If you want a short answer without any explanation to the question of whether you should or can use a steam mop on a hardwood floor, I’d say yes. However, there are some severe consequences of doing that depending on what you’ve got on your plate. So, I would highly recommend you to go through everything I’m going to mention below.
Whenever timber is used for flooring, either aesthetically or structurally, this flooring is called wood flooring. The hardwood flooring also looks very luxurious and gives a magnificent appearance to your home. Solid wood floors are very common and widespread, as well as clear in terms of cost.
No doubt that the wood flooring looks very nice, but it is also a chore to clean the wood flooring correctly and without damaging it. You can clean the floors in a variety of ways, but for your ease, there are different kinds of steam cleaners available in the market, which are designed especially to clean your hardwood flooring. Hardwood naturally tends to be an absorptive material and absorbs a lot of moisture. Also, such excessive exposure of hardwood floors can cause twisting, plumping, or mold growth.
A steam cleaner is designed to use water and heat it into vapors, which we call steam, to disinfect and clean the surface of the floor. The vapors are very good at disinfecting the surface of floors. These can also reach the crevices and cracks to kill bacteria and germs. But when we use steam on a hardwood floor, it is a danger that can harm your floor in the future.
Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floor
There are a lot of companies in the market out there that claim that their cleaning machines can provide a safer cleaning for the hardwood flooring. The principle these companies define that work in the background is that these special cleaners have a built-in function that is able to wipe up the excess of the moisture as these are moved along on the floor. Absorbing excessive water vapors and thus supposedly leaving your hardwood floor completely dry.
The things to be noticed include the literature of these machines, which clearly states that the floors should be sealed properly so that the tools are marked safe to be used on them. However, despite these machines to be existing in the market and their claims. All of the associations that are related to the wooden flooring agree that the cleaning machines that incorporate steam for cleaning should not be used for hard floor surfaces. You would not be able to find even a single wood dealer that would encourage you to use steam-machines for your hardwood floors.
What if You Use Steam Cleaner
However, every steam cleaner comes with a warning that you are supposed to make sure that the seal of your floor is intact before using these to clean your wood floors. Now here is a tip to check the durability and thickness of the seal that has been covering the surface of your hardwood floor. To do this test, take a small amount of water and drop it onto the surface of your wooden floor. If water tends to bead up almost immediately, then you should be glad that the seal is good and nicely intact, and the floor could not be penetrated.
On the other hand, if water sinks into the wood or tends to spread outwards, then you must know that your floors’ seal has been compromised and you should reapply it. The seal finishes when it is more thick means that it is more durable. This tends to gather that your floor would be more resistant to the damage that may be caused by steam cleaning. Moreover, it is another important point to notice that the seals’ quality can vary from one location to the other across your entire flooring. So you are advised to test your floors in many different locations to make sure of overall integrity.
Some Major Problems ( Can Occur )
The steam on its own can present unique problems to the hardwood. Water has a comparatively, thicker substance. On the other hand, steam tends to be really thin and light, so there are chances that the steam can even penetrate fractures as small as hairline on the surface of the wooden floor. There is a chance that steam moves down the side of the planks of hardwood and attacks your floor from everywhere, where it is at a vincible angle. Now, after a while, when these vapors cool down and condense back into the liquid state, this water in moisture form can damage the fibers of your wood floor.
Even when you can see that the wooden planks are sealed perfectly to protect against the penetration of moisture, the seam between them can prove to be vincible. Initially, the seams are sealed when there is the application of the sealers at the top. As the wooden planks creek during the time and with use, these can also contract or shift. Also, there are chances that the sealants would get cracked. Thus, this allows the moisture to attack the floor from the underside and also penetrate deep from the top.
Mostly, the hardwood flooring comes along the warranty provided by retailers and manufacturers. This warranty will clearly outline that for how long the desired floor would last under the normal conditions of usage and guarantee. They also clearly state the condition of replacement if your floor gets some problems related to structure. These warranty conditions also bluntly state that with which acts and conditions would act as a void to their policy. So you are advised to carefully check and determine whether steam cleaning is protected or not for your stated floors’ warranty.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring includes those products that are fabricated materials typically made by taking thinner layers of the real wooden planks and then adhering these planks together to form a backing filler. Now a clear wear layer is taken, and it is placed over the whole surface, and this is meant to protect that thinner layer of hardwood from any potential damage. The advantage of this layer is that it forms an additional layer that is durable, hard, and easy to clean. This layer also serves to preserve the overlook of your natural wooden floor.
Moreover, this engineered hardwood floor is more recommended over solid hardwood because it is considerably more affordable and also looks nicer. However, the engineered hard floor still is vulnerable to the same problems in the context of steam cleaners. These engineered floors have a wear layer that is meant to protect the surface at the top of the floors.
Furthermore, the steam can deteriorate the adhesive layers that are meant to keep the parts together, so the potential problem is even worse when talking about the engineered hardwood flooring.
Vinyl Hardwood Floors
Vinyl hardwood flooring also provides you with an excellent option if you have pets and often face accidents. Additionally, it is more durable, and you can apply it as a subfloor with any type of the thicker floor. Also, vinyl is designed to mimic the colors, designs, and even texture of the wooden planks just the same as found in natural wood.
Furthermore, it is an entirely man-made material but is very good at mimicking the actual appearance of hardwood, which is waterproof and can also be best suited for bathrooms and kitchens. The good thing about vinyl flooring is that it is invincible to the harm that can be caused by moisture, and you can freely clean it by using a steaming cleaner safely. By getting vinyl hardwood floors for your home, you can get a two in one benefit. That is, you can have a luxury looking floor with spending much to get real wooden floors, and secondly, you can clean it with ease without worrying about damaging it.
I hope this guide clears your doubts about using a top steam mop on the hardwood floor as well as allows you to figure out what would be the best approach to go forward with depending on the type of flooring you’ve got. Also, if you want to get excellent steam mops for tiles or finest floor polish for hardwood floors, do check our linked guides. In case you still have any doubts or would like to share your experience, don’t hesitate to comment below.