Can You Use a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors? Read This First

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

how to use a steam mop on hardwood floorsIf you’re new to owning a steam mop or having hardwood flooring, you might be wondering, can you use a steam mop on hardwood floors? The answer is yes, but with caution. Hardwood floors require special care and using too much water, cleaning agents such as vinegar, and excessive heat can cause damage over time. So, just steam mop with care and you can achieve beautiful results on your wood flooring.

A Great Way to Disinfect Without Chemicals

disinfect without chemicalsIf you’re worried about harsh substances in your home, using a steam mop can be an excellent way to sanitize hardwood floors. Steam can kill almost 100 percent of bacteria and viruses without any added cleaners. Sanitizing without chemicals can be especially beneficial if you have pets or small children who play on the floor often.

Tips for Using a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors

  • Test your steam mop in an inconspicuous area before cleaning the entire surface. If for any reason you have an unusual occurrence due to steam mopping, it’s better to find out in a small area out of eyeshot. Test on the lowest setting and do not hold the steam on one spot for longer than a few seconds.
  • Vacuum or sweep your floors before using your steam mop. Steam mops are best at picking up tiny particles of dirt, but the majority of soil should be cleaned with a vacuum or sweep in before using your steamer. Also, be sure to check the microfiber cloth of your mop before use and during the cleaning. If it gets filthy while cleaning, you’ll want to change it for a new one.
  • With hardwood floors, you always want to avoid overheating as it can cause damage and cupping. Cupping is when the edge of the wood planks permanently rises higher than the center of the plank. Use your steamer on its lowest setting and move in rapid strokes to avoid holding the heat in one spot for long.
  • Only use pure water in your steam mop, or a small amount of cleaner specifically designed for wood floors. Other cleaning agents can dull your wood floors or damage the surface of wood floor sealants.
  • Do not use excessive moisture on unsealed wood floors. Most hardwood flooring is sealed unless you live in an antiquated. If your hardwood is unsealed, use the lightest amount of steam and lowest heat, and only do so sparingly. Generally, wet cleaning is not recommended for unsealed wood.
  • Use smooth strokes going with the grain of your wood floors. If your hardwood has texture to it, going against the grain can push small particles of dirt into little channels. Moving your steam mop in straight lines with the grain will help you pick up more of the small particles and result in a cleaner floor.

Here is our list of the best steam mops for hardwood floors

Use Seasonally

Just as with laminate, you only want to polish your hardwood floors with a steam cleaner about quarterly. Steam mops should not be used every day on hardwood flooring. Overuse of water and heat can damage these expensive floors, so only steam mop your hardwood when it needs a seasonal polish.

Photo of author


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.

Leave a Comment

two × 4 =