Keep Those Floors Clean With A Good Steam Mop

Traditional mops often require patience and hard work to get floors clean. Steam mops have become very popular because they offer deeper cleaning, without scrubbing, far better germ killing efficiency, greater convenience, and much faster drying. But, there are big differences between steam mops. Choosing from the wide selection of designs available today requires knowing what to look for, in order to get a steam mop that offers the best overall functionality and value, and avoid models that are less efficient and more cumbersome to use. The information below is provided to help you in your selection of the best steam mop for your personal needs.

Best Steam Mops For Tile, Vinyl, Hardwood, Laminate & Pet Urine (2018)

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Benefits of Using A Steam Mop

The many superior features of today’s advanced designs have made steam mops a popular alternative to regular mops, steam vacuum cleaners, and other equipment for residential surface cleaning. Some of the most significant benefits of using a steam mop include:

  • Superior Cleaning — Steam mops clean more thoroughly than conventional mops. Steam can kill bacteria and germs on the floor surface that regular mops can miss.
  • No Harsh Chemicals — The hot steam generated by a steam mop removes dirt and grime from floors without need for strong chemicals. For homes with children or pets, this is an important advantage, and it is a benefit that has made steam mopping so popular today.
  • Floors Dry Faster — Even though steam mops provide deeper cleaning than traditional mops, the floors dry more quickly, because steam mops leave less water behind on the floor.
  • Ergonomic — Steam mops do the cleaning work without need for scrubbing or getting down on hands and knees. And, there are no heavy buckets of dirty water to carry around the house. These advantages make steam mopping a good solution for people with joint pain.

How Do Steam Mops Work?

A steam mop contains a water heater. When water is added to the mop’s water reservoir, the heating mechanism converts it to steam. The steam is then sent into the cleaning head of the mop as you move it along the floor. The hot steam loosens dirt, grime, and residue from the surface, and a cloth cleaning pad on the mop picks up and removes the dirt and germs, without scrubbing.

What To Look For

As with any type of product, there are various classes of steam mops, ranging from less expensive models with limited numbers of features, to state-of-the-art versions with many exceptional features and capabilities for enhanced efficiency, versatility, convenience and durability.

  • Convenience — One priority in selecting a steam mop is making sure that it is comfortable to maneuver. Consider various sizes and weights of steam mop’s before choosing. Weight can range from 5 pounds with an empty tank to 15 pounds with a full tank.
  • Storage — If storage space is an issue, consider steam mop configurations that feature fold-down or collapsing handles. If you have furniture that has low clearance above the floor level, select a steam mop that has a low profile and easily fits underneath.
  • Water Tank Size — Larger tanks require less frequent stopping to refill. On the other hand, the more water your steam mop is holding, the heavier it is. Select a model with a tank that can be refilled without turning off the mop, so that it won’t cool down. Or, choose a model with a removable tank, so that you can simply take the tank to the sink for refilling.
  • Adjustable Steam Settings — Steam mops have adjustable settings, so that you can control the amount of steam that the mop releases, as appropriate for the flooring type or the degree of grime and dirt to be cleaned away. Choose a mop with at least three settings for optimum control. Also, choose a model that heats from 140°F to 180°F, for deep cleaning needs.
  • Lifespan — Lifespans of steam mops vary between models and frequency of use. But, higher-end steam mops can be expected to last for five years or longer. Less expensive models may need replacement after a year or so, again, depending on frequency of use.
  • Mop Head Shape — The size and shape your steam mop head makes the difference in how convenient the mop will be for cleaning. The three common mop head shapes are:
    • Rectangular: Larger rectangular heads are best for cleaning large open areas of floor.
    • Triangular: Small, triangular heads are best for cleaning around furniture and in tighter spaces.
    • Swivel: The swiveling head is especially handy for maneuvering around objects.
  • Heat-Up Time — For more efficient cleaning, select a steam mop that takes a short amount of time to heat water. Some models heat in just 30 seconds or so, while others can take 4-5 minutes to fully heat.
  • Controls — The steam mop you select should offer digital controls that are easy to push. Models with trigger-style controls can be tiring to work with and are not recommended for people with arthritis in the hands or other conditions that may be aggravated by prolonged use of such a triggering mechanism.
  • Cord Length — Choose a model with a long enough cord to move across a large area without being unplugged.  Repeatedly unplugging the heating device on a steam mop can cause the water to cool down in the appliance and make cleaning less effective. Select a mop with a cord at least 20 feet long.
  • Helpful Accessories — Many steam mops have attachments or accessories for easier cleaning of in some areas. For example, your steam mop may come with scrubbing brushes, a squeegee, a carpet glider, attachments for drape or blind cleaning, or accessories for cleaning counter tops or car interiors. Accessories such as trays or landing pads are helpful for catching drips.

