Here’s a hardwood flooring question that makes consumer’s head’s spin: Is it okay to steam clean hardwood flooring? The answer, though open-ended, is the use of a steamer can execute a good cleaning, however, it must be used with caution. A steamer makes cleaning hardwood floors quick and easy. Very little effort is required from the user when steam cleaning. It allows for a quick clean with good results, at least on the surface. It’s what goes on underneath and between the surface that could affect the long-term quality of a hardwood floor.
To steam clean is basically a process of using heated water vapor. Though, instead of evaporating like water vapor, steam turns into a gas. Moreover, steam does not disappear into the air, it sinks. Steam used to clean a hardwood floor will seep into the seams of the floor if it is not dried right away. Steam is much thinner than liquid water, thus, it is easier for steam to enter through the seams of a hardwood floor. Once entering the seams, the steam will eventually condense back to liquid water. At this point, the long-term damage can occur. Even if the surface is dried immediately, any bit of liquid that penetrates a seam will be lost forever, unable to be controlled. This can result in warped hardwood floor.
Another important note is to ensure the hardwood floor is completely sealed before steam cleaning. A non-sealed floor is asking for trouble. A steam clean will show its bad side quicker and more extensively in this circumstance. A sealed hardwood floor, on the other hand, can better protect against the negative side effects of steam. It doesn’t make the floor seep proof, but it will help.
Any hardwood cleaning product that uses actual cleaning ingredients is more surefire. Specific ingredients are meant to work with the water to ensure it does not seep through the seams. Plus, immediately drying the floor will further avoid any issues.
Ultimately, the fact that steam cleaning relies solely on water is the dangerous factor. As strange as it sounds, water by itself is considered volatile when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors.
Vinyl flooring is the exception. Because vinyl consists entirely of man-made material, it will not be negatively affected by steam cleaning. It is not technical hardwood and it is not a laminate; therefore, it can’t be ruined by steam.
In summary, it is not against flooring law to use a steamer to clean a hardwood floor, but it is frowned upon. If you opt to use a steam cleaner, be sure to dry the floor as soon as possible to counteract potential negative effects. Steam cleaning can work. In fact, there are many consumers out there that would lobby for everyone to use steamers. However, if you’re a skeptic and weigh on the side of caution, you may want to shy away from steam cleaning. It may seem like an outstanding cleaning option initially, but you may see its wrath overtime, as your hardwood floors could warp.
If you would like to speak directly with an expert about steam cleaning, feel free to contact Floors Touch. Located in McKinney, TX, Floors Touch can assist with all flooring needs, including hardwood. We are the top flooring source around!