Steam Cleaning Wooden Floors – Here’s Why It’s A Bad Idea

It might seem like everyone you know is picking up a steam cleaner, and who can blame them? They promise to be a fast and effective solution for cleaning your wooden floors. While the steam cleaners are renowned to be eco-friendly, using only water with no need for any chemical cleaners, they can still cause issues with a wooden floor. While it’s true that a steam cleaner only uses water for a safe, deep clean, real wood floors and excessive levels of water don’t tend to play well together.


Steam Cleaning Cat Humidifier


Steam cleaners are pretty simple.They use an integrated heating element to boil clean water, turning it into steam. The heat of the steam breaks down the stickiness of the dirt and grime, so that it can be simply wiped away. The extreme heat also serves to kill nasty bacteria, such as salmonella and e.coli. Though the steam cleaner is perfect for windows, kitchens, bathrooms and similar surfaces, keep it well away from your wooden floors.

Laminate, engineered and solid wood flooring manufacturers all warn against the dangers of moisture and water on your flooring, as it can cause planks to swell, warp, and discolour. All wood is vulnerable to heat and moisture, and while some wooden floors are classified as ‘water resistant’, there is no wooden floor that is fully waterproof. The steam and moisture will find it’s away into the wood, seeping between knots and grooves to cause swelling, and lead to damage you can’t reverse easily. Plus, it could cause your floor to swell and buckle.


Steam Cleaning Buckled Floor


Steam Cleaning + Wooden Floor = Bad Idea

In short, we don’t recommend the use of a steam cleaner on a wooden floor. The damage might not be noticeable at first, but regular use will wreak havoc on your perfect floor. When it comes to cleaning and caring for a wooden floor, it’s better to keep things simple. Regularly sweep and vacuum (with a hard wood floor attachment) and clean with a damp mop.

Make sure to immediately try mop afterwards to remove any extra water. Don’t leave it to stand and air dry, as it’ll likely be absorbed into the floor. Harsh chemical cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the stain, finish or gloss of the floor. If you’re in doubt, check out our cleaning accessories over on our website.


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1 Comment

  • Colin Blake

    I couldn’t agree more. Some flooring will swell in a matter of minutes and the hapless victim will have to put up with lumpy disfiguration or replace a floor section and hope for a match. Unfortunately ‘water resistant’ is like the the one quoted for wrist watches!