Are you tired of your old boring traditional mop? It’s just a stick and a mop head; the exact same design they were using a century ago! And it’s such a bother dragging around the mop bucket, spilling it at least once per use, and having to dispose of the dirty water afterward. Doesn’t it feel like there should be a better option out there now?
Well, there is! Steam mops are a great way to clean floors—you don’t need to drag a bucket of water around with you and you don’t need chemicals in order to sanitize. Just fill the steam mop reservoir with water and watch it magically turn to steam! But steam mops use a lot of water, and some floors are sensitive to moisture, like laminate flooring. So what happens then? Can you use a steam mop on laminate flooring or not?
Good news: you can use a steam mop for laminate floors. However, there are some things you need to think about, including buying the right steam mop for the job. Steam mops for cleaning laminate floors need to have heat settings and steam control settings. You’ll also have to think about how much water you use (as little as possible). If you don’t have the knowledge you need and take the necessary care, you will definitely damage your laminate floor.
Fortunately, we have all the tips, tricks, and important information you need to clean safely, plus a few recommendations for top-class laminate-friendly steam mops! This is the ultimate guide to steam mopping, so go ahead and keep reading—we’ll help you pick the best steam mop out there.
- What is a Steam Mop?
- Can You Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Floors?
- What is the Best Steam Mop for Laminate Floors?
- What Floors Can You Use a Steam Mop?
- More Ways to Clean Laminate Floors Besides Steam Mops
What is a Steam Mop?
Steam mops actually look more like vacuum cleaners than mops, but there is no suction going on here. Instead, the device will produce steam that will help you steam clean your floors.
Where a vacuum might keep its dustbag, a steam mop keeps a reservoir of water. The steam mop rapidly heats this water and turns it into steam, and when you hold down the trigger on the mop handle, that steam is directed downwards and exits through the bottom of the mop.
Since the water has been heated past the boiling point, it is hot enough to kill 99% of bacteria and it sanitizes as it cleans. As such, a suitable mop is the perfect way to keep your floors safe for kids. The hot water can also break down and melt just about any loose dirt that may be attached to your floors, whether it’s caked and dried, or sticky.
The steam mop will come with ‘mop pads’ that cover the end of the mop. This is usually a microfiber pad and its job is the same as the classic mop head: to even apply water to the floor and provide a soft safe way to clean without leaving marks and scratches. Most are machine washable and reusable, but you can also buy replacements easily, often in packs of six or more.
When mopped with one of the best steam mops, a floor will be fully sanitized, and all dirt or sticky patches will be dealt with. Steam mops are great for wooden floors that can’t deal with harsh chemicals, but other than hardwood floors, they can also be used for ceramic tiles, waterproof laminate floors, and more. You can use it to clean your entire floor.
Can You Use a Steam Mop on Laminate Floors?
Laminate floors are susceptible to moisture. This just means that water can damage them. Specifically, when water gets into the cracks of the floor or makes contact with the wood fibers it can cause swelling and warping. This is why you do need to be careful when cleaning laminate floors with a steam mop, and even with normal mops such as this one.
In order to be safe when you perform a thorough cleaning, you’ll need to pick a good steam mop designed to work as a laminate cleaner. There are, however, additional factors to think about.
Are your laminate floors cleared for steam cleaning?
The first step to finding out if you are able to use a steam mop with your specific laminate floor, is to check with the laminate flooring manufacturer that installed them. You may have been told at the time, or left with documents that list the specifications of the flooring and how to care for it. You should be able to find out if your flooring has been marked as okay for steam cleaning, or whether the floor manufacturers advise you to avoid it.
The most important thing your laminate floor needs to handle steam cleaning is for the top layer of protective resin to be thick, good quality, as new as possible, and not damaged. The resin is what protects the wood fibers beneath from getting wet and becoming damaged when cleaning laminate floors.
