Recently, I visited my sister and found her stranded on how to go about cleaning her rug, which has never been cleaned since its purchase. She wanted to remove it from the hard wood floor but there was no sufficient space anywhere else to lay it down for washing. She was not sure whether she could steam clean it right there on the hardwood floor.

Does steam clean a rug hardwood floor damage the floor? Ideally, you can steam clean your rugs on a wooden floor without damaging the floor if you are doing it the right way. 

Choosing a rug cleaning method is important when you want to protect your hardwood floor. Today steam cleaners (see my reviews) are very popular. Most people are using them in homes for various tasks such as carpet and rug cleaning. However, many questions may arise such as whether they are safe to use on hardwood flooring. Can you steam clean your wooden flooring? What about the rugs on it? Can you steam clean them on the wooden floor?

Using Steam Cleaners on Wooden Flooring

Generally, steam is an enemy of wooden floors. It is not recommendable to expose wood to water for a long time, more so, at temperatures of over 95F. Of course, steam is well above this temperature and it will spread water vapor around the area that you are cleaning. However, this does not entirely mean that you cannot use steam cleaners on your hardwood floor.

Simply put, you can steam a rug on a hardwood floor. How you do it determines whether the floor will remain intact or get damaged.

So, How Do You Steam Clean An Area Rug On Hardwood Floor?

Steam cleaning is usually taken as the last resort in an attempt to clear spots on upholstery, rugs, and carpets after vacuuming has failed. It is also the most convenient way if the rug is too big to fit in the washing machine, or if it is not machine washable. However, the moisture coming from the steam cleaner can damage the wood. That said, you could avoid any damage at all with proper preparation of the floor surface. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1

The first thing to do is to move all the furniture from the rug so that you can easily access the rug for easier cleaning. You then need to remove the rug from the floor. If the rug is too big, then you will need to roll it to the side where there is sufficient space.

Step 2

You have to ensure the floor is well protected before you start cleaning. Thus, you need to lay out a waterproof barrier on it. You can use some plastic sheet or tarp like the ones that painters use. Use masking tape to secure the plastic to the walls around the room.

Step 3

Once the entire wall is well secured, you now lay back the rug that you intend to clean. Ensure that you have gone through the manual for your steam cleaner to ensure that you are using it the right the way as you steam clean your rug.

Step 4

Before steam cleaning the rug, use a regular vacuum (see my reviews) to remove the top layer dust, crumbs, and any other dirt. This way you steam cleaner can then be focused on the removal of deeper stains and grime. Put hot water in the water container and some cleaning solution. You can add some carpet shampoo although some steam cleaners come with their own detergents. You want to ensure that every part of the rug is cleaned without missing any spot. Start with the furthest corner, making straight lines to ensure you do not skip any spot.

Step 5

Once the rug is clean, let it rest on the same spot for 24 to 48 hours to give it enough time, to dry. Once it is dry, remove it, pull out the plastic, and put the rug back to its original position. Ensure that the rug is completely dry before placing back the furniture.

As you can see, you have successfully steam cleaned your rug on hardwood without damaging the floor. Note that if you expose the steam directly, it is definitely going to damage the floor.

Are There Any Other Ways of Cleaning a Rug?

Rugs are an expensive investment and as such, you need to protect them properly. Protection starts with how you maintain and clean them. Rugs must be vacuumed regularly. If you notice a stubborn stain, you have to clean it off using other means.

If the rug is on a hardwood floor, avoid washing the whole rug unless you are ready to follow all the precautionary measures to avoid damaging the floor. Otherwise, only try removing the stain, dust mites (see how to get rid of it), and smell.

  • Getting rid of dust

Thoroughly vacuum the rug on both sides repeating the process at least two times. This will ensure that you remove as much dust as possible. In addition to vacuuming, you can use a broom to beat the rug lightly, until there are no more clouds of dust coming out.

  • Getting rid of the smell

Pour a generous amount of bicarbonate over the rug and leave it through the night. In the morning, simply vacuum the rug and enjoy the amazing results.

  • Protecting the hardwood floor

As already mentioned, the hardwood floor has to be properly protected from water and cleaning products, which may soak away the wood and destroy it. For stain removal, place a piece if thick clothing under the stain. Remember not to use so much water.

If the whole rug needs a thorough clean up, remember to follow the steps already listed. A plastic sheet laid out on the floor will be a prevent steam, water or the washing detergents from penetrating through and damaging the floor.

 Products for Cleaning the Rug

Before you set down to clean the rug, test the product you are using with a small portion of the rug, preferably at the corner to ensure that it will not damage your rug. Here are effective products to use on your rug:

1. Sodium bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate gets rid of stains as well as smell. Though it may take some time compared to ‘other products, it is convenient since you won’t need to use a lot of water, and you can vacuum it later. Pour the sodium bicarbonate directly on the satin or lightly throughout the carpet. For stain removal, use a damp cloth to clean it. You do not have to rinse off the sodium bicarbonate as you can simply let it dry and vacuum it off.

2. Carpet Shampoo

Carpet shampoo removes both dirt and stains. Before choosing a carpet shampoo, take into account your rug’s material. For oily stains, you can use the dishwashing detergent. Apply the shampoo on the rug using a brush or bucket. However, ensure not to soak the rug completely. Gently brush the rug in one direction to get rid of the dirt. Use an equal amount of clean water and vinegar and brush the rug in the other direction. The vinegar gets rid of the excess detergent. To rinse, dab a wet cloth on the rug. You can then soak up the excess water using towels or cloths.

3. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning may be an easy and fast way of cleaning your rag, but it can also be the priciest if you do not do it the right way. If you are not sure how to go about, it would be better you leave your rug cleaning to the experts.

Cleaning the Hardwood Floor to Maintain the Rug

Even after you have taken them above steps to clean your rug, the results can be futile if your hardwood floor is not kept clean. The dust accumulated on the floor will accumulate under the rug, and with time, it will start showing on the rug. Here are tips to help keep your hardwood floor clean.

  • Dust daily

Dusting your hardwood flooring on a daily basis is a sure way of ensuring that dust and allergens do not accumulate under your rug. This way you will even see no need of having to steam clean them rug from time to time because your rug will always maintain its cleanliness.

  • Clean weekly

Keep your hardwood by cleaning it thoroughly at least once per week. However, ensure to use the right cleaning to avoid damaging the floor. Vinegar, for instance, will eat away the wood finishing.

Additional Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Flooring and Rugs

  • Avoid soap-based cleaners, water, and vinegar steam cleaners and wax on your hardwood flooring. Water and vinegar will dull the floor over time while soap and wax leave behind a residue.
  • Wipe spills on your and remove any stain on your rug before it becomes permanent.
  • For the floors, use proper tools to clean. Do not use string mops that leave excessive water on the hardwood floor. A machine washable microfiber pad is best for cleaning and dusting.

Final Thoughts- Is It Ok To Steam Clean Your Rug on a Hardwood Floor?

Given the damage steam-cleaning can do to hardwood floors, it is not particularly recommendable to steam clean your rugs on hardwood floors. However, with proper precautions as mentioned above, you can go right ahead and steam clean on the wooden floor. If you are not entirely sure of how to go about it, call in a rug and carpet-cleaning professional to do it for you and guide you through the steps.

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