Can You Steam Mop Laminate Floors? (Read This First)

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Which cleaning technique is best for your floors is highly dependent on its material, as you could cause irreversible damage by pairing a particular floor type with the wrong products, methods, or tools.

Considering the popularity of laminate floors and the deep cleaning benefits of steam mops, many homeowners are curious if it is safe and effective to pair the two. So, can you steam mop laminate floors?

You can use a steam mop on laminate floors. However, this is not the recommended cleaning method and should be done cautiously as the high temperatures and excess amounts of water produced by the steam mop could cause significant damage to your floors if you aren’t following proper techniques.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of cleaning your laminate floors with a steam mop. You’ll learn the steps that will ensure your floors aren’t damaged from this cleaning method, but you will also learn the risks of using steam mops on laminate floors, which render this a less than ideal tool for this material.

How to Clean Laminate Floors With a Steam Mop

Cleaning laminate floors with a steam mop isn’t for the faint of heart. In all seriousness, this tool has the potential to severely damage your floors if used improperly and crucial steps are skipped.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you and your beautiful laminate floors, we have provided an easy, step-by-step guide for this process. In a nutshell, here's how to SAFELY steam mop laminate floors:

As a general overview, the best way to clean laminate floors is to use a steam mop recommended by your floor’s manufacturing company. You should also keep the level of water exposure to a minimum and try to dry your laminate floors almost immediately after they have been steam mopped.

Now, let’s get into the guide.

1. Confirm your manufacturing company supports steam mopping

Before you buy a new steam mop for your laminate floors or whip out the one you have stored in your closet, it is crucial that you confirm your laminate floors can withstand the harsh conditions that steam mops create.

While some laminate floors, such as those that have been waterproofed, can withstand the high temperatures and water exposure from steam mops, this is not the case for all of them. Therefore, your first step should be to read what the manufacturer recommends for your laminate floor’s regular maintenance.

If they provide a specific steam mop that is ideal for your floors, it's worthwhile investing in this tool. That said, if your manufacturer does not recommend steam mopping on these particular laminate floors at all, refrain from this cleaning method for the sake of your laminate floor’s longevity and appearance.

2. Make sure your laminate floors need steam mopping

Another precaution you’ll want to take, in addition to confirming that your laminate floors can withstand steam mopping, is to determine if steam mopping is truly necessary.

Most homeowners enjoy using steam mops or even steam vacuums because their high temperature water and suction allows a deep clean that most tools can’t provide. Still, this is a relatively aggressive cleaning method that you don’t want to use on your laminate floors unless absolutely necessary.

This is not a cleaning method you should incorporate in your daily, weekly, or even monthly maintenance. You should only steam mop laminate floors once every several months after you’ve noticed a significant layer of grime or discoloration has formed on the surface.

3. Sweep and/or vacuum your floors before steam mopping

You’ll want your laminate floors as clean as possible before you start steam mopping.

Otherwise, you’ll likely wet any dirt and debris that was laying on top, turning it to mud and increasing the difficulty of this cleaning process. In other words, you're moving the dirt around.

Failing to remove excess debris beforehand could also lead you to scraping grit and other abrasive materials along your floor’s surface, causing scratches and damaging its protective coating.

So, once you’ve decided the time has come to give your laminate floors a thorough steam mopping, make sure they get a thorough sweep and vacuum first.

5. Place your steam mop on the lowest heat setting and use gentle products

Now, let’s make your steam mop as safe as possible for your laminate floors, starting with its heat setting.

The high temperatures emanating from steam mops is the biggest risk to your laminate floors, as it can damage and melt your floor’s seals and protective coatings.

This, in turn, could warp or melt your laminate panels and promote the growth of mold and mildew. High heat exposure could also cause your laminate floors to lift or bubble rather than laying flush and level.

To prevent this, your first step should be to turn your steam mop down to its lowest heat setting (if the steam mop doesn’t have a low-temperature setting, then you should not be using it on your laminate floors).

With that risk minimized, the next step is to use the least abrasive products possible. By this we mean that you should place a pad made of the gentlest materials, such as microfiber, on your steam mop.

Not only will microfiber reduce the risk of scratches, but it is also highly absorbent. This is important because you want to minimize how much water you place on your laminate floors and how long it stays there.  

If your curious what cleaning products to load into your steam mop, the answer is water.

Never use multi-surface cleaners (even the gentlest kind) or harsh chemicals on your steam mop and laminate floors to prevent damage to both. The heated water/steam will be enough.

6. Steam mop quickly and dry immediately

After you’ve prepped your laminate floor and your steam mop, it’s time to start cleaning!

Again, its important to remember that these harsh tools can cause serious damage to your laminate floors from its heat and water, so the best way to reduce these risks further is to move quickly and try quicker.

Steam mopping quickly will reduce how much you heat their surface and how much water is emitting in one spot. You should never steam mop slowly on laminate floors or linger in one spot.

If you notice a tough spot of grime or a stain, you’re better off using a different product or tool to remove them than attempt to go over it again and again with the steam mop.

Once you’ve mopped an area, you’ll want to use a microfiber towel to dry your laminate floors immediately, further reducing how much water is left to damage floors and promote fungal growth.

Final Thoughts

Most flooring experts wouldn’t recommend using a steam mop on laminate floors.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t. In fact, waterproof laminate floors can usually be cleaned safely with a steam mop as long as the user follows the steps and tips listed above. If you’re reluctant to expose your laminate floor to a steam mop, most microfiber mops will work just as well and are significantly less risky.

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