Can You Use a Steam Mop on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

By Joe McGuinty
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Surface scratches and tears can leak water into the adhesive layers that keep the floor in good structural shape. Moisture weakens the glue bonds causing sections of the flooring to deform, buckle and warp.

Using an effective mop model can help guard against damage from water. You can choose from different types such as steam mops, flat mops, and spin mops to clean up your vinyl floor efficiently and with ease.

Can you steam mop luxury vinyl plank flooring?

A steam mop is one of the best tools to use when cleaning luxury vinyl plank flooring. Steam mops rely on steam power to sanitize dirty floors without depending on the traditional mop, water, and bucket.

Vinyl flooring is sensitive to water exposure, where constant exposure can cause the flooring to lose quality. Steam mops safeguard your vinyl floors by preventing contact with water for extended periods.

A steam mop consists of a reservoir attached to a mop head covered by a microfiber mop pad. Once you switch it on, a heater heats the water to about 200 degrees generating large amounts of steam.

The steam moves towards the mop head and dampens the microfiber mop pad that in turn absorbs dust, stains, and other bits of unwanted material. The hot vapor also disinfects your floor surface by killing bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens on your floor surface.

Using a steam mop is easy and relatively quick compared to the traditional mop and bucket technique. A steam mop pad can easily lift stubborn stains from the floor surface and absorb dirt. (Which is a better alternative to pushing the same from one spot to another).

Steam mops work on different surfaces like hardwood floors, laminate flooring, etc. The equipment is also ideal for dealing with sensitive luxury plank floorings (LVP) that require extra care from scratches, moisture, and dirt.

Signs of water damage on vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is susceptible to water damage. Most vinyl-based floor types have a waterproof surface that prevents water from reaching the more sensitive sublayers of your vinyl floor.

Water might seep into the sensitive regions because of tears, scratches, and gaps left during installation or because of poor maintenance. The water can cause extensive damage to your flooring by compromising the integrity of your floor’s adhesive.

Here are common signs of water damage to your vinyl plank flooring

Warping and Buckling of Vinyl Plank Edges

Various factors can cause vinyl floors to buckle, such as heat, poor installation, and constant exposure to moisture.

If left unattended, the floor loses its shape, grandeur, wears down, and can become a huge problem. You might have to replace entire sections of your flooring when the damage becomes extensive.

It’s best to ensure that you properly install your vinyl floor planks to prevent moisture seeping in from the concrete subfloor or waterproofing your vinyl planks if you intend to use the flooring in water-prone rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Conduct regular inspections of your vinyl floor to identify and deal with instances of excess moisture. It’s also a good idea to wipe water spills off your floor immediately they occur.

Presence of Bubbles Under the Vinyl Floor

The presence of bubbles under a vinyl floor suggests that something is possibly wrong with your linoleum floor. 

The formation of bubbles can occur due to changes in atmospheric conditions, poor installation, and high moisture levels underneath your vinyl floor surface. Water can cause your floor to create bubbles as it seeks to escape from the inner sections of your vinyl flooring.

Bubbles can be particularly annoying to deal with for most homeowners. However, such a problem is seldom permanent, and you can usually fix it with glue. Just cut open the bubble and inject adequate quantities of the adhesive before leveling out the floor surface.

The solution only works to deal with bubbles, but if you are looking for a permanent remedy, it’s best to deal with the underlying moisture problem.

Growth of Mold Under the Floor Surface

Water promotes the growth of fungi, bacteria, and mold on organic surfaces. A vinyl plank flooring in constant exposure to water might show signs of mold growth underneath the surface.

You might notice irregular-sized patches under your floor surface or a patchy lingering smell when your floor becomes infested with mold. The presence of mold and other fungi could indicate that an unnoticed problem has persisted for a long time.

Dealing with the mold is only a temporary solution to the underlying problem. It’s best to first identify the main issue (which is primarily a water issue) before working on the secondary problem.


Vinyl plank flooring can become discolored when continuously exposed to water and light.

Water seeping underneath vinyl floor surfaces can cause the colors to oxidize and lose their original shade over time. The problem is more prevalent in bathroom and kitchen areas where the moisture exposes a large segment of the floor surface to highly humid conditions.

Dealing with discoloration can be tricky. You might have to replace the discolored planks with newer ones (and it can affect the quality of your floor).

What is the best way to clean vinyl plank flooring?

Vinegar is one of the best products to use when cleaning vinyl plank flooring. The chemical provides you with a cost-effective, natural solution to keep your floors clean without the build-up of wax, soap, and other contaminants.

Apple-cider vinegar offers additional antiseptic properties and is ideal for removing different types of stains. Just mix ½ cup of vinegar with hot water and use and use a mop to clean the floor.

Always ensure that you mop up water spills promptly and leave the room dry when cleaning.

Can you use shark steam mop on luxury vinyl plank?

Shark Steam mops are high-quality products ideal for use on a luxury vinyl plank surface. The product offers a long-term solution in cleaning vinyl surfaces without depending on water-based methods (that can harm the quality of your flooring).

The manufacturer considers different aspects in the design of the Shark steam mop. Some of the more elaborate features include a microfiber pad with a high level of liquid absorption, different dust settings, and an aesthetically pleasing design.

Shark steam mops don’t require the use of additional chemicals to remove dirt. The manufacturer also insists that their equipment is capable of working on sensitive surfaces like hardwood floors.

What type of mop is best for vinyl plank flooring?

The market has many mop models, where each claims to be the best at cleaning your vinyl flooring. Each design has its distinct benefits and downsides, and choosing the best model can be challenging for some homeowners.

You will likely have to consider several factors before deciding on an ideal mop choice for your vinyl floor. Some popular considerations relate to price, durability, versatility, ease of use, water retention quality, etc.

If you compare the different types of mops, it’s easy to understand why a steam mop ranks highly as an ideal choice when cleaning up your vinyl floor.

A steam mop is probably the best idea given that it is highly versatile, requires minimal water, leaves the floor dry after cleaning, and is relatively easy to use. Besides, some steam mop models have ultra-sensitive microfibers that prevent scratches and other forms of damage on your vinyl floor.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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