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Steam Mops - Are They Worth It?

Updated on December 30, 2014

Researching Steam Mops

My sister recently bought a new home. Where she used to live was mostly carpet. Now where she lives is mostly tile and hardwood. She has found that it is a lot of work to clean her new floors with a traditional mop and bucket. She wants to make her life easier and believes a steam mop is the way to go. For whatever reason I have been deemed the technical guru of my family so I set out to start doing some research to find the best steam mop for the money.

Image by: Whatsittoyou

What I found

In doing my research I found a wide variety of reports. Some steam mops were basically completely useless as they did not get hot enough to really deep clean and disinfect. Some were heavy and cumbersome to try to move around to clean with. So this would be just as bad as lugging around the traditional mop and bucket. You could also have ones that would only clean for about 7 minutes and then you would have to stop and refill it. People also had issues with the length of the cord for the room they were trying to clean. There also seemed to be a lot of customer reviews that talked of the steam mops not working right from the beginning or breaking not long after they got them.

Perhaps the most important thing I found out was that a steam mop could potentially damage your floor. Flooring is being made with a wide variety of materials these days. If it is a porous material using a steam mop may damage it. Certain coatings on the floor could also be harmed using a steam mop. Consumer Reports steam mop buying guide tells you what they did to test the steam mops. What I got out of the article is a steam mop is works if your floor is not actually dirty. A steam mop is also a good way to go if you do not want to use any chemicals when cleaning. Just make sure you get one that gets hot enough to actually do the job.

Steam Mops

Below are the two that actually get hot enough to disinfect.

Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer, 313A
Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer, 313A

This is the one that got the best rating and it is one of the lower priced steam mops on the market. It has an indicator light that will tell you when it needs to be filled.

 

Go Old School

It seems the old way is still the best way. A tip I learned along the way: If it is heat you are looking for to kill germs don't use water straight from the tap to fill your bucket. Boil the water first before you use it. You should also use a string/microfiber mop as opposed to a sponge mop. The string/microfiber mop can be put into the wash to be disinfected. A sponge mop can not be washed so it will retain bacteria in it. So the only way to avoid the bacteria would be to change out the sponge frequently and this would become quite costly.

Traditional Mops

Libman Wonder Mop
Libman Wonder Mop

This is the string/microfiber variety of mop with a washable head.

 
Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop
Libman Nitty Gritty Roller Mop

This is the sponge mop type. Where if you want to truly clean, you will need to replace the sponge often.

 

Popular Choice

One of the more popular choices lately seems to be the Swiffer series of cleaners. They have different models for a variety of floor surfaces. These are good for a quick clean. Which is fine if you are going to clean often. However they are not really of much use at all at absorbing up a spill. They also are not much good at removing residue from a spill that has sat for awhile. They are generally lightweight and have the convenience of having the cleaning solution built into the mop. Therefore no need to take time to get a bucket, fill it, and lug it around.

Save Money

This video shows you how to open the Swiffer Wet Jet Bottle. Then you can put in whatever kind of cleaning product you want. You could even put in your homemade and / or environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Swiffer Products

Swiffer WetJet Spray, Mop Floor Cleaner Starter Kit
Swiffer WetJet Spray, Mop Floor Cleaner Starter Kit

This comes with the mop, a bottle of cleaning fluid, and a box of 6 cleaning pads

 

The Best Choice

Since a steam mop does not seem to be worth it, I thought I would do more research and find the best mop. There are many floor surfaces that we clean these days. Which mop, that is lightweight and convenient, is the best for handling them all?

The Rubbermaid Reveal Mop seems to be the best choice. The mop heads are thick so they can actually absorb a spill. It has removable mop heads that can be washed approximately 100 times before you need to replace it. That is better for the environment and saves you the money since you will lower the frequency of having to buy replacement heads.

You can put a variety of cleaning solutions into the mops dispenser. This is great as then you can use different solutions for your different floor surfaces. It will save you money as you can use whatever cleaning solution you want, including homemade. It is also better for the environment as the bottles are reusable and you can use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

It is easy and light weight. No bucket required to be lugged around. There are no batteries required for the spray trigger. This is the product I am going to recommend for my sister to buy.

Rubbermaid Reveal Mop

Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Kit
Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop Kit

It comes with the mop, 2 refillable bottles, and 3 microfiber wet mop pads.

 
Rubbermaid 1M20 Reveal Mop Dry Dusting Cleaning Pad
Rubbermaid 1M20 Reveal Mop Dry Dusting Cleaning Pad

These can be attached to your Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop to use to dust your floors.

 

What do you use?

See results

Is a steam mop worth it? If yes, which one do you recommend?

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    • Cesky profile image

      Cecilia Karanja 3 years ago from Nairobi

      I would also go with your choice for the reasons you stated. You did a thorough research on this one.

