Last Updated on July 12, 2021
Mopping your floors probably isn’t your favourite cleaning task, and that is understandable considering how much time and effort it takes. However, steam cleaning your hard floors can make mopping significantly easier and removes the need for cleaning products and harsh chemicals. A steam mop is specifically designed for cleaning any sealed hard floors, including tile, granite, marble, sealed wood floors, and vinyl or laminate floors.
While all of this sounds great, there are a few things you should know before you start using a new steam mop. How does a steam mop work? This article will answer that with a step by step guide to help you steam clean floors like a pro.
Steam Mops FAQs
How Do Steam Mops Work?
Steam mops steam clean hard floors without the need for any harsh chemicals. The steam reaches up to 120 degrees Celsius to kill up to 99% of bacteria and germs. In addition to the steam, this kind of mop also has a wide mop cloth, so the mop head absorbs dirt. The best steam mop will make mopping your floors less labour intensive than a traditional mop and can even kill bacteria like Salmonella on hard surfaces.
Do You Put Hot or Cold Water In a Steam Mop?
Steam mops recommend adding cold water to the tank. There is no need to add hot water because the mop will rapidly heat the water on its own. Using hot water is not only redundant, but it also increases your risk for injury in the event you spill the water accidentally.
What Will You Need to Use Your Steam Mop?
Aside from the steam mop itself, the only things you will need to mop your floor are several mop pads and clean water. While it may be tempting to add a commercial cleaner to your steam mop’s tank, most manufacturers strongly recommend against it.
Of course, you will also want to read the manual specific to your device. You will want to familiarise yourself with the settings and the design before you begin.
Using a Steam Mop: Basic Instructions
Step 1: Sweep or Vacuum Your Floor
The first thing you want to do is remove any loose dirt and debris from your floor using a vacuum or broom. Vacuuming or sweeping your floor before you steam clean your floors will give you a cleaner floor in the end and will also prevent you from having to switch out the mop cloth more than necessary.
Step 2: Fill the Water Tank
When all of the loose dirt and debris has handled, you will want to fill your steam mop’s reservoir up to the fill line and replace the cap. Many steam mops come with a measuring cup to help make this easier.
Pro Tip: If your tap water is considered hard water, distilled water is recommended to prevent a buildup of calcium and other minerals inside the mop.
Step 3: Prepare Your Steam Mop
Now it is time to prepare your steam mop. Start by attaching a clean mop head over the wide end. Then, plug in your steam mop and choose the appropriate setting for the floor you are cleaning.
Give the steam mop approximately 30 seconds so it can heat up enough to produce hot steam. When hot, dampen the mop pad by pressing the trigger on your steam mop a few times.
Pro Tip: Don’t leave your steam mop unattended or face down on your floor once it has been turned on, or it could damage your flooring. If the phone rings and you have to stop, make sure to unplug your steam mop.
Step 4: Mop Using Back and Forth Motions
When your steam mop is ready, you can start mopping your floor. Start in the corner that is farthest away from the door and use a back and forth motion. Press the trigger occasionally to generate and release more steam, taking care not to saturate your floor.
Move slowly, so the hot steam has time to do its job but not so slow that you leave excess moisture behind. Mop using straight lines that go with the grain of your floors.
Hold the mop over especially dirty parts of the floor for several seconds so the steam can break down grime, lift stuck-on messes, and remove stains.
Pro Tip: Wood and laminate flooring should be tested first. If it starts to warp, curl or if discolouration occurs, it is a sign to stop.
Step 5: Replace the Pad and Refill the Tank as Needed
Periodically check the cleanliness of the cleaning pad as you move around the floor with the mop. When the mop head becomes dirty, replace it with a new one. We recommend keeping a few mop pads nearby for this purpose. You may also need to refill the tank depending on the size of the floor you are cleaning.
Step 6: Finishing Up
When you are finished cleaning your floors, unplug your steam mop and empty the water tank. Once cool, remove the mop head and put it in the laundry. Once the floors dry, you can reposition furniture, and your job is complete.
Cleaning Your Floors Made Easy
Now that you know how to use a steam mop, do you think you could benefit from having one in your home? Keep in mind. A steam mop is designed to clean hard floors that are sealed. To avoid possible damage, always spot test wood or laminate floors before cleaning your entire floor with a steam mop. When you get started, vacuum your floor first, follow your device’s instructions, and change out the mop heads as needed and you will have clean floors in no time. You may even find yourself wanting to toss out your old mop entirely.
What type of floor do you have at home? Do you want to use a steam mop to clean it? Let us know about your plans in the comments below.