Vinyl plank flooring is a popular flooring known for its durability, however, one thing it cannot stand is heat. This is true for regular steam mops that produce intense heat causing the vinyl to warp and bend. The moisture from too much water also tends to seep in between planks that weaken the adhesive and cause the floor to discolor to a dull shade. 

person cleaning a vinyl plank floor in kitchen

If these reasons do not dissuade you from using steam mop on your vinyl flooring, the damage wrought by using steam mops can render your warranty void.

Vinyl flooring manufacturers’ warranty does not include damages caused by extreme heat exposure or hot water.

When can you use a steam mop on vinyl flooring?

If in case you’ve already bought a steam mop you cannot return and just read this article, all is not lost. You can still use your steam mop by tweaking the settings and doing a few things to make sure there is little to no damage on your vinyl plank floor.

Change the settings

Steam mops have settings for various temperatures. Simply lower the heat settings of the steam, preferably a light steam option, so it lightly cleans the floor avoiding any damage. Scrub mode can damage the vinyl coating, so make sure to avoid that setting at all cost.

Consider, however, that the lower the temperature of your steam mop, the less effective it is in killing the germs on the floor. Steam mops claim its advantage lies in killing 99.9% of household germs, allergens and eliminating odors. 

Use a microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloth is best for cleaning vinyl floors as it easily removes dirt and dust on the floor without leaving any streaks. Put this cloth on the mop head to avoid direct contact of the steam to the floor. 

Use quick strokes non-stop

The more time the steam is in contact with one area of the floor, the higher the chance of heat-build up that would cause warping. Sliding the mop on the floor faster with quick strokes lessens the chance of excess heat at one point on your floor. 

Use a vacuum cleaner first

The vacuum can take care of the larger debris of dirt and grime so steam cleaning becomes quick and easy since it’s left with the smaller ones to clean. 

Steam mops are also not recommended for engineered hardwood floors, laminate, painted floors, and marble tiles. However, it is suitable for cleaning concrete, sealed hardwood, ceramic, and porcelain tiles. 

How to clean vinyl flooring?

1. Vacuum the vinyl flooring first to get rid of any loose dirt, pet hair, and other larger debris. Then do a quick sweep of the floor using a broom and a dustpan for any remaining dirt or dust. You can also use a dust mop. A dust mop is more effective in removing fine particles with a simple glide than a traditional broom requiring back and forth sweeping. 

2. Check for stains and sticky residue. Dampen a cloth and add a small amount of acetone-based nail polish remover and gently dab on the spot where there is a stain or residue.

3. Check for scuff marks. Vinyl plank flooring has a wear surface layer that makes it stain and scratch-resistant, but oftentimes this layer wears out over time with heavy foot traffic. So, how do you eliminate scuff marks? Bob Vila suggests using a small amount of jojoba oil or WD-40 and rubbing the floor with it using a cloth. 

4. After checking and cleaning for stains, sticky residue, and scuff marks, start mopping. Use a regular mop and rinse the mop in a bucket of plain water after every swipe. When the floor is dry, wipe it again with a new microfiber cloth to see if it requires more mopping.

5. Clean your vinyl floors regularly to increase their longevity and shine. As an additional precaution, you can simply put felt pads under furniture to prevent scuff marks and scratches. Rugs and runners can help too for vinyl floors in hallways and other high-traffic areas. This will prevent visible wearing of the floor. 

Final thoughts

Steam mops are not suitable for cleaning vinyl floors since they produce heat that can warp and deform the floor. So if you’re not willing to part with your steam mop, make sure to read the settings first and adjust it to lightly clean your floor without scalding it.  

Also Read: Can You Use Steam Mop on Laminate Flooring

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