Have you ever had to gently pry gum off your hardwood floors that someone tracked in with their shoe or scrub stuck-on dirt off your laminate floor in the kitchen? If so, you know how tiresome and time-consuming it is to hand scrub these messes.
Often, people turn to steam cleaners for their hard floor cleaning needs. With a high-quality steam cleaner, you can greatly reduce the effort and time it takes to remove any stubborn substance from your hardwood, tile, linoleum, marble or other sealed hard floor.
Table of Contents
- Our Recommended Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors in 2023
- #18 Shark Steam Pocket S3501
- #17 Shark Lift-Away Pro S3973D
- #16 Bissell Symphony Pet 1543A
- #15 LIGHT ‘N’ EASY
- #14 Pure Enrichment PureClean
- #13 Bissell Symphony Pet 1543A
- #12 Bissell 1940 PowerFresh
- #11 Steamfast SF-370
- #10 Karcher SC 3 EasyFix
- #9 Bissell 2039A Spinwave
- #8 Shark Genius (S5003D)
- #7 McCulloch MC1275
- #6 McCulloch MC1375
- #5 Dupray Neat
- #4 McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe
- #3 Bissell 1806
- #2 Dupray Home
- #1 Dupray Toscar
- Buying Guide
- Key Factors You’ll Need To Consider When Buying A Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner
- Features To Look For
- Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors: Recap
Our Recommended Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors in 2023
If you’re wondering whether a steam cleaner is the right product for you, this guide is a good place to start. In the case of steam cleaners, there are a few more considerations to mull over than is the case for other cleaning devices. This is generally due to the fact that steam cleaners have such a vast array of interesting features. Buyers have so many options to choose from when it comes to the models and add-ons that best suit their home, and this makes the process of choosing a model a little more stressful.
In addition to floors, steam cleaning devices tend to have far broader capacities and can tackle furnishings made from fabrics or even hard materials like glass. Different models will have distinct modes and capacities, as well as their own benefits and shortcomings.
Therefore, choosing the right steam cleaner will depend on you, the buyer. When deciding on a model, you would have to consider, in addition to your budget, your living situation, and the kinds of surfaces you want to be able to take on with the cleaner, as well as your preferences when it comes to attachments and functions.
#18 Shark Steam Pocket S3501
Shark’s Pocket Mop is a lightweight steamcleaner that’s easy enough for anyone to use. Weighing just under 5 pounds, the steam cleaner glides effortlessly across any sealed surface. The ring-shaped handle provides an ergonomic grip, and its soft cover further reduces hand fatigue. Whether you’re tall or short, you can mop without stooping – The 51.2-inch pole is height-adjustable.
Rated at 1,200 watts, the Pocket Mop doesn’t take long to heat. The water in its reservoir reaches a steam-generating temperature in about 30 seconds as soon as you plug in the 25-foot power cord. Once the water heats, a dozen pumps of the handle are all that’s needed to prime the mop. While the hand-driven mop is in motion, the steam distribution is automatic and continuous.
The reservoir is large enough to hold 15 ounces of water, minimizing the number of refills needed during a mopping session. A slender viewing window on the reservoir lets you see the water level at a glance. When it’s time to refill the tank, simply lay the mop flat and unscrew the cap. Shark provides a refill cup, allowing you to bring the water to the mop instead of the tank to the sink.
An oversized floor head creates a wide mopping path, and it swivels 180 degrees for smooth turning around corners. The Pocket Mop comes with two microfiber pads that collect and trap dirt to prevent smears. These pads are reusable, and they dry almost immediately after washing them. A simple yet ingenious loop-and-fastener configuration keeps the pads firmly in place when mopping.
- The Shark Steam Pocket Mop turns ordinary water into super-heated steam to remove everyday...
- Powerful steam on demand - natural mopping motion delivers super-heated steam in just 30...
#17 Shark Lift-Away Pro S3973D
As a floor mop and a handheld steamer combined, the corded Lift-Away Pro is already a step ahead of the competition.
The innovations continue to the Intelli-mop head that leaves your hands clean during pad changes. The head of the 4.8-pound steam cleaner folds inward and then extends outward, sliding into the four corners of the reusable two-sided microfiber pad. A single button press instantly releases the pad.
Similar to how you remove the mop pad, it only takes one push of a button to transform the steam mop into a handheld steamer. As a handheld steamer, the Lift-Away Pro is featherlight at 2.4 pounds. Its integrated handle offers a firm grip even during prolonged use, and the trigger lets you control the flow of steam.
Shark includes three handy tools to use in handheld mode. The pocket-cleaning accessory and its 3-foot flexible hose allow the tool to reach into awkward spots. You can switch out the crevice tool with the triangular scrubber to remove gunk from hard surfaces.
With the garment accessory, you can even dewrinkle your clothes. The Lift-Away Pro also comes with a flask that attaches to the pole for safekeeping; use it to refill the 17-ounce reservoir.
Although handheld mode only offers one steam level, mop mode gives you three. The electronic controls allow you to choose “dust” for light and quick cleaning, “mop” for large areas and everyday mopping or “scrub” for stubborn messes and high-traffic areas. When you need extra steam, a tilt of the pole sends a strong spray of steam onto the floor.
- 2-in-1 steam pocket mop with Removable handheld steamer for above-floor cleaning
- Intelli-mop head with touch-free pad attach and release technology
#16 Bissell Symphony Pet 1543A
Vacuum and mop at the same time, or vacuum and then mop, with the Bissell Symphony Pet vacuum-mop combo.
