Steam mops are a help and an innovative replacement for the old-fashioned string mop. With a steam mop, gone are the days of mercilessly trying to wring the slopping moisture out of your mop.

In addition to making your housework easier to juggle, a steam mop can be a more effective way of disinfecting and killing bacteria off your floor’s surface. This is great news that will contribute to a healthier and safer home environment for you and your pets.

So then if steam mops are all that wonderful, how do you know which one to get? With numerous models in the online marketplace, we’re going to help you pinpoint the best steam mops for hardwood floors and other surfaces.

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Whatever we can do to lighten your load, whether it’s research to find the best products and tools or advice for the cleaning tasks on your agenda, Enviro-Dry is at your service.

How steam mops work on hardwood floors and other surfaces

Developed in South Korea back in 1998, the first steam mops were marketed to consumers in the early 2000s.

Fascinatingly so, the steam mop does not use any cleaning solution to disinfect floors from bacteria. Instead, these contraptions make use of heat to sanitize flooring. The water tank attached to these mops heats the water to approximately 212 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.

A microfiber cloth is dampened by the steam, helping the cloth collect and loosen dirt off the ground. With little residue left on the floor through this mopping method, it’s a big win for homeowners. 99 percent of bacteria and dust mites are killed and eliminated by steam mopping.

Another added benefit of the power of steam mop cleaning is the ability to restore your floor’s shiny surface. This also provides homeowners with an effective stain removal.

While the beloved steam mop is not our first choice for cleaning hardwood floors, we’ve pulled a relatively safe steam mop option for those who’ve opted that they can handle the steam mop’s moisture on their hardwood flooring. (We do believe steam mopping is great for other floor types – we’ll delve into that later on in this article!)

Remember, moisture is not good for your wood flooring. If you need more cleaning power than the average simple but effective damp mop can provide, we suggest calling in professionals. A professional cleaner will be sensitive to the amount of moisture hitting your hardwood flooring surface and will ensure that a speedy drying time is met.

How to use a steam mop on hardwood floors

However, if you’re still keen on pushing forward with a steam mop, we have three points of advice for you.

First, never ever pull the steam trigger while your steam mop is on the floor. Lift it up and then blast the steam. This will help mitigate water damage by dampening your steam mop’s cloth instead of both the cloth and hardwood. Squeeze that trigger until your cloth is slightly damp.

You don’t want it drenched in moisture. As the cloth loses heat, lift up your steam mop. Once off the floor, give it a light squeeze to reheat the cloth. If it’s too wet, change it out for a new one.

Cleaning reminder: hardwood floors and water don't mix
Second, keep an eye on changing that cloth as needed. You want a clean floor and there’s no sense in wiping the floor with a cloth that’s really dirty. So be prepared to change it out as you clean. Not to mention, as we said above, you’ll want to change the cloth if it’s soaking wet.

Third, go for a dry steam mop. Steam can be very wet or dry. The lower the steam temperature, the more moisture the steam will carry. The higher the temperature, the higher the percentage of liquid water.

Steam brought above 240 degrees Fahrenheit is only about 5% moisture. This is dry steam and it mitigates the drying time of your floor. It effectively sanitizes with higher temperatures. If you are working with a surface that is sensitive to moisture but want to use a steam mop, dry steam is the way to go.

Best steam mop for hardwood flooring

With a lot of bang for your buck, if you’re still keen on steam mopping, the Oreck Steam-It Steam Mop is the best steam mop for your hardwood floors.

With several adjustable steam settings for multiple surfaces, this steam mop gives you about forty minutes of cleaning time per full tank. It’s conducive to chemical-free cleaning as it relies only on your tap water and its built-in heating power to destroy germs and bacteria.

In an effort to help customers out, Oreck built their steam mop with a clip to tack on household towels in place of the standard steam mop cloths.

The fact that water heating temperature rises high enough to create a dry steam makes it a big winner for hardwood flooring owners. In under a minute, your dry steam is ready to be used for cleaning your floors.

This machine has a 1-year limited warranty.

