can you steam mop bamboo flooring

Can You Steam Mop Bamboo Flooring?

Can you steam mop bamboo flooring? Bamboo flooring is reliably durable for high-traffic areas and is relatively easy to clean and refinish compared to other flooring types. I thought steaming my floors would make this cleaning process even easier. But, luckily, before I used a steam mop in my home, I discovered you cannot use one on bamboo flooring. This is because it is non-resistant to steam and moisture. Steam and moisture can penetrate the bamboo planks distorting their color and lifting their boards. This is why you should also avoid liquid spills on bamboo flooring and wipe any accidental spills within 20 hours of their occurrence. In this guide, I’ll take a closer look at why you should avoid steam mopping your bamboo floors and how you should clean them instead.


What is a Steam Mop?

Steam mops are special types of mop that heat water in their reservoir up to 120-degrees Celsius and eject jets of dry steam to disinfect flooring from bacteria and dust mites. They’re a popular alternative to getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing floors. Or, just using a traditional mop. They can restore the shine of floors like porcelain tile and ceramic but not bamboo floors.

Can You Steam Mop Bamboo Flooring?

Bamboo flooring is more water-resistant than its expensive counterpart: hardwood. However, none of the flooring types is completely waterproof, and bamboo, being a part of the hard grass “Poaceae” family, is especially prone to warping.

Its texture and form can get deformed when exposed to even mild moisture and high-humidity environments. So when dry steam is ejected from steam mops, it abnormally increases the humidity in the bamboo plank’s cell structure, weakens its structure, and distorts its color rather than making it shine. This is why steam mopping is generally not advised on bamboo floors.

What Other Things to Avoid When Cleaning Bamboo Floors?

Apart from steam mops, you should avoid the following things while cleaning bamboo flooring:

  • Bleach: Bleach, ammonia, and highly acidic detergents can ruin your bamboo flooring by disintegrating its cell structure.
  • Murphy’s oil soap: All soap products, including Murphy’s oil soap, can damage bamboo’s protective coating causing it to peel off. Vinegar-water solution is harmful too.
  • Wax: Liquid wax cleaners can leave harmful residue and stains on bamboo floors, making them unfit for footfall. Using furniture polish is bad too.
  • Baking soda: Though sodium bicarbonate is extensively used in floor cleaning, it can be harsh and unsettling for bamboo flooring. The same is true for hydrogen peroxide solutions.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Rubbing alcohol is harsh on bamboo floor finishing and can soften its texture and damage its surface even though used in small concentrations.
can you steam mop bamboo flooring

Can You Use Bona On Bamboo Floors?

Yes, a bona spray mop is suitable and effective for engineered and non-engineered bamboo flooring. It uses a ready-to-use pH-neutral cleaning solution which you can gently spray on the delicate bamboo flooring using an easy-to-use spray trigger.

How to Clean and Shine Bamboo Floors

Follow these methods to clean and shine bamboo floors without any damage:

Step 1: Broom Away Dust and Debris

You should use a fine-fiber broom to sweep dust and debris once in three days to avoid ugly dust buildup on the bamboo floor. It’s best to broom daily to avoid scratches damaging bamboo’s beautiful surface. Alternatively, you can use specialized vacuums with bamboo/hardwood floor settings to do the job.

Step 2: Mop Weekly with Bona Spray Solution

Following the bamboo floor manufacturer’s instructions while preparing the solution is important. Avoid dilution if the floor manual says otherwise. Likewise, avoid ammonia, bleach, or baking soda solutions for cleaning and mopping the floor.

Wring out the mop thoroughly to avoid excessive moisture from getting absorbed on your bamboo flooring. We’ve already learned how excessive moisture can seep through the cracks and cause buckling.

Step 3: Remove Liquid Spills Without Delay

Beverage or water spills can damage bamboo floors if not cleaned within 20 hours of occurrence. So you should wipe them clean with a soft cloth fast. Experts suggest placing a rug in places prone to liquid spills, like near the sink. Also, ensure the rug doesn’t have latex or rubber backing, as these non-breathable materials can discolor your beautiful bamboo floors.

As mentioned earlier, don’t try to clean any stains or scuffs until the loose dirt is broomed away. Here are two unique methods to clean water stains on bamboo floors:

  1. Mix mayonnaise with cigar ashes in a small bowl and gently rub it on the stained area.
  2. To remove deeper water stains, use 120-grit sandpaper to sand off the bamboo floor and finish with a palm sander.

Step 4: Air-Drying is a Must

Never try to manually dry bamboo floors with towels or rags. Instead, switch on the fan and keep it on at full speed to air-dry the floor in record time. Don’t try to apply any finish or wax, as it can damage your bamboo flooring and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

3 Bonus Tips to Clean Bamboo Flooring

Keep these in mind to maintain the floor’s design and elegance:

  • Never step into bamboo floors with shoes on. Use a doormat.
  • Never use the vacuum cleaner with a beater bar to clean bamboo flooring.
  • Never use iron wool to polish bamboo floors.

How to Fix Scratches on Bamboo Floor

Despite the best efforts, bamboo floors can suffer scratches from your beloved pets, rough use, or the manufacturer’s fault. Surprisingly, it is possible to fix such scratches DIY using the following:

  • Masking tape
  • Damp paper towel
  • Wood putty
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Foam brush
  • Polyurethane Sealer

Follow These Steps:

  1. Use masking tape to cover the flooring around the scratched area to keep unaffected areas protected. You may have to use a mild soap if the scratched area is heavily soiled.
  2. Wipe the scuff and dirt with a damp paper towel
  3. Apply some wood putty to the scratched area.
  4. Use the fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand the putty.
  5. Remove the masking tape from the unscratched bamboo floor area.
  6. Use a foam brush to apply a thin coat of polyurethane sealer to the scratch filled with wood putty and the immediate surrounding area, which you covered with masking tape earlier.
  7. Allow polyurethane sealer to air-dry.

In Summary: Can You Steam Mop Bamboo Flooring?

Unlike concrete floors or porcelain tiles, steam mopping can inflict irreparable damage to bamboo flooring. Instead, use a bona spray mop or any other mild or pH-neutral cleaning solution to clean bamboo floors. You should broom daily and mop weekly to maintain its shine for at least 20-25 years.

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