Vinyl is a versatile and popular flooring material for many homes. This is because, unlike hardwood floors and laminate flooring, vinyl is highly resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold.
But can you use a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring?
The short answer is no, you shouldn’t use a steam mop on your vinyl floors. Using steam on your vinyl plank floors can damage and dull the surface.
Here, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t use steam on your vinyl flooring. We’ll also explore alternative options for safely cleaning your floor. Plus, some tips on caring for vinyl plank floors.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Steam Mop On Vinyl Flooring
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t use a steam mop on vinyl flooring.
Can Cause Mold
First, steam mops create a lot of moisture. Although vinyl is highly resistant to mold and moisture, a steam mop may add too much water.
Too much water on your vinyl plank flooring can cause moisture to seep through the installation and cause mold growth. And mold can produce allergens or irritants that can be toxic or harmful (1).
For example, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause an allergic reaction for anyone with sensitivities.
Plus, if mold grows within your vinyl floorboards, it can spread quickly. So you may end up needing to replace the vinyl floor altogether.
Another problem with this, is that it can start to cause a smell. If water seeps underneath your vinyl flooring and is left for a long time, it will produce an odor.
This will be hard to get rid of, and will likely result in needing to remove the vinyl planks completely.
Dulls The Finish
Steam mops can also cause permanent damage to your vinyl plank flooring. According to some manufacturers, the heat from a steam mop can dull the finish.
In this case, your vinyl floor will lose its shine over time. And this can be hard to restore.
Plus, too much heat and moisture can result in discoloration. So you may lose the original color of your luxury vinyl plank floor if you use a steam mop.
In this case, you may need to change your floor completely if you permanently damage the shine.
Makes The Floor Unstable
Another problem with steam cleaning vinyl is that it can make your floor unstable.
The high heat from the hot water on the steam mop can expand the vinyl planks. This can lead to wrinkles and distortion on your floor.
The heat may also enter through the joints on your planks.
If this happens, it can dissolve the adhesive bonding and cause the floor to become unstuck. If it becomes unstuck, this will mean you’ll also have to replace the floor.
Voids Your Warranty
Finally, using a steam mop on your vinyl plank flooring will void your warranty. Most manufacturers state that you should not use steam mops of any kind on vinyl floors.
So doing so will void the manufacturer’s warranty. This means if something goes wrong, you won’t be able to use it to repair your floors.
Therefore if your floors are still under warranty, you should avoid using a steam mop at all costs. This way, if something happens to your floors, you’ll still be covered by the manufacturer.
Steam Mop Alternative
Luckily, there’s another method you can use to clean your vinyl plank floors safely.
All you need is a damp mop and cleaning solution to do this. But, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to know what solutions are safe for your floor.
All you have to do is wipe your floors with a damp mop and water or a neutral cleanser.
Plus, they clean without using too much water. So these mops are ideal for use on luxury vinyl plank flooring.
Flat mops only need a little bit of cleaning solution to start mopping. So you’ll be able to clean your floors without adding too much moisture to the surface.
Tips to Care for Your Vinyl Floors
Follow these cleaning tips when caring for your vinyl plank flooring.
1. Dry Mop Regularly
Grit on dirty floors and tiny particles from loose dirt can easily damage your vinyl plank floors.
So, you should regularly dry mop your vinyl floor with a soft broom or microfiber mop head to remove dust.
Or you can vacuum them with a suitable vinyl floor vacuum that has a soft bristle brush. But don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar because this can scratch your vinyl floor surface.
2. Wet Mop With Warm Water
If you notice a lot of dirt remaining after sweeping or vacuuming, you should wet mop your floors with warm water.
Use a mop with a microfiber pad or a microfiber cloth to clean luxury vinyl flooring.
And make sure you rinse your clean vinyl plank flooring well with fresh water after cleaning.
3. Use a Neutral Floor Cleaner
You can also use cleaning products that your manufacturer recommends for a deeper clean on your luxury vinyl plank floor.
Or, use a small amount of liquid detergent or ammonia mixed with a gallon of water to remove tougher stains. This will clean your floors well, but always make sure you rinse your vinyl planks properly after cleaning.
4. No Excess Water
Make sure you remove any excess water on your vinyl plank floors. Too much water on the surface can cause moisture damage.
5. Remove Stains and Spills Immediately
Spills or sticky residue on your vinyl floor can seep through the surface layer and cause stubborn stains. So, make sure you wipe up any spills with a microfiber cloth straight away.
6. Avoid Harsh Cleaners
Avoid using harsh cleaners with strong chemicals on your vinyl flooring. You should also avoid abrasive scrubbing tools or abrasive cleaners, as these can scratch the floor’s surface.
7. Don’t use Shining Products
Don’t use detergents or floor shining products such as “mop and shine” when you’re cleaning vinyl surfaces or wood floors. These can leave a leftover residue that will dull your floors.
8. Use Mats
Dragging sand across your floors or heavy furniture can cause scratches. So make sure you lift heavy furniture to avoid dragging it across the surface.
You can also place a mat under objects such as your office chair to avoid scratches.
Make sure you have quality floor mats in doorways that lead outside.
Floor mats will protect grit and other debris from being brought through the house. This will help to prevent scratches and scuff marks to keep your floors clean.
But remember to clean these regularly, so they work effectively.