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5 Common Questions about Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are nothing like concrete floors or other nearly damage-proof floors in terms of maintenance and cleaning.

If you want to maintain your hardwood floors correctly, you'll need to have a significant amount of information at hand. 

One common question is about steam cleaning hardwood floors. People ask, well...can you do it? The answer is a resounding "it depends."

In this article, you'll find answers to the 5 most common questions relating to using steam to clean hardwood floors. 

Also, have you checked out this article: 3 Soft Bristle Brooms for Hardwood Floors [2021 Reviews]?

Can you Steam Clean Wooden Floors?

Steam cleaning has increasingly become popular because many people are striving to be more eco-friendly with their cleaning methods.

It is a chemical-free cleaning technique that effectively cuts through dirt and grime that builds up on wooden floors.

Specially designed Steam Mops are used in this process.

A steam cleaner/mop is a machine specially designed to spray the floor with water vapor and suction it back up as brushes spin to clean the floor. These machines can be used on both hardwood and carpeted floors.

A steam mop is specially designed with a plastic head that is covered with a cloth pad. By the use of a trigger handle, steam is produced and applied to the floor through the cloth pad.

As the pad moves across the floor surface, dirt and grime is picked up by the pad. Though the steam pad leaves a minimal amount of moisture on the floor, the moisture eventually dries within minutes.

Therefore, steam cleaning is incredibly versatile; not only can you use it on your wood floors, but you can also use it elsewhere around your home. This indeed makes it an ideal cleaning method.

Steam cleaning has many advantages over the traditional or standard mops, something that makes steam cleaning ideal for your home. Some of the advantages of this method include:

  • It is a chemical free method and therefore is beneficial to you and anyone else within your home who may negatively react to some common cleaning agents used in standard mopping.
  • The use of steam cleaning does not require scrubbing the floor.
  • It helps cut down on chemical detergents used during cleaning.
  • It takes less time to dry than standard mopping and leaves less water residue behind.
  • It's a powerful agent against pathogens that may naturally exist on floors.

Though steam cleaning has many advantages, the most commonly recommended ways to clean hardwood floors are as follows:

  • Use a spray mop together with a hardwood cleaning solution of neutral pH and a removable microfiber pad. The removable microfiber can be washed, used, and reused over a long period of time.
  • Use a damp mop with clean water. You only need to wring out excess water from the mop, so that no excess water reaches your hardwood floor. If an extremely wet mop is used, the water can cause damage to your wood floor.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Steam Mops for Wooden Floors?

During construction of a hardwood floor, some corners or joints and, indeed, many places on the board will not receive a perfect finish. Therefore, given enough time, the floor may begin to show some dents or nicks in these pre-finished areas.

Now, running a steam cleaner or steam mop over these corners or joints can make the wood absorb water and begin to swell and buckle.

This eventually leads to staining of the wood and irreparable damage to the floor.

Therefore, continuous use of steam cleaners and mops on wooden floors has a high risk of hydrating the wood and making it swell and buckle.

How Do You Safely Remove Spots, Stains and Other Dirt From Hardwood Floors if Steam Cleaning Doesn't Work?

If steam cleaning simply doesn't get the job done, there are some other techniques you can use to get your floor back to standard operating condition — i.e. clean. 

Scuff Marks

On many occasions scuff marks on wooden floors will disappear just by using your finger to rub over them. 

In case some shallow marks still remain behind after rubbing, you will need to use an eraser like nail polish remover. Nail polish remover is very effective in this regard.

Minor Scratches and Chips

In case a small area of hardwood flooring is worn out, you will need to buy some color-blended filters and apply them on the affected wooden floor to hide the scratches and dings.

Alternatively, you can consider sanding and refinishing the area. If the damaged area is huge, the damaged wood underneath will need to be chiseled out and a new one inserted.

Oil, Ink, Paint, Oil, Marker and Tar

In this case you will need to use paraffin and a bit of elbow grease to remove these marks from your hardwood floor.

However, if you use paraffin and elbow grease and they eventually prove ineffective, you will need to use a powerful stain remover such as nail-polish remover.

Just apply a small amount of the nail-polish remover to a piece of clothing and then lightly remove the stain. Avoid using abrasive cleaners such as heavy-duty scouring pads, sandpaper, and steel wool.

Gum and Wax

Apply icepacks over the gum or wax to make it brittle enough so it can break off into pieces.

You will need to wipe the area clean after the wax or gum has broken off in pieces.

How Do I Clean My Hardwood Floor that Has No Finish At All? Can I Steam Clean It?

Depending on style and condition, unfinished floors can particularly be delicate. Therefore, it is important to clean them when it is absolutely necessary, though some people will tell you to keep them oiled and never to wash them.  

However, it is certainly not advisable to use a steam mop on unfinished floors because the floor can warp and stain.

To clean unfinished hardwood floors, you will first need to vacuum them in order to get dust off the floor.

Then, you will need to use a ringer mop like O-Cider to clean the floors. A ringer mop is a good choice because you can squeeze out the water very well.

You can also use a spray bottle filled with a mild solution and use it to clean tough, dirty or sticky spots and then use your mop to keep the area clean as you go.

When Can You Not Use a Steam Mop?

  • Avoid utilizing your steam wipe on unsealed wood floorings.
  • Do not utilize your mop on fragile textiles such as natural leather.
  • Do not use steam mop to disinfect your floor after quick mopping sessions because it is unnecessary.
  • Avoid using your steam mop on a recently waxed or polished floor.
  • Do not use steam mop on swollen or buckled areas of the wooden floor.

Steam cleaning is suitable over other methods of wooden floor cleaning as long as you know how to use it appropriately.

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