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If you are here because you have vinyl flooring, and also kids and pets in the house, then you are not alone! A large number of homeowners are turning to vinyl flooring because it’s a safer, durable, and low-maintenance substitute for tiles. The material is made of PVC or polyvinyl chloride that is molded under high heat and pressure to give you beautiful floors that resemble a wooden finish.
Most people that have vinyl flooring often ask ‘can you use a steam mop on the vinyl floor’ and the answer is both yes and no. If you talk about using a standard steam cleaner, I would say no because it uses a jet of steam at high pressure and the moisture is forced down into the joints and between the layers of the floor.
While the vinyl flooring has come a long way from the peel-and-stick method, they are still vulnerable to intense heat and moisture. These days, they are available in the form of planks that stick together with the help of glue, making the installation and replacement seem like a breeze. However, when it comes to cleaning, it’s important to know that steam can potentially damage the vinyl planks.
The moisture can seep in between the planks and weaken the adhesive that holds them together. The intense heat produced also has the potential to cause the vinyl to warp and bend. It can also damage the luster, causing the floor to become dull and discolored. Worse still, you stand the chance of voiding the manufacturer warranty if you subject the flooring to heat and moisture produced by a steam mop.
Special Steam Mops Built For Vinyl Floors
Like everything else in this world, there are some exceptions. There are certain steam cleanser and mops such as the ones manufactured by Shark, that can be used safely on vinyl floors but with precaution. When used correctly, you can minimize or completely avoid the damage caused by steam cleaning. Here are some tips to consider:
When using a steam mop to clean a vinyl floor, make sure you set the device to half the power in order to minimize the heat exposure. This prevents the glue from melting and planks from warping or bending due to heat. Thus, always remember to use a steam mop with variable settings, for example, the Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Mop.
After you have selected the right steam mop to clean, make sure you opt for a gentle cleaning method. Never set the device to a scrub mode as this can damage the polish on the vinyl planks. Also, try to prevent establishing direct contact between the steam and flooring. Use a microfiber towel or clothing to cover the head of the mop.
Top Steam Mops You Can Use On Vinyl Floor
When you have kids and pets in the house, your vinyl floor will take a lot of beating in the form of muddy foot or paw prints, food droppings, liquid spills, and so on. All that may call for deep cleaning frequently, but who has the time to do a wet mop in the traditional way. This is where a steam mop comes handy, but not just any steam cleaner. You will need a special device that is built to work on the vinyl floor.
1. Shark Steam Mop Hard Floor Cleaner
This steam mop (see price) from the family of Shark is not only designed to work on vinyl floors but it can also work on hardwood floors. It can cut through dirt and stains like breeze. With the ability to produce good amount of steam at variable settings, it can be used for cleaning your vinyl floors every day. Besides being a pocket-friendly cleaning device, it is light and compact enough to get into tight spaces and corners.
Wide coverage area
Not very sturdy
2. LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop Floor Steamer
If you are looking for an effective, safe, and affordable steam cleaner, the LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop on Amazon is a good choice. It takes only 20 seconds of heating time to produce efficient steam for cleaning the vinyl floor. It does not use any chemicals for cleaning, and you can get rid of 99.9% of germs and bacteria in the house. After mopping is completed, the floor also dries up in 30 seconds, thus your vinyl planks are not exposed to moisture for too long.
Easy to use
Small water tank
Hard to fill the reservoir
3. SKG Hot Steam Floor Cleaning Mop
This is one of the best steam mops available in the market today, with variable settings that can be optimized for different types of floors. There are four different options that can be used variably – Min to Low options are suitable for lighter cleaning while the High to Max settings are perfect for deep cleaning. The steam mop is capable of producing 1500W powerful steam that can easily clean stubborn stains and messes on the surface, without leaving any residue.
Effective steam control
Short power cord
The Right Way To Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Floors
Steam mops are the ultimate cleaning tool you need for getting rid of stains, dirt, and germs on the floor, upholstery, and other surfaces. While it’s not recommended to use traditional steam cleaners on the vinyl floor, there are certain models that can be used safely without damaging the finish or weakening the glue. To get back that shine on your vinyl floors and get rid of dirt, stains, and germs, you will need to use the steam mop properly. Follow the directions given below:
Before using a steam mop on vinyl, make sure that you have sealed the hard floor. The high intensity of heat and moisture can damage the unsealed hard floor.
The temperature of the steam produced by the device should be hot enough to kill germs and cut the stubborn stains. A good quality steam cleaner can reach a temperature close to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and produce enough steam.
