Steam mops are amazing for cleaning tough stains and spills from hard floors. These floors are usually stone, slate, or tile.
But, can you use a steam mop on laminate floors? The answer is, not really. Laminate flooring is a great way of having a neutral and stylish foundation to your home (just without the high price of real hardwood floors).
Cleaning laminate floors is pretty easy. It’s definitely easier than cleaning carpets. Laminate floors are also, surprisingly, easier to clean than real hardwood floors. This is because there won’t be gaps in between the floorboards.
There also won’t be any dips and knots in laminate flooring that dirt can become stuck in.
Why can’t I use a steam mop on laminate floors?
When it comes to laminate floors, the best way to clean them is simply by sweeping or vacuuming.
It might seem that using a mop, especially a steam mop, will provide the best clean. But, water and heat can seriously damage your laminate flooring.
A lot of people assume that laminate flooring is waterproof. And this is understandable. But it’s really not a good idea to get your laminate floors wet.
We aren’t telling you that spilling a little water on your laminate flooring will irreversibly damage it. But if the flooring becomes saturated with water, as it would with a steam mop, then it can begin to warp. Laminate flooring will warp very quickly.
When you use a mop, especially a steam mop, you will be completely covering the laminate flooring with water. This will sit on the flooring and eventually begin to sink in. The flooring will begin to warp and gradually become worse. This will be difficult to fix as, once the water has begun to sink it, you won’t be able to remove it.
That said, some laminate flooring does have a waterproof coating. This won’t make it completely safe to cover with water (and it definitely doesn’t mean that it is safe to be cleaned with a steam mop). So check with the manufacturer.
Heat damage is just as, if not more, damaging to your laminate flooring than the water. The heat will also cause the laminate flooring to warp.
It will also potentially cause the resin inside to become soft or even melt. (However, this does depend on how hot the steam is and the materials used for the floor).
Although the water that the steam mop gives off will be evaporated and so slightly cooler than the steam, it will still be relatively warm or even hot. Hot water will be even worse for the flooring than cool or cold water. It will cause the laminate flooring to warp even more quickly.
This is especially true for flooring that has gaps between the laminate. Depending on the kind of laminate you choose, and how old it is, your flooring could be several pieces of laminate that mimic wooden planks. Or, they can be much bigger pieces of laminate.
The more pieces of laminate there are, the more gaps there will be. The more gaps there are, the more space the steam and water have to enter the flooring and cause it to warp.
Alternatives to Using a Steam Mop
So, if you can’t use a steam mop on your flooring, what is the best way to clean laminate floors?
As mentioned above, one of the best ways to clean laminate floors is by sweeping. But, you still need to be careful when doing this.
Make sure to use a brush with soft bristles. Unlike real hardwood floors, laminate is much more prone to becoming scratched.
It can be scratched by rough brush bristles. Or by a rough brush moving sharp debris across it. So, make sure to use a brush with soft bristles and be gentle with it.
Vacuuming is also safe on laminate flooring. But, again, you need to be careful with it. Vacuuming can also scratch laminate flooring. This can be due to the bristles on the inside of the vacuum. Or from the exterior of the vacuum itself.
The best option is to brush the flooring first. Then quickly go over it with the vacuum. This will greatly reduce the potential for the flooring to become scratched.
It will also clean the flooring much better. A brush will be able to pick up much more than a vacuum will. This definitely isn’t the case for other flooring, such as carpets. But the bristles of a vacuum cleaner can also scratch laminate flooring.
A dry mop is also a great way to pick up dust and dirt on laminate flooring. It won’t warp your floors like a steam or wet mop. And it won’t scratch them like a brush or vacuum.
This is definitely the best alternative. It allows you to get right into the corners and pick up everything that other cleaners might miss.
While a steam mop makes floors very clean. Their wetness means that they sometimes just push around dust and fluff. But a dry mop will be able to pick these up.
Overall, the answer to this question is, “Yes, but you shouldn’t really”. If your laminate flooring is waterproof, then you might be okay.
But, just in case, try a dry mop instead. This will be just as good, if not better.