Can I steam clean my floor?

For wood, laminate and even vinyl floors, the simple answer to this is no. However, if you dig deeper, our Technical department says that there is no easy answer for laminate or vinyl flooring. Most of us have seen adverts for steam cleaners and they look great – the steam loosens the dirt on the floor and it then evaporates by itself.

  • Steam cleaners force moisture down into the floor
  • It is important not to let moisture penetrate joints
  • Ask the salesperson if steam cleaning is suitable for your floor
  • It is better to vacuum and damp mop wood, laminate and vinyl floors

Moisture penetrates the floor

The problem is that when you spray steam at high pressure, moisture is forced down into the joints in the floor and between the layers. Even if the floor appears to be dry shortly afterwards, wetting the floor often can cause the surface to fade, the floor to become discoloured, swell, curl up or even cause the laminate to fall apart.

We have asked several different steam cleaner manufacturers, but none of them answered 100% yes to this question. A lot depends on the intensity, temperature and quality of the steam. If the steam does not immediately penetrate the joints in the floor, and no condensation forms on the laminate or in the joints, it may be fine. You should always use a microfiber cloth on the nozzle to provide homogeneous distribution of heat and steam. It is also important not to hold the device for too long over the same spot or over the joints and to clean the floor lengthwise along the planks.

Ask your salesperson

A lot also depends on the quality of the device. On some of them the steam can be adjusted, so you can select the maximum setting for tiles and the minimum setting for laminate, for example. Ask your salesperson if they can guarantee that the device can be used on your type of floor before using it.

Instead of steaming, we recommend that you vacuum the floor as often as you can and damp mop it once a week. Avoid using bleach and wet mops. There are many products available for precisely your type of floor, and microfiber mops are incredibly effective at gathering up dirt.