How to Efficiently Clean Your Floors with a Steam Mop

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated September 10, 2021
How to Efficiently Clean Your Floors with a Steam Mop

There are many famous duos in history: Ricky and Lucy, Bonnie and Clyde, Dumb and Dumber— Ben and Jerry’s.

But there’s one duo that simply doesn’t belong in our lives: dirt and grit.

Sometimes, cleaning your home of different debris, stains and grime can seem like a daunting task— especially if it has been neglected for so long.

This is where your trusty steam mop comes in.

How Does a Steam Mop Work?

It really is a magical process if you think about it.

Steam mops contain a reservoir of water which heats up to almost 250 degrees F.

When the water is fully heated and ready to go, it will fill up into the steam mop’s mop pad located at the head.

Like the way steam helps loosen the creases of shirts and pants, the dirt and grime hidden in the cracks of your floors will loosen too.

That’s essentially the beauty of the steam mop— the pad is able to take in all the dirt while the steam kills the dust, bacteria, and microbes that stick to your flooring.

BBC reports that “at any one time, there are about 9,000 different species of microscopic creatures lurking in the dust in our homes, including 7,000 different bacteria”— wouldn’t we rest a little easier if our steam mop was the trusty soldier we sent into battle to wipe it away?

And this knight in shining armor is much more environmentally friendly than using harsh chemicals to disinfect your home.

As the HAAN Corporation explains, “Steamer cleaners use water, which means no toxic residue or gas will be released in the air, or find a way into our bodies or the water supply.

Indeed, rather than wasting your time with mop and bucket cleaning, a steam mop easily, productively, and effectively cleans your floors— no fuss, no muss.

Some Helpful Advice

Just like each snowflake is unique, no steam mop is exactly the same.

Coming in a large array of different sizes or types or steam power, each steam mop model deserves the following list of pro-active initiatives:

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  • Vacuum your floors ahead of time— let the steam mop do what the vacuum can’t
  • Steam mops can’t do all the heavy lifting— if you have soil all over your floors, it will be further spread with a steam mop. So, clean what you can
  • Steam mops are only meant for sealed floors. If your floor is unsealed, a steam mop can make some of the flooring come apart— and we definitely don’t want that
  • Use more than one mop pad. Change up the pads whenever you see the current pad getting too dirty

How Often Should You Steam Mop?

The necessity of steam mopping can range from household to household, but the good rule of thumb is steam mopping once a week on average.

If it’s a rainy day or a spring weekend when all the kids have gone hiking and carried in dirt and grime, you’re likely to amp up that average, and that’s perfectly fine.

Okay, phew.

Now that we have that all taken care of, let’s begin.

Use These Five Simple Steps to Steam Mop Your Floors

1.Use the aforementioned tips to your advantage

Before using your steam mop, be sure to be sweeping and vacuuming your floors for proper preparation. You might wonder why you need to take such precautions if the whole point of the steam mop is to clean, but it’s not a miracle worker

For the steam mop to be fully efficacious, it’s best to use the suctioning of a vacuum to pull any stubborn excess debris or dirt. This will also help your mop pad to stay cleaner and longer-lasting. Overall, it means a better steam cleaning. It’s honestly a win-win

2.Get the pads ready

Once a mop pad has had its fill (you can tell if it not only looks past its prime but also if it starts spreading any soil or dirt rather than cleaning it), be sure to swap it

Having several mop pads on deck and ready to go while you steam mop can save you time and energy.

If you’re a bit frugal with money like me, you’ll be happy to know that investing in multiple pads is actually a money-saver. They are both not too hard on the wallet and reusable. Just wash them gently in the washer and hang them up to dry. They’ll be usable again, and look just like new

Of course, it’s important to note that reading the product manual on the mop pads is always a good idea. You’d want to confirm the proper rules for care, as with anything else in this life

3.Do a thorough floor inspection

Put on your floor inspector cap and begin your evaluation.

The thing is, as great as steam mops are, they can also damage your floor if it’s not the right compatibility. Be sure your floors are sealed floors, otherwise, the excess moisture can hurt your wood surface.

Also, be sure to never leave a steam mop unattended. This can lead to water pooling together in the pad and hurting your floor.

Other floors that your steam mop can be used on are any vinyl or linoleum flooring, along with ceramic and porcelain tile.

If you have hardwood or laminate flooring but aren’t quite sure if the steam mop is right for you, give your wood floor manufacturers a call. They’ll let you know if the flooring you have installed could become damaged at the core because of a steam mop, or if the laminated plans will rise due to the joints breaking from water pressure.

A helpful question to ask is if your laminated flooring is water-resistant because some may not look like it, but have waterproof resins at their core— allowing for a seamless relationship with the steam mop.

The most important cardinal rule to know is to never trust the manufacturers of steam cleaners. As much as they can be right, they also will be biased and want you to buy their product. They can tell you something is safe for your floors, but a majority of wood floor manufacturers actually advise against using steam mops on wood floors.

Another quick trick is to test out how your wood floor will handle water and steam is by dropping several water drips onto your floor in an area normally covered by a rug or piece of furniture. If you see that five minutes have passed and no water absorbed into the wood, that usually means your floor and a steam mop can be the best of friends

4.Time to Steam Clean

You can now grab your steam cleaner and attach the mop pad, fill up the cleaner’s water reservoir, and power it as per the instructions.

Try not to linger with your mop, and move quickly as you wash.

Like mentioned before, change pads when you see it’s time.

For the most thorough clean, go over the surface multiple times.

5.Take Care of the pads

Listen to the instructions the pads came with is rule No.1, but generally speaking, you can wash your pads in the washer and leave them to air-dry.

Now I Would Like To Hear From You

I hope you enjoyed my article on how to steam mop your floors.

Now, it’s time for your turn.

Leave a quick comment or your full story in the comments below.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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