Steam Mops are NOT for Hardwood Floors, See What IS…

Steam Mops are HOT but they are NOT for wood floors:
wood floor hallway_portraitSteam mops are popular now and many customers have asked if they should try a steam mop to clean their hardwood floor because it appears to clean deep to remove dirt.  The answer is NO!  In no way, shape or form should a steam mop ever be used on a hardwood floor.  Steam mops do clean deep because the steam is penetrating.  When steam (or any form of water) is introduced to wood, the wood will absorb the water causing the wood to warp, discolor and distort.   This includes polyurethane & acrylic finished wood which will absorb steam as it penetrates into the crevices between wood planks which will expand and contract as the wood gets wet then dries causing an ugly mess.  Other types of finished hardwood will get sticky and filmy right away with steam (or water).  If you haven’t tried a steam mop on your hardwood floors, DON’T!
Here’s what you CAN DO to clean and shine your hardwoods:

There are several types of hardwood floors, most common are Polyurethane or Acrylic Finished and Waxed Wood Floors.  The two are treated in completely different ways yet steam mopping is bad for both!


Polyurethane & Acrylic Finished Hardwood:

Use a spray & mop system such as Bona Spray Mop which is an all in one spray cleaner or a separate spray bottle and microfiber mop such as those made by Bona (32oz spray bottle & microfiber mop or kit) or Basic Coatings Squeaky (floor care system kit includes both items).  Whichever you choose, you’ll be able to get all the tools and cleaner you need from one source.   Be sure you’re using a microfiber mopsbecause it is most effective at picking up dirt without releasing dust particles into the air.  If your wood floor is new, check your manufacturer’s warranty because many wood floor manufacturers have their own branded cleaner (similar to Bona or Basic) formulated specifically for their hardwood flooring product.   Using the cleaner recommended by the floor’s manufacturer is typically required to uphold the  floor’s warranty.

Here are a handful of manufacturers that have branded spray cleaner: 

mannington logobruce logokahrs logoarmstrong logoharris tarket logomohawk logoduraseal logo

The brands goes on and on so refer to the wood floor care Section of for a complete list.

Performance expectations for all spray & mop wood floor cleaners: 

  • Easy to use
  • Work in small sections for best results
  • Apply pressure on the mop to remove visible dirt  (most dirt lifts easily; spray & rub by hand with a microfiber cloth for stubborn spots)
  • No streaking
  • No dulling of finish
  • No offensive odors, low or no VOCs, non-toxic 
  • Wash microfiber mop cover between uses (dirty mop cover will not clean effectively) 

If you’re trying to improve the shine of your floor, there are several wood floor polishes or refreshers available (shown below).  All are easy to apply with an applicator pad on a microfiber mop.  Good do-it-yourself project.  These products will fill microscopic scratches creating a smooth surface thereby improving the floor’s appearance and shine.  Several sheen levels are available so choose carefully based on your desired result.  Hardwood floor polishes & refresher are available from Bona, Basic Coatings & Bruce.

Bona refresh polishbasic refinisher- satinbasic refinisherbruce fresh finishbruce fresh finish low gloss


Waxed Hardwood Floors:

Sweep routinely to pick up loose dirt that can scratch the floor under foot traffic.  That is the only FREQUENT maintenance required.  When spots or spills happen, spot clean with a liquid paste wax with cleaner.  DO NOT clean with water or spray cleaners!   Periodically (twice each year is typical) clean the entire floor with a liquid paste wax with cleaner (same cleaner used for spot cleaning). Bruce makes one for light wood and one for dark wood floors.  In between cleaning/wax applications, machine buffing will bring up the floor’s shine. 

light n naturaldark n rich

Another option is to use a product like Bruce’s, No Buff Acrylic Finish for Waxed Wood floors that provides a tough acrylic finish that will then be cleaned like the Polyurethane & Acrylic floors shown above.

bruce no buff

Additional questions about cleaning & caring for a wood floor (or any floor) can be emailed to  Our knowledgeable Customer Support team will answer your questions to help you find the right products to care for your floor.

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