Can You Steam Hardwood Floors?

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steaming hardwood floorsThere are many steam cleaners on the market that are supposedly safe for hardwood flooring. However, you should look at any such products with caution. While steam cleaning is possible on hardwood floors, it needs to be done with care.

So, can you steam clean hardwood floors? Well, that depends on a few things. For example, the grain, grade, and finish of your hardwood flooring will determine if it can be steamed.

But if your hardwood flooring is suited for steaming, it can help keep it looking polished and clean.

Can My Hardwood Floors be Steamed Safety?

Before you go shopping for a steamer, you’ll need to make sure your hardwood floors can handle being steamed. Here are some key points to know if you can steam your hardwood floors:

  • The wood panels have been laid on top of a concrete base.
  • The floors have a water-proof lacquered finish.
  • The corners of the flooring are appropriately sealed.
  • The floors have no cracks or peelings.
  • The wood panels are in good condition.

Still unsure if your hardwood floors can be steamed? Take note of these characteristics below that to make hardwoods un-steamable:

  • The floors are not finished with lacquer or veneer.
  • The floors are cracking and peeling, especially at the corners or seams.
  • The wood panels are aging and warping.

How Do I Steam Clean My Hardwood Floors?

steaming hardwood floorsSteaming your hardwood floors can be tricky. Follow these steps to avoid damaging your floors, should you want to steam them:

  1. Sweep or vacuum your floors of any excess dirt and debris.
  2. Check for any cracks or damages in the hardwood flooring while sweeping or vacuuming.
  3. Check to make sure there’s no lingering dirt after sweeping or vacuuming.
  4. Use a steam mop to best steam your hardwood floors.
  5. Check the mop’s head to make sure it hasn’t already dirtied too much.
  6. Change the mop head, if dirty.
  7. Allow the floor to completely dry before treating with a finishing polish.
Steam mops are more gentle than traditional steamers, so we’d recommend using them above traditional steam cleaners. Better yet, they come with soft textured “mop heads” that help whisk away any excess moisture.

When steaming, do not put pressure on the mop or let it sit in one place for too long. This can damage the finish and cause premature wear on the flooring. Also, allowing the steam to damage the finish can increase the chance of it molding over time.

Can I Steam Clean Stains on My Hardwood Floors?

steam clean stains on hardwood floorsThe short and sweet answer is this: no, not safely that is. Using a steam cleaner to get out a stain could cause more harm than good. You can quickly remove any finish or lacquer on the wood, as well as unintentionally cause it to prematurely age.

But if you do have a stain in your hardwood, use a hardwood-safe, non-abrasive cleaner to treat the area. You may also follow these instructions to remove stains from your hardwood floors:

  • Saturate a cotton rag with hydrogen peroxide.
  • After cleaning the area, put the damp rag on top of the stain.
  • Let the rage sit for five to ten minutes, allowing the peroxide to bleach the stain.
  • Take away the rag.
  • Remove any excess hydrogen peroxide.
  • Give the wood time to dry before finishing with polish.

Final Thoughts: Better Safe Than Sorry

Hardwood flooring, while beautiful, can be tricky to steam. If you’re at all uncertain about whether your floors are safe to steam, don’t do it. You can quickly do far more harm than good.

But for those hardwood floors that can hold up to steaming, it’s a great way to keep them looking clean and bright.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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