Phyllis asked: Can I use a floor steam cleaner on laminate flooring?
General Steam Cleaning
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. Pointing a dan towards the floor can hasten the drying time.
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.
Choosing a Steam Mop
When choosing a steam mop 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.
I’ve used laminate flooring for years and years. To get long life from your floor, avoid liquids; it will ruin the floor eventually. I recommend vacuuming the floor regularly and only clean the laminate if really necessary.
I have been using a Shark steam mop on my laminate floors. It leaves streaks and you can see footprints after the floor is dry. It looks awful. I don’t care how many times I go over it, the streaks are still there. Is the steam ruining the finish on the floor?
If the footprints are there before the cleaning and the same footprints remain after the cleaning, that means that the steam mop has not cleaned the floor. Footprints are caused by the oils on our feet. Although heat works well for cutting through oil in general, sometimes it’s just not enough. Try cleaning the floor with a vinegar/water mix or one of the other cleaners as described in our guide How to Clean Laminate Flooring.
Also, check the pad on your steam cleaner. If it is dirty, then it’s no longer absorbing the dirt and oils that the steam loosens, and instead is just pushing them around.
To answer your question about whether heat can damage the finish, yes, it is possible, but it is unlikely that would happen with a steam mop and it does not sound like that is what’s happening here (streaks). When steam mopping, you move the mop over the floor surface fairly quickly, so the heat is very brief. If you were to hold the mop in one place and steam that one spot for an extended period of time, then that would likely damage the finish. Heat damage to wood appears as a white mark in the location of the heat. Streaks are usually an accumulation of dirt/grime being spread around on a surface. You can learn more about heat marks on wood and see an example photo in the guide How to Remove White Rings from Wooden Furniture.
Again though, since you mentioned that you go over the same area multiple times trying to get it clean, it is possible that the streaks are caused by heat. So if the floor does not come out clean with a traditional (vinegar or cleaner) cleaning, you can try the methods in the heat article to see if they work for removing the streaks.
Something else you can consider is using distilled water in your steam mop. If you have hard water, the streaks could be caused by that.
I have the same problem with my floor. After using the steam cleaner, my floors are streaked and every foot/shoeprint and pawprint shows. I have tried vinegar and other store products and it’s looking worse. I am beyond frustrated!
My laminate floor is the worst floor to clean. Everything I’ve used has caused this floor to streak and look cloudy. Also, when I walk barefoot it leaves footprints (they disappear though, most of the time), but it’s really becoming a problem as far as cleaning this floor; it’s always streaking and looks cloudy no matter what I do! Does anyone have any help for me, please?? Thank you very much.
We had that exact problem and were told it was because of the lighter colour with no texture to it.
I have one now that is way less stressful.
All you need is a pale of clean water and a swifter mop. I use a wet microfiber cloth tather then the swifter cloth to clean the floor. Go with the grain when mopping. I hope this helps.
I just installed a laminated floor and I don’t know what I did to make a small part of the floor look foggy. I used Goo Gone to make it shiny, but it turned out worse. Is there anything I can clean with or restore the condition?
Thank you for your reply in advance!
There may be a build-up of residue on the floor, possibly initially from the oils on your hands or on one of your tools and now with the Goo Gone as well. Wash the area with a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water to cut through the oils. If that doesn’t work, you can try using isopropyl alcohol. See the guide How to Clean Laminate Floors for more information.
Nobody answers these. My question falls with four others. Wood Laminate foggy, film, cloudy, streaky, shows foot prints. How to clean and just have a nice shiny floor? Hasn’t been that way since installed.
This is the article you need: How to Clean Laminate Floors.
I actually left a steam mop sitting on laminate wood flooring and it left an awful white mark! I’ve tried home remedies, but nothing is working. PLEASE HELP!!!!
This is the article you need: How to Remove White Rings from Wooden Furniture. (The information is the same for laminate floors.) Good luck!