Can Hardwood Flooring be Steam Cleaned?

hardwood flooring steam

Can Hardwood Flooring be Steam Cleaned?

If you know anything about the relationship between moisture and hardwood flooring, you may be surprised to hear that there are hardwood flooring steam cleaners available on the market.  Hardwood flooring is notorious for being susceptible to moisture.  Dampness, moisture and even high humidity can cause hardwood floors to expand, warp and cup, so you wouldn’t be wrong to ask, “How can hardwood flooring be steam cleaned?”  In this article we’ll examine how hardwood steam cleaners work and figure out if they’re safe to use on your hardwood floor.

What Is A Floor Steam Cleaner?

Many of the largest names in floor cleaning machines have introduced floor steamers for the domestic market.  Also marketed as steam mops, these electrically powered floor cleaners claim to eliminate over 99% of all bacteria found on a floor without the use of chemicals.  Instead they rely on the disinfectant capabilities of steam. These appliances contain a water boiler to create steam which is forced through a hose and onto the floor via a head that looks similar to a vacuum cleaner.  The high temperature helps break down dirt and grease while supposedly also eliminating germs.  Many steam cleaners are marketed as safe for hardwood floors.

Can Hardwood Flooring Be Steam Cleaned?

Even though many of the brand name steam cleaners are marketed for use on hardwood flooring, considering the effect that moisture has on the integrity of hardwood, can they actually be safe?  If you read the fine print in the instructions for these appliances you’ll notice that they stipulate hardwood floors should be properly sealed before using a steam cleaner on them.  On the other hand, manufacturers and experts from the hardwood flooring industry consistently note that moisture, whether caused by water, steam or humidity, can irreparably damage hardwood.

Is It Safe To Steam Clean Hardwood Flooring?

Whether it’s safe or not to use a steam cleaner on a hardwood floor depends on the integrity of the sealant coating.  Any imperfections in this coating can allow moisture to affect the structure of the wood and cause warping or cupping.  Steam could also be a factor in causing the sealant to break down, so even newly sealed floors could be at risk.  Hardwood flooring warranties may also provide more clues as to the safety of steam cleaning.  You may find that a warranty will become null and void if the hardwood is exposed to steam cleaning.

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