Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular floor surfaces for homes. Despite its continuous use for thousands of years and the emergence of different trends, hardwood flooring has never gone out of style. The beauty of the wood lends a unique aesthetic to every home. As steam cleaning is becoming more popular, many have wondered can you steam clean hardwood floors? If you are one of them, keep reading to get the answer to this question.
When it comes to quality, there’s almost no flooring that’s on par with hardwood. What’s great about a hardwood floor is that it requires less maintenance than many other floor types.
Despite being low-maintenance, they still need to be regularly and thoroughly cleaned.
Can You Steam Clean Hardwood Floors?
If you decide to include a steam cleaner or a vapor steam cleaner in your cleaning routine, make sure to inform yourself what they can be used for and what the best practices are. People are usually doubtful whether or not they can steam clean hardwood floors. The answer is — it depends on what type of hardwood floor you have and the type of cleaner you use. Here’s a detailed list of different types of hardwood floors and cleaners that can be used:
Engineered Hardwood Floors
Dry vapor steam cleaners are perfectly safe to use on engineered hardwood floors. They clean with a streak-free finish and cause no damage.
However, you should never use a steam cleaner on engineered hardwood floors. The moisture from the steam would seep through cracks and cause warping and permanent damage to the floor.
Sealed Hardwood Floors
If you have a sealed hardwood floor, you can safely use both a vapor steam cleaner and a steam cleaner. Sealed hardwood floors can withstand the moisture and heat from steam, and they are easily cleaned.
Unsealed Hardwood Floors
Contrary to their sealed counterparts, unsealed hardwood floors should be neither vapor steam cleaned nor steam cleaned. They are more vulnerable and easily damaged by excessive moisture.
Laminate Hardwood Floors
It is generally considered that laminate floors can’t handle excessive moisture and that they should not be steam cleaned because the planks can warp. However, you might try using a steam mop for a laminate floor, but make sure to take special care. Always switch it to the lowest steam setting and avoid applying the steam directly on the floor. Instead, apply it to a microfiber pad and mop it in the direction of the grain, making sure you keep the mop moving and not hold it in one spot for too long.
When it comes to dry vapor steam cleaners, they are considered perfectly safe for laminate hardwood floors.
What Does a Steam Cleaner Do?
Many households now opt for steam cleaners for cleaning floors, carpets, cushions, furniture, etc. Steam cleaning has proven to be much more effective than traditional cleaning methods, thanks to its ability to eliminate greasy spots, dust and mites from floorings and coverings.
Depending on your needs and intended use, there are many different types of steam cleaners you can purchase. However, it’s very important to note the difference between a steam cleaner and a dry vapor steam cleaner. These two terms are often interchangeably used, but they shouldn’t be, as there are very clear differences.
A steam cleaner is a device that uses tap water and can be used to both clean and sanitize surfaces using a combination of heat and pressure. The surfaces are usually left wet after using a steam cleaner, as water comes out of the tip. This is a sanitizing device, not a disinfecting one.
On the other hand, dry vapor steam cleaners are used to clean, sanitize and deodorize. You pour water into a stainless steel boiler tank or cold water reservoir. Then you turn the dial and the water is heated until it reaches the temperature of 200° F, which creates the right pressure to produce pure steam. Steam is then pressurized through a nozzle, brush or other attachment.
Why You Should Steam Clean
Both steam cleaning and dry vapor steam cleaning have gained popularity for a reason. There are a number of benefits they offer over traditional cleaning options.
Traditional cleaning methods include using cleaning products that contain chemicals that are not really safe. Imagine cleaning a kitchen countertop with a chemical solvent and then preparing food on that same surface. Not the healthiest option, in our opinion. Steam cleaning is much safer and healthier, as it only uses water and heat.
Kills Allergens and Dust Mites
You don’t see them, but dust mites are everywhere — in your mattresses, pillows, carpets, rugs, etc. Because of the heat, dry vapor steam cleaners can help you get rid of allergens and dust mites, creating a healthier environment. This is what makes them a particularly great option for people with allergies.
Eliminates Bacteria, Viruses and Mold
Besides dust mites, other things like bacteria, viruses and mold are also constantly present (but usually not detectable). They can all be harmful and cause irritation, allergies and infections. When you use a steam vapor system, the hot vapor molecules penetrate the pores of the surface and force all dirt, debris and bacteria to the surface, leaving a completely clean top.
Using steam cleaners is not only good for your health, but for the planet, too. The chemicals that cleaning products contain are usually washed down the drain and end up in different places, threatening waterways and wildlife. On the contrary, steam cleaning is a better and more environmentally-friendly option.
More Convenient Cleaning
When you don’t have to use cleaning products and different mops, cleaning becomes much easier and more convenient. Whichever type of steam cleaner you use, it’s always a simpler process. You only need a cleaner and water to get started.
Great for Home With Pets
Even if you have a pet, a steam cleaner can help you maintain a clean house that smells nice. You can use it to eliminate odors and sanitize bird cages and aquariums. When you use a vapor steam cleaner, you can also help eliminate fleas without using harsh and toxic chemicals.
If you want to include steam cleaning in your cleaning routine and you have a hardwood floor, make sure to follow all the tips we provided above, so you can keep your floors clean and without any damage. See our best steam mops for hardwood floors guide for products with the best performance.