Let’s talk steam mops.
One reason why these mops are now popular: you can clean a floor without chemicals or soaps.
After trying out several models and surveying the readers of our parenting books (2.1 million strong!), we’ve realized some truths about steam mops.
Truth #1: Steam mops are best for ceramic tile and sealed stone floors. Yes, we realize that steam mop makers claim you can use them on ALL sorts of flooring, including hardwoods. But we’d recommend just using them on stone and tile that have been sealed (that typical tile you see in a bathroom is sealed ceramic tile). There is too much risk for damage in using a steam mop on other surfaces, in our opinion.
Truth #2: Steam mops comes in both manual and electronic versions. Our readers preferred electronic, although manual steam mops are easier on the wallet. The only caveat: manual steam mops must be pumped back and forth to generate enough steam . . . consider it a cardio workout as you clean.
Truth #3: Use distilled water! This is the key to keeping a steam mop running smoothly over the long run. Why? Distilled water removes all the impurities and sediment in the water. Tap water, on the other hand, can clog the tiny steam holes in a steam mop—potentially damaging it. Yes, you can clean a steam mop with vinegar to remove hard water deposits . . . but it makes more sense to use distilled water.
When it came to manual steam mops, we tried out several models before deciding the Shark Steam Pocket Mop is the best bet for most folks.
What We Liked
• Best for small areas. If you need to clean the tile in a small bathroom or two, this model is a good fit.
• Easy to assemble.
• Reversible head.
• Easy on the wallet.
• Both sides of pad can work. This mop includes 2 washable, reusable cloth pads.
• Swivel head is easy to maneuver.
What Needs Work
• Cord could be longer. We thought the 20 foot cord worked well for small bathrooms—but not so good for larger rooms.
• Manual pump = lots of manual pumping!
• Doesn’t work as well on grout as other models, in our opinion. See below in this article for suggestions for steam mops.