Can Steam Cleaners Be Used on Hardwood Floors?

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When it comes to keeping floors clean, the most frequently asked question is: can steam cleaners be used on hardwood floors? It’s a common thing to ask, and rightfully so because there are conflicting reports from home owners everywhere. At the end of the day, you can use a steam cleaner on the hardwood but there are very specific rules that need to be followed in order to protect the integrity of your flooring.

With improper use, a steam cleaner can severely damage your floors and it shouldn’t be a tool that you use every day. Below are some important things to know before you start using a steam cleaner on the hardwood.

can steam cleaners be used on hardwood floors


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The Importance of Carefully Using a Steam Cleaner on Hardwood

There are many benefits you’ll experience from using a steam cleaner, but it is also important to take note of the dangers associated with using one too often on your hardwood, such as:

  • Swelling of Floors

Without proper use, one of the main concerns about using a steam cleaner on hardwood is that it can cause your floorboards to swell. If there is too much moisture being produced by the steam cleaner, the excess water will be absorbed into the hardwood and force it to swell. This eventually leads to buckling and popping of the floorboards.

  • Deterioration of Sealant

Another important thing to look out for is the deterioration of your hardwood’s protective sealant. If the steam from your cleaner is too hot and filled with too much moisture, it will eat away at the sealant, which can leave unsightly marks on the hardwood and ruin its aesthetic.

The Benefits of Using a Steam Cleaner on Hardwood

Now that you’re aware of the issues that may arise with improper use, it’s important to remember that steam cleaners can be the best way to clean your hardwood floors when used with care.

  • Loosening Dirt and Grime

It’s incredibly easy for dirt and grime to get onto hardwood and stick to it. You might even find that by using a regular mop you won’t be able to get rid of different types of spills and dirt. With the help of a steam cleaner, the warm steam will easily remove caked on grime that you would otherwise have to scrub away by hand.

  • Disinfecting Floors

Even though you might not be able to see all of the dirt on your floors because of their color, you can rest assured that it’s easy for bacteria and viruses to live on the surface of hardwood. With regular mopping, all of the bacteria is simply going to be pushed around and never removed. A steam cleaner kills harmful pathogens as soon as it touches them, giving you the safest clean possible.

  • Easy to Use

For one, you don’t have to worry about filling a heavy bucket of soap and water only to carry it around your home. A steam cleaner is an all-in-one tool that you can easily maneuver around your house with little to no effort. They typically offer one-button operation and are incredibly maneuverable. In fact, steam cleaning is so easy that even children can do it!

  • Cost Effective

Take a moment to think about all of the times you’ve spent money on floor cleaners, mops, and buckets. Over time it can add up to substantial sum, but with a steam cleaner you no longer need to find the right store bought solutions for your floors. Instead, all you need is distilled water and the unit itself. It’s far more cost effective and readily available for whenever you need to clean.

  • Useful on Any Hardwood

All types of hardwood will benefit from the proper use of a steam cleaner. Unlike other types of flooring, you don’t have to worry about using any type of chemicals for specific materials. It’s an all-inclusive cleaning machine that can tackle dirt on any surface.

  • Multi-Purpose Cleaning

Above all else, your steam cleaner isn’t something that should only be used on the floors; it can also be used to steam clean many other areas of your home. Many home owners love using their steam mops to disinfect bathrooms, kitchen counters, mattresses, and furniture.

How to Avoid Hardwood Damage from Steam Cleaning

If you’ve decided that you want to use your steam cleaner on the hardwood, then it’s important that you consider these tips and tricks to make sure you’re protecting the integrity of your floors.

  • Using Special Settings

Remember, your hardwood is delicate and so it deserves special settings while being cleaned. Typically steam cleaners allow you to adjust the temperature of the unit and the amount of steam that is produced. For hardwood, it is suggested that you choose the lowest level of heat and the least amount of steam. This will give you the perfect cleaning power without the worry of damaging your floors.

  • Water Extraction

Another incredibly important feature that your steam cleaner needs to have is water extraction. This is a process where the cleaner will remove the majority of excess water with every stroke. The last things you’ll want to deal with are puddles of water sitting stagnant on your hardwood while you finish mopping the rest of the room.

  • Fully Drying the Floors

No matter how you slice it, it’s essential that you take the time to fully dry the floors after they have been washed. Even the smallest amount of water left standing could result in permanent water spots and floor damage. To ensure that all water is removed, use a soft microfiber cloth and gently soak up any excess water. You can then buff the floor to remove any residue that may have been left behind.

  • Infrequent Cleans

Even though it might be tempting to use your steam cleaner every day, it’s not recommended. You don’t want to penetrate the sealant too often otherwise this could lead to floor damage. Instead, clean your floors once a week or once every two weeks for optimal shine and cleanliness.

Can Steam Cleaners Be Used on Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors always look their best after they have been steam cleaned. With the right use, your steam cleaner can easily be your best friend. If you’ve ever asked yourself, can steam cleaners be used on hardwood? The answer is yes, but with the utmost amount of patience and care.

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