A Guide to Cleaning Hardwood Floors With Steam

Cleaning hardwood surfaces with steam may seem like a good idea because it’s easy, doesn’t require much energy, and effective.

However, before you decide to steam clean your hardwood flooring, there are several things to keep in mind:

How it Works

Finding The Right Machine For The Job

Several steam cleaning machine companies claim that their product is perfectly suited to clean hardwood floors. This is because as they move, good steam cleaning machines will wipe up water vapor that is left behind before it has the chance to soak into the floor.

Before deciding on a steam cleaner, it’s best to look up customer testimonials, in order to know which cleaners will do the trick.

Knowing The Risks And Potential Problems

If your floor seal isn’t up to par, it cannot protect your hardwood against steam, and thus this is probably not the best idea or approach to take. Because hardwood is naturally a very absorbent material, using steam can cause it to plump, twist, lift, and even mold over time.

The heated water vapor produced is able to get down into the deepest cracks to disinfect and clean, but without the proper seal, this can actually be very harmful to your hardwood.

Know that even if your hardwood flooring’s surface and cracks are very well protected, the floor may shift or contract due to weather and other natural occurrences, compromising your seal’s durability and making your hardwood increasingly vulnerable to water damage.

Testing Your Floor’s Seal

Although there are a variety of risks associated with using steam, preventing water damage is definitely possible. A great way to quickly test your floor seal’s thickness, effectiveness and durability is to drip a minimal amount of water onto the surface. If the water beads up immediately and remains that way, your floor’s seal is impenetrable.

A good place to check for seal discrepancies is along the cracks between floor boards, as well as in the crevices that are in the wood itself. If the water disappears (gets absorbed by the wood) or spreads out, you should consider re-sealing your floor before deciding to use steam, as the seal isn’t thick enough to resist water.

Also, it’s important to do this test on several areas of your flooring to get a better idea of its overall seal effectiveness, as seal thickness and durability can vary throughout different areas.

Should You Be Using Steam?

Overall, cleaning wood surfaces with steam is a great way to clean even the deepest of cracks in your floor, targeting germs and bacteria. With the right floor seal, doing so probably won’t harm or damage the hardwood in the long run.

However, there are no guarantees. Hardwood flooring companies have not recommend using steam to clean their products, because of the potential damage it may cause.

When considering your options, use your own judgement and knowledge to decide what will work best for you in your situation before proceeding.

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