Can You Use a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors (How to use one)

can you use a steam mop on hardwood floors

Steam mop not only cleans your floor when used, the hot steam it releases due to the added water naturally sanitizes floor surfaces. In fact, they are said to kill up to 99.9% of household germs and bacteria with steam.

Steam cleaning might seem like the perfect cleaning routine, but can you use a steam mop on hardwood floors? It is a known fact that water is an enemy of wood, so as a homeowner, it is crucial to find out if a steam mop can be safely used on your hardwood floors or not.

Yes, you can use a steam mop on hardwood floors, although it’s not recommended by most hardwood flooring manufacturers. You need to ensure that your floors are in great condition and can withstand the steam before planning on using one.

Hardwood is a naturally absorbent material that can plump, warp, twist, and grow mold when exposed to too much moisture. To prevent this occurrence, here are some tips to guide you on your use of a steam mop on hardwood floor.

Tips for Using a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors

Before you use a steam mop on your floor, you must ensure the floor seal is intact.

Read: How to know if your hardwood floor is sealed

One way to tell the thickness and durability of your hardwood floor seal is by dripping a small amount of water onto the floor surface, and if the seal is still intact, the water should immediately bead up and cannot be absorbed by the wood.

A floor with a weak and compromised seal immediately absorbs the water causing it to spread out; in such cases, you will need to reapply a sealant.

The thickness of the floor and it’s finish plays a major role too. The thicker the floor finish, the less damage your hardwood floor receives when cleaned with a steam mop.

You may want to test the sealant integrity on several locations across the floor. Test it in several locations so you can determine the overall integrity of the floor.

You should also test your steam mop in an inconspicuous area of the floor before using it for the entire surface.

Look for any unusual reaction as you steam mop. Use the machine on the lowest setting and do not hold it on one spot for longer than a few seconds.

Use a vacuum or broom to clean your floors before using a steam mop. Vacuuming or sweeping will remove the majority of the soil on the floor, so when you go in with a steam mop, it effectively picks up tiny particles of dirt.

Remember to inspect the microfiber cloth of your mop before use and as you clean and change it out once it gets filthy while cleaning.

Use your steam mop on its lowest setting and move quickly across the floor and avoid leaving the steamer on one spot for long.

This is to avoid overheating as it can cause damage and cupping. Cupping occurs when the edge of the wood planks lifts up higher than the plank’s center, which is usually permanent damage.

Only use distilled water with your steam mop; before adding any cleaner, ensure it is specifically designed for wood floors and can be added to a steamer. Certain cleaning agents can dull your hardwood floor surface and even damage the sealant as well.

Steam mop is not suitable for unsealed floors as excessive moisture could cause unrepairable damage. If you have to use a steam mop on unsealed hardwood, use the lightest amount of steam and lowest heat, and do so sparingly.

Move the steamer over the floor using smooth strokes following the wood grain. Do not move against the grain of your hardwood floor, as it can push small particles of dirt into little channels.

Instead, move your steam mop in straight lines with the grain; this will enable you to effectively remove more small particles so you can achieve a cleaner floor.

Finally, only clean your hardwood floors with a steam mop occasionally.  Do not use a steam mop every day on hardwood flooring as overuse of water and heat can damage your floor. Steam mop should only be used on your hardwood when it needs a seasonal polish.

Read: List of floors you can use a steam mop on?


Although you can use a steam mop on hardwood floors, it shouldn’t be a regular cleaning routine. Steam mop disinfects your floor as the steam kills up to 99.9% of household germs and bacteria, but it could damage your wood floor.

The heat and steam could cause warping and other moisture damages, so using a steam mop on hardwood floor should be done occasionally.

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