Phyllis asked: Can I use a floor steam cleaner on laminate flooring?
Steam provides chemical-free cleaning power that effectively cuts through dirt and grime that builds up on many floors. It has become increasingly popular as we all begin trying to be more “green” with our cleaning methods. Before using this method on your own flooring though, it’s important to understand the difference between a steam cleaner and a steam mop. Though some may interchange the terms, they mean two different products and two very different results to laminate flooring.
How Steam Cleaners Work
Steam cleaners are designed for cleaning carpets. These machines spray the floor with water and suction it back up as brushes spin to “scrub” the floor. Technically, these machines can be used on both hard and carpeted flooring. Though the water is removed quickly, these machines present too much moisture for laminates and should NOT be used. The typical drying time with a steam cleaner is 2-6 hours.
The second type of steam cleaner is a steam mop. These mops consist of a plastic head that is covered with a terry cloth pad. Steam is produced and applied to the floor through the pad, usually by a trigger on the handle. It leaves a minimal amount of moisture to the flooring, most of which is quickly absorbed by the pads. The dirt is picked up by the pad as well as it moves across the surface. Due to the small amount of water presented on the floor, they are dry within minutes.
When choosing a cleaner for your laminate flooring, pay careful attention to the amount of moisture that is being introduced to the surface. If water gets under the edges of the laminate, it can cause the surface to come loose. It can curl, crackle and ultimately, lose its smooth, wood-like finish. Though most steam mops are safe to use on laminate floors, it is best to always test a small area first to ensure there are no unwanted effects. When floors are sealed and installed properly, these mops can be valuable cleaning tools for quick and quality cleanings.