The right kind of steam mop
The next thing you need is the right kind of steam mop. Even after you’ve confirmed that cleaning laminate flooring is okay with your particular floors, and checked for any damage to the resin, it doesn’t mean that you can go crazy with a steam mop. You will still need to use as little steam as possible in order to avoid wearing down the resin or allowing water to penetrate any gaps. That’s why it’s important to pick the best steam mop for laminate floors and not just any random mop that can produce steam.
This means you need a steam mop that has settings. Some steam mops will not have any settings and just release steam in a set amount at a set heat. This default amount will be too much for your laminate floors to handle. Instead, you will need a steam mop that allows you to adjust the steam/heat settings and you will need to set it to the lowest setting possible.
Other general features to look out for are the length of the power cord and the size of the water reservoir. Long power cables and large water reservoirs allow you to cover larger areas and work for longer without having to switch sockets or refill the mop while cleaning laminate floors.
It should also be noted that while many steam mops will have these features, they may not advertise themselves as a mop safe for use on laminate floors. This is because there is never a guarantee: it would be impossible to make a steam mop that wouldn’t damage a laminate floor even if misused. And so it is safer for steam mop manufacturers not to advertise their mops as laminate-floor safe.
To make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best steam mops down below. Even if not advertised as such, every steam mop on our list is a steam mop for laminate floors.
The right way to clean laminate floors
The last thing to consider when performing a thorough cleaning of your laminate flooring is your actual cleaning methods and additional cleaning equipment.
Firstly, using steam cleaners on laminate floors is not something you should do every day or even every week. If you do it too often, the protective resin on the floor will wear down and get damaged, no matter how carefully you clean. Once the resin can’t protect the floor, you will end up getting the wood fibers wet and the flooring will swell and warp.
With that said, don’t worry, sanitizing your floors once every two weeks or so is plenty often enough to keep them clean. You can use a normal wet mop, sweep and vacuum in between, and if you do get a spill or stain that you need to get rid of, you can use the steam cleaner on that small area just to clean it up.
While cleaning, it’s also a good idea to follow the grain of the floor, as this makes it easier for water to glide over any tiny cracks or holes in the resin rather than penetrating them. In the same way, it’s best to avoid going against the grain as it will make it easier for water to penetrate the resin. Remember to use a gentle microfiber pad and not abrasive cleaners like a bristle scrub brush.
As we mentioned before, you need to be careful with how much water and how much heat you use when steam cleaning a laminate floor. Don’t spend hours and hours going over the same spots for no reason. Only spend time on a select area when there is a stain to get rid of. The steam is doing all the sanitizing work for you purely through its temperature and making contact with the floor— you don’t need to scrub or go over the same areas. You also don’t need to apply pressure, just glide the steam mop across the floors naturally.
What is the Best Steam Mop for Laminate Floors?
You now know how a steam mop works, but do you know how to pick your new steam cleaning hero? We’ve compiled a list of mops for you to check out to save you time and money, so don’t bother searching for other steam mops and take a peek at our list below.
PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner
The PurSteam mop is a two-in-one style steam mop that can be used as a full-sized mop or as a hand-held. Simply take the water reservoir section out and you’ll have a mini hand-held steam cleaner/laminate cleaner.
This is useful for cleaning the skirting boards and corners of your laminate floors, but it can also be used for things other than flooring, like shower walls and kitchen surfaces. It even has a flexible hose that can be used to steam clothing!
The mop has three adjustable modes to help you pick the right level of steam control. As mentioned, you would want to use the lowest mode when cleaning your laminate floors. The water reservoir holds 340ml/11.5oz of water and can clean for 20-25 minutes on the lowest steam setting. It has a light and slim design and the two parts fit together and come apart very easily.
The mop pad material is ultra-fine microfiber cloth, and it can be used as a reusable pad and machine washed. You can also buy replacement pads on Amazon. The PurSteam also comes with multiple accessories to make cleaning possible and easy in all sorts of places.
- The 2-in-1 system is useful for cleaning different areas
- It works for a long amount of time without refills
- Replacement pads are easy to buy
- It’s a lightweight steam mop
- The power cord isn’t that long
Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop
The Bissell PowerFresh steam mop is a full-sized steam mop (no pop out hand-held this time). It’s larger, but it does have its own nifty features. For example, it has a flip-down scrubbing brush that you can use just on stained or dirty parts of your floor. It also comes with scented discs you can insert into the mop to leave a pleasant scent on your sanitized floors. These discs are called Spring Breeze Scent Discs; you can buy them separately, and refills are super cheap.
It also comes with two kinds of mop pads: a soft pad (which you will need for your laminate floors!) and a scrubby mop pad, which you will be able to use on other kinds of flooring like bathroom tiles.
The mop also has all the important hot steam settings: choose from high, medium, or low on the digital display and avoid harming your floors! A removable tank lets you refill the mop easily as well, so it’s a pleasure to use for your daily cleaning.
- The scrubbing brush is great for cleaning other floors
- The scented discs add a nice scent to your home
- Dual-sided pads with different pad fibers: soft and scrubby
- Does not have a handheld feature
- The scented discs will run out and then you have to buy more
Toppin Steam Mop
The Toppin steam mop comes with a 23ft power cord and a 380ml/12.8oz water reservoir. These are nice features that go nicely with the three steam settings. It can work for 15 minutes on the lowest setting, applying steam directly to your floors.
It also has machine washable and reusable mop pads and a carpet glider for steaming carpets. The mop pads are specially designed to fit over the head of the mop and will not come loose or fall off during use. The steam exits the mop head through seven separate holes, which gives the floor and even coating of steam.
The Toppin steam mop has a great lightweight design so it’s easy to maneuver and mop with. The water will heat up and be ready for us within 20 seconds, so you don’t need to prep the machine in advance, and even if you have to refill the tank, it will not waste too much time.
This is a good inexpensive alternative to the cheap Shark steam mop models, as those do not have steam settings.
- Long power cord
- Best lightweight steam mop that is quick to heat up
- Seven steam holes for even coverage
- Microfiber pad set included
- It can only clean for 15 minutes on a full tank
Bissell Power Steamer
The Bissell model is a heavy-duty 3-in-1 steam mop and handheld steamer. This is a great model if you would also like to use your steam mop for other things as well as your laminate floors. It can be used out in the garage, on windows, in the car, or on furniture.
The steam mop/handheld steamer combo has multiple settings to control the amount of steam and comes with a whopping 29 accessories for cleaning in various places. The list includes a flat scraper tool for getting stubborn messes off hard surfaces, a grout tool for cleaning grout in between tiles, and a window squeegee for cleaning windows.
It also comes with a soft microfiber mop pad for cleaning floors. This model is understandably more expensive as it can do so many things, but it’s worth its price thanks to all the extra features it comes with. If you’ve been looking for a good way to clean the tires on your car as well, then this is the steam mop for you!
- Super-versatile steam cleaner (29 accessories!)
- It’s heavy-duty but has a setting for less steam
- Can be switched into handheld mode
- It’s a little expensive
- The settings could be more robust
Hoover Steam Mop
The hoover steam mop is another 2-in-1 style full-sized and handheld steam cleaner. It comes with 10 accessories to help you clean wherever you want: floors, carpets, upholstery, windows, grills, toilets, bathrooms, and just about everything else.
This steamer uses a dial to control the level of hot steam, so you can have really precise control over how much steam comes out. But remember, always choose the minimum for your laminate floors!
The steam mop comes with multiple microfiber mop pads for different kinds of cleaning, and it has a 380ml/12.8oz water reservoir. The produced steam is strong, fully adjustable, and suitable for all kinds of floors.
- Precise steam control with a min/max dial
- Multiple accessories for different uses around the house
- Detachable handheld steamer
- The power cord could be longer
What Floors Can You Use a Steam Mop?
Once you splurge on a steam mop, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be able to clean most, if not all, the floors in your house with just that mop. Toss the damp cloth aside and check out what a good steam mop can do.
Steam mops are great for cleaning tile. The steam cuts through bathroom grime and other annoying messes. Some mops will even come with an accessory to help you scrub and clean the grout between your tiles. Unlike laminate floors, tiles are made to deal with moisture, so you can use the steam mop on its highest setting and clean as thoroughly as you like.
Hardwood flooring (if sealed)
Hardwood flooring is essentially the kind of flooring laminate tries to look like. It’s pure wooden planks topped with a resin layer to protect them.
It is strongly recommended to never use detergents and chemicals while cleaning hardwood flooring, which is what makes steam mops perfect for cleaning them. You do, however, need to make sure the protective layer is fully intact, and use a low setting like with laminate floors.
Surprisingly, steam mops can also be used on carpet. It can’t replace vacuuming and it won’t clean deeply as a carpet shampoo would, but it can sanitize the surface. This can be useful for keeping the effects of a carpet shampooing for as long as possible, and is particularly useful when your carpet will be used by young children. It can also help to deodorize the carpet if you have pets.
Granite and marble
If you have granite or marble on your floors or kitchen surfaces, you can also use a steam mop here. On kitchen surfaces, the steam mop can help you reach a level of cleanliness and sanitization that would be difficult otherwise.
Linoleum is water-resistant flooring so a steam mop can be used on it without any extra considerations. The heat settings are irrelevant, but in general, it’s better to start on a lower setting and only go higher if you must.
More Ways to Clean Laminate Floors Besides Steam Mops
Using your trusty steam mop is not the only way to deal with cleaning laminate floors. Here are a few extra options to add to your cleaning rotation.
Sweeping and vacuuming
It goes without saying that cleaning regularly is better than leaving your floors for a long time. Even if it seems like nothing particularly harmful is on the laminate floors, there are many small objects that could lead to scratches if they are left to sit there for too long.
That’s why sweeping or using a vacuum cleaner is a great way to keep your laminate floor clean, even if it seems a bit lackluster. Removing the debris will help protect the floor, and keep it clean for longer after a mopping. There’s no limit to how much you can sweep or vacuum a laminate floor, so feel free to do it every day if you want to. (Or, alternatively, tell your robot vacuum cleaner to do it every day!)
Cleaning up spills
Water is the main weakness of laminate floors, so another way to keep it clean and safe from damage is to always clean up spills as soon as they happen. Even water should not be left to sit on the floor for long periods of time because it will start to harm the protective resin layer.
Keep a dry mop on hand to deal with accidental spills the moment they happen. This will ensure that you’ll enjoy your laminate floors for the years to come.
If you don’t want to use or buy a steam mop, you could always just mop laminate floors with a normal mop. The best types of mop to use on laminate floors are sponge mops or spin mops, as you want to be able to control the amount of water on the mop as much as possible.
It’s also good to use very hot water. If you have a boiling water tap, you can fill the mop bucket from there, or use a kettle to add some extra heat to normal tap water. The most important thing is to make sure the flooring dries quickly once you’re done. This is why you want to regulate the amount of water on your mop so it isn’t soaking the floor through. However, if your floor does end up quite wet, it’s best to dry it straight away with a clean microfiber cloth.
Laminate floors are delicate and particularly susceptible to water, so using a steam mop can be harmful. If you don’t use it correctly and mop in the right way, it will almost definitely be risky.
However, you’re in luck: it can be done, you just need to understand what not to do and why not to do it. Once you have this knowledge it will be easy for you to make decisions about how to proceed, and help you to notice if things aren’t going well.
If you don’t want to risk using a steam mop on your laminate flooring, the best thing to do is keep it as clean as possible with the methods we listed above. Sweep and vacuum regularly, clear up spills right away and mop with hot water. There is no reason why you wouldn’t, however, because the mops we’ve recommended are all as safe as a dry mop, and they do a far better job.
We hope this article has given you enough information to help you make a decision on what best to do for your laminate floor. Happy cleaning!