Q: I have Bruce Hardwood Oak prefinished flooring in my kitchen. I use Pledge Hardwood Floor Cleaner and a large terry mop and all seems fine. My husband and I recently saw a steam cleaner and we were wondering if that would be better. Our floor installer said water was the floors worst enemy – which made me wonder about the long term effect of steam cleaning. By the way we love our Bruce Flooring.
Thanks advance for your help.
A: I would avoid using any form of steam cleaner on a hardwood floor. Your installer is right on, water can be the worst enemy of any wood floor, but so can shifts in temperature. With a steam cleaner, you would be very quickly applying both heat and moisture to your floor, which means for a brief moment as the floor is heated, it will expand, then contract as it returns to its normal temperature. This expansion and contraction, albeit minor, can cause gapping to occur over time.
The current method you are using is good and suggested. Using an approved cleaner (no wax or oil-base cleaners), spray a light mist over the floor then follow up with a microfiber or terrycloth mop head to clean and dry the floor. The easiest way to think here is akin to a swiffer, a small amount of cleaner goes a long way with wood floors. You can also lightly damn your mop, but make sure it is very little moisture as you don’t want excessive moisture or standing moisture on the floor. Its sometimes advisable to follow up with a dry terrycloth towel to ensure any and all remaining moisture is removed from the floor.