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Can You Steam Mop a Cork Floor?

Stephanie Green

Steam mops are a popular choice for cleaning a wide range of flooring types, including hardwoods, vinyl and tile, but they are not good for cleaning cork floors. Cork is a very durable material with a cushion-like feel, but it requires gentle care for its upkeep and appearance.

How Steam Mops Clean

Steam mops are not good for cork floors.

Steam mops work by emitting steam from a water tank once it reaches a certain temperature. The temperature varies from one model and manufacturer to another. To sanitize a floor, steam mops must heat to boiling, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which all steam mops do not do. Steam mops offer an advantage over traditional mop and bucket cleaning, however, because they clean without the use of chemicals.

Why Steam Damages Cork

Even though cork contains a natural substance called suberin, a waxy material that makes cork moisture-resistant, it still is not safe to use a steam mop on the material. Over time, excess moisture will cause irreparable damage to cork, causing the seams to swell or possibly damaging the subfloor.

Routine Cleaning

To clean a cork floor, regularly remove dirt or debris with a broom or vacuum cleaner. Periodically use a lightly damp mop and water to clean. Immediately clean any spills with a paper towel or sponge to avoid making a permanent stain.

Special Cleaning and Care

To deep clean cork flooring, use a mop and a product recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid ammonia or oil-based products and do not use harsh abrasives on cork flooring. Consider using a doormat outside the entrances of cork floors to prevent excess dirt, debris or abrasives from building up on the surface.