The Symphony Pet produces dust-sifting cyclonic suction, and the heating mechanism generates steam within 30 seconds. Fingertip controls on the handle allow you to select low or high steam with or without suction. A squeezable trigger releases the steam on demand.
You get three types of 11-inch-wide cleaning pads. The Swiffer disposable pads attach to a removable Steamboost tray. These pads are lifesavers for potty-training-fail cleanup jobs, and they smell like laundry fresh out of the dryer. The soft microfiber pad is perfect for daily floor cleaning, and the scrubby microfiber pad cuts through sticky messes. Both microfiber pads have an insert for a Bissell scent disc.
Without a full tank or dirt cup, the vacuum-mop combo weighs 9.74 pounds, making it manageable to carry up the stairs or anywhere around the house. The power cord measures 25 feet in length. Thanks to the turning hooks, you can unwind the cord in an instant.
The Symphony Pet has a filter-equipped dirt cup for dry debris and a 12.8-ounce reservoir for water, both of which are sealed off from each other. The cup features a lever on top that opens the bottom hinged door when you push down on it, keeping your hands clean. Bissell provides a fill cup to save you the trouble of toting the vacuum-mop to the sink.
#15 LIGHT ‘N’ EASY
With the 5-in-1 Steam Mop from Light N’ Easy, you can steam clean your hardwood floors and every other surface in your home, including carpets, upholstery, mattresses clothing, mirrors, glass and much more. Regardless of how you use it, it only takes 30 seconds for the appliance to generate steam.
The floor nozzle boasts an 11.8-inch-wide path and 20-foot-long power cord, so you can clean any floor fast, and the steam cleaner comes with two reusable microfiber pads that are ideal for hard-floor cleaning. You can choose from among three steam settings, with the highest setting giving you up to 25 minutes of continuous steam.
By pushing the release button, you can remove the handheld portion to meet all your above-floor sanitizing and dewrinkling needs. A flexible hose allows you to reach into narrow gaps while the triangular attachment is well-suited for upholstery freshening. It even comes with a tapered nozzle for hard surfaces and tough jobs.
- On-demand HI, MED and LOW steam settings fit for various floors surface: marble, tile,...
- Detaches into a separate handheld steam cleaner for multi-purpose cleaning: garment...
#14 Pure Enrichment PureClean
The PureClean Steam Cleaner by Pure Enrichment offers professional-quality steam-cleaning performance in a compact, affordable, and easy-to-use package. For cleaning drapes, windows, floorboards, plastic toys, and auto interior, the PureClean is definitely one of the more reliable steam cleaners out there.
The PureClean is equipped with a 1.5-liter tank with a fast-working boiler that brings water up to beyond boiling point in eight minutes flat. Each tankful of water can provide a steady, 43-PSI flow of steam for 45 minutes or more. It doesn’t come with steam variable controls, so make sure you attach the right cleaning tool for cleaning different surfaces to prevent damage.
Speaking of cleaning tools, Pure Enrichment will throw in an 18-item accessory kit absolutely free with your purchase. Apart from the triangle floorhead with two microfiber pads, you’ll also get an assortment of stiff-bristled brushes, a squeegee, a triangle brush, and two extension wands. A built-in cord wrap helps keep the 16-foot power cord safely away during storage.
To ensure that every customer is satisfied with their PureClean, the company offers a generous five-year warranty to protect your investment. Overall, this steam cleaner is a fantastic tool that’s ultra-versatile and performs just as well as the best of them.
- All-Natural Steam Cleaning: 1.5-liter water boiler produces up to 45 minutes of continuous...
- 18-Piece Heavy-Duty Set: Includes all the essentials needed to effectively spot clean your...
#13 Bissell Symphony Pet 1543A
The Bissell Symphony steam vacuum is the perfect little helper for cat and dog owners alike. It’s a steam cleaner that not only looks like a vacuum but acts like one too. The mop’s 3.3-amp motor offers a high level of suction to remove stubborn pet hair and debris. From the digital fingertip controls, you can select from either vacuum mode or one of two steam strengths.
Its 1,100-watt heater produces steam in just 30 seconds, so you can quickly kill 99.9 percent of the bacteria and viruses that lurk on your floors. You’ll know that steam is available thanks to the appliance’s steam indicator light. With features like a 25-foot power cord and a D-shaped handle with comfort grip, the steam mop is easy to maneuver.
Simply attach a reusable or disposable mop pad to the bottom of the 11-inch-wide floor nozzle, and the 9.74-pound appliance is ready to tackle any mess your pet leaves behind. To make life easier, this steam cleaner holds 13 ounces of water, and you can open the dirt canister from the bottom by touching the lever.
#12 Bissell 1940 PowerFresh
No matter the difficulty of the mess or the type of hard floor, the Bissell 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop is tough enough to handle it. The 1,500-watt heater inside of this steam cleaner can heat 16 ounces of water in just 30 seconds. You can choose from one of three steam levels from the electronic on-board controls as soon as the indicator light changes, and you can pour in more water as you go, saving you valuable time.
To remove stubborn grime and clean tile grout, the mop is equipped with a scrubber that flips down in front of the floor nozzle. You also get two reusable microfiber pads that are infused with an antimicrobial material. Plus, the device comes with several Febreze fragrance discs, which give your home a pleasant aroma.