Remember to first use a vacuum cleaner or simply broom to collect the large particles and dust on the floor. Steam cleaning on a dusty surface will not yield expected results and only create a mess.
The steam mops do not require any chemicals and only water is enough to clean the stains and germs. While most of them do not require a cleaning solution, you may use some type of homemade solution to clean very dirty areas.
Always check with the product specifications to ensure that a cleaning solution can be used with a particular model before adding the solution to the tank.
How to Clean Vinyl Flooring Without A Steam Mop
If you have a regular steam mop that is not meant to be used on vinyl then I would recommend you to avoid exposing your vinyl floor to the intense heat and moisture. You may not only end up permanently damaging your vinyl floor but also run the risk of voiding your warranty. To avoid this, follow the traditional methods of cleaning the vinyl floor with a wet mop. Here are the steps:
First, sweep the floor with a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt or large particles like sand and stone. Remove the beater bar from the vacuuming device to prevent scratching the vinyl surface.
Take warm water in a bucket and put some liquid soap in it. Alternatively, you may use a cup of vinegar diluted with a gallon of water
Now, submerge the mop into the bucket and soak water. Wring to remove the excess water and now mop the floor see my mop favorite mops) as usual.
When you are done cleaning with a wet mop, dry the surface using a microfiber cloth. Make sure you remove excess moisture and any soapy residue so that the floor is not slippery.
To maintain the vinyl floor properly, make sure you also take care of it between the cleans. If you sweep or vacuum the floor every day and use a wet mop for cleaning once a week, you will not have the need to scrub or use a steam mop.
Tips To Make Vinyl Floor Last Longer
Vinyl floor are not only inexpensive ad durable, but they also look beautiful. All they need is some daily care to ensure that they stay clean and shiny as always. If you have toddlers and furry friends running about the house, cleanliness may sound like a distant dream. Now, that you know the answer to ‘can you use a steam mop on vinyl floor’, here are a few tips to make them last longer:
Two doormats to prevent tracked-in dirt
Keep two doormats, one outside and the other inside your home to prevent kids and pets and tracking their dirty feet or paws inside the house. The doormat can protect your floor from their two biggest foes – chemicals and dirt. Extra dirt gets carried into the house with feet and the grit works like sandpaper to rub away the luster from your floor.
Sweep more than once to keep the floor in good shape
A quick sweep of a soft broom across the living area and other heavy traffic areas like the kitchen can bring about a lot of difference to the overall cleanliness level of your vinyl floor. Make it a habit to sweep the floor immediately after a playtime or dinner time of the kids or pets.
Use low-impact techniques for cleaning
Avoid blasting away the dust and dirt on the vinyl floor using heavy-duty cleaners. I recommend using the mildest cleaning solutions available. Use a mild liquid soap or shampoo with warm water to get the best results. Wipe away any spills right away and spot clean whenever possible. If the vinyl floor has turned old and lost its shine, it may require a rebuff with wax to regain the luster. Do not scrub vigorously as this may remove the wax along with the stains.
Never drench the vinyl floor with water
This is a no-brainer but I would still like to reinstate that you should never ever let moisture sit on the vinyl flooring. If you use an excessively wet mop, the moisture can seep into it through seams, edges, or cracks. It can not only weaken the glue but also cause the material to curl or bend.
Rinse well after using a soapy solution
A mild soap can work wonders for cleaning a vinyl floor but the soap residue can leave behind a thin film that further attracts dirt and germs. I would suggest that you avoid cleaning with soapy water unless the floor is very dirty. For regular cleaning, stick to plain water.
Restoring the shine on no-wax floors
If you have a ‘no-wax’ vinyl floor, never try rebuffing it with wax as this can damage the surface. The wax will not only stick well but also leave behind a whole lot of mess. If the no-wax vinyl flooring loses its shine, use a sealant or polish made specially made for such floor types.
Can I use vinegar for cleaning vinyl floors
White and cider vinegar are natural cleaning agents that can be used with hot water to clean vinyl floors. It can effectively remove mineral streaks, ground-in dirt, and scuff marks from the floors. You may add vinegar to the water tank of your vinyl compatible steam mop.
How to get rid of stubborn stains on the vinyl floor?
When you need to deep clean the vinyl floor, use a tablespoon of liquid dish wash soap with hot water. If there are stubborn stains, use a thick paste made of baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth to gently rub this mixture on the stains. The abrasive nature of baking soda will remove the stains immediately.