To Steam or Not to Steam

Lately there are a lot of television commercials for steam mops, and these products are displayed prominently in every big box store you go into.  They say steam mops can be used "safely" on hardwood, laminate, and tile floors, but we thought we would dig a little deeper and see what the flooring manufacturers said.  Here are a few of the answers we found:

Mirage: Steam cleaners are not recommended for use on Mirage floors. Mirage floors are created by installing a number of individually sealed boards. Moisture from the cleaning machine could potentially get between the boards and damage the floor.

Mohawk Flooring: Do not use hardwood floor-cleaning or buffing machines or steam cleaner.  

QuickStep Laminate: Never steam clean your laminate floor.

Armstrong/Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Flooring: NEVER CLEAN WITH STEAM CLEANERS. This may permanently damage the floor.

National Wood Floor Association (NWFA): Using steam or excessive water may damage a wood floor.   

National Laminate Flooring Association (NLFA): Does not endorse the use of Steam Cleaning machines on Laminate flooring.  

World Floor Covering Association (WFCA): We cannot find a manufacturer of either laminate flooring or hardwood flooring that will recommend the use of Steam Cleaning equipment on their floors. To clean and maintain your hardwood or laminate flooring, sweeping and/or using a vacuum cleaner (without the beater bar used for vacuuming carpet) should be sufficient. Occasionally clean with a mop (micro-fiber or terrycloth hooded for laminate floors) slightly moistened with a cleaning product recommended by the flooring manufacturer.  

Some manufactures even state that the use of a steam mop voids the product warranty. Steam can be very dangerous not only to the product but also to the adhesives, grout, and setting materials.  You have to always remember these companies want to sell their product.  Unless they guarantee that it won't harm your surfaces and will replace your floor if it is ruined you really can't trust them!

Is Painting In Your Plans?

Painting is one of the least expensive updates for your home---truly a do-it-yourself project for most of us.  Here are a few color ideas from House Beautiful to consider:

Benjamin Moore Grant Beige HC-83
"My standby is Grant Beige. It's like a favorite pair of worn khakis. It works with modern spaces and traditional ones.  If you want to keep your palette clean with whites, creams, and accents of black, it becomes very architectural, or you can warm it up with soft reds, blues, and greens."  

Behr Tropical Tide 520D-5
"Blue has been a top mover and now greens are edging ahead, and this color is the bridge between them - a beautiful turquoise blue that makes you feel as if you're in a warm, sunny place. It's like an instant getaway."

Benjamin Moore Sea Haze 2137-50
"Gray has been so popular, and now we're seeing complex grays with an undertone of color. This one has a hint of green. We've gone through a cleansing of the palette-people want quieter surroundings with just a pop of color, and gray works very well with yellow, which is also trending."

Pittsburgh Paints Turning Oakleaf ATC-38
"The color we see trending in all markets, from automotive to textiles, is a pale, luminous yellow. Soft, but with real presence and an optimistic, enlightened vibe. It's a feel-good color."

Sherwin-Williams Classic French Gray SW 007"We're beiged out, and that's driving the gray palette, which is going mainstream now. Gray is elegant, sophisticated, and it works so beautifully with natural materials like wood and linen."

In My Pajamas
Another quick and easy refresh for your home is a new area rug.  If there is not enough time (or money!) before the holidays to replace your worn and stained carpet or to refinish your hardwood floors, get a room sized rug.  There are thousands to choose from; you will certainly find one perfect for your décor and budget.  And the great thing is you can shop for your new rug from the comfort of your home, even in your pajamas. Here's a quick link to Shaw Living Area Rugs to get you started: