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One Thing You Should Never Use on Your Hardwood Floors

Someone cleaning hardwood floors with a bucket of water and a rag.
Galina Sharapova/Shutterstock

Your hardwood floors are likely one of your favorite features of your home, but they might not be as easy to clean as you’ve been led to believe. There’s one thing, in particular, you should never use to clean them, and we’ll give you a big hint: H2O.

Of course, you want to keep your gorgeous floors in tip-top shape, but you could be inadvertently causing harm if you steam clean them. Val Oliveira, founder of cleaning company Val’s Services, told Apartment Therapy that wood and water don’t mix when it comes to flooring.

Due to the high temperature required when you steam clean, water can seep into your flooring because wood expands in hot, humid environments. Ultimately, this can cause warping and create bumps. According to HGTV, steam mops are particularly bad on engineered hardwood floors. Because they’re blonded together with adhesive, steam cleaning can break apart this type of flooring and cause buckling and separating.

If you’ve already used a steam mop on your floors, though, there’s no need to freak out. According to Oliviera, only repeated steam cleans will cause major problems. But definitely stash that steamer and check out some other hardwood floor cleaning options.

First, you can take some daily measures to keep your floors clean. For example, you can ask folks to remove their shoes when they enter your home. You can also get some furniture cups or area rugs to protect your floors.

When it comes to deep-cleaning, avoid using water (in any of its forms) as much as possible. If you do wet your floors, be sure to dry them immediately afterward, and always use the right cleaner.

You can check out this full guide on caring for your floors if you need more info, or head over to Apartment Therapy. for more tips from cleaning pro, Oliveira.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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