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Can You Use a Steam Mop on Marble Floors

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Marble is a naturally porous, soft stone used in home flooring and countertops all across the globe. Unfortunately, it is also delicate and easy to stain. General cleaning is based around mild chemical solutions that are designed not to etch the surface, but can you use a steam mop on marble floors?

Yes, you can use a steam mop to clean marble floors, as long as you take the necessary precautions.

Why Use a Steam Mop

While most of us are familiar with steam cleaners, especially ones used for carpeting, a steam mop is a little different. They both use heated water to generate steam, but home models are better suited for tasks where the object you are cleaning can be damaged if it gets too hot.

Steam mops are light household tools designed specifically for mopping floors with the added power of steam, whereas a steam cleaner is normally a large machine that focuses specifically on high heat and pressure.

Close up of a marble flooring

Do not use a commercial steam cleaner on marble flooring.

Benefits of Using a Steam Mop on Marble Floors

Steam is amazing…it cleans, disinfects, and sanitizes. Steam mops harness this power and combine it with a cleaning head that makes it easy to use over a large surface. The process of using a steam mop is faster and more efficient than using a regular mop with marble.

Some floor cleaners, mops and otherwise, use hard brushes as an added cleaning feature. Hard brushes can scratch and permanently damage marble, so steer clear of any devices that use them. Steam mops generally use microfiber or other soft materials on their cleaning pads, keeping your marble beautiful and scratch-free.

A steam mop can also be used without any harsh chemicals. Even though many cleaners claim they are safe for use on marble, the eventual buildup if they are not rinsed properly afterward can damage marble flooring after time.

Issues With Using a Steam Mop on Marble Floors

Since marble is so delicate, it can be damaged by the combination of high heat and moisture. High heat can make marble and its surrounding grout expand, and as it cools down it contracts. This process can cause cracking and other damage over time.

The best steam mops have adjustable settings, so be sure to use the lowest setting when using them on marble floors. As mentioned before, commercial steam cleaners can easily damage marble flooring, so stick with the low powered home tools.

Streaking is possible if you are not paying attention to the steam mop cleaning pads. Be sure to change the pads often, usually after each medium-sized room. The pads are often reusable, but make sure they get cleaned after every use so they are ready for the next time.

Some home steam mops are based around a combination of steam and chemicals. Avoid these mops as a general rule of thumb. If this is the only steam mop you have available, check to make sure that any of the chemicals used are safe for marble. If the cleaning chemicals that were previously in the mop are not safe for use on marble, be sure to flush the system with fresh water before changing to a different cleaner.

Some marble may contain traces of iron oxide. Be sure to dry the floor completely when finished, with microfiber or another soft, absorbent material, to avoid rust stains emerging on the marble surface.

Tips for Using a Steam Mop on Marble Floors

  • Read the steam mop manual to become familiar with its settings and usage.
  • Check the owner’s guide from your marble installer for specific cleaning suggestions.
  • Use distilled water if possible. Hard water deposits can clog up a steam mop, and if they build up too much, they may cause scratching on your marble floor.
  • Try to use a steam mop with settings that allow you to use lower heat and low moisture.
  • Make sure all the connections on the steam mop are secure and are not leaking.
  • After using a steam mop on your marble floor, follow up with a microfiber mop to remove any dirt that the steam mop may not have picked up.
  • Dry the marble floor completely after mopping.
  • Remove the cleaning pad after mopping, and wash it if it is reusable.
  • Before storage, empty the water tank in the steam mop to avoid bacterial growth.
  • Regularly use an untreated dust mop to extend the time necessary between mopping sessions.

Conclusion

While very high heat and moisture can be damaging to marble floors, the typical home model steam mop can be a safe and effective tool to clean your flooring with. Adjustable models are recommended, especially if there are floors made out of different materials in your home where a steam mop might also come in handy.