Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

An image showing Shark S3501 Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner, With Rectangle Head and 2 Washable Pads in use to steam clean vinyl flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is popular for many homeowners who want a durable and stylish floor. But how do you keep it clean and shiny? Can you use a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring? In this blog post, we will answer this question and give tips on caring for your vinyl plank flooring. We will also show you some of the best steam mops for vinyl plank flooring that you can buy online.

Read on to find out more!

Also Read: 

Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The answer is no. You cannot use a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring. Steam mops can damage your vinyl flooring by causing it to warp, peel, or lose its protective coating. Vinyl plank flooring is made of plastic, which can melt or deform when exposed to high temperatures. Steam mops can also force water into the seams of your vinyl planks, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Therefore, it is best to avoid using steam mops on vinyl plank flooring and stick to a damp cloth or mop instead.

The Dangers of Steam Mopping Vinyl Plank Flooring

Steam mopping is a great way to clean and sanitize some types of floors, such as tile, stone, or hardwood. However, steam mopping is not suitable for vinyl plank flooring. It can cause serious damage to your vinyl planks if you use it on them.

Here are some of the risks of using a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring:

  • Warping and Peeling: The intense heat from the steam can make the vinyl planks bend or curl, changing their shape and appearance. This can create gaps or unevenness in your floor, affecting its stability and aesthetics.
  • Cracking and Fading: The prolonged exposure to heat can also make the vinyl planks brittle and prone to cracking. Moreover, the heat can fade the color and shine of your vinyl floor, making it look dull and worn out.
  • Delamination: Delamination is the worst-case scenario of using a steam mop on vinyl plank flooring. This is when the layers of the vinyl plank separate from each other, compromising the structure and quality of the floor. Delamination can also allow moisture to seep into the planks, causing mold or mildew growth.

How to Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring the Right Way

Here are some of the best ways to clean your vinyl plank flooring without risking its quality or appearance.

Sweep or vacuum regularly

The first step to a clean vinyl floor is to remove dust and dirt with a soft-bristled broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hard floor attachment. This will prevent any scratches or abrasions on the surface of your floor. You can do this daily or as needed, depending on how much traffic your floor gets.

Wipe away spills and stains promptly

Sometimes, your vinyl floor may get stained by spills of food, drinks, or other substances. The best way to deal with them is to wipe them away immediately with a damp microfiber cloth or mop. Use a mild cleaner specially formulated for vinyl floors. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, ammonia, bleach, or wax, as they can dull or damage the finish of your vinyl floor. Also, avoid using scrubby sponges, steel wool, or other abrasive tools that can scratch the surface of your vinyl floor.

Rinse and dry thoroughly

After cleaning your vinyl floor with a damp cloth or mop, rinse and wring out the cloth or mop frequently to avoid spreading dirt around. Then, dry the floor with a soft towel to prevent water spots or streaks from forming. If needed, you can also use a fan to speed up the drying process.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines

Different brands or types of vinyl plank flooring may have specific cleaning recommendations or requirements. It’s always good to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or guidelines to ensure proper care and maintenance of your vinyl floor. For example, some vinyl floors may require occasional polishing or sealing to restore their shine and protect them from wear and tear. You can use products designed for vinyl floors, such as [Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer] or [Zep High-Traffic Floor Polish], but follow the directions carefully.

Alternative methods of Sanitizing Vinyl Plank Flooring 

There are other ways to sanitize your vinyl floor without high heat or moisture. Here are some of them:

UV light sanitizers

These devices use ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying their DNA. They are chemical-free and highly effective against germs and bacteria. However, you must be careful with direct exposure to UV light, as it can harm your skin and eyes. Consider the exposure time and distance for optimal results. 

Compared to steam mopping, UV light sanitizers are generally more affordable and require less maintenance. They are easy to use with less manual effort and safer for vinyl plank flooring as they don’t involve moisture. However, they require careful handling and may not reach all areas of the floor.

Robot vacuums

These automated cleaning devices can navigate obstacles while cleaning floors. They are convenient and save time, as you can schedule them to clean at specific times. They are also extremely safe on vinyl plank flooring, as they don’t scratch or damage the surface. 

However, they might struggle with larger debris or get stuck on obstacles. They may also not deep clean the floor as thoroughly as other methods. Robot vacuums are typically more expensive initially than steam mopping but save manual effort. They are highly convenient with automated features and efficient for regular cleaning.

Antibacterial sprays

These sprays are applied directly to the surface and typically require a dwell time to kill bacteria and germs effectively. They are easy to apply and quick and effective for small areas. However, they may contain chemicals that harm your health or the environment. 

Antibacterial sprays are generally inexpensive and convenient for spot cleaning than steam mopping. They are safe when used as directed and efficiently for sanitizing surfaces but require proper application and rinsing.

How to Pick the Right Steam Mop for Vinyl Plank Flooring

Steam mopping may not be the best option for vinyl plank flooring, but if you want to use one, you must choose wisely. Not all steam mops are created equal; some may be more suitable for vinyl floors than others. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a steam mop for vinyl plank flooring:

Your needs and preferences

Think about what you want from a steam mop, such as the size, weight, tank capacity, heat settings, steam control, and attachments. A compact and lightweight model may be easier to maneuver and store, while a larger tank may allow you to clean longer without refilling. Adjustable heat settings and steam control may help you avoid excessive moisture on your vinyl floors, while various attachments may offer versatility in cleaning different surfaces.

Features and functions

Look for features and functions that can enhance the performance and convenience of your steam mop, such as adjustable steam, swift heat-up time, easy maneuverability, and easy maintenance. Adjustable steam allows you to control the amount of steam, preventing excessive moisture on your vinyl floors. Swift heat-up time means less waiting and more cleaning. Easy maneuverability means you can navigate around obstacles effortlessly. Easy maintenance means keeping your steam mop in good condition with minimal hassle.