With its low weight of 6 pounds and its D-shaped, soft-textured handle, you’ll find it easy to maintain control over the steam mop as you clean. The pivoting head of the mop can maneuver around furniture with ease, and its width of 12 inches means it can cover a lot of floor in one pass. Plus, the 23-foot-long cord offers a large cleaning radius.
- Clean and sanitize sealed hard floors without the use of harsh chemicals; Eliminates 99.9...
- Power through tough, sticky messes with the flip down easy scrubber
#11 Steamfast SF-370
The Steamfast SF-370 is a highly durable canister steam cleaner that’s designed to eliminate greasy stains, piles of dirt, and anything in between on nearly any surface you can imagine. It’s an incredibly versatile steam cleaner that comes with 15 cleaning tools, including stiff-bristled brushes and a standard floorhead with washable microfiber pads.
Each of the connectable cleaning tools comes with its own on-demand steam trigger, which allows you to either use as little steam as needed to loosen or dissolve stains or to produce a continuous flow of steam for intense deep-cleaning sessions. It comes with a 1.4-liter tank that heats up to beyond boiling point in just slightly over eight minutes. A full tank of water can produce enough steam for a 45-minute cleaning session.
In terms of design, the SF-370 doesn’t look that much different from competing models. It has two oversized wheels that cross carpets and uneven surfaces with ease, a 15.4-foot power cord that wraps comfortably around an integrated wrap, and an easy-to-fill canister and a funnel. You also get a two-year warranty for every component of the SF-370.
This Steamfast steam cleaner is truly one of the most remarkable, low-cost steam cleaners you can get. There’s no surface too large or too small for the SF-370.
- MAXIMUM PORTABILITY — Designed for ease of use with a 15-foot power cord with integrated...
- 15 VERSATILE ACCESSORIES — Equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home...
#10 Karcher SC 3 EasyFix
There are plenty of things to love about the SC 3 by Karcher. First, it’s the company’s fastest steam cleaner; it takes just 40 seconds for the heating element to produce steam for as long as five minutes at a time. However, please note that although it doesn’t take as long to boil, you’ll still have to wait around a few moments for the SC 3 to produce enough pressure (up to 44 PSI) to dissolve grime in hard-to-reach spots.
The SC 3 is a multipurpose steam cleaner that comes with a wide assortment of cleaning accessories. First, you’ll get a standard floorhead that uses washable microfiber pads, a round brush for smooth above-ground surfaces like glass tables and mirrors, as well as a handy nozzle tool that blasts a concentrated jet of steam to dissolve the toughest stains.
Something that you don’t find very often in a residential-grade steam cleaner, but you will find in the SC 3, is a descaling cartridge. This cartridge keeps minerals out of the heating element, ensuring long-lasting quick-heating capabilities over time. Each cartridge has a lifespan of about six months.
Karcher is mainly known for their industrial-grade steam cleaners, their residential steam cleaner lineup is definitely worth considering. The SC 3 arguably one of the hardest-hitting canister steam cleaners you can find today.
- Naturally Deep Clean: Perfect for deep cleaning, utilizing steam that heats up in 40...
- Multi-Functional Cleaner: Effortlessly clean stone, grout, LVT, vinyl, tile, and laminate...
#9 Bissell 2039A Spinwave
Use less elbow grease and give your arms a break. The 0.9-amp inside of the Bissell 2039A SpinWave Floor Mop rotates the two discs on the floor head in a counter direction of one another to quickly remove stubborn dirt and grime. With reusable soft pads for routine cleaning and scrubbing pads for sticky disasters, there is no mess this mop can’t conquer.
To help you maneuver the mop, the floor nozzle pivots around corners and objects. However, with a weight of 11 pounds, you’d have an easy time using it even without the swivel steering. The cord is 22 feet long, so you can enjoy a huge cleaning radius. Plus, you get a complimentary 8-ounce bottle of Bissell’s Multi-Surface cleaning formula for sealed hard floors.
Another time-saver is its reservoir. With a capacity of 28 ounces, the water reservoir doesn’t require multiple refills per cleaning session. The angled handle keeps your grip firm and your hand comfortable. Controlling the nozzle is easy with just a press of the thumb-touch button.
- Powered hard floor mop scrubs your floors so you don't have to
- Safe for cleaning sealed, hard surface floors; 28 ounce clean water tank capacity. Power...
Check out our in-depth Bissell 2039A Spinwave review
#8 Shark Genius (S5003D)
For a good stick steam cleaner that works wonders on hardwood floors, the Shark Genius is a great purchase. It weighs just under 5.8-pounds, and has a simple design that is easy and pleasant to hold and use.
While using the Shark Genius Steam Cleaner, you can choose from three different steam cleaning settings. If you need a lot of steam pressure, you can use the “High” setting. But, of course, if you need less, you can use the “Low” or “Medium” setting.
Right above the mopping pad, there’s a steam blaster. Just press a button and hot steam is sprayed onto your floor, making for easier steam cleaning.
- Water tank capacity: 220 milliliter 3 setting intelligent steam control.Watts: 1200....
- Double sided dirt grip washable pads
#7 McCulloch MC1275
For a good canister steam cleaner that works great on hardwood floors, you can’t go wrong with the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner.
Inside of this steam cleaner, you have access to a 48-ounce water tank, which gives you 45-minutes of steam.
All of the steam that comes out of the McCulloch MC1275 is at 43 PSI, which is a very nice steam pressure. It allows for easy and thorough steam cleaning.
By using the eighteen tools and attachments McCulloch has included, you can steam clean anything. Not just hardwood floors, but also tables, ovens, vents; and plenty of other things.
