Steam mops are becoming quite the rage these days. They are seen on infomercials, sold at your local “home gadget” store and available through all of the major online retailers. If you are unfamiliar with these mops, they retail for on average $100.
These mops are sold as a green product because they use no harsh chemicals to clean. In fact, water is turned into steam to give these mops there cleaning power. Unlike other products that require cleaning solutions, these mops do not need anything but water. This feature is obviously very appealing to many consumers who are used to buying a variety of cleaning products.
They may be great for cleaning counter surfaces or grout. However, the question many of you are asking is: are they safe for my wood floors? There are many problems with these mops when used on wood flooring. Most brands claim that you can use their steam mops on hardwood floors. The majority of manufacturers specify that the hardwood floors have to be sealed or finished. However, some brands do not specify what kind of hardwood floors their mops are to be used on. If a manufacturer does not specify the wood floor type, it is necessary to be cautious of purchasing the mop. Even a sealed hardwood floor may have the occasional patch that goes unnoticed and is unsealed. There is always a chance that the flooring contractor missed a spot when he applied polyurethane or varnish, especially in between the floorboards.
Even though a steam mop is truly intended for use on sealed wood floors, some consumers have decided to use them on worn out wood floors. A worn floor may loose its protective finish in high traffic areas. Typically, a wood floor in a high traffic area, a hallway, will wear away faster than the floor in a low traffic area. There are also areas where the homeowner is going to really want to clean because they are dirtier. However, most people will not notice that the finish has been stripped and removed in high traffic areas. Most homeowners are untrained when it comes to understanding their hardwood floors and will not be able to see if the finish has been stripped. Many people see a high traffic area as looking dirty and may steam bare wood and cause serious damage. No floor should ever be left unsealed. Read my finishing eBook. In it, I provide a step-by-step method of how to finish wood floors.