How does a steam mop differ from a vacuum or a regular mop?
Unlike regular mops, which tend to push the same dirty water around without actually getting rid of the mess or grime, a steam mop absorbs whatever it is cleaning, leaving your floors looking shiny and new. The super high temperatures also are better at removing tough stains and sticky messes than regular mops. Steam mops also require no chemicals that could harm you or your children; it’s just hot water, so you won’t have a strong cleaning smell or have to worry about the chemicals in soap or other cleaning agents. Steam mops also leave your floors drier than regular mops, which can take a long time for the water to dissipate. A steam mop is an eco-friendly and fast-working cleaning solution for any home.
How does a steam mop work?
Steam mops work by superheating water until it vaporizes and turns to steam. The steam is released, either continuously or by a push-button system that releases bursts of steam at a time, and breaks down food particles and messes. Absorbent, dirt-catching pads on the base of the mop attract dirt and debris, getting them off your floor.
Where can I use my steam mop?
Most steam mops are built for use on tile, marble, vinyl, stone, laminate, or linoleum floors in your bathroom or kitchen. However, many models, including Bissel and Haan models, offer carpet attachments that allow you to steam clean your carpets or upholstery. Do not use a steam mop on unfinished hard wood floors, as it can damage the wood.
What sort of messes can I clean with a steam mop?
Liquid spills like ketchup, olive oil, and pasta sauce can be easily cleaned by a steam mop. Steam mops are also great for stubborn stains and sticky messes like gum and honey. If you purchase a model that includes a carpet attachment, you can steam out long-standing stains and gunk from your carpets.
Does the size of the water tank matter?
The short answer is yes. The larger the water tank, the more steam it can create, and for a longer period of time. Large water tanks can provide up to 45 minutes of steam cleaning, while smaller water tanks may only offer 10 minutes or so. A good thing to keep an eye out for when looking at steam mops is whether or not the water tank is removable; removable water tanks can make refilling the water tank much easier, as you don’t need to lift the whole mop into the sink.
How will I know when I need to add more water to my steam mop?
Some steam mops have see-through water tanks where you can actually see the water level at all times. Others offer an indicator light that will alert you when water is running low. Some don’t alert you at all and you will have to gauge for yourself during use whether or not more water needs to be added.
What features should I look for in a steam mop?
Some good features in a steam mop include variable steam controls, lightweight design, additional mop heads, a swivel head, and a dual tank system.
Why are variable steam controls beneficial?
Variable steam controls allow you to set the temperature and amount of steam the mop will release at one time. This is great because different messes require different treatment; having variable steam controls allows you to take care of light messes without wasting water, while also giving you the ability to tackle difficult messes with more steam and power.
What are the benefits of a lightweight steam mop?
You’ll want to make sure that your steam mop is lightweight so that you can use it comfortably. You may need to use additional pressure on more heavy-duty stains, so having a lightweight steam mop can make a big difference. A lightweight steam mop is easier to use in general and makes for a more pleasant cleaning experience.
Do I need additional mop heads?
While additional mop heads aren’t a necessity, they can help give you greater range in your home. For example, many Shark models offer a rectangular and a triangular mop head; the rectangular head is great for using on your whole floor, while the triangular head allows you to access corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
What are the benefits of having a swivel head?
A swiveling head that pivots can make it easy to maneuver your steam mop around the room. You don’t always have to clean at 90 degree angles, so you can move naturally around the floor. It can also help you scrub difficult messes from a variety of angles for optimal cleaning time.
What is a dual tank system?
A dual tank system, offered on many higher-end models in the Hoover line, gives you optimal hygiene when cleaning your floors. A dual tank system separates dirty water from clean water, so that you’re never using the dirty water to clean your floors. Unlike regular mops, which generally use the same water over and over again, a steam mop with a dual tank system ensures that you will always be using fresh, clean water during the cleaning process.
What sort of heating time should I look for in a steam mop?
Heating times (or, the speed at which the water can reach a temperature that will turn it to steam) can vary from model to model. Haan offers steam mops with heating times up to 20 seconds, while many Bissel models heat up in 30 seconds. Look for a steam mop that has 45 seconds or less of heating time.
Will a steam mop sanitize my floors?
Most steam mops include antibacterial properties in the pads that can kill germs and bacteria on your floors. Some models boast that they can destroy up to 99.99% of germs in your kitchen or bathroom. Since steam is heated at about 200 degrees, the heat itself will effectively kill off many viruses and bacteria.
Will I need to replace the mop pads and water filters on my steam mop?
Depends on the model. Some steam mops have replaceable mop pads that pop off and can be discarded, while others can be washed in your washing machine or under hot running water. Buying washable mop pads can save you money, but always having new mop pads ensures that your steam mop will work at peak efficiency each time you replace them, as opposed to the wear and tear of washing and use that can occur with non-replaceable mop pads. Of course, you can replace washable mop pads too if they begin to degrade. Water filters generally will need to be replaced and cost between $10 and $20.
Is there any sort of maintenance I need to perform on my steam mop to keep it working?
There’s very little maintenance involved with steam mops besides washing or changing the mop pads. You’ll want to rinse out the water tank once a month or so (depending on how often you use it) to get rid of any calcium deposits. Other than that, you need to do very little to keep your steam mop performing at optimal levels.
Can I add scents or fragrances to the water to help my home smell good?
Yes. Eucalyptus is a popular fragrance that works great with steam mops.