Our feet take the most trolls of a day on the home’s floor. And when it’s laminate flooring, it takes the most damage due to being prone to stains, dirt, scratches, etc. If you’ve faced these issues already, deep cleaning is the only way – that’s where steam mop steps in.
Now, you might be wondering, can you use a steam mop on laminate flooring or not? Well, honestly speaking, the answer is YES, YOU CAN but only when you’re aware of the entire process.
The reason you’ve to be careful is that laminate floorings cannot endure a high amount of moisture, and steam mop offers intensive cleaning power and style.
However, don’t panic already; we’re here to fill your cup with all the knowledge of using a steam mop and the cleaning solutions. Buckle up.
Basics of Laminate Flooring
First of all, it is essential to know about the manufacturing system of a laminate floor to look after and do proper maintenance. The laminate floor is like the natural hardwood floors where some synthetic ingredients are pressed together following the lamination process.
There are basically two types of floors: Waterproof and Wood laminate floors with many variations in the market.
Basically, the wood laminate floor is a hybrid floor that is made up of four different layers. It has a transparent wear layer that maintains the moisture of the floor, which is called the Back layer, a structure core layer for supporting the floor from indentation, the next is Design layer that is highly decorative with wood and stone, and the last one is particleboard wood-based top layer that is a transparent protective layer that works against strains and burning which called the Wear layer.
On the contrary, the waterproof laminate floor has a covering of tough antimicrobial resin that makes it scratch and water reluctant. This laminate floor consists of three layers including saturated fiberboard in the middle part. A transparent plastic layer resembles the wood grain print on the top, and the bottom part has a melamine layer.
Can You Use A Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring?
Laminate floors are much more delicate to handle extreme moisture usually than the tiles, as we mentioned earlier. Using steam mops for laminate floors can turn it into a pale and distorted one as it does efficient multi-tasks like steam and heating at the same time.
But you can use it following all the care guidelines referred by your laminate flooring manufacturer. Let’s figure out which type of flooring is eligible for using the steam cleaners.
Traditional Wood Laminate Floor
Laminate wood floors are much sensitive to heat and moisture. So you cannot use a steam mop on the laminate wood floor frequently. Due to over-heat and humidity over time, it will cause great damage to this type of laminate floor.
The wood laminate floor contains different layers, so a large amount of hot steam can affect the top to the bottom part of the floor. Moreover, the sealant can be weakened too. As a result, it will eventually cause your floor to warp, loosen, or be discolored. So the regular application of a steam mop for the laminate floor can cause the worst thing you ever thought!
Waterproof Laminate Floor
The great quality of the laminate plank floor has a water-resistant covering on the top of the sealant. So, if water spills on it, it doesn’t harm or seep through the layer, but you should clean it quickly to prevent potential damage. It is necessary to keep in mind that the waterproof laminate floor is not completely protected from moisture.
Besides, excessive usage of heat can eventually deteriorate your water-resistant floor that can result in extensive damage. In order to avoid discoloration and breakage, you need to handle the cleaning process by the steam mop with great care on the waterproof laminate.
Why Using a Steam Mop on Laminate Wood Floors Sounds Exciting?
Usually, consumers are more likely to get biased by the manufacturer’s recommendation. But, for steam mops for laminate floors, there really are several solid facts that support the manufacturers. This means one’s choice of steam mops over traditional ones is backed by facts. Let’s go through a couple of them.
Use of moisture
A steam mop uses a lot less moisture than a regular wet mop or a bucket full of soapy water. That’s using it is a lot safer. Using a wet mop or soap water dipped in a microfiber pad will leave more moisture on the surface, which takes quite some time to dry.
But with steam mops, the mop’s heat makes the drying process a lot faster, and there is less water in the first place. This feature makes steam mops more preferable.
Steam mops are multi-taskers. At the same time, they perform as sanitizers while doing the cleaning. The amount of heat they use to produce steam from water, this allows them to do a deeper cleaning. This heat also kills the germs, if there are any. This 2 in 1 feature is another reason that makes it preferable over regular mops.