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#6 McCulloch MC1375
While all steam cleaners can create steam by super-heating tanks of water, the McCulloch MC1375 takes it to the next level. It comes with a 1.4-liter reservoir and a heating element that produces steam in as little as ten minutes. But what sets this canister steam cleaner apart from the others is how much cleaning you can do on a single tank—90 minutes!
To make matters even better, the MC1375 is connected to an 18-foot power cord and a 10-foot hose that gives you as much as 28 feet of cleaning in any direction. The cord, as well as the numerous accessories, can be stored in the convenient onboard storage compartment, so you don’t have to open cabinets and drawers to find where you left your trusty floorhead, brushes, or pads.
The MC1375 is rated to deliver a maximum of 4 bars of pressure, which should prove more than adequate to blast away layers of grease and grime from any surface you can think of.
In addition, users can adjust the suction pressure depending on what surface they’re cleaning, thereby producing near-100% sanitation without blasting plastic to a melted mess.
While the MC1375 isn’t the largest steam cleaner in McCulloch’s lineup, it is the most widely used steam cleaner.
- CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING — Naturally deep clean without the use of harsh chemicals using...
- 20 VERSATILE ACCESSORIES — Equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home...
#5 Dupray Neat
If you’re looking for the Rolls Royce of steam cleaners, then Dupray is the brand you should choose. The Neat Steam Cleaner is more than just neat—it’s an incredible cleaning device that delivers super-heated steam in hardly any time at all and in great levels to blast away thick layers of grease and grime in an instant. Plus, it comes with a generous two-year warranty, which is always nice.
Looking at how the Dupray Neat performs, you can expect this handy device to dissolve the toughest stains from grills, bathroom walls, and faucets with 275-degree steam. It takes just under seven minutes to heat a full tank (1.6 liters) of water, which provides enough steam to clean continuously for 50 minutes. As soon as you pull the trigger, up to 50 PSI of steam comes shooting out of the nozzle, removing stubborn stains in an instant.
The Neat’s various cleaning tools make it the perfect steam cleaner for carpets, upholstery, and smooth surfaces. It comes with a standard floorhead, concentrated nozzles, and metal brushes, as well as washable microfiber pads, brushes, and bonnets to clean upholstery and leather safely. Three additional extension wands will allow you to clean above-ground surfaces effortlessly, such as ceilings and drapes.
- STEAM CLEAN. DEGREASE. DEODORIZE. ANY SURFACE. BETTER.
- POWERFUL STEAM CLEANER: up to 275°F/135°C. Best multi purpose steamer for home, cars and...
#4 McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe
If you’re looking for the biggest, baddest McCulloch steam cleaner around, then the MC1385 Deluxe Canister is for you. This steam cleaner rolls around on two oversized wheels that help it travel effortlessly across all surfaces while towing it by gripping the handle, while also hardly weighing a thing (13 pounds) for easy transport.
In terms of performance, it doesn’t get much better than this unit. It comes with a massive 1.9-liter tank that takes just 12 minutes to fully heat up beyond boiling. After that, the MC1385 offers as much as 120 minutes of nonstop steam cleaning—more than enough steam to clean an entire bathroom, kitchen, or interior of a car. Plus, it has a variable steam dial that lets you choose how much or how little water to use when pulling the on-demand trigger.
As you might expect from such a high-end steam cleaner, the MC1385 comes with a wide assortment of cleaning tools, including a floorhead that uses different scrubbing pads, several nylon brushes to clean grates to remove set-in stains, as well as a nine-inch squeegee to make cleaning windows a breeze. All of the handy cleaning tools fit comfortably inside the included storage bag. Just make sure you place the bag in an easy-to-remember spot in your home.
- CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING — Naturally deep clean without the use of harsh chemicals using...
- 23 VERSATILE ACCESSORIES — Equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home...
#3 Bissell 1806
With a weight of only 6.2-pounds, the Bissell Steam Mop 1806 allows for a very mobile steam mopping experience. By harnessing this mobility, you can steam mop just about anywhere.
While using the Bissell 1806 Steam Mop, you can use the mopping pad, as well as a brush that is right above the mopping pad. By using the mopping pad, you can effortlessly remove stains and messes.
But, if you use the brush, you can also remove thick stains and messes that the pad can’t remove.
On the steam cleaner itself, there’s a “High” steam setting and a “Low” steam setting. Tailoring the mopping experience to your needs is easy.
- Every Bissell purchase helps save pets. Bissell proudly supports Bissell pet foundation...
- Sanitize your hard floors to eliminate 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria without the use...
#2 Dupray Home
Despite its name, the Dupray HOME is actually a commercial-grade steam cleaner that you can use at home. It’s a top-of-the-line canister steam cleaner that comes with 14 accessories, a 1.1-liter tank, and a highly efficient boiler that produces high-pressure steam in under eight minutes.
The assortment of cleaning tools lets you clean nearly any surface you can think of—from mirrors to upholstery, from drapes to auto interior, and much, much more. This is due to the ultra-soft microfiber pads that limit how much steam comes shooting out of the floorhead or brushes, thereby producing a gentle yet sanitizing flow of germ-killing steam. Also, you can adjust how much pressurized steam comes out by turning a dial (up to 48 PSI).
What’s disappointing is that at its price bracket, it doesn’t come with very many features. For instance, there’s no way to determine how much water is left, although it does have an auto-shutoff feature to prevent the boiling element from destroying itself. Plus, even though there is an onboard hook for the cord, doing so requires quite a bit of power.
