We're Constantly Asked About Cleaning Floors with Steam Mops & Vinegar
We don’t recommend steam at all for wood floors. With steam cleaners, you are basically forcing steam down into gaps and end joints of the wood floors. When people use them repeatedly that can cause finish to peel off the edges and/or turn cloudy, and the floor is going to look worn out long before it should. Then the floor will probably need to be totally re-sanded instead of needing just a re-coat.
Years ago, vinegar and water was basically all we had for cleaning wood floors with a non-wax finish on them, but that combination isn’t something we recommend today. The vinegar is acidic and can make your finish look dull or even damage the finish. In today’s wood flooring world, we have plenty of cleaners that are recommended by the finish and flooring manufacturers. Tell your customers that to keep their floors looking as good as possible for the long term; they should use one of those recommended cleaners. Using a non-recommended cleaner or process—even if the cleaner or steam mop manufacturer says it’s OK for wood floors—can make recoating a wood floor difficult or even impossible and possibly void the wood flooring or finish manufacturer’s warranty.
And if they use a cleaner and it seems to leave a residue or make the finish sticky, it’s important that they not try to use another cleaner to try to remove the first one. At that point, they just need to call a professional.
Source: National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA).