Vinyl floors are very popular as they are aesthetically stunning and a more affordable alternative to hardwood floors, so it's obvious that you would want to prolong their lifespan.
If you have them in your home, you know how tricky it is to clean them. Too gentle and the dirt just won’t come off, too harsh, and your floors will get permanently damaged.
Steam mops are the best option for a thorough cleaning of various surfaces and floors, but are they safe for vinyl plank flooring? Here's everything you need to know about steam mop vinyl plank flooring suitability.
Are Steam Mops Safe For Vinyl Plank Flooring?
The short answer is no, the steam produced is aggressive enough to inflict permanent damages on your vinyl floors. If you still want to use steam mops on your floors, it’ll depend on various factors such as the unit itself, quality of steam and drying time.
Why It's Not Recommended To Use A Steam Mop On The Vinyl Plank Floor?
A steam mop can permanently damage your vinyl plank flooring. The water and steam produced by a steam mop can seep in-between the planks and weaken the glue that holds them in place. Consecuently, the the surface would be unleashed. Not just that, but the heat can ruin the finish of the vinyl floor.
Additionally, the heat can deteriorate the top melamine layer allowing your vinyl plank floors to absorb dirt. You also need to keep in mind that many manufacturers will not provide you warranty services if your floors have been damaged by the heat from a steam mop.
How to Steam Clean Vinyl Flooring Without Causing Any Damage?
If you're still adamant about using a steam mop on your vinyl plank flooring, there are some critical precautions you must take to prevent any damages. Make sure you follow them to a T.
Before You Get Started:
The first thing you need to do is make sure your unit is compatible with vinyl plank flooring. It's important to note that not every tool is suitable for every type of floor, especially steam mops. Invest in a high-quality steam mop that comes with super absorbent pads to ensure a faster drying time. Besides, look out for a unit with a variable steam setting.
Don't plug in your unit immediately. You must first unwind the power cord, fill up the water tank, and then fix the mop cloth. Steam units heat up very quickly; if you fix the cloth when it's heating up, it can be hazardous. Plugging in must always be the last step.
It's also important to note that steam units predominantly use only water with a few exceptions that feature dual functions. You must read the instruction manual thoroughly for the best use.
Before you start using your steam mop, you must sweep or vacuum your vinly floors thoroughly. This prevents you from changing the cloth frequently, and your unit will do a better job as it doesn’t have to deal with any dirt or debris, which can limit its performance.
After you’re done with the above methods, plug in your unit and wait for it to heat up. Generally, it takes 15-30 seconds for a steam mop to get hot. However, it depends on the manufacturer as well. Ensure that you follow the exact guidelines.
The Step By Step Process:
Now that you’re aware of what precautions you must take before using your steam mop, here is a step by step process for steam mopping your vinyl plank flooring:
Step one: Firstly, you need to turn on your unit. Like we've mentioned above, it's best if you get a steam mop with variable steam settings so that you can use it in the lowest setting possible. If its too high, your floors will incur damages.
Step two: You can start mopping the floor now. However, it’s critical that you constantly keep moving in order to prevent the steam from penetrating the joints. When you’re mopping vinyl floors with a steam mop, you must never let it sit idle for too long. In just a matter of seconds, your steam unit can heat up and permanently damage your floors. If you have to get the phone or open the door, unplug your tool and resume later.
Step three: After some cleaning, your mop cloth will get dirty, and you shouldn’t continue cleaning. If you do this, it'll simply spread the dirt all around and increase your workload. It's best that you keep some spare cloths in hand so that you can replace them whenever needed.
Step four: When you’re done mopping, ensure that those areas are dry and there’s no moisture left behind. After your entire cleaning session is over, make sure that you clean the pads as per the manual instructions and carefully store your unit.
Steam cleaning is a powerful way of cleaning all sorts of floors, but it can be harsh for vinyl floors. Limit your steam mopping sessions to once per week if you're going to use them on vinyl floors.
What’s The Best Way To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?
If you’re afraid of the adverse effects of steam mops on vinyl floors, there are other effective ways of cleaning them. You can vacuum or sweep your floors every day to ensure that it's in tip-top condition.
Another fantastic method is to use apple cider vinegar. Unlike other chemical cleaners, apple cider vinegar is cheap, effective, won’t leave residues behind, and doesn’t cause skin irritation or respiratory problems.
Its simple to use apple cider vinegar for vinyl plank floor cleaning. Just add vinegar to a gallon of hot water and soak a cleaning tool or a cotton towel with the solution.
After that, you can start cleaning your floors. If your floors are particularly dirty, you might try adding a few drops of soap to the solution before cleaning.
However, if you're interested in the best mop for vinyl floors in 2020 you can check our frequently updated top pick here.
Again, we strictly forbid using steam units on vinyl plank floors. There are other effective methods of maintaining their sheen and shine without causing any damages.
However, if you still insist on using them, ensure that you follow all the expert tips mentioned above to make the most out of steam mopping safely. Maintaining cleanliness will ensure that your vinyl floors last for many seasons.