Sometimes pet hair, dirt, and other types of debris can get ground into your hardwood floors, and then it is exceedingly difficult to remove. In such situations, even the best vacuum cleaners in the world can have immense difficulty removing these elements.
Steam cleaning may be the next idea that comes to your mind, but you may want to hold off on doing that, because even some of the best companies in the floor cleaning industry have suggested that this is not a good idea. Why not? This is the question we aim to answer in this guide.
Steam Cleaning Can Damage Your Hardwood Floors
Believe it or not, steam cleaning can have damaging effects for your hardwood floors. Because wood tends to absorb moisture rapidly, it could actually trap the water from the steam cleaner inside the surface of your floors, creating mold and other problems later on.
At the very least, cracks can form within the floors, which can create significant problems. At the worst, the floors can warp, needing to be replaced altogether, which can ultimately be very expensive. The floors can also become discolored over time due to excessive steam cleaning, which means that you will lose that shine that you love in your floors.
The Steam Cleaning Products May Cause Unsightly Floor Blemishes
As previously mentioned, steam cleaning can destroy the shine of your hardwood floors in a hurry. However, it’s not just the water that’s the problem. Rather, the chemicals used for cleaning the floor may also cause damage. In fact, the wax and minerals that can be present in floor cleaning chemicals may end up streaking your floors over time.
While the streaks can certainly be taken out of your floors, that task is not a small undertaking, and it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
Steam Cleaning May Void Your Warranty
Another reason why you should never steam clean your hardwood floors is because in some cases, it can void the manufacturer’s warranty on the floor.
When you first installed your flooring, you should have received information from the manufacturer that says what will be covered if anything happens to the floor, or what kinds of damage the floor is protected against. Usually, this is accidental damage; anything that you do to the floor of your own accord that damages it will not be covered by the warranty, in most cases.
In the warranty information, manufacturers will typically list the types of cleaning solutions that are best used on the floor, and they will also list cleaning instructions for the floors at times. If you fail to adhere to their recommendations and your floor gets damaged, it will be very unlikely that you will receive any kind of support or compensation from the manufacturer.
How to Properly Clean Wood Floors
With all of this information in mind, you need to find an alternative to steam cleaning that will help you maintain the shine of your floors and that can pick up pet hair and other debris, even when these elements get left behind by vacuum cleaners. Here are a few things you can do to ensure a proper clean for your hard floors:
- Assess the finish of your floor–Floors with certain finishes can only be cleaned in certain ways, so you will need to know how to specifically treat that finish type before you can actually do any work on it
- Do not use a wax, furniture polish, or anything not recommended by your manufacturer
- Perform daily sweeping tasks to remove the minor debris from your floors
- Use a slightly damp cloth for spot cleaning areas that don’t have major dirt or debris problems
- Dilute any cleaning solution with distilled water, and only use a little bit of water on a regular mop so that your floors don’t warp or crack
- Dry your floors with a towel right away after each cleaning
In some instances, it may be a good idea to contact a professional floor cleaner and enlist his or her services. These people are fully-trained in how to properly clean floors of various types, so you can rest assured that anyone that you call in this industry will be able to clean the floors in a quick and efficient manner without causing damage.
Now that you understand why hardwood floors should not be steam cleaned, hopefully you will be able to get your floors cleaned efficiently without damaging them. Some of the solutions that we have outlined in this guide should be very helpful for you—particularly if you are not sure of the type of finish or sealant that you have on your floors.
However, whenever you are in doubt about your floors, seek professional help, because a professional in the floor cleaning industry can help you save a lot of time and money in the long run.