor, and if it gets soaked, the adhesive is poor. If you see that the water is not seeping through for 5 minutes, then the sealant is working.
3. Use Wood Cleaner:
If you steam mop the hardwood, try using an appropriate wood cleaning solution that won’t immediately harm the floor. If there is a saturation of wood cleaner, it would be less harmful than moisture saturation. So it is better to use a wood cleaning solution than plain water. Please consider these precautions to safely steam mop the hardwood flooring.
Is A Steam Mop Safe For Hardwood Floors?
Steam mopping is not safe for hardwood floors as it pushes moisture to the core for deep cleaning. When this happens, the temperature and moisture tend to destroy the shape and color of the hardwood. Hardwood expands and collapses due to the heat and steam causing distortion.
So steam mopping can cause long-term damage to hardwood floors. It is better to avoid it completely as it is not at all safe.
Are Steaming Floors Better Than Mopping?
If not talking about hardwood flooring, steaming the floors is more convenient and super effective than mopping. With a simple steam mop over the surface, you can deep clean the flooring and disinfect the surface. So it is faster than mopping as well as easy to do.
However, not all flooring, including hardwood flooring, is suitable for steam mopping. Steam flooring can cause severe damage to hardwood flooring and other porous floors.
Why Shouldn’t You Use A Steam Mop On Hardwood Floors?
Most types of floors are suitable for steam mopping. But don’t even take the risk of steam mopping hardwood flooring. Steam mopping is not designed for wood flooring. This is because if the steam seeps in, it would distort the shape and discolor the flooring. This would cause long-term damage.
Unless the flooring is certified for steam mopping, you should avoid steam mopping the hardwood floor. You may steam mop only if the floor is properly sealed.
What Kind Of Mop Do You Use On Hardwood Floors?
Hardwood floors are sensitive to dirt and scratches. So you should always use a soft cloth or microfiber cloth for mopping the floor. Use a suitable cleaning solution like Swiffer Sweeper 2-in-1 mops that are nicely compatible with hardwood flooring and use a smooth and gentle mop head on the surface.
Avoid using abrasive cleaners or steam mops. Any gentle cleaner and a soft mop head would do the job.
Can You Use A Steam Mop On Engineered Hardwood?
Steam cleaning is not suitable for engineered hardwood. Though it doesn’t damage the wood layers, it does loosen the adhesive. So when the surface is steamed, the temperature affects the adhesive bonding. This causes the layers of wood strips to move apart.
Steam mopping is, therefore, not good for engineered hardwood. It would loosen the adhesive and damage the wood. It would reduce the longevity and durability of the engineered hardwood floor.
How Often Should You Mop Hardwood Floors?
Loose dirt can scratch hardwood flooring. So mopping is an effective way to remove dirt, sanitize the surface, and keep up the gloss. Ideally, you should mop hardwood floors at least once or twice a week to maintain their condition and protect it from damage.
Besides, you must vacuum and sweep the floor every day. Otherwise, the dirt can scratch the hardwood. Also, clean the spills immediately. Consider sealing the floor once a year for protection.
Can You Put Vinegar In A Steam Mop While Mopping Hardwood Floors?
If the hardwood floor is sealed and intact, you may steam mop the flooring with a vinegar solution as it deeply cleanses and disinfects the surface. Make sure the vinegar solution is mild and not too concentrated. After steam mopping with vinegar, please dry the flooring properly to remove the residues.
However, it is best not to steam mop the hardwood floor. Rather use a mild detergent and a regular mop to keep the hardwood floor intact and protected.
Don’t risk the longevity and glamor of your hardwood flooring by steam mopping. A steam mop is not suitable for hardwood floors; use alternatives that deeply cleanse the surface. If you want to steam mop, take my tip on steam mopping mentioned above and be cautious!
Remember to keep that stunning hardwood flooring protected, okay?