Warranty and service 

A good warranty can provide peace of mind, ensuring you’re covered if anything goes wrong with your steam mop. Look for models that offer a long and comprehensive warranty and reliable customer service and support.

Top-Rated Steam Mops for Vinyl Plank Flooring

To help you narrow down your choices, here are some of the top-rated steam mops for vinyl plank flooring according to different sources :

Model A

This model is noted for its adjustable steam settings and quick heat-up time. It has three levels of steam that you can adjust according to your needs. It also heats up in 30 seconds, so you don’t have to wait long to start cleaning. It has a large water tank that can hold up to 16 ounces of water, allowing you to clean for up to 20 minutes without refilling. It also comes with various attachments, such as a scrubber pad, a carpet glider, and a microfiber pad.

Model B

This model is valued for its large tank capacity and easy maneuverability. It has a huge water tank that can hold up to 48 ounces of water, allowing you to clean for up to 45 minutes without refilling. It also has a swivel steering that makes moving around furniture and corners easy. It has two levels of steam that you can adjust according to your needs. It also comes with various attachments, such as a scrubby pad, a soft pad, and a carpet glider.

Model C

 This model is praised for its versatile attachments and compact design. It has a detachable handheld unit that you can use to clean above-floor surfaces, such as countertops, windows, or upholstery. It also comes with various attachments, such as a grout tool, a flat scraper tool, an angle tool, and a fabric steamer tool. It has a small water tank that can hold up to 12 ounces of water, allowing you to clean for up to 15 minutes without refilling. It also has a smart sensor that automatically adjusts the steam level according to the floor type.

How to Steam Mop Vinyl Plank Flooring Without Ruining It

Despite the risks, you’ve decided to use a steam mop on your vinyl plank flooring. Well, you’re not alone. Some people swear by steam mopping their vinyl floors, claiming it makes them look shiny and new. But before you plug in your steam mop and start gliding it over your floor, you must prepare the surface properly and use it correctly. Otherwise, you might have a warped, cracked, or delaminated floor. 

Here’s how to steam mop vinyl plank flooring without ruining it.

Prepare the surface

Before using your steam mop, clear and clean the area. Remove any furniture and objects that might get in your way or damage your floor. Sweep or vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, or debris that might scratch or damage the surface during mopping. Then, find an inconspicuous area to test your steam mop, such as under a rug or behind a door. This will ensure that your steam mop won’t damage the visible parts of your flooring if it’s unsuitable.

Use the steam mop effectively

Once your floor is ready, use your steam mop properly to avoid causing any harm to your vinyl floor. Select the lowest heat setting possible, preventing excessive moisture that can damage the vinyl flooring. Move the mop quickly and evenly over the floor, avoiding staying on one spot for too long or overlapping strokes. This will prevent water accumulation that can seep into the cracks and cause warping, peeling, cracking, or delamination. Dry the floor immediately after mopping with a towel or a fan, as this will prevent any water spots or streaks from forming.

Avoid common mistakes

While using your steam mop, you must avoid common pitfalls that can ruin your vinyl floor. Don’t use excessive water on your mop, as this can introduce too much moisture to the floor. Make sure the mop is damp, not soaking wet. Don’t leave the mop stationary on the floor, as this can damage the floor with heat and moisture. Move the mop constantly, and don’t let it sit in one spot. Don’t use harsh chemicals or detergents on your mop, as they can damage the finish of your vinyl floor. Use only water or a mild cleaner specially formulated for vinyl floors.

Follow some tips for optimal results

To ensure the best results while using a steam mop on vinyl floors, follow these tips:

  1. Clean in sections: Divide the floor into sections and clean one at a time for more focus and better results.
  2. Change the mop pad frequently: A clean pad ensures effective cleaning and prevents dirt from spreading.
  3. Add vinegar or essential oils: For a natural clean, consider adding a bit of vinegar or a few drops of essential oils to the water tank. Vinegar can help disinfect and deodorize your floor, while essential oils add a pleasant scent and antibacterial properties.

How to Care for Your Vinyl Plank Flooring After Using a Steam Mop

After using a steam mop, taking meticulous care of your vinyl plank flooring is paramount to maintain its durability and sheen. Here are a few tips to help you in this endeavor.

  1. Apply a Protective Coating: Consider applying a suitable protective coating or sealer to shield the flooring from potential damage, ensuring the longevity of your flooring.
  2. Use Mats or Rugs in High-Traffic Areas: Placing mats or rugs can reduce wear and tear in areas with a lot of foot traffic. It’s a simple yet effective way to protect your flooring.
  3. Trim Your Pet’s Nails Regularly: Keep your furry friend’s nails trimmed to avoid scratches and marks on the flooring.
  4. Avoid Dragging Heavy Furniture: When moving furniture or other heavy objects, lift them instead of dragging them to prevent scratches or damage to the floor.
  5. Follow Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Adhere to the cleaning and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer. This will help maintain the warranty and ensure the flooring’s optimum condition.

This video below provides your answers to whether you can use steam mops on vinyl flooring


We’ve navigated the ins and outs of maintaining vinyl plank flooring, emphasizing a cardinal rule – steer clear of steam mops to avoid irrevocable damage! By adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines and opting for gentle cleaning methods, the pristine condition of your flooring can prevail. And remember, ample alternatives and specialized products promise cleanliness without compromising the integrity of your flooring.

So, are you prepared to embrace these insights and champion the longevity of your vinyl planks? Keep your flooring impeccable and your worries at bay by integrating these tips and tricks into your cleaning routine!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top