Now, steam mops have these advantages. But, the actual concern here is, are they really compatible with laminate flooring as the manufacturers claim them to be?
The tragic part here is, the answer is no! Arguably, you can not even use them on waterproof laminate flooring. If proper caution is not ensured, waterproof laminate flooring is endangered by steam mop as some are abrasive cleaners.
Besides, almost every floor manufacturer refrain their customers from using steam mops on laminate floors.
After knowing this, it’s pretty evident that you have questions like, why is that? Why can’t you use them just to clean the floor?! Well, here is the answer.
To understand the reason behind this refrain, you have to look into the function of steam mops. Let’s do it.
How Does a Steam Mop work?
The basic idea is, in steam mops for laminate floors, water gets heated until it reaches its boiling point, which is 212° F. At 212°F, it expands up to 1600 times and contains around 3-5% moisture. This moisture-containing water vapor in mop heads has the heat and, when it comes in contact with any surface, kills any containing germ. You should note that try to keep in the lowest steam setting for the first contact. As it is in the vapor state, it can reach every nook and cranny.
What Should You Know Before Using a Steam Mop on Laminate Floors
The best way of cleaning the laminated floors is not the same method you would use for the conventional one. At first, you have to find out the quality of your floor types because a steam mop can damage the fiberboard core of the floor.
Moreover, it will lead to white spots and dull floors for holding a heated mop over the surface for a long time which doesn’t sound practical at all. Let’s check out what you have to keep in mind before using the steam mop:
- Humidity weakens the laminate sealant:
Extreme heat from the steam device can weaken the joints of the sealant and break down the planks that click together. So, set the temperature always on low mode to prevent huge damage as well as warping the laminate.
- Steam can cause rot and freckle:
Despite the competency, it’s not ideal advice to hold the heated mop over the laminate surface for a long period of time. By letting the moisture sitting inside will lead the planks to fade and cracks which is a sign of risking the growth of freckles.
- Steam cleaning will invalid the warranty:
Some companies clearly state that damage caused by water or improper cleaning methods cannot cover their warranty. This means using hot steam on the laminate floor can void any warranty, so you have to be careful while using a steam mop to clean your laminate floor.
- The floor will lose the shiny finish:
Regular use of a steam mop can dull the shine on your laminate floor and change its color. When the moisture accumulates on the inside, the puddles will be more visible and left with a pale base by taking away the glossy, shiny finish.
- Using excessive water damage the coating:
The longer the water sits on the surface, the higher the risk of damage. Especially, hot water released from the steam mop can seep through the gaps of the floor and will gradually break down the protective adhesives.
- Overheating can warp the floor:
Do not use the heat directly on the floor or in a spot for an extended period. The heat level of the steam mop should not be high. Instead, it should be kept in the lowest heat settings; otherwise, there is a massive chance of loosening or peeling off the flooring material.
- Using vinegar with steam mops can stain the floor:
Though vinegar cleaning solutions are best for the cleansing laminate floor, don’t use them in high concentrations for long with a steam mop. To keep the floor germs free, use the steam mop in the dry cleaning process.
- Using bleach with a steam mop:
Most people discuss with others that “can you use bleach on laminate floors?” If you’re one of them, here is your answer. As bleach is a toxic substance, do not use it with a steam mop in that area that was cleaned with ammonia because it can damage the glossy finish of your laminate floor within a split second.
How to Keep Laminate Floors Clean And Shiny
You can’t stand up for cleaning laminate floors with steam mop in a quite traditional way as we do to flooring surfaces. These flooring types ask for more care and concern. However, whether the laminate floor is sealed or not, it always has to keep dust and dirt free. There are cleaning experiences that are both safer and better at the same time. Here they are.
- Avoid using steam cleaners or wet mops; otherwise, it may cause your floor irreparable damage.