    • brianvallois lm profile image

      brianvallois lm 3 years ago

      YES it is worth it, and i'm sad to say my girlfriend teases me about my passion for the steam mop!!

    • Lionrhod profile image

      Lionrhod 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I had a Shark steam jet (before they came out with the mop form) and I loved the way it cleaned. However very quickly it became clogged by the hard water minerals where we live, and nothing seemed to fix it, including Lime Away. Even at the risk of ruining floors (Hey our dogs scratch the heck out of the floors just by walking across them.) I'd love to have a steam mop, but I'm afraid it would end the same.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Have been wondering about steam mops, and have decided against it after reading your lens. WIll stick to the old mop and bucket as I've only two rooms which need mopping. Thanks for the info

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      We have a Shark Steam mop and have had it for some time now. But now it seems to not heat up as well and is leaking. I was thinking about getting another one, but now I'm not sure if I want to. Very helpful research here Thanks.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      I'll say old fashioned way - mop and bucket,

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      This information is really useful and helpful, thank you!

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I don't think it would be worth it for my home since we are in a smaller home with a lot of carpet, but it would definitely be worth it if you had hard floors!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have a Shark Steam Mop and love it. Enjoyed my visit and learning about these other mops but I wouldn't trade mine for anything.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I used a friend's steam mop the other day. I did think it good but it took time to keep refilling it and we ended up finishing things with a mop and a bucket for £1 each from Poundland. That is what i use in my house and does the job as well as anything else.

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Good lens! Not sure I think they are worth it, if I am being honest!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      I bought a very expensive one from Danos Direct and it stopped working and there is nowhere to get it repaired. Now there are many cheap varieties around but the one best for me has been a cheapie for $20 that appears to be much the same as the rubber maid. Good report on the various mobs and their performance by you. Well done.

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 3 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      I think a steam mop is a great addition for any household if you need a thorough cleaning. For regular light cleaning a Rubbermaid should be enough.

    • Casablanca-hire profile image

      Casablanca-hire 3 years ago

      Very useful article on steam mops, just on time while I was thinking to purchase one. Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Very useful lens. I like the detail and the recommendations.

    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 3 years ago

      I've been wanting to get a steam mop for a few years. My sister has one and she has a combination of wood and tile floors and two big German Shepherds. I can't remember the one she has but she swears buy it. Thank you for your very informative lens!!

    • tammywilliams09 profile image

      tammywilliams09 4 years ago

      Thanks for the lens. I have been using the string mop and Swiffer mop. However, I wanted to avoid replacing pads to frequently. The Rubbermaid looks like a great choice since the mop head and bottle are reusable and I can use my own cleaning product. Thanks.

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      Thanks for writing about your opinions. I have considered checking into one.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I use a Bissell steam mop on my ceramic floors. I like it as it disinfects the kitchen and bathrooms. However, I did once use it on my engineered hardwood floors and it's awful. It made them dull. I had to use a restorer to bring back the shine.

    • SteadyPath LM profile image

      SteadyPath LM 4 years ago

      I have terracotta colored tile floors and decided to buy a steam mop so they would get super clean. After using the steam mop for several weeks, I noticed that my tiles no longer shine and they show every footprint even after the steam mopping has dried. They looked much better when I used a regular old mop.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was thinking about getting a steam mop. Now I know not to bother. Love the swiffer refill trick! Definitely going to use that.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 4 years ago from New Jersey

      We bought a big steam mop and I agree - I don't find it really useful and worth the money. We get more regular use out of a Swiffer just for day-to-day cleaning as necessary (like right before company comes over). But at the end of the day, a good old fashioned mop and bucket works the best.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      What a terrific summary of the things to think about when deciding whether to buy a steam mop. I think I'll just stick with my microfibre mop, for sure after reading what you've discovered.

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      Thanks for this timely lens, I too was wondering about the effectiveness of a steam mop. Very helpful

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting...I was considering a steam mop so I think you helped me to decide against it. Thanks for saving me money :)

    • Whatsittoyou profile image
      Author

      Whatsittoyou 4 years ago from Canada

      @mbgphoto: Your very welcome. I have yet to hear anyone say they were really happy with buying one.

    • Whatsittoyou profile image
      Author

      Whatsittoyou 4 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: Actually that is something else I should include. Hard water is apparently very hard on a steam mop.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      we gave up on steam mop after it broke down due to hard Adelaide water...

    • Whatsittoyou profile image
      Author

      Whatsittoyou 4 years ago from Canada

      @SusanDeppner: My sister doesn't have a dog. So she wouldn't have to worry about doggy drool (or the worse:) you refer to). So unless I hear someone make a strong case for a steam mop, I'll probably tell her notto bother.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I use a microfiber spray mop for the most part, but I did buy an inexpensive steam mop to help with the dried-on doggy drool. (I could be worse!) I like it pretty well just to use once a week or so, but wish I would have read this review first!