Using a steamer vac on wood floor

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Q: I have finished in place rosewood floors. I’ve been using a steamer vac, spraying a mixture of water, vinegar, and droplet of dawn dish liquid. I’m having an issue with an oily residue! I went over the floors 5 times and it’s almost as if it’s getting worse. Not sure if it’s a residue in the cotton pads? Is it possible for the oil to come out of the rosewood floor? Through the poly?

A: Using a steam cleaner on a hardwood floor is a really really bad idea. You need to stop that and let the floor settle for a while. There are floor cleaners you can buy from wood flooring professionals which won’t destroy your floor. You simply spray a bit on a micro weave or terry cloth mop and wipe your floor. I hope you don’t have to have this floor refinished.

Similar Q: Using a floor steamer seems to have become popular to clean wood floors. We have recently installed hickory wood floors in our house. I am contemplating getting a steamer in order to make the cleaning easier but am concerned about damaging the wood due to the moisture and heat. There isn’t a lot of moisture left on the floor but it does get quite warm. What would you recommend? Thank you for your time.

A: I’m glad you asked first! Absolutely NO to the steamer. I don’t know what type of finish your floor has but I will assume some type of top coat such as polyurethane. Vacuum regularly with a soft brush. There are any number of cleaners available manufactured by wood floor manufacturers and floor finish manufacturers that do a good job of removing stuck on grime. You local wood floor retailer will have something for you or you an check out Poloplaz, Bona Kemi, Basic Coatings or Mirage Floors for a start. Simply spray a small area and wipe with a micro weave or terry cloth mop. Oil soaps are not a great idea and nor are swiffer products as their product data sheet indicates the solution contains wax which will create an adhesion issue if you ever tried to have the floors re-coated.

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