Steam Mops

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Curious about cleaning with steam? Here’s what you need to know.

Steam mops are an easy, lightweight and chemical-free alternative to cleaning the floor with a bucket and mop. Here is some information we put together to help make shopping for a new steam mop easy.

How does a steam mop work?

Steam mops are an alternative to your traditional mop and bucket, designed to help you keep the floors in your home hygienic and sparkling clean. Instead of using cleaning chemicals, a steam mop uses steam and a cleaning pad/cloth to lift and wipe away dirt and kill germs.

 

Steam mops consist of a refillable water tank and head where reusable cloths are fitted. When you turn the steam mop on, the water from the tank is pumped through and heated by the steam mop, pushing steam out through the cloth at the head. Using the handle, the steam mop is pushed around the floor, steaming, and wiping away dirt and grime in the process. When you are done the mop pad can be removed and machine washed so that it is clean and ready for the next clean.

 

Because it uses steam instead of chemicals and water, steam mopped surfaces dry quicker than those cleaned with a mop. For the best results you should sweep or vacuum the floor beforehand and aim to clean you floors with a steam mop at least once a week.

 

What sort of flooring can I use a steam mop on?

Steam mops are great at cleaning a variety of hard floorings and most manufacturers will provide some guidance about what sort of flooring is appropriate. Vinyl, ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles linoleum, stone, marble, and sealed timber can all usually be cleaned with a steam mop.

 

If steam finds its way into surface cracks or gaps between boards on a hardwood floor, it can seep into the wood and cause it to expand and warp. This process makes steam mops unsuitable for unsealed or waxed hardwood floors. Likewise, cork tiles are susceptible to damage from steam.

 

Some manufacturers don’t recommend steam mop use on linoleum or vinyl floors, as gaps or holes can also be penetrated by steam, which can weaken the adhesive and will damage the wooden floorboards underneath. If possible, it’s good to check with the manufacturer of your flooring whether a steam mop is suitable.

 

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are suitable for steam cleaning. Steam mops can also clean tiled walls in your bathroom.

Can I use cleaning chemicals in a steam mop?

Most steam mop advertising will claim that they can eliminate germs and bacteria, in addition to leaving your floors clean and sparkling. The heat and steam produced by a steam mop is certainly capable of killing germs, although it may not be the most efficient method of disinfecting.

 

If you want to ensure a properly disinfected floor, it is recommended that you use a commercial household cleaner or disinfectant solution (check it is suitable for your flooring before use). But does this mean you can use chemical cleaners in a steam mop?

 

You should not add anything other than water to a steam mop tank unless the manufacturer tells you otherwise. The interior components of a steam mop are sensitive and prone to damage if substances other than water are used, even in small amounts.

 

Some manufacturers sell sanitizing additives for their steam mops. Just make sure the solution is compatible with your mop. Remember to wash the mop pad/cloth after every use to kill any germs that are wiped up.

What features should I look for in a steam mop?

When shopping for a new steam mop, consider your height and the available power outlets in your home. With these in mind you can buy a mop that will be comfortable for you to push and will have a long enough power cord to reach across all your flooring. Many steam mops can be adjusted to multiple heights.

 

Some steam mops come with multiple cleaning pads, making it easy to swap out for a clean one while the other is in the wash. Most steam mops use microfibre pads to trap and remove dirt, although some models come with multiple types of pads for different tasks.

 

A mop with a larger water tank that can be refilled mid-clean will help save you time. Also look for models with quick heat up times, so you can be ready to steam clean in seconds rather than minutes.

 

There are a variety of handy attachments and tools for many steam mops. Jet nozzles or brushes can be used to clean grout and other tougher cleaning spots. You can also get attachments for easy window cleaning and carpet steaming.