LVT. Luscious Violet Tresses? Lovely Velveteen Trousers? No. At least not usually.
LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile. It’s a super-durable and enormously practical type of flooring.
It’s being used more and more widely as people cotton on both to its suitability for use in a wide variety of settings, as well as the fact it’s easy to care for.
Below, we’ll look at how well it stands up to steam cleaning, what else it offers as a flooring solution, as well as looking into exactly what LVT is.
Can You Steam Clean LVT Flooring?
The regrettably vague answer is: yes and no. Steam mops can be hell for floors, because of the heat involved: up to 100°C, in fact.
This can damage the vinyl structure, causing warping and discolouration. However, some brands of LVT have been produced with steam cleaning in mind.
This means that you will need to check the particular floor manufacturer’s care instructions to make absolutely sure of its steam-suitability.
An example of a steam mop suitable luxury vinyl option is Mannington’s Adura Max range.
Even if your specific brand can steam cleaning, it’s very sensible to use low temperatures in order to be sure not to cause any damage.
And as ever, obey the inconspicuous test rule: try it out on a low-visibility corner of the floor so that you’re completely confident before you let loose all over the place.
Why Use a Steam Cleaner?
It’s great news if you can steam clean, because it’s a far more effective way to clean a floor than using a damp mop.
Stains will be eradicated quickly with a steam mop, and bacteria will be killed off, courtesy of the high temperatures involved.
A major advantage of steam cleaning is that its power to cut through grease and grime is derived from steam. Yes, shocking.
But what this does mean is that there’s no need to apply any chemicals, so it’s a good choice for the environment and for the health of those who come into contact with the newly-clean and cleaning-product residue-free floor.
Other Ways to Clean LVT
Should you find that your luxury vinyl flooring is not happy with a steam mop, don’t despair.
There are lots of natural alternatives that eschew harmful chemicals, as well as keep the temperature on the downlow.
You’ll find that these approaches are great for tackling those stains that attract the eye like nobody’s business.
1. Bicarbonate of soda
Get a bicarb powder paste made, and apply it to any stains with a soft cloth. Leave to loosen and shift the most ardently attached dirt, then wipe over with a clean cloth.
2. Lemon juice
Cut a lemon in half and rub it over the stain. Then remove the lemon residue with a damp cloth.
3. Rubbing alcohol
Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth and rub at the affected area of floor.
Be careful with this stuff as it has the potential to mark your floor further. If you do decide to use it, make sure you dilute it: one cup of cider vinegar to 4 litres of water is a safe level.
All these options may help if you’ve used a steam mop and it’s left traces of its work in the shape of discolouration of the vinyl surface.
What Is LVT?
LVT has a multi-layered structure, consisting of the following. At the top is an ultra-tough wear layer of aluminium oxide. This is what stands up to the everyday stresses and strains that a floor undergoes.
Under this is the design layer. In the case of LVT this will usually be ceramic-effect or stone-effect.
You can get wood-effect too, but this is usually known as LVP. Looks Very Posh? You’d be forgiven for thinking so, as it does look rather nice. It’s actually Luxury Vinyl Plank.
It’s made using 3D printing which, combined with texturing, can make for quite an authentic resemblance.
Under the design layer is the solid core. This is made from PVC and is utterly impermeable to water.
PVC can be immersed in water for extended periods and will repel ingression, so a wet mop is not a thing to be feared, as long as the temperature is well away from boiling.
Lastly, there’s a base layer, which is there to give stability and help with acoustics. That’s LVT in a nutshell.
LVT is a truly terrific substance in terms of its practicality. You can put it down anywhere in the home, from basement to bathroom, and it’ll deal with most of what life can throw at it.
One of the very few things that could be called its nemesis is the humble steam mop, so caution does need to be exercised with that hot little helper.
However, if you’re lucky you’ll have a brand of LVT that can be steam cleaned.
Martin’s life revolves around films, dogs and food, but rarely all at the same time. At least two out of these three like to give clothes and furniture a hard time, and Martin enjoys discovering and writing about new ways to stop them doing their worst.