Can I Steam Mop My Hardwood Floors Short Answer
The short answer is no, steam mops are not safe for real wood flooring. Steam mops are a great product for tile and vinyl flooring but the moisture they create can be very damaging for natural wood.
What Are Steam Mops?
Steam mops are a popular cleaning choice because they do not require a bucket for wringing out dirty water, they can remove tough dirt easily and reduce the need for scrubbing. Steam mops have become an extremely popular cleaning option and there are so many different kinds. There are traditional looking steam mops that have a mop head on them that can be washed. There are also steam mops that look like a vacuum and having a spinning head that cleans the surface and then performs a self-cleaning on the dock to clean the mop head. Some of these products are also called powered mops and may not produce steam but can be damaging to hardwood flooring. Many people think steam mops are ideal for all surfaces because its just water but because the steam can penetrate into your flooring, they are not ideal for homes with real wood with either penetrating oil, waterborne finish or oil-based poly hardwood floor finish.
What is Steam?
The major reason you can’t steam mop my hardwood floors. Steam is vaporized water, and the vaporized water can penetrate through your flooring finish and become trapped. When the steam gets trapped in your flooring it can cause damage. Also, wood is extremely sensitive to temperature changes and the heat from the steam mop can also cause it to stress and become damaged. Steam can cause your floor to crown or cup and the only way to remedy this is to have the flooring sanded and refinished. Wood can also become discolored is water is introduced into the grain. Engineered wood contains adhesives that can be negatively impacted by the steam and can affect the stability and structure of the flooring. If your flooring is an engineered product this damage may not be reversable. The temperature changes can cause the floor to contract and cause gapping. Laminate is generally susceptible to water damage because of the way it is constructed so its likely that steam mops are not a good choice on this flooring type either. Concrete and tile flooring are generally safe for steam mops. So the common question of “Can I Steam Mop My Hardwood Floors?” should now make more sense why it is a bad idea.
Steam Mop Manufacturers Say I can?!
Some manufacturers of steam mops say they can be used on sealed hardwood, but it is not advised by any flooring manufacturers or finish manufacturers. The joints and any scratches can be weak points that allow steam into the wood. This is true for both engineered and solid wood flooring. Some sealed products like laminate may be ok for steam mops but you will want to consult the flooring manufacturers guidelines. Bamboo is still wood flooring and should not be steam mopped.
The Ideal Way To Clean Hardwood Floors
The ideal way to clean hardwood flooring is to dust mop it or vacuum it and then use a microfiber mop head and a spray bottle to clean the floor, avoiding saturating the floor. Spot cleaning your hardwood is a great way to avoid getting the floor too wet but keeping it clean. By spot cleaning, keeping rugs at entry ways and dust mopping regularly you will rarely have to preform a full mopping of your floor and will keep your floor looking good for years to come.
So if you are wondering “Can I Steam Mop My Hardwood Floors?” you now know the answer, No!