All in all, the Dupray HOME is an excellent steam cleaner, though it does have a few downsides. That said, if you’re looking for a user-friendly steam cleaner that packs a punch, the HOME is definitely a good place to start.
- Up to 40 minutes of cleaning time per fill up.
- PREMIUM ACCESSORIES: complete 14-piece kit.
#1 Dupray Toscar
The Dupray Tosca is a steam cleaner made for both commercial and residential settings. The Italian-made steam cleaner comes with a massive 4-liter boiler that takes just under eight minutes to super-heat to beyond 300 degrees. A single tankful of water can supply as much as 90 minutes of continuously flowing steam on its lowest pressure setting (72.5 PSI max).
One thing that we love about the Tosca is its digital control panel. A digital readout lets you know how hot the water is, giving you a rough idea of how much longer you need to wait before you can begin blasting every surface and object you see with steam. You can also scroll between different settings to show how much pressure is left in the tank, as well as whether the Tosca is experiencing maintenance issues.
What will truly take you aback is the 25-item toolkit, which includes several extension tubes, more brushes than you would ever need, and soft microfiber pads and bonnets to clean upholstery and carpets quickly and safely.
The Tosca is definitely a well-built, easy-to-use canister cleaner that comes with a wide range of convenience-adding features. A single pull of the on-demand steam trigger is all it takes to cut through thick layers of grease and mud, exposing a perfectly clean and sanitized surface.
- Up to 90 minutes of cleaning time per fill up.
- COMMERCIAL-GRADE: suitable for home or work.
A good steam cleaner has settings that allow you to choose the amount of steam you want to use while cleaning. This allows for a great deal of versatility when it comes to the kinds of stains that you are trying to clean, and it also prevents any damage or warping from taking place.
A good steam cleaner heats up quickly, so you don’t have to wait ten minutes before you can start to clean.
A good steam cleaner has a strong and versatile mop head that allows you to enter into smaller spaces and nooks, without having to struggle or force it in there.
A good steam cleaner is lightweight, allowing you to pick it up and move it around with immense ease.
Finally, a good steam cleaner succeeds at fulfilling its main function, which is, of course, thoroughly cleaning up stains.
Each one of the points above is directly related to the fulfillment of that main function, and if you find a steam cleaner that has all of those things, then you’ll know that you’ve found a steam cleaner that might be right for you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best steam cleaner for you. To answer that question, you’ll need to consider several key factors.
Key Factors You’ll Need To Consider When Buying A Hardwood Floor Steam Cleaner
1. What Kind Of Hardwood Flooring Does Your Home Have?
There are a lot of different types of hardwood flooring. Some steam cleaners tend to work better with certain types of hardwood flooring, due to the varying steam levels certain steam cleaners produce.
This is why using a steam cleaner that allows you to adjust the steam levels is so important. Even more so if you have more than one type of hardwood flooring in your home.
However, the biggest consideration is whether or not your hardwood floors are sealed. If they are unsealed, then you shouldn’t purchase a steam cleaner, because the moisture is known to cause mold issues, and these mold issues can then lead to structural damage on your flooring.
Other areas of your home may have flooring that isn’t even hardwood. For example, certain areas of your home may have carpet, and if that’s the case, then it would be wise to look for a steam cleaner with attachments that are designed to do light carpet-cleaning work.
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2. What Kind Of Spaces Will You Be Cleaning?
Will you be cleaning narrow and cramped spaces or big and wide spaces? Every steam cleaner is designed a little differently – some of them are quite large, allowing for large-scale cleaning to happen quickly; others are smaller, designed for smaller spaces – and you can easily find a good steam cleaner for both types of spaces.
If you have a small home with very few open spaces, then buying a smaller unit is the best choice, because then you won’t have to move and adjust things constantly. Along the same lines, if you have a big home with lots of open spaces, then getting a bigger unit will save you a lot of time.
3. What Kinds Of Stains Will You Be Cleaning?
This is, arguably, the most important factor to consider. Perhaps, you have a lot of stains that you want to eradicate. Stains that have been there for quite some time. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to find a steam cleaner with a really strong motor. These might be a bit more expensive, but they’re worth it.
However, if you want to do some light cleaning and stain removal, then you can go with a simpler motor. Based on that information, and those key factors, you’ll be able to find the best hardwood floor steam cleaner for you easily!
Houses with Wooden Floors
If you take pride in your mahogany flooring, you obviously want to invest in a device that is gentle and won’t cause any undue deterioration in the process of keeping your floors spotless.
Wooden floors come in two forms and are made either exclusively of wood or they are built from hybrid flooring composed of wood and other, cheaper and more durable materials like plastic. Steam cleaners should be suitable on both kinds of flooring so long as they are well-sealed and are in no way porous. This can be done by polishing the floors regularly, or ensuring that they are coated in something so that the wood does not come into any direct contact with water.
Polyurethane coatings are also effective in preserving and shielding wooden floors from outside forces, but a possible issue with this compound is that it tends to absorb liquid, and this can warp the appearance of the coating.
A steam cleaner should certainly not be used on wooden floors that have no coating, as contact with liquid causes the wood to swell and the floors wear over time.
Everything in Moderation
Even for polished and coated floors, over-enthusiasm when it comes to using steam cleaning will have consequences. If you habitually subject the sealant to hot steam, this is sure to wear the compound down and thereby decrease its effectiveness. As such, it’s important that you only steam your floors when absolutely necessary and you must be sure to maintain the varnish on your flooring as often as possible. It would be in your floor’s best interest if you seek professional advice regarding how often this should be done.
