People often choose laminate flooring for their homes because it is visually appealing and brings together a room. To maintain its aesthetic appeal, one may wonder whether a steam mop might be the right choice to keep the floor clean and tidy.
You can occasionally use a steam mop on laminate floors as long as you avoid the higher temperature settings. It is worth noting that heat and moisture can damage vinyl flooring, and you should handle steam mopping laminate floors with great care.
You should try other methods of cleaning the laminate floors mentioned in this article. The article also covers the relatively safer way of using a steam mop on laminate floors alongside other important things you should know about this subject.
How to Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Floor
Steam mops have an efficient cleaning mechanism that involves using heat and water. The steam acts as a sanitizer killing most germs and bacteria, and helps maintain extreme hygiene. However, moisture and heat are both dangerous to laminate flooring.
Therefore, you should avoid using steam mops on laminate floors. If you insist on using a steam mop, make sure you follow the precautionary cleaning practice outlined below.
- Vacuuming or sweeping using a soft-bristled brush is highly recommended before you steam mop.
- Once the floor has been lightly swept, you can go ahead and fill up the tank inside the mop while maintaining a temperature of about 120°C (248°F). If the mop has a heat setting that goes even lower, opt for that.
- While the pad at the foot of the mop uses moisture to wet the dirt and dust so that it comes off the floor more easily, you do not want to drench the laminate floor lest the moisture seeps between the planks.
- The heat works as an effective sanitizer, killing most germs and bacteria. But if the temperature setting is too high, the flooring might sustain damage. You want the heat to evaporate the moisture but not hot enough to damage the floor.
- Steam mops come with a wide range of options in terms of size, types, super powerful to moderately powered, etc. When you have a laminate floor, you should buy a steam mop with the lowest heat settings.
Is Laminate Floor Waterproof?
Laminate flooring is usually made of recycled hardwood with an additional coating that gives the product a laminated finish. Because of the laminate floor planks’ finish and feel, it is easy to assume that the flooring may be waterproof.
A laminate floor is not waterproof, and while the planks don’t absorb water, water can go through the seams between floor planks and cause damage.
Therefore, it is advisable to make sure any areas with potential spills are covered by waterproof material, and any liquid spilled is immediately removed with a water-absorbing fabric.
What to Avoid When Using a Steam Mop on Laminate Floor
Here are some points to keep in mind of while using a steam mop:
- Too high of a heat setting is not good for the floor. It might soften and weaken the firmness of the floor, leaving it buckled. Maintaining the heat is very easy with steam moppers.
- Avoid slow motions of the mops. This is because the longer the moist mopping pad stays in a spot, the warmer and softer the floor would turn.
- Avoid using harsh cloth material. To protect your laminate flooring, it is highly recommended that you use decent quality cloth while cleaning the floors, before and during the cleaning process.
- Steam mops are best reserved for occasional thorough cleaning of stubborn and sticky dirt that does not come out from regular mopping or sweeping. Therefore, you should try using lower-impact cleaning techniques before resorting to steam mopping your laminate flooring.
What Should I Use When Cleaning a Laminate Floor?
As mentioned earlier, steam mops should really be your last resort when cleaning laminate flooring. There are better alternatives that come without the risks associated with steam mops. One of these is a microfiber mop.
You should use a microfiber mop when cleaning a laminate floor because it is safe for the flooring material and cleans most stains with relatively low effort.
To get the best results, it is important to also use the right cleaning solutions. One must be careful not to use cleaning liquids that contain chemicals which reduce the laminate floor’s shine.
Best Microfiber Mops for Laminate Floors
When looking for microfiber mops, make sure to purchase mops with reviews from people who have used them on laminate floors. If you do not want to spend time going through hundreds of reviews, I have compiled a list of three microfiber mops with positive reviews from Amazon customers who have laminate floors.
- Turbo Microfiber offers this ‘floor cleaning system,’ which has a long lifespan. The product is eco-friendly and machine-washable, but most importantly, it has over seven thousand reviews and ratings. Many of these reviews are from people who have used the product on laminate floors.
- Temples Pride’s Professional Microfiber Mop is a cost-effective mop that is safe for laminate floors and covers a broad area in each sweep.
- Mr. Siga’s Professional Mop is a microfiber mop with over three thousand positive reviews, including people who have used it on vinyl floors as well as laminate floors. This speaks for the mop’s ability to clean delicate surfaces without causing damage.
Best Cleaning Liquids for Laminate Floors
If you are wondering which cleaning liquids are safe for laminate floors, again, I would suggest shopping for products reviewed by homeowners who have laminate floors. To save you time, I have listed a few cleaning liquids below with positive reviews on Amazon:
- The Bona Tile and Laminate Cleaner is on the top of my list because of the manufacturer’s emphasis on laminate floors. This cleaner comes in the form of a spray and is for spots and stains. You should squirt the liquid on a small area and use the right fabric to clean a stain left by a coffee spill or a muddy foot.
- Bona Stone’s Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner has over five hundred reviews, of which over a hundred are from people with delicate flooring. The bottle is economy sized and is well worth the price.
- Zep’s Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner is made to avoid impacting laminate floors. It is made in the United States and is the lowest priced option on the list. With over 176 ratings, it is a must-buy.
You should be cautious not to let any type of liquid sit on the laminate floor for a long time. While the planks themselves may not react adversely to liquids, water can seep through the tiniest seams and cause mold to grow below the flooring.
How Often Should You Clean Laminate Floors?
You should clean laminate flooring once a month with low-impact cleaning techniques. Do not use heavy equipment, chemically active detergents, or harsh scrubbing to clean your laminate flooring.
Remember that while the laminate floor has a protective layer that is resistant to certain scratches, it is advisable not to test this material’s limit. If an area is used very often, you may have to dry mop it every week. The only exception to this schedule is when there is a spill or a spot stain. In such an instance, you should immediately clean up the affected area.
Are Laminate Floors the Same as Vinyl Floors?
Since steam mops are not ideal for both vinyl floors and laminate floors, some people might wonder whether both vinyl and laminate flooring refer to the same thing.
Laminate floors are different from vinyl floors in material, heat resistance, and durability. Vinyl may look like wood but is 100% synthetic, while laminate flooring is usually made from recycled hardwood.
Steam Mops can damage laminate floors, so you should take precautionary measures to protect the floors from heat and water damage. When using steam mops, you should use the lowest heat settings, clean and sweep the floor using a vacuum cleaner or regular broom before using the steam mop, and lastly, not hold the mop at one spot for a long period. However, the best way to clean a laminate floor is to use a microfiber mop with a neutral cleaning liquid.