Laminate floors are trendy and quite beautiful when kept clean and sanitized. Many homeowners who have laminate floors may be wondering if they can use a steam mop to keep their floors fresh and clean.
Generally speaking, the answer is no. However, there is an exception if you have waterproof laminate floors from some reputed brands, such as Pergo, Audacity, etc. You can steam clean them with proper instructions.
Having laminate floors with little ones and pets continually running around makes cleaning these floors an arduous task. After I had waterproof laminate flooring installed, things became a lot easier. Using my steam mop on my waterproof laminate flooring made it possible for me to keep my floors clean without worrying about damaging them in any way.
In the following paragraphs, I’ll show you;
- Why using a steam mop on conventional laminate wood floors is a wrong move.
- How to carefully use a steam mop on waterproof laminate flooring without ruining its protective finish.
With a little insight, you will be able to use your steam mop to its fullest advantage without harming your laminate floor or causing it to curl or fade.
Why Using a Steam Mop on Laminate Wood Floors Sounds Exciting?
There are several reasons why steam mop manufacturers recommend their products. While many manufacturers are biased towards their products, below are two claims that compel us to buy one over a traditional mop.
#1. Steam mop uses less moisture than old school wet mopping
A steam mop uses considerably less moisture than a wet mop and a bucket of soapy water. With a wet mop full of water, more moisture is left on the floor. It’s tough to wring out all of the water when using a mop and bucket, resulting in puddles of water that can take a long time to dry. The longer the water sits on top of your laminate flooring, the higher the risk of damage.
Steam mops, on the other hand, use much less water. The mop’s heat turns the water into steam, reducing the amount left on the floor and speeds up the drying process.
#2. Steam mop Deep clean and Sanitizes floors at the same time
The high temperatures used to create the steam also provide a deeper clean that kills germs and sanitizes the floor. Steam mops are more efficient because they clean and sanitize your floors at the same time. Steam cleaning requires less water and less detergent as heat does most of the work.
However, do these claims made by the manufacturers hold for floating laminate floors? The answer is not really. Even waterproof laminate flooring runs the risk of being damaged by the steam mop if not used cautiously.
In contrast, floor manufacturers refrain from using steam mops to clean and maintain laminate floors.
To understand why they warn against using a steam device, we need to know how a steam mop works and the steam formation process.
How Does a Steam Mop Work?
Steam mops work by heating the water until it has reached the boiling point. At that point, the heat will kill most germs and break up any deposits that have started to collect in the small nooks and crannies of your flooring. Below is how the process works.
- Water is placed in a small container and heated to 212 degrees F.
- Once the water reaches 212 degrees F, it expands by 1600 times.
- The produced steam contains approximately 3 to 5 percent moisture. The water remains in a vapor state as long as the heat source remains constant. However, as soon as the hot vapor comes in contact with the cool air, the steam will begin to condense back into water droplets.
Can You Use This Steam to Sanitize Laminate Floors?
Yes, you can.
Undoubtedly, steam is very effective at killing micro-organisms and germs.
That doesn’t mean a steam mop is ideal for sanitizing laminate floors, as claimed by the appliance manufacturers.
The steam produced by Steam mops can certainly kill bacteria and other pathogens, but you have to hold the mop for at least 10 minutes over a spot to sanitize that much area.
Even the product manufacturers instruct to use hold the mop for at least 15 secs for sanitizing a spot.
It doesn’t sound practical.
Despite the efficiency, holding a heated mop over the laminate surface for even 15 secs is not advisable. The intense heat produced by steam mops will eventually break down the protective coating used to protect the surface of your laminate flooring. Doing so will lead to white spots and dull floors overtime.
Even though most steam mops manufacturers claim that it is safe to use their product to clean and sanitize your floors, it merely isn’t a good idea. The use of steam may be an effective way to sanitize your floors, but the damage it can cause can be incredibly costly in the long run.
Do Steam Mops Use Less Water Than Conventional Mops?
The answer is yes! The steam produced from a steam mop contains only 3 to 5% moisture.
While steam has less water, that doesn’t mean it is any safer for your laminate flooring. It only takes a minimal amount of water to find its way into a small opening on the surface of your floor. It doesn’t take but a few drops of water to begin to cause damage.
Part of the reason that steam can be so harmful to your laminate flooring is that it condenses back into the water as it cools. The cooler the temps, the more water that will appear. As steam, moisture can easily penetrate the smallest of cracks or seams. If it finds its way into the fiberboard and begins to condense, the board will start to buckle and warp along the sides.
The problem with using steam mops is that you won’t see the damage until it’s too late. With a wet mop, the puddles are visible. With a steam mop, the moisture accumulates on the inside, where it is out of sight.
So, instead of using a steam mop, I recommend using a slightly damp microfiber mop. Less water or moisture to find its way inside your flooring. With the right cleaner, a microfiber mop can sanitize your floor just as well as a steam mop.
Can You Use a Steam Mop on Waterproof Laminate Floors?
Yes, you can, but only if you do so with extreme caution.
If you want to try using a steam mop, your first step should be to refer to your laminate flooring manufacturer. Reading the owner’s manual will give you a good idea of what guarantee’s they provide and what cleaning techniques they recommend to ensure the floor maintains its look for as long as possible.
It is essential to remember that even though your laminate floor is labeled “waterproof,” it isn’t completely protected from moisture. Over time and prolonged exposure to heat, your waterproof flooring will eventually deteriorate, resulting in extensive damage. Even if you repeatedly seal your floor, it will ultimately break down and begin to show signs of wear and tear, making it more vulnerable to moisture.
How to Use a Steam Mop on Waterproof Laminate Floors?
If you plan on using a steam mop on your waterproof laminate flooring, avoid using any soap or wax.
- Sweep the laminate floor with a vacuum cleaner in hard floor mode.
- Switch to the lowest steam setting.
- When it comes time to apply the steam, avoid applying the steam directly onto the laminate flooring. Instead, the steam should be applied to a microfiber pad and then used to clean the floor.
- Mop in the direction of the grain.
- Keep the mop in motion. Don’t keep the hot mop head in a spot for long.
Please don’t ruin your laminate floor/floors by trying to disinfect them with steam. While you can use a steam mop if you practice great caution, it’s best if you avoid using them at all. You do have other options that do just as well when cleaning and sanitizing your floors. With a little research, you will be able to develop a solution you can live with.
If you want to learn more, check out my blog and learn the best ways to clean and protect your laminate flooring. I can provide you with valuable insight that will allow you to make the best possible choice for your cleaning supplies.
You might also like: Tips to naturally clean laminate floors without streaking!