Will Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors Kill Fleas? The Right Approach To Use


Removing fleas from hardwood floors isn’t too hard if you take appropriate steps and use the steam cleaning method for the best results.

Steam cleaning has been proven as a highly effective solution that’s suitable for anyone looking for a way to get rid of flea infestation at home. It is also a very easy and quick way of killing these nasty pests, together with their larvae and eggs. What’s more, it is a natural way that requires only hot, pressurized water, and is harmless to the environment, humans, and pets.

However, apart from occasionally using a steam cleaner on your hardwood floors, you must not forget about diligent cleaning of other areas of your home, as well as regular bathing and treating your pet with a flea shampoo, spot treatments, and using collars.


Steam cleaning is a safe and effective method for cleaning most hardwood floors, and entirely removing all sorts of dirt and pests such as fleas. The high temperature of the steam (at least 95°F or 35°C) is enough to kill all fleas at any stage of development.


The pests prefer living in carpets and fibers such as upholstery, furniture, or bedding, but hardwood, tile, vinyl, and other hard surface floors can also become hiding places for fleas.

As fleas can hide well in cracks and seams in the floor, they can be more difficult to find and deal with. The nature of hardwood floors makes flea treatments particularly tricky because the cracks provide reservoirs for flea larvae to develop. Thus, thoroughly cleaning hardwood floors will often be not enough and you are very likely to miss the areas where fleas breed and thrive in the dust and debris that’s hidden away.



Will Steam Cleaning Hardwood Floors Kill Fleas?

Steam cleaning is a simple, yet a very advanced approach used to help eradicate fleas instantly after they come in contact with the hot steam. When you use a steam cleaner, fleas won’t have a chance to hide.

The vapor from a quality steam cleaner is hot enough to kill fleas at every stage of their life cycle. The high temperature of the steam has been proven to be lethal to fleas as they are not able to survive in extreme temperatures of 95°F (35°C) or higher. Additionally, fleas are prone to drown easily during the steam cleaning process.

Thus, using a steam cleaner is a more effective and worthwhile solution than using potentially toxic chemicals and complicated treatments, or hiring an expensive pest exterminator.

All you have to do is to steam clean the infested areas 2 or 3 times a week in order to destroy fleas at any developmental stage. Routine cleaning is important as flea eggs hatch within three days, which means that the flea infestation in your house is likely to increase within a few days.

You should regularly deep clean your hardwood floor to remove dirt, grime, and fleas. The refillable and reusable hardwood floor spray mop kit by Infuse works great. This amazing, super affordable, and eco-friendly product is ideal for all sealed hardwood floors, such as oak, pine, maple, teak, walnut, and more wooden floor types, as well as other non-porous surfaces. This kit includes a mop, microfiber mop pad refill, and you can choose the refill’s beautiful scent of Lemongrass or Lavender & Lemon. The product is non-toxic, biodegradable, and free from BPA, Parabens, Phthalates, and Carcinogens.


How to Kill Fleas on Hardwood Floors with a Steam Cleaner?

You must treat more than your hardwood floor to get rid of the flea problem. Thus, it’s necessary to first clean, wash, and vacuum all the rugs, carpets, soft furnishings, and other fabrics in your home.

It’s essential to put most of your cleaning efforts to pet sleeping and resting areas. Using insecticide dust, treat cracks under baseboards near these areas to kill flea larvae that might have crawled into the cracks.

Once you’ve finished with that, proceed to vacuum the hard surface flooring. When vacuuming, pay attention that you get into the corners and move furniture to reach the floor underneath. Make sure to dispose of your vacuum bag after you’ve finished by sealing and tying it in a bin bag and placing it outdoors.

Now it’s time to attack your floor with a steam mop. It is most efficient to use disposable steam mop pads, otherwise, you risk spreading the flea problem again rather than solving it.

As per all instruction manuals for a steam mop, you must not clean one spot of the floor for too long. This is because most surfaces are subject to damage from overheating. The steaming heat needs only 10 to 15 seconds to work, and prolonged use in the same place is likely to damage the surface if the steam overheats it.

It’s recommended to move fast around the room, which will make the steam evaporate fast, leaving your floors almost instantly dry. This will also remove stains faster and you will spend less time doing this chore.

Remember to never use a steam cleaner after spraying cleaning products on the floor as this can cause the chemicals to vaporize, go airborne, and thus, lead to many serious health issues.

Likewise, you cannot put any cleaning products or disinfectants in a steam cleaner, as it requires just water in its tank. Using anything else other than distilled water might also cause corrosion to the appliance.



Is Steam Cleaning Safe for Hardwood Floors?

Using a steam cleaner is safe for most hardwood floors provided that it’s applied carefully with a mop accessory that’s designed for this purpose. Make sure to use only devices recommended for hardwood floors to avoid problems in the future.

Some wood flooring associations, such as the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and National Wood Floor Association (NWFA) as well as refinishing professionals, are advocating against using steam cleaning appliances on hardwood floors.

This is because the models tested left a film of moisture that’s significant enough to cause damage, particularly through the little cracks in the floor or damaged surface finish.

Wood, being a natural material, absorbs moisture, warps, twists, plumps, and molds when exposed. After steam had penetrated into the structure, it’s later difficult to restore water damaged wood to its original shape or look.

Nevertheless, many manufacturers of steam cleaners, such as Bissell and Shark, assure that steam cleaners are safe for completely sealed hardwood floors.

Thus, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to learn whether a steam cleaner is safe for their hardwood floors or not, and to ensure that their floors are suited to be steam cleaned. So, check with the steam cleaner manufacturer and choose a steam cleaner that is well-suited for hardwood floors.

It’s necessary to do a simple test to check whether steam cleaning is suitable for your hardwood floor to avoid damage. So, before you steam clean any exposed area of the floor, pick a spot underneath the furniture that’s not visible, and drip a small amount of water.

If you observe that the water beads up instantly, it suggests that the floor seal is intact and water won’t get absorbed into it easily. But if it seeps into the wood, that means your floor is not sealed or its finish is damaged.

Sealed hardwood floors can withstand the heat and moisture from a steamer while providing a nice streak-free finish. But using a steam cleaner on unsealed hardwood floors should be avoided, due to their susceptibility to being damaged easily by excessive moisture.

It’s been proven that engineered hardwood floors deal with moisture better than solid hardwood as engineered hardwood warps and shrinks less easily when exposed to water.

Even though engineered hardwood is durable on the surface, it’s layers are bonded using adhesives, and steam can degrade these adhesives easily. When moisture seeps between the layers, it weakens the bond and permanently damages the floor. Thus, it is advised to avoid using steam cleaners on engineered hardwood floors.

Additionally, refrain from using commercial steamers as highly-pressurized and wet steam generated by these specialized appliances will soak through the floorboard’s edges and seep into their inner layers. In such cases, a safer method is to thoroughly mop the hardwood floor using regulated amounts of steam.

It’s recommended not to steam clean waxed floors as heat definitely does not mix well with a recently waxed floor. It will melt the wax and ruin the glossy flooring surface.



What Steam Cleaner Is Best for Hardwood Floors?

Buying a steam cleaner is a one-time investment, and the flea treatments are extremely inexpensive after that.

Choosing a high-quality steam cleaner that will not damage your hardwood floor can be a difficult task, as there are many different kinds of these appliances available on the market.

It’s important to invest in a quality steam cleaner because cheap steamers don’t produce steam for too long and thus, not reaching the needed temperature. They only produce steam in small bursts, which is not as effective as if there’s a continuous flow.

Also, if you purchase any wrong device, then it would be wasted money, time, and effort. But most importantly, it would pose a risk of your hardwood floor being ruined.

A canister steam cleaner model is known to be the best choice for eliminating a troublesome flea infestation in your house.

Canister steam cleaners produce the required amount of heat and intensity to neutralize fleas. It’s also possible to get into hard to reach spots, corners, and crevices much more effectively than with a steam mop.

Besides eliminating fleas and cleaning your floors, the canister steam cleaner provides the additional benefit of sanitizing the affected areas at the same time.

Before selecting any steamer with which you plan to get rid of the flea infestation, you should consider some specifics of the appliance:

– make sure it’s a quality steamer that produces a constant steam temperature of between 120°F and 170°F (48°C – 76°C) for best results

– choose a device that boils water quickly with a maximum boiling time of 15 minutes

– opt for a dry steamer for quick drying and to prevent mold and mildew from developing on surfaces. Dry steamers produce only about 5% water volume in steam, which is just enough to kill fleas

– buying a tank with a larger capacity of around 0.5 gallon (1.9 liter) of water is more efficient as it eliminates the need for frequent refilling

– pick a steamer with a variety of appropriate attachments such as mop pads, and ones that are designed specifically for hardwood floors


What To Do with the Carpeted Floor Areas That Are Infested with Fleas?

Carpets and rugs that are very fluffy can be a big challenge when infested. Flea eggs stuck deep in the carpet are particularly difficult to remove, and the warm and moist environment helps them hatch even sooner, within 1 or 2 days, causing a new infestation.

So, if you can’t get rid of the fleas from your area rugs, mats, or carpets completely or have damaged them while trying to eradicate fleas, you might want to consider trashing them altogether and having only hardwood flooring installed all over your house.


Final Thoughts,

When you own a pet, you may find that hardwood floors are much easier to keep clean. But this type of flooring can sometimes make it more tricky to get rid of pests such as fleas that your furry friend brings home. It’s important to ensure that when you attempt to eliminate the flea infestation with a steam cleaner, you do not unknowingly damage your beautiful hardwood floor.