Steam Mop vs Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners offer great options for safe and efficient cleaning of residential floors and other surfaces. For homes with large square footages that are carpeted, a steam vacuum may be the most practical solution. For homes with floors that are largely wood, laminate, or tile, a steam mop is likely to provide the most convenient and overall efficient floor cleaning.

Steam Cleaner—Pros and Cons


  • Made for Any Flooring — The steam cleaner can be used to thoroughly clean virtually any wood or tile flooring type or carpet without attaching additional cleaning tools (accessories).
  • Needs No Surface Preparation — No sweeping or vacuuming is necessary prior to using a steam cleaner. This step-saver cuts down cleaning time.
  • Versatile — Steam cleaners can be used to clean many areas in addition to floors, including upholstered furniture and drapes.


  • Harder to Use — The heavy weight and bulky size of a steam cleaner can make this equipment inconvenient or difficult for some people to maneuver use.
  • Expensive — Compared to many steam mops, the average steam vacuum can be expected to cost more.
  • High Noise Level — As with any vacuum cleaner, a steam vacuum is noisy, compared to other steam cleaning equipment.
  • Hard to Store — Because of its larger size, a steam vacuum may be difficult to fit into limited storage space.

Steam Mop—Pros and Cons

Steam mops have become increasingly common household cleaning appliances. A steam mop allows cleaning of wood and tile floors and carpets without harsh chemical cleaning products. Steam mops heat water to generate steam, which is effective for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting floors.


  • Kills More Germs — The hot steam produced by a steam mop effectively cleans away dirt and grime and can kill 99% of germs, bacteria and dust mites on floors.
  • Cleans Carpets — The steam mop is a handy, light-weight solution for thorough cleaning that is not just effective for hardwood, laminate and tile floors. There is also an abundant selection of models that offer carpet cleaning capabilities as well.
  • Easy Maneuvering — The steam mops smaller, more easily manageable size and weight make it easier to use and store than the average larger, heavier steam cleaner.
  • Less Expensive — Steam mops are, on average, less expensive than steam cleaners.


  • Not for Multiple Surfaces — Steam mops are only for cleaning wood and tile floors. An extra attachment (accessory) is required for carpet cleaning.
  • Requires More Preparation — Sweeping is necessary prior to cleaning with a steam mop, which increases preparatory work and time.
  • Less Cleaning Heat — Although a steam mop does heat water and generate steam, the water may not heat to as high a temperature as some other kinds of steam cleaners. Some models of steam mops do heat to higher temperature levels than others.

CONCLUSION: Both steam vacuums and steam mops are demonstrated to have their pros and cons for users to consider. Budget, types of surfaces to be cleaned, and storage space are primary considerations for users to keep in mind when selecting between these two types of surface cleaning equipment.

Steam Mop vs Regular Mop

Today’s housekeeping offers a wide selection of modern options for floor cleaning, and multitudes of steam mops are currently in use. However, many users of household cleaning equipment and methods have stuck with the traditional mop. Here are some key reasons why a steam mop or a regular mop may be preferred or replaced with their alternative.