- Always use a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to rub out sticky messes and tough dirt.
- For regular cleaning, use dry dust mops or a vacuum cleaner to avoid scratching the laminate floor.
- Don’t let stubborn stains sit on the floor. For tough stains like candle wax, oil, grease, paints, ink, or tar, use acetone on a clean cloth to remove them.
- The time span in between two cleanings should not be more than two months. This will keep your laminate floor fresh and clean.
- Sweep the floor regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.
- Avoid washing the floor with soap water or any other liquid cleaning elements as a small drop of stain will be hard to remove.
- In case of using a vacuum, try to use the soft floor attachment to reach every inch of the corners.
- Instead of using multi-surface cleaner, use light steam for general cleaning.
- Try to use microfiber mops because they easily absolve wet spills and scratch the planks like the old ones.
- You can use vinegar solution for cleaning the floor as they are cheaper than the commercial laminate floor cleaner.
- You can use a wet swiffer to clean dirt and dust, which is also the best option for the laminate floor.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Laminate Floors With a Steam Mop:
You already know floor manufacturers refrain their customers from using steam mops on the shining laminate wood floors. While using the steam mops solution recipe, here are some issues that you should avoid.
- Heat maintenance:
Strictly maintain a proper and suitable heat setting. If the heat for laminate is too much, it will weaken the floor’s firmness and eventually leave it buckled.
- Mopping speed:
Don’t mop too slowly. Have a smooth and fluent speed while mopping. Otherwise, where the mop will stay longer, that place will absorb more moisture. The excessive moisture and heat will take their toll on the floor, which you definitely don’t want.
- Mop cloth:
Avoid mopping your laminate floor with a harsh mop cloth. Always use soft and decent material as mop cloths. Also, make sure to keep the cloth clean while mopping. Using a dirty mop cloth will only spread the dirt.
- Mopping frequency:
Always remember that a steam mop is the last thing to try on your laminate floor. There are other more preferable ways to keep the floor clean. Use the steam mop to tackle any stubborn or sticky dirt that you can not handle with the other ways. Other than that, keep the steam mop as far as you can from your laminate floor.
What is the best mop to use on laminate floors?
The best mop for a laminate floor is one that will easily pick up dirt without scratching or leaving behind excess water. The microfiber mop will be the best option as they require less water than a standard mop. This will give you an extra shine picking up all the dust and dirt. Remember to drain your mop properly if it absorbs too much water. Just replace the pads if it gets too dirty and allow your flooring for extra ventilation.
Do you think the steam mop is the best choice to clean laminate flooring?
The direct answer will be no for laminate floors as it depends on their quality and durability as well. But most of the manufacturers claim that steam mop is one of the easiest, time-saving, and echo-friendly choices rather than harsh cleaners. Steam mops are more efficient to clean and sanitize the floor at the same time. The steams can give u a hygienic floor by killing 99.99% of germs and harmful bacteria. But using steam mops on laminate floors can break down the protective coating of the surface.
Can I use the shark steam mop on laminate flooring?
Yes, you can. Though steam mops are not really recommended for laminate floors, you can use them only if they are not very often. Steam mops are quite risk-free than regular mops. But, since steam mops have refrained, regular ones are a strict NO. Anyway, if steam mops are not cautiously used on laminate floors, the floor may get damaged by the excessive heat and steam. As the steam turns back into water drops when it comes in contact with air, if there is any leftover, then this causes the damage. Shark mops are pretty efficient in this part. That’s why you can use shark steam mops in laminate flooring.
The good looks and longevity of your laminated flooring actually depend on you. Being more alert and with special care, you can use your steam mop to its fullest advantage without ruining its protective finish over the coming years. Follow the recommended cleaning methods since you can’t undo that damage. Use a soft padded scrubber in order to prevent any damage, and thus you can maintain the looks of your laminate floor.
Last but not least, choosing an ideal steam mop to do the job is crucial as well. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s description carefully and select.