Do steam mops damage tile floors?

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In this article, we will consider whether steam mops actually damage tile floors.

Steam mops are a great alternative to many standard cleaning devices, that may not be too safe. They do not utilize any harsh chemicals but yet they still fully disinfect and clean the floors. The floors should stay perfectly fine if you follow a few simple rules when cleaning with this technique.

You also have to be aware, that the wrong use of a steam mop can cause permanent floor damage. However, don’t worry, as today we will cover all the most important aspects. By reading the article below, you will know the answer to the question at the start of the article.

Do steam mops damage tile floors?


A quick answer would be yes, they can damage your tile floors. However, don’t worry, as we will list all the most common reasons why this happens, and how you can avoid it. When doing the whole cleaning process properly, there should be no damage to the tile floors whatsoever.

Steam mops are actually very efficient units, that not only don’t rely on any harsh chemicals but also allow for full disinfection of the area. The steam gets heated and forced into all cracks between the tiles, in order to get rid of any bacteria.

That being said, there are some things to keep in mind when using those devices. Many of the rules are just common sense, however, it’s good to take a look at the basics sometimes. We strongly recommend following all the tips listed below, as they were created over long years of experience.

When steam mop can damage tile floors?

There are a few most common reasons why steam mops can damage tile floors. In all cases, you should avoid those situations from happening.

Steam cleaning too often

Like we mentioned earlier, steam cleaning is rather forceful – The whole process is based on the high-temperature steam reaching your floors and entering all the cracks. When steam cleaning too often, your floors will be constantly exposed to high temperatures and lots of moisture.

In the long run, this may permanently damage the floors, and that’s why we suggest switching up your cleaning methods. Instead of steam mopping, you can use a vacuum cleaner or a standard mop – This way, the floors won’t be in constant contact with potentially harmful conditions.

Leaving water on floors

Leaving large amounts of water on your floors can permanently damage them, as they often soak up all the excess. This may cause the floors to weaken, or even bend – To prevent this, we strongly suggest to always clean the excess water on your floors. This tip not only applies when you are steam mopping but also when caring about the floors in general.

Using unverified chemicals

Using chemicals, that aren’t recommended by the official manufacturer can do harm to your floors. Even when using ones, that were tested by the manufacturer, we still would be rather careful with those. After all, the steam cleaner on its own is a powerful tool, and additional chemicals can make it even more dangerous.

If you would like to use something less harmful, and in addition home-made, we can recommend vinegar. You just have to mix soap with water and vinegar, then pour the mixture into the steam mop. It’s a safe way to take care of your floors if convenient cleaning isn’t enough.

Those are pretty much all the most common reasons, why your tile floors may get damaged. If you use your steam mop adequately, there is nothing to worry about. If you would like to be sure, that everything goes according to your plan, we strongly suggest reading the section below.

How to properly wash your tile floors with a steam mop?

In order to properly take care of your floor tiles, we highly recommend following the tips listed below. There are some things, that could be done even before you start steaming the floor. All of them make a great difference to both the final result, as well as, the lifetime of your mop and floors.

Use light cleaners only

Harsh chemicals can not only damage the floors but also your steam mop. In order to be safe, we highly recommend using verified, or hand-made cleaning solutions. A great example would be vinegar mixed with soap and water – This mixture shouldn’t cause any damage to your house.

Prepare the floor beforehand

While steam cleaning is a great way to get rid of all the bacteria, the larger debris should be firstly cleaned. To do this, you can use a vacuum cleaner or a standard broom, either option will do just fine. Preparing the floors will not only help you with keeping them clean but also it can prolong the life of your steam mop.

Steam mop on sealed floors

In order to keep your floors safe, you should steam clean only on sealed floors. Unsealed floors may get damaged with time, due to lots of heat and moisture. In the long run, the floors can become warped – That’s why it’s best to use it on sealed floors, or ones that aren’t likely to warp in high temperatures.

Regularly replace mop pads

In order to keep your floors clean, the mop pads should also be regularly replaced. Some models allow you to use the pad on both sides, making it easier to keep them clean. Nonetheless, you can always keep a few pairs under your hand when steam cleaning.

Most common mistakes when cleaning with steam mops

We would also like to address some of the most common mistakes when cleaning with steam mops in general. We won’t be getting into details here, as it would simply make the article too long. However, all of them are pretty straightforward and easy to remember.

When cleaning with a steam mop, you shouldn’t:

  • Skip vacuuming or sweeping the floor beforehand
  • Use dirty mop pads
  • Let the mop idle too long
  • Plugin the steam mop before attaching cloth
  • Steam mop on unsealed floors

Those are some basics, that you should keep in mind – Most of them are relatable on all floor types, and when steam cleaning in all temperatures. Of course, it’s up to you to determine the boundaries, as each device and each floor differs.

Which floors aren’t compatible with steam cleaners?

Even though most of the sealed floors can be cleaned with a steam cleaner, you might want to adjust the settings or technique to a particular surface. This is why we will give you a few examples, that can be often seen in households, and characterize them.

  • Floors that should be treated carefully when steam mopping are definitely solid hardwood floors, painted floors, and ceramic and porcelain tiles.
  • Floors that almost always get a green light when steam mopping are grout tiles, concrete tiles or floors, and marble tiles.
  • Floors that should be avoided when steam cleaning are engineered hardwood floors, wooden floors in general, laminated floors, and vinyl adhesive tiles.

Of course, those are only some general ideas to follow, as each device and each floor is different. In the end, you will have to set the boundaries yourself, based on your situation.


In conclusion, even though, steam cleaning is a great way to get rid of bacteria and dirt, it can still damage your floors. There are a few simple rules to follow every time you clean any surface if you want to keep the floors extra safe.

That being said, this way of cleaning is relatively safe, especially compared to other methods involving harsh chemicals. A combination of high temperature and moisture can easily disinfect your floors and get rid of dirt. 

We hope, that after reading this article you know the answer to your question.