The steam mop is versatile and able to kill bacteria while also leaving floors beautifully clean afterwards. While it works better than the traditional mop and bucket, this piece of tech is not suitable for use across your entire home - some surfaces need to be avoided.
Whether or not a steam mop can be used on laminate flooring is a common question, and this guide aims to answer this (and more).
Read More: Steam Mop and Cleaner FAQ
What is Laminate Flooring?
The main materials used to make laminate flooring are melamine resin and fibreboard. These are synthetic materials that are fused together in a process known as lamination.
Once the materials are finished being fused, a photographic layer that resembles wood is placed on top of each plank or board. This is then followed by a protective layer.
You can also get photographic layers that look like stone or other surfaces, and it is a popular option because of its low price. It’s also very easy to install, and the durability is excellent if you take good care of it.
Plus, it is resistant to both scratches and stains, so you don’t have to worry too much if you have pets and kids running around. In fact, it is the most popular floor in the UK.
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Can You Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring?
The super-short answer? No, you shouldn’t use a steam mop on a laminate floor.
This is because steam is released by the steam mop, and the moisture from this steam seeps through the gaps in the planks. As it is absorbed by the flooring, it can cause it to peel, swell, and warp.
Warping is particularly bad, and this kind of damage will certainly require the floor be replaced.
Why Can’t You Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring?
We’ve heard the short answer, but what about a more detailed explanation?
Firstly, steam from a steam mop can weaken the laminate seal on the floor as well as break down the adhesive holding it in place. The damage might not be visible at first, but it can present itself further down the line in the form of:
- Bulging joints
You have to think of it this way, a steam mop reaches incredibly high temperatures in order to disinfect the surfaces it is being used on. The hot steam combined with the pressure produced by the mop is more than enough to weaken the very thing holding your floor together.
If you have planks of laminate flooring with gaps, the moisture from the steam mop will seep into these and settle. As well as causing the issues already listed above, it can encourage mould growth.
It starts with the musty odour caused by mildew before you start to see actual spores growing on the boards. This is a pretty serious issue that can be tricky to rectify.
The top coating of you laminate floor is what gives it a lovely shine. Using a steam mop actually rubs this away, leaving the floor looking dull and rundown. While it is something that happens gradually, you will begin to notice the floors looking a little duller after a few sessions with the steam mop.
If you have a warranty on your laminate floor, using a steam cleaner will likely void it. This can be found in the terms and conditions of your warranty because it is a common cause of damage in this type of floor. So, unless your warranty period has already passed, it is wise to not even test out how a steam mop works with your laminate floor.
Can You Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring That is Water Resistant?
An interesting question, and one that has a better answer for you. Yes, you can use a steam mop on water resistance laminate flooring.
It has to be on the lowest setting to prevent any damage because while moisture will not be absorbed during spillages and the like, too much still has the potential to harm your flooring if left. For example, any wet spills must be cleaned immediately.
What About Using a Steam Mop on Laminate Vinyl Flooring?
Again, you can use your steam mop on laminate vinyl, but you need to be very careful. It is easy to overheat this flooring, and you must ensure that this doesn’t happen.
This is because vinyl is usually held down by glue, and so heating can cause it to lift and become unstuck. Similarly, if one patch is heated too much, you could also end up with a massive bubble in your floor.
What if You Have to Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring?
Really, we recommend that you just don’t use the steam mop on your laminate floor - especially if it isn’t sealed. However, if you are determined to do it, we have just one piece of advice for you. Keep the mop moving and don’t stop.
This really is important because if the steam mop gets to stop for even a moment, you have a higher risk of increased moisture sneaking into the planks. If you do this once and never again, you might just get away with it.
Other Ways to Clean Laminate Flooring
So, how exactly are you supposed to clean laminate floors? The main thing is no moisture. That means no steam mop, no traditional mop and bucket, and no hand cleaning with a sponge. All wet spillages should be cleaned up immediately with a cloth, and the area dried right after.
For paint and grease, you can use acetone (think nail polish remover) and a clean cloth.
The two best ways to clean a laminate floor is with the vacuum cleaner as well as a broom. Always use the hard floor attachment with vacuums to avoid damage, and any attachments should be gentle ones as well.
On a final note, never buff the floor. Laminate flooring comes with its own natural polish and shine that will last for many years.
Laminate flooring can be a tricky one, but there are plenty of ways to clean it without the aid of a steam mop. Sticking with the vacuum cleaner and a broom is the best way to keep laminate floors clean and looking their best.
While there are certain types of laminate that can be steam cleaned, always check the manufacturer’s instructions and proceed with caution.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.