Steam Mop—Pros and Cons


  • More Efficient — Water is heated quickly, and steam quickly works to sanitize floors. And floors dry more quickly.
  • Useful Accessories — Choices of mop head shapes make cleaning corners and tight spaces easier to reach for cleaning.


  • Safety Precaution — Of course, working with hot steam presents risk of skin burns. Caution is necessary to avoid potential burns.
  • Heavier ­— Steam mops have an attached water tank. Although many models are lightweight and sleekly designed, they are not as narrow as a traditional mop made for home use.

Regular Mop—Pros and Cons


  • Thin and Light — The traditional mop is a narrow stick with a rag or sponge mop head. This construction makes the regular mop easy to store, even in very small spaces.
  • More Absorbent — A regular mop can absorb more with one swipe than a steam mop can pick up per swipe.


  • Less Convenient — Using a regular mop requires filling a bucket with water, and moving the bucket along with you as you use the mop. Also, additional storage space is necessary for the bucket.
  • More Preparation ­— With a conventional mop, you must add extra cleaning agents, such as soap, bleach, or vinegar to the water to get results.

CONCLUSION: Steam cleaners can eliminate bacteria that conventional mops do not. Steam cleaning also affords quicker surface drying, because less water is left on the surfaces. Steam cleaners also offer the advantage of cleaning without use of potentially toxic chemicals and costly cleaning products.

Should You Consider A Vacuum Steam Mop Combo?

A steam vacuum is a vacuum cleaner that also offers a feature that produces steam for cleaning and sanitizing floors more thoroughly than vacuuming alone can accomplish. Some steam vacuum cleaners come with attachments that enable users to clean drapes, furniture upholstery and other surfaces, in addition to floors. Here are some of the primary advantages and disadvantages of using a steam vacuum.

Vacuum Steam Mop Combo—Pros and Cons


  • Multiple Surfaces — Steam vacuums can be used on a wide variety of surfaces, including wood floors, carpet, tile, curtain fabrics, and furniture upholstery.
  • Versatile — Steam vacuum can be used to clean both horizontal and vertical surfaces. which allows you to use one machine for cleaning floors, windows, walls, car interiors.
  • No Need to Sweep — Some steam cleaners require thorough floor sweeping prior to use. Vacuum steam mop combinations vacuum up dirt and debris and steam clean at the same time. This saves time and cleans deeper than some other methods.
  • Eco-friendly  — Since no potentially toxic chemicals are used for cleaning your floors and other surfaces, steam is environmentally safer to use. Steam can kill up to 99% of bacteria, germs, microscopic parasites, insect parts and other common pollutants found on home interior surfaces.


  • Inconvenient — Steam vacuums have gotten somewhat smaller over the years, but they’re still comparatively bulky. The bulkiness can make steam vacuums harder to maneuver than other types of surface cleaning equipment.
  • More Expensive — Typically, steam vacuums are more expensive than regular vacuum cleaners and steam mops, though prices do vary, of course, based on brand and model.
  • Very Noisy — Steam vacuums make loud noise during operation, as is to be expected with regular vacuum cleaners or almost any vacuuming equipment.
  • Requires Large Storage Space — Steam vacuums can be hard to store. The comparatively large size of this cleaning equipment can be an obstacle to using a steam vacuum, if storage space is limited in your home.

CONCLUSION: A steam vacuums can be good a good choice for use on a range of flooring types, especially in homes with large amounts of carpeting. Steam vacuums can thoroughly clean virtually any type of flooring. They require no advance preparation of surfaces. And, steam vacuums can be used to clean drapery and furniture as well as floors. But, their large size can make steam vacuum cleaners too difficult to use or store. Overall, steam vacuums are very useful, but may not be the best option, depending on needs, and convenience and storage space concerns.

top image credit wabeno/Deposit Photos

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2 thoughts on “Keep Those Floors Clean With A Good Steam Mop”

  1. With three little ones and a puppy in the house, keeping the kitchen floors clean is real challenge for me! I started using one of those robot mops and it’s been a lifesaver.


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