Hardwood floors offer some great benefits including ease of maintenance, a classic look, and long-term durability. Of course, every hardwood floor will inevitably get grimy and dirty; this is when you might be tempted to use a steam mop to wash it. In this article, not only are you going to learn whether or not you can clean your floors with a steam mop, you’re going to learn what great solutions there are for cleaning hardwood floors.
Can you use a steam mop on hardwood floors?
Quick answer: No, you should never use a steam mop/cleaner on hardwood flooring. Even if you have tried it and it seemed fine, damage will accumulate within a few uses, though often within the first use. The heat will damage the finish and the steam penetrates the wood surface easier than water or a cleaning solution.
You Might Want to Look at Another Solution
Hardwood floors may look great but they can pick up mud, dust, and debris that can make them look dull. This is when you’ll want to clean them but even though steam mops may be great on vinyl flooring, you shouldn’t use one on hardwood flooring.
That’s the short answer but this is why you shouldn’t: steam mops use hot water and vapour to clean and this can warp wood, cause it to become mouldy, and even discolor the urethane surface layer.
Wood is absorbent by nature and the water will certainly penetrate and damage hardwax-oiled floors. Even those that are polished and have a urethane top layer can be damaged by the vapour and water. The water can also get into the cracks between the floorboards and this likely will not have any urethane layer protecting it. This is when the water can easily penetrate the wood and warp, twist, and cause it to become mouldy.
Of course, some steam mops are advertised as being hardwood-floor friendly but you should always be sceptical about this. These hardwood-friendly mops are supposed to absorb the excess water after cleaning but how can you really be sure that they are going to do this effectively?
What About Your Warranty?
Many people have hardwood flooring professionally installed. This means that the installer may have provided a warranty. However, cleaning it with something such as a steam mop can void the warranty if it becomes damaged as a result. If you’ve spent your hard-earned dollars on having a hardwood floor installed, do you really want to jeopardize your warranty by using a steam mop to clean it?
How Should You Clean it?
If you have a dirty hardwood floor and you need to clean it without damaging it, what can you do to ensure that your warranty isn’t voided? Here are some options to consider:
● Sweep with a Brush: Ideally, you should brush your hardwood floor lightly every few days if you can. This will help to eliminate most of the dust and debris and will ensure that you don’t need to do a deeper clean too often. Taking a conservative approach such as this to your hardwood floor is ideal.
● Vacuum: Lot of people do use a vacuum on their hardwood floors but it’s a big no-no if the vacuum has a beater bar. This is the bar that roughs up carpets so that the dust and debris is dislodged. The problem is that the beater bar can actually physically damage hardwood floors as it scuffs and scratches them. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar or have a vacuum cleaner where the bar can’t be turned off, skip this cleaning option.
● Wood Cleaner: There are going to be times when you need to do a much deeper clean of your hardwood floors. The winter time can be rough on flooring and this is when mud, dirt, and water can all be tracked inside. It sits on the urethane layer and makes it look dull and worn. The good news is that there are special hardwood floor cleaners available at a variety of stores. These are not harsh and can be used on wood without damaging it. The best way to approach it is to use a damp cloth or microfiber mop head to brush over the floor. Just make sure that you absorb any excess cleaning fluid afterwards if directed by the instructions on the bottle.
What should you clean your hardwood floors with??
Microfiber flat mops are great when dry for picking up dust. However, they are also great for actually cleaning the floor with a cleaning solution. You can pick up a wood floor cleaning solution from any supermarket. Even better wood finish manufacturers make their own cleaning solutions. Here are the best solutions for cleaning hardwood floors.
The Bona Spray Flat Mop(Amazon Affiliate Link) is the almost famous solution for cleaning your hardwood floors. Its cheap, easy to use and effective.
You just pull the trigger and it sprays the cleaning solution onto the floor in front of you. Then you scrub it off with the flat mop. It may be worth getting some extra microfiber pads, so that if one just gets full of dirt, you can put a fresh one on and keep going. Let’s say you use 3 pads while cleaning your floor. Put them all in the washing machine and they’re good to go next time.
Many of my customers have used this spray mop and I’ve never heard any complaints. However, this is still going to be fairly hard work. If you are looking for a slight upgrade to this solution, then boy have I got something for you!
Professional wood floor cleaning involves using a scrubber dryer. Scrubber dryers are big bulky machines that first release cleaning solution onto the floor. They then scrub the floor with a rotary hard brush. Then suck the dirty cleaning solution off the floor and back into the machine.
For example, Bona makes the PowerScrubber, which is one of the cheaper professional scrubber dryers demanding roughly a cool $2000.
Or make it even easier…
The good news for us is that Kaercher recently developed an absolute diamond of a little tool in the FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner(Amazon Affiliate Link). A small, lightweight and versatile, yet handy and labour saving domestic scrubber dryer.
The Kaercher Hard Floor Cleaner takes all the hard work out of cleaning your floors.
It also cleans the floor so much more thoroughly. It’s the difference between an electric toothbrush versus an old-school manual one.
What’s more, is it comes with a 3-year warranty!
If you have quite a large hardwood floor area, I highly recommend getting this and making your life easier!