Most assuredly, if you’re gonna steam mop moisture-sensitive surfaces, dry steam is a must. (That is, next to calling in the professionals to help you out.)

Best steam mop for tile

As a consequence of having grooves and crevices for dirt to hide within the grout, your beautiful tile flooring may need a little more oomph to get the grime loose and lifted up.

With your floor swept or vacuumed, you’ll want to bring in a good steam cleaner to finish the job. So forget harsh chemicals and reach out to the BISSEL’s Power Fresh Steam Mop, 1940. With this dirt busting machine, the steam will blow those germs and that grime clear out of your tile’s grout and surface.

For the extra hard to get at messes, you can flip down a special scrubber attached to your steam mop. With different options for your cleaning needs, this steam mop is sure to be a huge asset in your cleaning closet.

It’ll leave your tile floor looking clean and shiny in no time.

Clean and shiny tile floors

Best steam mop for laminate

At a fraction of the price of other mops, the little Shark Steam Pocket Mop is perfect for inflicting pain on the germs that plague your laminate flooring.

The Shark has a nice sized water tank, long cord, and an ergonomic complete swivel head. This makes it easy to manage and direct across your floor.

Interestingly, the Shark Steam Pocket releases steam with a forward and backward motion.

Best steam mop for concrete

Undoubtedly, steam mops are another great option for cleaning up those sealed concrete floors. Nothing lifts up dirt and soil out of your concrete’s pores like that steam cleaning action.

It’s a great way to maintain your concrete floor’s charming appearance.

Any of the above steam cleaners will more than adequately get the job done, but the Oreck will definitely take the cake with its dry steaming action.

Tips for steam mopping

Now that you’ve got your steam mop picked out and on the way to rescue your floors from certain grime, we have a few tips for you to keep in mind.

Vacuum first. Every time.

Although you’ve probably seen us harp on this in other articles, it doesn’t hurt to restate what’s important.

Always, always, always vacuum your floor first. Pick up that debris. You don’t want to rub it across your floor and sand down your finish over repeat laziness. Make the extra effort to vacuum and your floors will thank you.

If you don’t have a vacuum, then whip out that broom and get to sweeping. Clear the room. It’s important.

Sweeping hardwood

Only use water

There is no need to use chemicals in your steam mop. Why subject yourself to an unnecessarily expensive and possible harm to your or your child’s health?

After all, the high temperatures of the steam ought to get at the germs in your floor. It’s safer than any cleaner out on the market. That’s for sure.

Washing your steam mop cloths

Tenaciously and effectively collecting dirt off your floor, your steam mop pads can sure get yucky quick. To save money, in the long run, take care of your steam mop pads and you’ll have them around for years of cleaning usefulness.

At the beginning of your steam mop pad’s life, a simple rinse is all it will take to clean it out. Ring out the excess water and hang it up to dry.

If you need an extra boost of cleaning power, you can toss that pad into the washing machine. Use a safe all natural cleaner such as vinegar to get them cleaned up.

Or, you may consider soaking your steam mop pads. Mix up a little baking soda and environmentally safe dish detergent. Let the mop pad soak in that mixture for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then you may rinse and hang it up to dry.

Evade electrical shock

Make sure your steam mop is unplugged before you refill the tank with water or change out your cleaning cloth. You don’t want to get burned and you definitely don’t want to experience an evadable electrical shock.

Quick overview of the best steam mops

In summary, our contenders include the Oreck for the best steam mop for hardwood floors. There is also BISSEL’s 1940 for tile and Shark’s Steam Pocket Mop for laminate. As you saw in our take on the best steam mop for concrete, all three steam mops hold their own as versatile among different flooring materials. However, Oreck takes the cake for its dry steam mopping action.

Start using a steam mop and see the difference!

Dry steam mops create steam with a much smaller moisture content which makes for a faster drying time. This mitigates water damage on those surfaces that are more sensitive to moisture than others.

We hope this installment on steam mops helped you out. Here at Enviro-Dry, we’re at the ready to help you with your hardwood flooring questions.

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