How to Use Steam Cleaners on Laminate Flooring

Written by irene a. blake
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Although steam cleaners quickly clean and sterilise a wide variety of surfaces, many flooring manufacturers and retailers don't recommend cleaning laminate flooring with steam, as moisture and heat can damage laminate surfaces, boards and subflooring. Using a steam cleaner to clean laminate flooring isn't impossible, though, or difficult to do. If your floor is completely sealed and you take care when using moisture and heat, you can quickly remove dirt and grime from your laminate flooring with a steam cleaner mop.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Vacuum
  • Dry mop (optional)
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Contact the manufacturer and/or installer of your laminate flooring product to verify that you can use steam safely on it.

  2. 2

    Vacuum the floor to remove loose dirt, hair and other debris, or use a dry mop with a soft, lint-free, microfiber cloth head.

  3. 3

    Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, pour it into your steam cleaner mop's water tank, and then go to Step 5. If the owner's manual for your steam cleaner advises against cleaning with vinegar, pour the solution into a spray bottle, and go to Step 4.

  4. 4

    Spray the solution lightly onto your laminate flooring, and wipe the surface with lint-free, microfiber cloths. If you have a dry mop with a microfiber cloth head, spray the solution onto the flooring, and follow with the mop.

  5. 5

    Prepare your steam mop. Plug the mop in, turn it on, and preheat it following the owner's manual instructions. If you can't use the vinegar/water solution, fill the mop with water.

  6. 6

    Push steam into the mop's terry cloth or microfiber cloth head. Grasp your mop handle, and hold the mop head away from your laminate floor's surface. Press on the trigger two or three times to force the hot steam into the mop's head, without saturating the head.

  7. 7

    Sweep the floor with the mop quickly, in a forward and backward motion, without pressing the trigger--repeating Step 6 as needed to remoisten the mop head. If the cloth on your mop's head becomes overly dirty or saturated, replace the head or cover with a clean, microfiber towel. The hot steam in the head enters the towel when you repeat Step 6.

  8. 8

    Rub the floor, seams, baseboards and any areas with cracks and crevices with a dry mop or microfiber towels to remove excess moisture.

Tips and warnings

  • If your laminate flooring has tough stains or scuff marks, remove the marks with rubbing alcohol (70 per cent solution) on a microfiber cloth. Simply blot and rub at the mark, until it dissolves.
  • Always check with the manufacturer and/or installer of your laminate floor before cleaning with a steam cleaner. A floor not sealed completely can allow moisture and heat to seep into cracks, crevices and floor seams, as well as under the surface of the floor, where it can dissolve floor adhesives, promote mould growth and warp or crack laminate boards.
  • Always spot test your laminate with your vinegar/water solution and steam cleaner before cleaning.
  • Never use carpet steam cleaners on a laminate surface, as carpet steamers produce excessive moisture. In addition, the brush heads on carpet steam cleaners can scratch laminate surfaces.
  • Never use any chemical cleaning products on your laminate flooring, unless approved by the manufacturer. Although "laminate floor cleaner" products exist, many can dull your floor's shine, cause streaks or warp or crack the laminate's surface.

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