Why Go for a Steam Cleaner?
There is an abundance of good reasons why steam cleaning is superior. Firstly, steam cleaners use nothing but water and heat to get the job done while being just as effective on germs, filth, and vermin as any other product. As such, users need not invest in any toxic cleaning solutions, making steam cleaners safer for homes with children and animals, while also being environmentally friendly.
Features To Look For
Shopping for a steam cleaner is like buying any other home appliance – the features determine its quality. When it comes to getting a steam cleaner to clean your hardwood floors, certain features matter more than others. This guide will help you learn what to look for, so you get the most out of your money.
The time it takes to reach a steaming temperature and the temperature itself are both important. Ideally, the steam cleaner should heat the water in 1 minute or less to a minimum temperature of 171 degrees Fahrenheit. Steam that’s lower than this temperature won’t be able to sanitize your floors, and it’ll leave too much moisture behind, possibly damaging your floors.
You also want to make sure the steam cleaner is easy to lift. As you steam clean your hardwood floors, you don’t want to keep the steam concentrated in one area for too long. While a comfortable lifting weight is subjective, you should be fine using any steam cleaner under 15 pounds.
Hardwood floors are delicate by nature. Therefore, the cleaning pad you use should not be harsh or abrasive. Instead, use a steam cleaner that comes with a soft cleaning pad, so you don’t scratch your floors. A cushioned, absorbent pad like one made of microfiber is ideal.
Since hardwoods are more susceptible to moisture, you must be careful with the flow of steam. The steam cleaner you buy should have an adjustable mist output with a low-steam option for your hardwoods. If not, the mop should at least have a start-stop control for the steam. Also, the delivery of steam should be even to adequately cover all areas of your floor.
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While not necessary if you’re buying a steam cleaner just for your hardwood floors, it’s always nice to own a versatile appliance. Some steam cleaners can also be used as a handheld steamer, allowing you to sanitize and freshen hard and soft surfaces above the floor. There are also steam cleaners for hardwoods that come with a glider for carpet cleaning.
The fewer number of trips to the sink you have to make, the less time it will take for you to clean your floors. Therefore, you need to look for one with a large capacity. For added convenience, some steam cleaner models allow you to add more water while you’re actively using the mop as opposed to turning it off first and waiting for the water to reheat.
You should also pay attention to the way the steam cleaner moves. Of course, you want it to be as easy as possible to maneuver. Features such as a pivoting floor nozzle, a chest strap and an ergonomic handle will help you navigate your floors with little effort.
This is another area where ease of use is important. No matter if the controls consist of dials you turn or buttons you press, they should be clearly illustrated or labeled. It also helps if the buttons are on the handle, so you won’t have to strain to reach them.
Floor Types and Compatibility
Steam cleaning can be suitable for various types of flooring, including wooden floors, tiles, and laminated floors. It all depends on the model you select and what the producer suggests when it comes to which surfaces the device should be used on.
While some cleaners have a built-in drying function to remove any residual dampness from materials after a clean, not all models come with this option, meaning that buyers should be careful of using certain models on wooden floors, as residual liquid being left behind could potentially cause damage. If you have mainly tiled floors in your house, you will need to be quite particular about the type of steam cleaner that you buy, as there are many models out there which are inefficient for tackling grout.
In short, ensuring the product’s compatibility with the surfaces in your home is absolutely imperative.
Different models will come with their own set of add-ons to assist you with steaming different areas in the home. You will need to choose a model that has the most ideal tools for your cleaning needs.
Empty Reservoir Indication Light: This is a light that will turn on to notify the user when the tank needs to be refilled.
Power Cord: Most steam cleaners have cords of between 25 and 30 feet in length, although there are some exceptions that may have even longer or shorter cords. The length of the cleaner’s cord will impact how often you will have to go back and unplug and replug the device as you move from room to room, so users will larger living spaces will want to go for as long a cord as possible to reduce this inconvenience.
Grout Removal Tools: Most steam cleaners are not very useful when it comes to ridding your bathroom or kitchen of grout, but some come with attachments specifically designed to deal with this issue. Therefore, if you have many tiled areas in your house, it would certainly benefit you to invest in a model with grout tool accessories.
Heating Up: It would be a good idea to check the manual provided with your steam cleaner to find out how long it will take for the device to heat up the water in its tank. This may take a few minutes for some models, but others may be ready to go within 25 seconds. Patience is a virtue, but you also don’t have all day. If you are often in a rush and aren’t willing to wait minutes for the cleaner to start up, definitely go for a model with a shorter start-up time. Pay attention to the indicator, as it will let you know when the cleaner is ready to be used.
Hardwood Floors: Tips and Tricks
You may be reluctant to use a steam cleaner on your lovely hickory floors at first, but with some reasonable care, you should be able to get your floors pristine with no damage. Here are a few tips to help you out:
Stay Focused: Although cleaning is pretty repetitive and it’s easy for our minds to drift far away while we do it, you should make sure not to pause in your movements for too long, as intense steam being directed on one spot could easily cause damage. Make sure to keep moving and give all corners of the area equal attention.
Be Quick: Your floors will only need a quick swipe of the cleaner, so keep up a good pace to avoid any damage.
Be Patient: Don’t start until the cleaner has heated up fully. Wait for the indicator to give you the go so that you don’t cause any damage to the machine itself or release water instead of steam all over your floors.
