Can you Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Regular cleaning can help prolong the life of a vinyl flooring. However use of incorrect methods and products can send your investment down the drain. A steam mop is one of the popular methods used for deep cleaning and disinfecting variety of surfaces. This brings us to a question, can you use a steam mop on vinyl flooring?

No, you shouldn’t use a steam mop on a vinyl plank flooring. A steam mop produces intense heat and moisture that can penetrate into the vinyl planks flooring and weaken its fibrous core or promote growth of mold and mildew in the subfloor.

Can you use Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring, also known as luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) or luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) is the most advanced type of vinyl flooring that performs far better as compared to its predecessors, the vinyl flooring tiles and sheet. It comes in thick planks that convincingly mimic wood, natural stone, ceramic and others.

For most floorings, steam mops offer an easy, chemical-free way to clean and disinfect the surfaces without leaving behind any streaks or sticky residue. However, a steam mop can wreak havoc on your vinyl plank flooring and also void the floor’s warranty.

Steam mops produce steam by heating water to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat together with highly pressured steam can penetrate into the core layers of a vinyl plank flooring to cause damage. This may include weakening of glues, discoloration, warping and growth of mold in the subfloor.

Heat or moisture damaged vinyl flooring cannot be replaced. The only solution to the problem is replacing the affected planks. This means getting deeper into your pockets again for an error you could have avoided.

What is the best mop for a vinyl plank flooring?

Mopping is one of the best ways of cleaning hard floors. As we have ruled out using a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring, there are many other options out there you can use. Here are a best mops for a vinyl flooring:

String Mops

String mops are the oldest and most used in cleaning industry due to their affordability and scrubbing power. They feature a mop head of cleaning strings attached to a handle. Cotton and synthetic are the two common types of string mops.

Although cheap, string mops are often used with improper procedures leading to an increased risk of floor damage, cross-contamination and dirty floors. Since they must be used with a bucket of water or cleaning solution, they can attract mold in the flooring or cause floor warping if they are not thoroughly wringed.

Flat Mops

Flat mops have an adjustable handle attached to a flat head on which a cleaning pad is attached. Unlike string mops, flat mops like Swiffer WetJet spray mop does not require a bucket of cleaning solution or water. They can be paired with own-board dispensers of cleaning solution or disposable microfiber cleaning pads.

They are safe to use on water sensitive surfaces, faster in cleaning and greatly reduces the risk of cross-contamination by eliminating the need to dip a dirty mop in a bucket of cleaning solution. Although expensive than string mops, flat mops are the best for a vinyl plank flooring.

How to mop a vinyl plank flooring

If you need to deep clean your vinyl plank flooring, then you have no otherwise apart from moping it to. Here is how to mop your flooring for best results:

  1. Use a soft bristled broom to sweep or a vacuum without a beater bar to remove any loose dirt particles on the floor like dust, sand and tiny stones.
  2. Get your recommended vinyl cleaner and prepare as directed on the product label. Alternatively you can make your own homemade vinyl cleaner. Pour warm water into a bucket and add few drops liquid soap and mix. A cup of distilled white vinegar mixed with a gallon of water can also be a better homemade vinyl cleaner.
  3. Dip your string mop into the bucket containing your cleaning solution and wring out thoroughly to make it dam. This is to ensure that no water is left standing on the surface of your floor.
  4. Starting on a wall opposite room entrance, mop your vinyl floor and after every few passes, rinse the mop or inspect and replace the dirty microfiber pad.
  5. If you are using soapy water as your cleaner, you may have to rinse it with a clean damp mop.
  6. Once done, wipe the floor surface dry with a microfiber cloth. This will help in removing excess moisture from the flooring and also reveal any residue for a second round of cleaning.

Spot cleaning a vinyl flooring

The transparent top coating on a vinyl plank flooring helps in protecting the flooring against scratches, stains, and fading. Overtime, a vinyl floor may lose its protective wear layer due to heavy use or age. This may open the door way for stains and scratches on the flooring.

Mopping a lone may not deal with such scuff marks and tough surface stains on a vinyl flooring. You should therefore spot clean your vinyl floor before mopping. Depending on the type of stain, there are various approaches to apply.

Use a small amount of jojoba oil or WD-40 applied on a piece of cloth to rub out scuff marks. For stains like ink or hair dye, apply rubbing alcohol and scrub the stain using a soft piece of cloth. Use mineral spirit to remove paint, marker or crayon from a vinyl floor.

Food stains such as red wine, grape juice or ketchup can easily be cleaned using baking soda. Make a paste by adding few drop of water to a tablespoon of baking soda and rub a small amount it into the stain. Avoid using too much baking soda as it can leave a residue.

How to Maintain and Protect a Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Proper maintenance prolongs the life of a vinyl flooring, makes cleaning easier and saves you money. Here is how to maintain and protect your vinyl plank flooring:

  • Sweep or vacuum your vinyl plank flooring regularly and possibly on a daily. This removes dust and small hard dirt particles that would scratch the flooring. Be sure to use a soft bristle broom, microfiber mop or a vacuum without a beater bar.
  • Spot clean spills immediately the accident happens. Liquid spills can ruin the surface of your vinyl floor is their stay is prolonged. Apart from penetrating into the core layers, acidic liquid spills can chemically react with the protective wear layer of the flooring thus damaging it.
  • Deep clean at least once a month. This can be more often in high traffic area. Use a damp mop and a recommended vinyl cleaner to mop your flooring.
  • Prevent furniture scratches by using protective pads under the legs of your furniture. Also avoid dragging heavy furniture across your vinyl flooring.
  • Use absorbent mats at home entrance doors to trap grit and moisture. You should also avoid shoes on your floors as they can carry soil, moisture and germs to your floors.
  • Always use recommended vinyl cleaning products and techniques on your floor.

Final Thought

A vinyl flooring is made with synthetic materials that are likely to melt, discolor or fade permanently when exposed to extremely high temperature. Heat and moisture may also penetrate the core vinyl layers and cause the adhesives to weaken. These are irreversible damages that cannot be fixed without replacing the affected planks.

Apart from a steam mop, other heat related items that can damage your vinyl flooring include hot iron box, tipped candle and appliances that have malfunctioned. Although waterproof, you should also avoid standing water on your vinyl flooring as it can penetrate into the flooring core or subfloor through the seams or any openings on the floor.

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