Is Steam Cleaning Safe for Hardwood Floors?

There is definitely a special pride that goes along with having hardwood floors in you home. Hardwood flooring is elegant and beautiful in any room of a house. It's only natural that you would want to discover ways to keep the wood floors in your home looking their best. Nothing is more frustrating than watching dirt, dust and general residue from everyday life rob your floors of their luster. Many cleaning solutions today don't do a thorough enough job of removing film from wood flooring. That's why many people are tempted to try steam cleaning their hardwood floors. You may have even seen steam cleaners on the market that are designed for use on wood flooring. Is this really a safe option for hardwood floors? Take a moment to research whether or not it's safe to steam clean wood floors before you take that next step. 

Caution Is Important 
It's true that some steam cleaners are marketed as being safe for wood floors. However, that doesn't mean that caution shouldn't still be used. Making the wrong move could result in damaged floors that will never look the same again. What's more, cleaning wood floors using improper methods could completely destroy a floor and leave you with high replacement costs. 

Why Caution Needs to Be Used When Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors 
Steam cleaners use heated water when cleaning floors. Anyone who has ever owned hardwood floors knows that this type of flooring doesn't mix with moisture. Wood is actually extremely absorbent. That is why water should never be allowed to sit on the surface of a wood floor. Exposure to water and moisture can cause hardwood flooring to warp, twist or be plumped up. Those are all signs that damage has occurred. The fact that steam cleaners rely on heated water for cleaning power means that there is always a risk of hardwood flooring coming into contact with excess moisture during a cleaning session. 

What Do Manufacturers of Hardwood Flooring Have to Say? 
Manufacturers of some steam cleaners are quick to say that their products can be used with hardwood flooring. However, this isn't the case when it comes to the companies that manufacture hardwood flooring. No major manufacturer of hardwood flooring actually recommends the use of steam cleaners on their products. There's actually much more to the story beyond that. It turns out that the National Wood Floor Association and the World Floor Covering Association have both released warnings regarding the use of steam cleaners on wood floors. Both groups have stated that hardwood flooring can experience serious water damage when steam cleaning is used as a cleaning method. 

The Bottom Line on Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors 
All evidence points to the idea that steam cleaners should be avoided when it comes to maintaining hardwood floors. Of course, some people may feel that an occasional session of steam cleaning is the only way to really get a floor in top condition. What can you do if you still want to go ahead and use a steam cleaner on your hardwood floors? It's important to really pay attention to what is happening during the process. Water should visibly drip from the cleaner and bead on the surface of the floor. Something is probably wrong if you notice that water is absorbing into your floor instead. Another option is to choose some natural, wood-friendly cleaning materials that will help you give your wood flooring a like-new appearance without the potential risks that go along with steam cleaning. Methods that don't pose risks to wood can be used frequently without worry. Keeping your wood floors properly maintained will cut down on the need for an extreme cleaning method like steam cleaning.

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