When we bought our house, my heart was set on it. Vinyl flooring seemed to be a popular choice between my family and friends. Plus, it’s affordable, durable and stylish. What’s not to love, right?
I soon discovered though that cleaning it it’s quite a challenge.
The planks got dirty and stained easily, there were scratches and scuffs everywhere and then there was the dirt trapped between planks.
Not to mention that if the flooring is not sealed properly, moisture seeps in and makes it swell!
I’ve heard that some people try to clean their vinyl plank flooring with a steam mop, but is that really a good idea? Can you use a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring?
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Table of Contents
- How do steam mops work?
- What is the risk of using a steam mop on our vinyl floor?
- What kind of mop do you use on vinyl plank flooring?
- What should you not use on vinyl plank flooring?
- How Can You Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?
- DIY Cleaning solutions for Vinyl Plank Flooring
- Cleaning tips for keeping your vinyl plank flooring looking like new for longer
How do steam mops work?
Let’s start with the basics. Steam mops offer a convenient and easy way to keep your floor clean. They work by heating water in their tanks and releasing a pressurised steam to remove dirt from surfaces while also sanitizing them.
However, to make sure they are effective, the boiling water in a steam mop can reach temperatures over 212 degrees Fahrenheit!
And as Flooristics explains, this is enough to permanently damage your vinyl floors.
What is the risk of using a steam mop on our vinyl floor?
Vinyl flooring is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with various compounds added in order to create a durable, easy-to-clean finished product.
PVC is a type of plastic that can be manipulated to create a variety of textures and patterns, which is why vinyl floors come in such a wide range of colors and styles.
You can read more on vinyl basics in this great article by Instructables .
The problem with using a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring is that the heat from it could cause the adhesive to melt and loosen. This would result in broken boards, which then may separate easily or be exposed for damage by moisture seeping into their structure (via HomelyVille).
What kind of mop do you use on vinyl plank flooring?
The good news is you can use any type of mop on vinyl plank flooring, just not a steam mop.
A regular sponge mop or spray mop will work just fine. Just be sure to avoid getting it too wet, since excess moisture could cause the planks to warp or buckle.
My top choices are spin mops, spray mops and microfiber mops.
Oh So Spotless created a helpful list featuring some great alternatives to steam mops.
You can see these top-rated products here .
What should you not use on vinyl plank flooring?
Steam mops are not the only ones that can damage your floors.
You should never use harsh chemicals or cleaners on your vinyl plank flooring. These can damage the finish and leave your floors looking dull and lifeless.
Stick to gentle, pH-neutral cleaners that won’t strip away the protective layer. You should also avoid anything that contains wax or silicone, as these can also damage the finish.
And lastly, take care not to scratch or scuff the floors. This can damage the top layer and leave unsightly marks. And be sure to avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this can also damage the surface.
How Can You Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?
There are a few different ways that you can clean vinyl plank flooring, and the best method will depend on the type of dirt that you need to remove.
If you just need to do a general cleaning, then sweeping or vacuuming the floor with a soft brush attachment is usually sufficient. You can also mop the floor with a mild soap or detergent and water but be sure to avoid using too much water!
If you have tougher stains or dirt build-up on your vinyl plank flooring, then you may need to use a stronger cleaning solution.
You can make your own cleaning solutions using natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar is known to work wonders on many surfaces and vinyl plank flooring is no exception. Make sure to dilute the vinegar before using it, as undiluted vinegar can damage vinyl flooring.
For tougher stains, you may need to let the solution sit for a few minutes before wiping it up. With a little elbow grease, your vinyl floor will soon be looking like new again.
Here’s a great YouTube video on how to best clean your floors:
DIY Cleaning solutions for Vinyl Plank Flooring
1. Clean your vinyl floors with dish soap
Who knew that the key to cleaning your vinyl floors was right in your kitchen? That’s right, dish soap and water! Mix together a solution of one part dish soap to four parts water, and you’re good to go.
For tougher spots, you can scrub with a sponge or mop with a soft brush attachment. Just be sure to rinse well afterwards so that your floors don’t end up looking streaky (via WikiHow).
2. Mix vinegar and water
Here’s an easy way to get your vinyl floors clean in 5 simple steps as explained by All Flooring Directory :
- Fill a bucket with one part vinegar and two parts warm water.
- Dip your mop into the bucket and wring it out so that it’s damp, but not dripping.
- Mop the floor in small sections, moving the mop back and forth in a gentle sweeping motion.
- Rinse the mop frequently in the bucket to avoid spreading dirt around.
- Once you’ve finished mopping, rinse the floor with clean water to remove any residue.
3. Use baking soda to tackle stains on your vinyl flooring
First, start by mixing a cup of baking soda and a quart of warm water. Then, take a clean cloth and dip it into the mixture. Rub the cloth over the stained area in a circular motion. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth.
For tougher stains, you may need to repeat this process. But ultimately, the baking soda will help to break down the stain and leave your floor looking good as new (via Bobvila).
Cleaning tips for keeping your vinyl plank flooring looking like new for longer
Here are a few of my favourite tips for keeping my vinyl plank flooring looking great:
1. Always use a soft, damp cloth to clean the floor.
I never use harsh chemicals or cleaning products, as they can easily damage the flooring. This method is gentle enough to not damage the flooring, but effective enough to remove dirt and grime. Plus, it’s quick and easy – perfect for busy households!
2. If you spill anything, be sure to clean it up immediately.
Vinyl plank flooring is not waterproof, so spilled liquids can cause damage if left untreated. If moisture seeps into the cracks and crevices, it can cause the material to swell and warp. In extreme cases, it can even lead to mould and mildew growth.
Also, make sure you clean up spills as soon as they happen! For best results, use a mild cleaning solution and a soft cloth or mop.
3. Sweep and vacuum regularly.
A little regular maintenance will go a long way in keeping your floors looking their best. I recommend sweeping and/or vacuuming on a regular basis to remove any dirt or dust that may accumulate over time.
4. Rub away scuffs
Don’t panic if you see some scuffs on your precious new floor. Here’s some clever tricks by FlooringInc to help you get rid of those stubborn scuffs:
- Use a tennis ball – Believe it or not this actually works! Just rub the ball over the scuffed area in a circular motion and watch as the scuffs disappear. This trick is super effective and really fun to do!
- Grab the pink eraser – That’s right – the kind you use to erase pencil marks on paper. Just lightly rub the eraser over the scuff marks and they should disappear.
- Oil – When all else fails, oil will do the trick! If you have a stubborn scuff on your floor that just won’t go away then consider trying an oil based solution such as the WD-40 spray or jojoba oil.
Simply add a few drops onto soft washcloth in order to gently rub areas until the scuffs are gone!
Well, there you have it! I hope this blog post has helped to clear up any questions you may have had about vinyl plank flooring and how to clean it.
If you have any questions or want more information on the best way to clean your floors, please leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to help!
In the meantime, make sure you use the tips discussed above to keep your floors looking their best and remember – never use a steam mop!
2 thoughts on “Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring? (Why NO!)”
My plank flooring in my new home was uncovered after a few days. Construction on walls and building a stone fireplace continued without applying protection.
We closed on the home with filthy flooring that was cleaned with lemon, non sudsy ammonia, shifters, Lysol and who knows what else!
After closing we had the home inspected, Mannington representative come out and took many pictures before we cleaned with special mannington products. The floor has scratches, paint, dullness and a different feel compared to the bedroom flooring.
We would like to have the damaged flooring replaced, but I think it going to be a fight with the builder. Any advice?
I would not recommend using a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring. The heat from the steam could cause the floor to warp or crack.