steam clean hardwood floors

Can You Steam Clean Hardwood Floors?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Do you want to learn a new way of cleaning hardwood floors? or are you here to get answers on where you can steam clean hardwood floors? If you are here for either of the above, worry less. We have compiled some researched suggestions to make it easy for you in your cleaning process.

Using steam-cleaning in hardwood floors has been proved by far to be the best way to sanitize floors since it does not pose any negative effects on the wood surface. In this article, we get to discuss some steps and the pros and cons of steam cleaning on hardwood floors.

Types Of Hardwood Floors To Steam Clean

There are different types of hardwood floors. These hardwood floorings include laminate, sealed hardwood, unsealed hardwood and wood grain vinyl flooring. From the above hardwood flooring, the unsealed hardwood is the only one that cannot be steam cleaned. However, you can steam clean the rest without any degradation on the floor surface when you steam properly.

If you want to double-check if your hardwood floor is safe for steam cleaning, make sure it is acid cured or has aluminum oxide, water-based polyurethane, oil-based polyurethane or moisture-cured urethane finish. If your hardwood floor has a penetrating oil sealer, it is worth noting that steam cleaning will degrade the floor over time, and you will be forced to re-touch it frequently to avoid the effects of steam cleaning. However, you can use the best steam mop for laminate floors to achieve a glossy finish.

How To Steam Clean Hardwood Floors

Prep Your Floor

Before you start to steam clean hardwood flooring, vacuum cleans the floor first to remove dust and grit, which can cause scratches.

For many steam cleaners, you will find that they run on water only, but if you can get a steam cleaner that you can add cleaning solution with a neutral pH, then it is ok.

Confirm f your wood floors are sealed. If some parts are not sealed, do not use the steamer. If you use the steam cleaner on the unsealed flooring, the steam will cause the wood to warp.

Warm Up Your System

A Steam Cleaner Getting Warmed

It would be best to warm up your steam cleaner for a short while to heat it properly to remove the driest steam before using it to clean floors. Then, while it is warming up, you can start by cleaning your walls or the carpet as you wait for dry steam.

Set The Volume

If your steam cleaner has volume control, make sure you set it to the lowest. If it is numbered, one or two will do the most. A low-volume setting will ensure you create the hottest, driest steam possible.

Have Some Accessories

It is important to have some accessories that may help you clean the entire floor. These accessories may include cleaning products such as a large rectangular floor brush that you will connect to at least two extension handles.

You should also ensure you use a filler pad between the nylon bristles to evenly span the heat and steam out the entire surface of the brush. The filler pad is also beneficial in trapping extra condensation that may form as the steam exits the steam tube and moves to the open space in the brush.

Wrap It Up

You should wrap the floor brush with a terry towel to make the steam go down to the floor surface without blowing out the ends of the floor tool. This process is referred to as the diapering of the large floor brush while using the filler pad and the terry towel.

If you will use a microfiber towel, ensure that the steam can pass through the microfiber without getting trapped behind the towel. If the steam is trapped behind the microfiber, it will make the fiber very wet quickly, and when the towel is wet, it will not absorb excess moisture quickly.

Do A Spot Test

You can steam a small space as a test to ensure that the steaming process on your hardwood floor will not cause negative effects on your floor finish.

Start Brushing

While going in the opposite direction to your wood grain, stat scrubbing with the brush in a back and forth motion, in a slightly slower motion than you would when using a vacuum cleaner.

Ensure the steam cleaner is moving at a slower speed than vacuuming, as moving to the next spot quickly. If you pause the cleaning process, ensure that you do not leave the hot stool sitting on the floor, or the heat will damage the hardwood flooring.

Clean The Tough Spots

If you notice any stubborn stains while cleaning, you can run the steam cleaner on them again. Try to do as many passes as you can to get a clean finish.

Enjoy The Shine

Once you are done with the cleaning procedure, it is time to enjoy your glossy finish. So sit back, relax and pat yourself on your back!

Cons Of Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors

A steam cleaner uses heated water vapor to cleanse a surface or a material. The unique thing about it is that instead of turning into a gas of the water evaporating to water vapor, it cleans the surface using a gas. In addition, the steam does not disappear into the air, and it gets absorbed.

If you frequently use steam to clean hardwood floors, the steam will seep into the seams of the floor if you fail to dry the floor right away. Considering that steam is much thinner than water, it is possible to enter into the seams of hardwood flooring.

Once the steam has entered the seams, the steam will be converted into liquid water. When wood gets into contact with water, much damage can occur. For example, the hardwood floor can be warped when water enters a woody surface.

It is worth noting that you should ensure that the hardwood floor is completely sealed before you start the steam cleaning procedure to avoid the negative side effects of steam cleaning on hardwood floors.

Sealed hardwood floors will not help the floor seep proof, but it will be better than not having them.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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