What Not to do With a Steam Floor Mop

Use a Steam Floor Mop Properly and Enjoy it Longer

Steam floor mops have put a whole new spin on washing floors and I'm sure this handy cleaning tool is here to stay. While some steam floor mops can be pretty pricey, they will quickly pay for themselves in terms of convenience and time saved over the mop and bucket routine. They're also much cleaner - there's no spills, no rinsing, no smell and very little effort with no hand wringing or bending. But steam floor mops do need a little care and there are a few things you shouldn't...MORE do with one.

  • 01 of 10

    Never Plug in a Steam Mop Before Attaching the Mop Head

    High Angle View Of Blue Mop And Bucket On Floor
    Martin Konopka / EyeEm / Getty Images

    A steam mop heats up very quickly and the mop foot will be too hot to handle if you try to attach the cloth while it's heating up. There's also the risk of electrical shock handling a wet mop head while the mop is active.

    Take time to fill the water reservoir, unwind the cord and attach the mop head, before you plug the steam mop in. Plugging it in should be the last step. When the reservoir needs filling during the cleaning process, take the time to unplug it to fill.

  • 02 of 10

    Don't Idle a Hot Steam Mop

    You're ready to start cleaning the floor and you've plugged it into an outlet. The phone rings or someone's at the door. Or maybe you figure there's time to do something else while you wait for it to heat up. Don't idle a steam mop for any reason.

    Heat builds up very quickly (a few seconds with some models) and if left too long depending ​on where it's placed, it could apply too much steam and heat to that area.

    When your mop is ready to plug in, be ready to start cleaning...MORE or if you need to interrupt the process, take two seconds to unplug it and start again later. When proceeding to a second room to clean that floor, use the same principle if you need time to prepare the room, unplug it until you're ready.

  • 03 of 10

    Don't Skip the Vacuuming

    If you try and eliminate vacuuming or sweeping the floor first and going straight to steam mopping, any surface dirt presents such as sand, dust, dirt, crumbs, hair or maybe even pet hair, will be picked up with the steam mop.

    While this may sound good, it will create a dirt mire that will be smeared over the floor and hinder your steam mop's ability to do a good job - similar to washing a window with a dirty cloth. And you might even have to change the mop head to finish your floor.

  • 04 of 10

    Never Put Anything in the Water Tank Except Water

    Except for a few models with dual functions, steam mops are usually designed to be used with water, nothing else. There are no smelly or expensive detergents to buy and the steam alone does a great job of cleaning the floor. Always read the manual thoroughly for complete use guidelines.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Don't Keep Cleaning With a Dirty Mop Head

    If you have a large floor area to do or more than one room, it can be tempting to just keep mopping and ignoring the amount of dirt on the mop cloth. But have a look once in a while and if it needs it, change it. But remember to unplug it first.

    Cleaning with a dirty mop is just spreading the dirt around as mentioned in item three. It's a good idea to have one or two spare mop cloths on hand. Need to get a replacement pad for your steam mop?

  • 06 of 10

    Never Use a Steam Mop on Unsealed Floors

    Simply stated, they are not designed for use on floorings that are not sealed, especially unsealed woods and laminates. If the type of flooring should not have hot water on it or if adhesive tiles have lifting corners, then you shouldn't use a steam mop on it.

    Steam is a burst of moisture that can make some wood composites swell. But it's great for sealed surfaces including woods, laminates, vinyl, vinyl tiles and ceramic tiles.

  • 07 of 10

    Use it as a Wall Washer at Your Own Risk

    While using a steam mop to wash walls doesn't sound like a bad idea, hot steam could cause paint to bubble, peel or lift. So unless you intend to repaint your walls shortly after, keep the steam mop for floors. And if washing the car with it has crossed your mind, vehicle repainting is even more expensive and not worth the risk.

  • 08 of 10

    Never Store the Steam Mop With a Dirty/Wet Mop Cloth Attached

    Leaving a wet mop cloth on when storing your mop could result in mildew and ruin the cloth head. Remove the cloth after the mop has cooled.

    You could add a clean cloth if you want to be ready to roll next time you need it. Laundering the dirty cloth immediately will help to remove stains before they set in.

    Most steam mop pads can be cleaned in the washer with like color items, but they should be air dried. Many are microfiber and with this type of material, you shouldn't use fabric softener.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Use Care Around Cold Bathroom Fixtures

    This area is one that needs the sanitizing power of a steam mop but use it around the toilet and bidet with care. Avoid hugging the cold porcelain, but clean the floor around it.

    The reason is that a cold porcelain toilet bowl cannot take fluctuating temperatures as it would get with a hot burst of steam, and there is a risk of it cracking or breaking. Keep the mop on the floor, just not against this fixture. 

  • 10 of 10

    Don't be Afraid of it - Enjoy it!

    Yes, a steam mop is different than what you're used to and it does need a little care, but don't be afraid to use it. If you've received one as a gift and it's still in the box, open the package, read the brochure and use it.

    You'll find washing floors a much more pleasant experience and the steam mop will quickly become your new friend. You won't dread that task any longer, because washing floors will be quicker and easier to do. If you don't have a steam mop but have...MORE been thinking of getting one, you won't regret it.