Can You Use a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors?

Steam cleaning has become a popular and effective way of removing all the stubborn stains and germs. One of the most common ways of sterilization that is known as an autoclave, also uses the penetrating power of steam to sterilize the OT equipment, but can you use a steam mop on hardwood floors?

We all know that wood surfaces can be damaged because of heat and moisture, but that can not restrict you from cleaning your floors, right? Today I will try to clear all the confusion related to steam cleaner and hardwood floors in this article.


Using a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors

You can use a steam mop to clean the sealed hardwood floors. Unsealed hardwoods are bonded with adhesives and thus using excessive heat and moisture of the steam mop can damage the floor, like rotting, warping, and bending. Even, the sealed floors also may be damaged by the steam, so use it on the low or medium setting.

At high pressure, the steam mops usually blast hot water and remove all the dirt and germs. On the unsealed floor, or even sometimes sealed floors there are some joints and seams. Seeping hot water into the joints can cause rotting and a bad smell.

However, some manufacturer companies say that their mops are safe for use on hardwood floors, including tile, vinyl, and sealed wood, but they leave some residual moisture. The joints of hardwood floors can soak the excess moisture and get damaged over time.

Some steam mops and cleaners have a mechanism that dries up the excess moisture on the surface. You can choose the model and clean your floor with it, but choosing the wrong tool won’t be safe.

Using a steam mop on hardwood floors to deep clean

Although many people choose a steam cleaner for deep cleaning the floors, it is not a good idea at all, because applying steam on hardwood floors may damage the sealant or floor as the steam has good penetrating power. Also, the temperature of the steam is high. The change of temperature and moisture can distort the wood.

On the other side, hardwoods are attached with adhesives. If you use steam mop, the hot steam will affect the adhesives and their quality will no longer remain good. Moisture will penetrate to the layers and weaken the attachment of adhesives with the hardwoods resulting in permanent damage to the floor. Therefore, try to avoid steam mop to clean engineered hardwood floors and also bamboo floors, too.

Some manufacturers may convince you to use the mop on the sealed hardwood floor, if you feel like doing it, go ahead, but still, the moisture can seep into the joints of the boards and can warp it. It is better to clean the surface-sealed floor with a vacuum cleaner, broom, or a dust mop. After that, you can use a damp microfiber cloth or mop to clean it properly.

The recommended way of deep cleaning is to use a solution or formula that is an intense cleanser and made to clean hardwood floors. The cleanser that is specifically made for deep cleaning can easily loosen the dust or other things that is the buildup on the floor and helps to get rid of them effectively when you apply it with a microfiber pad or cloth. The suitable time to deep clean the floors before winter or in the spring season.

What you should and should not do

You need to know how to clean the hardwood floor properly and follow some basic tips and tricks to keep the floor in a good condition. Here are some effective ways in a nutshell—

  • Clean the exudates or any spills immediately. 
  • Always try to use a regular mop for cleaning. 
  • Also, you can use a mop paired with a microfiber cloth. 
  • Avoid using a stringed mop as they spread a lot of water while cleaning. 
  • If the floor starts to lose sheen, apply polish frequently. 
  • To avoid possible damage to the top coating, do not clean your floors regularly. 
  • Avoid water and vinegar mixture to clean the floor as the vinegar is acidic and can make the top coating dull.
  • Do not use a water-soap mixture or wax-based cleaner as well, they may leave residues on the floor.
  • Avoid using steam cleaners as excessive heat and water are not good for the floor.

These are some of the basic rules you need to maintain to protect your hardwood floor and make them long-lasting.


Is it okay to use a shark steam mop to clean hardwood floors?

It is not recommended to use a shark steam mop for cleaning hardwood surfaces. However, you can use it if the entire floor is sealed with different sealants, like resins and wax. They create a protective layer on the floor, so moisture and other harmful liquids can not penetrate into the deep layer. To know if your floor is sealed or not, find an obscure area and put one to two drops of water. If the water remains on the top surface, your floor is sealed or, if the water is soaked by the surface, it is not sealed.

Which is better to clean floors— steaming or moping?

In the case of traditional mops, the head of the mops absorbs all the dirt and dust where the steam cleaners kill the bacteria and dust off the other things. The steam cleaners are comparatively faster and hygienic than the traditional mops, so it is definitely better to use a steam cleaner. But, if your floor is made of hardwood and not sealed properly, you should avoid steam cleaners as they can damage your hardwood floors.

How can I clean my unsealed hardwood floors?

You can use brooms containing soft bristles or microfiber cloths, or traditional mops to clean your unsealed hardwood floors. The soft bristles are gentle to the floor and won’t create a scratch. Also, swiping or dusting off the floors will keep them clean.


Now you know the possible occurrences of using a steam mop on your hardwood floors. Nowadays, many newer models of mops have discovered that do the job really well, but if you have other options available, you don’t need the help of a steam cleaner at all. The traditional mops, brooms, microfiber cloths can clean the floor perfectly. If you worry about germs and bacteria, you will need to use the steam one.

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