Using a single mop and a bucket of water is a standard way to clean tiles, carpet, laminate, ceramic, and other types of flooring. The bucket has a catchment area that helps to squeeze dirty water out of the mop and then it gets flopped back onto the floor for another sweep. Once the water is partially dirty, cleaning up involves putting dirty water back on the floor and using this to clean the floor. Occasionally emptying the dirty water out is necessary and the whole process doesn’t take too long.

One downside to this approach to cleaning floors is that it isn’t as sanitary as one would imagine. Collected dirty and debris is not removed successfully from the mop once collected. Another issue with it is even if the water used is heated, it doesn’t do much to clean the carpet and other flooring types. Sure, it helps kill some of the bacteria present, but it is not effective in cleaning the floor itself. Enter steam mops.

The steam mop revolution is upon us. A steam mop is ideal for dirt that is stuck to the floor and just won’t budge. Floors that get many people walking over them that almost seems to grind in the dirty directly into the flooring surface is an ideal candidate for steam mop cleaning.

A steam mop system raises the temperature of the mop by using heated steam which is known to kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs from flooring. Difficult areas to reach like corners and grout, and challenging spots of sticky residue and dried stains that won’t seem to be removed any other way receive the steam mop treatment and finally cleaning success is achieved.

Steam mops have a digital control system that lets the cleaner adjust the amount of steam generated. The adjustment is useful when cleaning on surfaces that are more delicate and need to be treated with kid gloves.

A scrubber is often included with the mop to go over the same surface several times to rub out stains and old food items that are stuck in place.

Some steam mops have cleaning heads that can be released quickly. They can be used by hand to clean awkward corners and little nooks and crannies that cannot be reached any other way.

Rather than using a traditional mop, microfiber cloths and other types of fabric material are used by steam mops. These fiber pads tend to be better, longer lasting and often double-sided so they can be utilized on both sides to cut costs.

Steam cleans and then evaporates quickly, rather than when using a mop filled with water that swabs the floor and leaves the floor flooded for hours. The steam is fast acting but avoids adding damp to a home that is not properly insulated.

The majority of steam mops do not use chemicals of any kind in the cleaning process. The steam cleaning method is safer for pets in the home where there is no risk of them ingesting or inhaling any harmful chemicals.

What’s Included with The Best Steam Mop

The steam mop package includes the mop, a water tank that should be filled with distilled water, and a control system to regulate the amount of steam used.

Some units include a mini brush attachment for cleaning grout using the mop.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Steam mops are safe to use on hardwood, stone, ceramic, laminate, marble, linoleum and tile flooring that is already sealed. Flooring that is coming apart or tiles not fully stuck down to the floorboards is unsuitable for steam cleaning until the flooring has been repaired and properly sealed. The last thing a homeowner wants to happen is damp getting into the floorboards and the foundation of the home, so buyers need to take care to check the flooring thoroughly before using a steam cleaning product.

Rather than filling the water tank with tap water, demineralized or distilled water gets better results because impure elements in the water are not put into the floors.

There are controls with each steam mop product to regulate the steam that’s generated. For delicate flooring and floors where the homeowner is unsure how much steam to use, it is better to air on the side of caution first by using the lowest setting.

Other Considerations

Floors may have a residue of polish or chemicals from other cleaning products. When using the steam mop for the first time, these remnants may cause clouding or streaking on the floor. This is entirely reasonable. For quick removal, a solution of two parts water, with one-part vinegar is needed. Alternatively, several uses of the steam mop will reduce or remove the marks over time.

Best Brands

SharkClean has a small range of targeted cleaning products that aim to revolutionize the cleaning industry.

O-Cedar focuses on eco-friendly steam mops and other product lines that improve the cleanliness in the home while taking care not to damage the environment in the process.

Bissell is a floor care and vacuum cleaner manufacturer based in Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan. They started life back in 1886 and are still going strong today.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Floor patterns: Some floor tiles have small indentations, and it ‘s hard to remove the dirt from these grooves. A steam mop solution solves this problem by extracting the dirt which makes floor tiles look like new again. For parents with toddlers crawling around the kitchen floor, a steam mop is ideal.

Cleaning solution: Cleaning solutions including bleach and other disinfectants should never be added to the water in the steam mop’s tank. Any additional disinfecting of a floor surface needs must be done after the steam mop have been used.

Grout cleaning: The grout in between tiles is one area that other regular mops never clean successfully. The steam is capable of extracting the built-up dirt from the grout perfectly without disturbing the grout in the process.