Whether you have just upgraded your flooring or shifted to a new home that has lustrous laminate flooring, you want to keep it looking fresh like it was on day one. But kids and pets run around the house, and you can imagine the mess they create.
There starts the search for the ways to clean your laminate floors. Although you may be tempted to use steam cleaners or steam mops to lift off the dirt, stains, and blast all germs, it’s not recommended to use steam cleaner or mop.
Can You Use a Steam Cleaner on Laminate Floors?
NO! Steam can damage the core and make laminated floor swell or bend.
Before going further, let’s first understand what laminate flooring is and how does steam damage the laminate floors.
Construction of Laminate Floors
Laminate floors are comprised of four layers pressed together with high pressure, binding chemicals, and heat. The lower layer has a wooden base; the top layer (wear layer) is a transparent layer that protects the floor from stains and scratches. The middle layers are made of high-density fiberboard material.
The construction is susceptible to heat and moisture. Although it can bear occasional spills, long-standing water can seep through the seals, and the floor can swell and warp.
How Does Steam Damages The Laminate Flooring?
Steam cleaners release high-temperature steam with pressure. So, it’s suitable for tough stains and germs. But, when the high pressure steam hit the laminate surface, it reaches the inner layers of laminate floors through the seams by weakening the sealant.
The vapor then cools down and turns into liquid. This moisture loosens the binding chemical that was holding the inner layers together. It results in laminate flooring to swell, warp, or bend. It’s how steam cleaner damages laminate floor.
Moreover, water-damaged laminate flooring can’t be fixed; it can only be replaced. So, the steam should be avoided to clean the laminate floors.
Water-Resistant Protective Coating
With water-resistant laminate flooring material hitting the market, it has become popular among people for flooring. But does it make it suitable for steam cleaning? The answer is “yes” and “no”. Let me tell you how.
If your floor’s protective coating is intact, only then you can use steam on a low heat setting and by quickly wiping off the moisture. However, only use it once in a while for deep cleaning purposes.
But over the period, the floor loses its HydroSeal and shine by wear and tear. With such floors, you can’t use steam mops ever for cleaning. The glossy shine and the protective coating also fade and discolors by frequent use of steam.
Effect on Warranty
Laminate manufacturing companies do not cover the damage resulting from improper cleaning methods and exposure to heat and water. If you do not want to lose your floor’s warranty, adhering to the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines is the best option.
How to Clean Laminate Floors
Laminate floors are easy to maintain if you adopt a few cleaning habits. Here we are mentioning a few tips to make your laminate floor as clean as new.
Vacuum and Dry Mop
Wipe off the spills as soon as possible. Spills will damage the top wear layer, so it’s best to blot it straight away.
Similarly, all the stains and spots should be cleaned immediately; else, it will be difficult to clean the spots.
For oil spots, you can use acetone on a clean cloth to wipe them off. Wax or chewing gum should be scraped off gently after icing it.
For unknown spots – use one part rubbing alcohol, three parts water, and a few drops of all-purpose cleaner. Damp your cloth with the solution, clean it gently, and wipe the surface with a dry cloth.
You can use spray mops to deep clean laminate floors and restore their original shine.
- For this, fill the spray bottle with half a cup of rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon of dish soap, or cleaning liquid that can be used on laminate floors, and fill the rest of the bottle with the distilled water.
- You can also use water and vinegar solution. But do not use too much vinegar, as it is acidic, and too much acid can make the floor lose its shine.
- Move the mop in the direction of the grain and squirt the liquid as you go. The mop will dry the water immediately.
- It’s better to turn on the fan or open the windows, so the floor dries quickly.
What about Smudges and Streaks?
There can be many reasons to have smudges and streaks. If the floor is too dirty, streaks will appear. The trick is to mop again with a clean cloth until you see the sparkly clean surface. Always use a clean mopping pad. If the floor isn’t drying quickly, it can also leave a mark on the laminate surface. Moreover, the overuse of cleaning solution will result in sticky floors and leave smudges.
Laminate floors resemble hardwood flooring, and they are an economical and attractive floor covering option. In addition to that, they are scratch-resistant and durable if maintained properly. Steam cleaning is not appropriate for cleaning the laminate floors. But if you still chose to clean the water-resistant floors with steam, take proper precautions. Even the water-resistant floors should also be treated carefully with a low heat setting.