Many people love the look of hardwood floors, and it can add a gorgeous, distinctive touch to any home’s decor. However, keeping hardwood floors looking nice requires that special care be taken so that the floor does not become warped, dulled, or ruined over time. The steam mop is a handy tool that makes cleaning floors much easier than manual methods, but not all models are suitable for use on hardwood flooring.
Steam Mopping Hardwood Floors
Whether a hardwood floor can stand up to a steam mop mainly depends on two factors: whether the wood is sealed, and how much residual moisture the steam mop leaves behind. Residual moisture left on hardwood floors is what causes it to become damaged. Even finished and sealed flooring can become marred if it has patches that are unfinished or is repeatedly exposed to water left by a steam mop.
Some steam mop manufacturers state that their product can be used on all hardwood floors, while others warn that their steam mops are best for finished and sealed floors only. Regardless what the manufacturer says, consider your hardwood flooring’s specific characteristics. If it is older flooring that has not been refinished or was left unfinished, it’s probably best not to use a steam mop very often. If you absolutely want to try steam mopping older hardwood floors, do it on a small area and carefully watch what happens over the course of a few weeks. Even if there’s no apparent damage after that time has passed, it’s wise to use steam mops on such floors in conjunction with another method. For example, you can use a steam mop once per month on your older hardwood flooring and use an alternative method for the rest of the month.
If you have newer hardwood floors that are sealed or finished, there’s less of a chance that a steam mop will cause damage. Still, try it on a small area and keep watch for a short period of time. Look for dulling in particular — if your hardwood flooring doesn’t have the sheen it usually does after being cleaned, the issue may be the setting on your steam mop or the cleaner being used with it.
Another factor that you should take into account when determining whether a steam mop will damage your hardwood flooring is what type of wood it contains. For instance, sturdy oak is better able to withstand steam mopping than a material such as pine, which is more susceptible to wear and tear.
Once you’ve found a steam mop appropriate for your hardwood flooring, you’ll notice that it will become much easier to clean up small spills. Cleaning large areas of your home’s flooring will also become faster. To get the best results over time and protect your hardwood flooring, try using natural cleaners that are specifically made to prevent dulling of your floor’s shine. Because steam is what makes this type of mop so effective, you may want to skip using soap and cleaners altogether and simply use plain water. This may also help preserve the life of your hardwood flooring while ensuring it stays clean.
Related post: Are Steam Mops Safe for Laminate Floors?