Is this steam mop safe on laminate floors? I was about to purchase the new model of the Shark when the woman behind me in line stated, "Are you cleaning laminate floors with that?" I said yes that why I'm buying it. She told me it ruined her daughter's floor because the steam made the floor wet and the floors curled up and were ruined! Can anyone please comment on this? Thanks.
asked by Cynthia W. Nishimura on February 28, 2010
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I think the point is being missed on why using a steam mop on laminate is a bad idea. I don't have to tell you that steam is water vapor. When using a steam mop you are pushing this vapor into the small seams in the laminate floor. Since laminates are nothing more then a veneer glued to a fiber board (mdf, hdf, or something like it) it does not take a lot of water being forced into those seams to cause an issue. Beyond that, laminates are floating floors. They expand and contract with humidity (thus the 1/4" to 1/2" gap at the wall). Steam is changing the moisture content of the floor, causing it to rapidly expand and contact. The movement in the joints makes them brittle. 

The statement on the boxes of the mops say "safe on sealed hardwood". If you own a laminate, that's NOT you. Your floor is plastic on a composite wood board. You cannot add polyurethane to a laminate since its surface is plastic and has no pores to bond to. I take exception to its safety on a polyurethaned floor anyway since the seams of the poly are broken between ajoining boards every time the floor contracts in the winter months. 

To say that it's okay because you haven't had an issue is like making the argument that smoking is safe because you haven't developed cancer yet. Virtually the entire flooring industry is shouting that steam mops are  ruining people's floors. Manufactures of these floors want to make cleaning them as appealing as possible. If using a steam mop was safe, what reason would that have to void your warranty? Why wouldn't Pergo or Mannington have their own brand of steam mops?

As someone who has sold various laminate floors for nearly 12 years, I'm begging you to listen to reason. STEAM IS BAD!!! If they ruin your floors, the mop manufacture will not replace your floor. The first line in any of their warranties state you must contact your flooring manufacture on using steam. The first line in a laminate warranty is they don't cover damaged cause by water....which would be steam too. Listen to a manufacture on how to clean. Never anything more then a damp mop. A lot of the streaking people see on the floor is residue from the cleaning products. Vinegar and water is what I used with a mop that is nearly dry. I always sweep well before. If cleaning this way isn't for you, sadly neither is a laminate. A lot of people tell me their floor wasn't damaged by steam because they have used the mop for years, only to have Pergo or another manufacture to state the damage came from water. 
AmyA answered on March 20, 2012
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I will add that I do use the Shark Steam Mop on my laminate. Previously, I was using a Bissell Steam Mop...btw, I
LOVE the Shark (lightweight, many heads, mops, carpet refresher, LONG cord)...LOVE the Shark.

I do try to use a lot of caution. NEVER let any of the steam mops sit on the laminate...I have vinyl in the laundry
room and I don't even let a hot mop sit on that. Move quickly. I figure that is the safest way to go.

My storage shed is filled with every type of Swiffer, sponge mop, micro-fiber mop, cloth mop things, buckets...all which
left water streaks. The steam mop is the only thing (short of on my hands and knees, wiping with vinegar water and then
as fast as possible drying...result, very sore knees and a mountain of wet towels!) that will leave the floor clean, odor
free and non-streaked.

I strongly recommend, if you have laminate, see if you can borrow a steam mop from someone and give it a test run
in an area where any damage (if) won't show or use the mop on an extra/leftover piece of the flooring first. I do know of
one person that claimed (and got the flooring replaced!) the steam mop stripped off the top finish of the laminate.

...your mileage may vary.
The Harbor Guy answered on September 1, 2010
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I use only the steam on my tile floors. For my laminate floors I steam the cleaning pad first, then turn the steam OFF on the Shark and go over the floors just with the damp pad - no steam.
April Spring answered on April 25, 2012
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Actually, I would think just the opposite. When I use the Shark, my laminate floors are much less wet than they are when I mop with water and a cleaner such as Armstrong Once 'N' Done. With the steam cleaner they only seem damp, and because the steam is hotter, they dry in a minute or two--much, much more quickly than when I wet mop.
R. Albright answered on March 10, 2010
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I was desperate so against all advice, I used it on my wood laminate. Everything else, including expensive laminate cleaners left streaks and/or a film on it. It works great and has not damaged my floors. It does not leave the floors wet at all (unless you over fill the water tank!) and dries very fast. Of course, all wood laminate is not created equal, so just use caution at first. I have a glossy, piano finish on mine and nothing works to clean and shine it like this steam cleaner.
Ladycass answered on October 27, 2010
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Do not use a shark on any wood/laminate flooring. I ruined my engineered hardwood floor with a shark after two years of about once a week use. WHY did I think it was ok to use hot, water, steam on a wood floor?! Because the box said so and I just checked my brain at the door.
KatyTexas answered on December 13, 2011
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EXACTLY the same here, Vivian. I have the piano finish laminate, very glossy and though beautiful, I wish I had gone with something less shiny. When we first put them in, I was dry mopping constantly but it just wasn't getting the footprints and dog slobber up. So then I tried a dozen or so laminate cleaners that dulled the finish or left streaks. I actually had a problem with the finish peeling in places within the first few months, and filed a warranty claim since it was a 50 year warranty but so much for that. Their conclusion? I was cleaning it TOO much. Go figure. Any way, I'm on my second Shark, as I broke the handle on the first one after a year or so. Then I tried the Eureka, which is too hefty and left the floor streaked, which I think has something to do with the pads they use. So, I bought a Shark Professional. It has three steam settings, one for dusting, mopping and heavy duty. It has a much better handle on it that I don't foresee breaking. Any how, I've been using a steamer on mine for several years now and it's no worse the wear for it. Oh, and if you have hard water like we do, use filtered water or it will leave spots. So I'd definitely give it a try BEFORE you start using too many different products and get a residue build up. In spite what so many laminate products claim, they DO leave a residue behind that dulls the finish, even the one that the manufacturer recommended for mine.
Ladycass answered on November 15, 2011
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Angie: I admit I am baffled by your comments. First, you incorrectly attribute quotes to me. Yes, I sell laminate, but I am neither trying to sell you a floor, nor tell you not to buy a steamer. I am only making it clear that even SHARK excludes laminates as safe surfaces to use their steamer on. --- --- We know some simple truths of water and particle board; and that doesn't change because it is vapor. Maybe it won't happen to your floor, but at least you are aware of these risks.

Secondly, depending the type of Armstrong cleaner (Once N' Done specifically) is not made for a laminate floor. If you are using their laminate cleaner and it is leaving streaks, you might find it is moving around a build up that is already on the floor. Try taking a microfiber cloth and "buffing" out the streaks.
AmyA answered on July 8, 2012
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See my message posted right below yours. I use the lower setting on my Shark and do NOT use the steam directly over the laminate floor.. I use the steam to wet the pad then turn the machine off and go over the floor while the pad is still warm and damp. Works good for me.
April Spring answered on April 25, 2012
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I noticed the ad said sealed hardwood floors, how do you know if your floor is sealed? I had one hardwood pro, tell me he would not use it on hardwood, but i already bought it off of HSN. I think my floors may be coated with polyurathane, so is that sealed?
pamela boggs answered on May 11, 2010
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