Stay hygienic: You will want to frequently wash the pads of your steam mop, as any detritus stuck to it could cause scuffing on your floors. They are reusable but will need to be replaced once in a while as well.
Cooling down: The steam mop’s pads will be sweltering after a clean so, if you leave the mop to rest, make sure it is not in contact with any sensitive surfaces. Also, don’t touch! Wait until the cleaner is cooled down before packing it away.
Before You Get Started
Make sure to polish and seal your floors before you use a steam cleaner on them. Ask a professional about what kind of coating should be used for the type of wooden floors in your house.
Also, take note of your floor’s warranty to be sure that steam cleaning won’t render it null. This is to ensure that you can get repairs or replacements should emergency strike and your floors become damaged from an unrelated incident.
Keep an eye out for any deterioration on the part of your floors and stop steaming as soon as you notice any damage. It will be an inconvenience, but rather use a different technique if steam cleaning turns out to be hazardous.
Sealed floors are covered with a coating of polyurethane or varnish. This protective coating prevents moisture from penetrating through the wood. If an unsealed floor is exposed to an abundance of moisture, it will absorb more water than it can hold. In turn, the wood will begin to swell, leading to mold and rot. Left in this state for too long, the damaged wood will have to be replaced, costing you an untold amount of money.
To clean as quickly and thoroughly as they do, steam cleaners rely on the high water temperatures that create steam. After the cleaner heats the water inside of its reservoir, the water turns to steam, and it’s delivered through a floor nozzle or attachment. Due to its heat, the steam is able to loosen and dissolve the particles that create stains and other messes.
Two of their most appealing benefits include saving time and spending less money. However, there are is another major advantage that comes from using a steam cleaner as opposed to a standard mop or scrub brush. The steam’s temperature is high enough to actually disinfect the surface it touches. If you’re recovering from a cold or have a toddler who constantly puts objects in his mouth, the ability to swiftly sanitize your home is invaluable.
In general, a steam cleaner falls into one of three categories – a handheld, a mop or a cylinder. Each steam cleaner has its own advantages and drawbacks. A handheld steam cleaner is easy to transport, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room in your storage closet. Plus, handhelds are great for spot cleaning.
There are also steam mops. Like a manual mop, steam mops feature long handles. Most stand upright by themselves, and they are suitable for whole-floor cleaning. In addition, there are canister steam cleaners, which hold the most water. However, they are also the heaviest. There are even some steam cleaners that turn into handhelds.
Before you steam clean your hardwood floors, there is one must-do that you should attend to first. Always dust before you mop. Since hardwoods are dust magnets, these floors should ideally be dusted once per day. By keeping them free of dust, coarse particles are unable to accumulate and scratch your floor.
Strive to steam your hard floors one time every week. While the entire floor shouldn’t require more frequent steam cleaning, you should address small spots of dirt as they occur to prevent damage to the floor. Additionally, you should refrain from using strong chemicals with your steam cleaner’s water because these types of chemicals can eat away at the coating on your floors.
As you are cleaning, release the steam in short burst instead of a continuous flow. Otherwise, you may risk warping the wood from an overexposure to concentrated moisture. Also, be sure to attach a clean mop pad before you start steam cleaning. Again, this will reduce the likelihood of scratches and dings caused by dirt and dust particles.
While some people do have hardwoods throughout every room in their home, a lot of people also have carpet, tile, linoleum and another flooring. If your house contains multiple types of flooring, you need a steam cleaner that efficiently and safely cleans all the floors in your house.
If you have hardwoods and tile or linoleum, a great steam cleaner for your floors is a mop that comes with gear designed to tackle grout and uneven surfaces. However, if you have hardwoods and carpet, a better choice is a steam cleaner with a glider that you can use to spot clean your carpet.
A bonus to using a steam cleaner to spot clean your carpet is that the mop can sanitize organic messes and wipe out the odors that come along with them.
The steam released by the cleaner is hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but wax begins to melt when it reaches 99 degree. Hot wax can destroy a steam cleaner and your hardwood floor’s finish. Recently applied wax is more likely to ruin than set wax.
Sometimes, you can get away with steam cleaning a hardwood floor that hasn’t been waxed for a few weeks. To test the finish, run the cleaner over a discreet area under a piece of furniture and allow it to dry. If the wax finish is still intact, you should be good to go.
Sanitation is the entire purpose for using a steam cleaner, but you don’t have to apply steam for an extended length of time to glean that benefit. It only takes steam about 10 to 15 seconds to destroy germs. If you’re trying to tackle a sticky, stubborn substance, it may take a few more seconds to loosen the mess.
Prolonged exposure to steam can cause moisture to permeate your hardwood floors. In turn, you risk warping the planks. To be on the safe side, limit the application time to 30 seconds.
Many of the cleaning chemicals on store shelves can cause irreparable damage to a steam cleaner. These cleaning solutions contain chemicals such as benzoic acid, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, sodium salt and sulfonic acid, all of which are corrosive. When used in a steam cleaner, these chemicals will eventually destroy the cleaner’s internal components.
White vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent. It kills bacteria, dissolves scum and neutralizes odors. Although diluted white vinegar is a great cleaning solution to use on tile and linoleum, it’s not safe to use on hardwood floors.
Since white vinegar contains as much as 7 percent acetic acid, it can eat away at the polyurethane finish that manufacturers often put on hardwood floor planks. Without a coat of polyurethane, the floor may crack and peel or become cloudy and discolored.
