It’s hard to list all the pros of steam cleaners. They efficiently eliminate dust and dirt, are easy to carry and able to reach the places you cannot clean with a regular vacuum. But steam is considered dangerous for wooden floors. Is it? Let’s do some research.
How Steam Affects Wood
Those into wood processing know that steaming wood is, in fact, a technique. Wood is easier to bend after steaming, so those who want to bend a plank have to steam it in a special box or bag and then secure its shape while drying. That’s how curved wood pieces (and masterpieces) are made.
As for planks on your floor, they are affected by steam exactly the same way. Of course, the impact will not be as hard. The steam will not surround the plank, and the time of cleaning is rather short. So the floor planks will not bend that much, and you will not even notice it.
On the other hand, if you do your cleaning frequently, the impact grows just like this. In addition, steam changes the color of the wood, no matter how it has been processed. But the worst thing is that even the correctly processed hardwood isn’t absolutely resistant to rotting. The more the wood is exposed to steam, the easier it is for rotting to begin.
By the way, the good old mop will not cause such an effect. Though it still uses water to wash the floor, the temperature of the water is moderate, so it doesn’t harm the wood the way steam does. Some manufacturers even say their steam cleaners are safe to use on sealed hardwood floors. Maybe it really turned out so under perfect lab conditions. But in real life, you better avoid any contact of wood and steam.
How Much Steam a Cleaner Generates
Though the reservoir for water attached to a steam mop is usually small – about 250-500 ml. Those of cylinder steam cleaners are usually larger and can contain up to 2 L, which seems too small next to the volume you need with a regular mop. We must acknowledge, though, that today’s steam cleaners have a fantastic ability to generate so-called dry steam. A cleaner can generate so much of this steam that it can affect the floor with its temperature and lowered-but-still-enough moisture during all your cleanup and a little after.
The steam cleaners you can find on toolsngoods.com are also dangerous for wooden floors, no matter if it’s seemingly indestructible oak or (as seemingly) fragile bamboo. Manufacturers may promote a different approach, but it’s similar to waterproof phones. They really can be that waterproof in the lab, but in the real world, where the water is salty and dirty, the temperature is higher, and your attention can be distracted, they will not last as long. The same is with steam cleaners: they can be safe for wood in the testing lab, but much harsher to it in your house.
By the way, wood is not the only type of surface steam cleaning is no good for. It’s also recommended to avoid steaming silk, velour upholstery, and some thin plastic surfaces that can be damaged by moisture, heat, or their combination named steam.
No, I Woodn’t!
So, when it comes to wooden floors, regardless of their finish, it’s not recommended to use steam cleaners on them. No steam cleaner is safe for wood, as never is steam itself. Probably doing it once or twice will not harm the floor much. But you are not buying a steam cleaner to use it once or twice: you intend to use it frequently. It’s okay if you plan to rebuild your room anyway, changing the floor as well. If you’re about to stick with this good old hardwood, you better ditch steaming in favor of traditional vacuuming and cleaning.
If your floor is made of linoleum, vinyl, laminate, or tile, a steam cleaner is unable to harm it. Just keep it away from wood.