Mopping with essential oils like sandalwood and lavender will leave a pleasant fragrance throughout your home, but we don’t recommend it. Adding essential to a steam cleaner’s reservoir will eventually clog the water line and nozzle. A safer alternative is to apply a few drops onto the backside of the microfiber pad before attaching it.
Even though standard mops don’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, steam cleaners offer many more benefits than traditional mops. They can kill bacteria without the aid of cleaning chemicals, which parents and pet owners appreciate.
You don’t have to haul around a sloshing bucket of water or carefully step around wet spots that take a half an hour to dry, preventing backaches and saving time. Plus, their microfiber pads absorb much more dirt than split fabric or woven yarn.
We understand how aggravating it is to see a layer of film on a hardwood floor. Two causes of cloudy hardwoods are chemical buildup and excessive moisture. Luckily, steam cleaners don’t need cleaning solutions, and it’s hard to over-wet a floor with a steam cleaner. This means residue won’t be a problem.
If you’re only dealing with a few small spots of concentrated dirt like muddy paw prints, you’ll find a steam cleaner to be an efficient performer. However, if the majority of the floor is covered in a layer of thick grime, you may notice that your steam cleaner is spreading rather than absorbing the mess.
The best way to go about using a steam cleaner on a heavily soiled hardwood floor is to have several mop pads in your arsenal. As soon as one microfiber pad gets dirty, exchange it for another. When all the dirt is gone, quickly run over the floor one more time with a fresh pad.
Microfiber is a washable material, and it can withstand about 30 cycles in the washing machine. To keep colors from bleeding onto the cloth, throw it in with your whites, but don’t add bleach to the water – it will break down the fibers. Let it air dry or tumble dry on no heat to prevent shrinkage.
Some species of wood are hardier than others. Similarly, engineered hardwood can stand up better to water than solid hardwood. No matter the species or type, you likely spent a lot of money on your flooring.
To protect your investment, test its moisture resistance by pouring a few droplets of water in an out-of-the-way area and wait a few minutes. If the droplets are still visible, a steam cleaner likely won’t damage the floor.
Not all steam cleaners give you the option of changing the flow of steam. Those that do usually offer two to three power settings. For everyday floor maintenance, the lowest level should suffice. Medium flow is great for cutting through dust and dirt while high flow is best reserved for the most stubborn of messes.
Although laminate hardwood floors are made of synthetic material, they are a popular choice among people who want the look of real wood without the high price tag. The downside to laminate is that while water won’t hurt the resin layer on top, it can damage the fiberboard underneath should it seep into seams.
Mopping in small sections will keep your laminate hardwoods intact. Move the steam cleaner parallel to the wood grain pattern, and don’t let the cleaner linger in one spot for more than 10 seconds at a time. If the cleaner has variable steam control, select the lowest setting.
Almost every steam cleaner manual directs people to use distilled water. When water is boiled during the distillation process, the minerals that are naturally found in water are removed. Since distilled water doesn’t contain calcium or magnesium, you don’t have to remove limescale buildup from the reservoir (see below).
Limescale forms from calcium carbonate, which is created by dissolved minerals in the water. When you use tap water in your steam cleaner instead of distilled, you’ll eventually see limescale buildup in the reservoir. You may also notice that the cleaner produces spurts of steam as opposed to a steady flow.
To get rid of limescale in the reservoir, simply wash it with soapy water, rinse it and let it drain until the tank is dry. Flushing out the minerals is also easy. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to a full tank of water. Then, run the steam cleaner until the reservoir is empty.
As long as you adhere to the 30-second maximum exposure time, there won’t be puddles on your hardwood floors. You can cut down on the dry time by turning on a ceiling fan, but that isn’t necessary. It only takes 1 to 5 minutes for floors to dry, and you don’t need to use a towel.
Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors: Recap
The benefits of steam cleaners are numerous. They save you money otherwise spent on cleaning chemicals, and the lack of chemicals means steam cleaners are safe to use around children and animals. You don’t have to lug around a bucket of water or wring a dirty mop head. Most importantly, the steam kills bacteria.
As far as choices go, you have several. Many steam cleaners are of the lightweight stick variety, and some of these are equipped with a handheld unit that lifts off the main body. There are also steam cleaners with rotating scrubbers or triangular heads for corner cleaning, and a select few even suction as they mop.
Maintaining a steam cleaner is easy. If you stick to distilled water, you’ll minimize the amount of maintenance needed. Even though you can’t use a steam cleaner on unsealed hardwoods, they are safe to use on laminate if you take a few precautions. Overall, steam cleaners offer a more efficient way to sanitize your hardwood floors.
Our Recommended Canister Steam Cleaners
54 oz. Water Tank
50 min. of cleaning
7 ft. Steam Hose
16 x 15 x 14 in
48 oz. Water Tank
90 min. of cleaning
10 ft. Steam Hose
15.6 x 12.1 x 10.5 in
40 oz. Water Tank
45 min. of cleaning
6 ft. Steam Hose
18.5 x 11.5 x 10.5 in
54 oz. Water Tank
50 min. of cleaning
7 ft. Steam Hose
16 x 15 x 14 in
48 oz. Water Tank
90 min. of cleaning
10 ft. Steam Hose
15.6 x 12.1 x 10.5 in
40 oz. Water Tank
45 min. of cleaning
6 ft. Steam Hose
18.5 x 11.5 x 10.5 in
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Last Update: 2023-02-02 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API