Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

Get Your Steam Mop Cleaning to Perfection Again With a Deep Clean of the Mop Pad

Adriana Aziz
June 28, 2023
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how to clean steam mop pads custom graphic

If you’ve recently traded in your regular mop for a steam mop, you’re probably patting yourself on the back for making such a wise decision! Not only do they clean floors better, they are super convenient to use, and eliminate the need to carry a bucket of cleaning solution from one room to the other.

Another great thing about these mops is the fact that they have washable and reusable pads. That brings us to the question of how to clean steam mop pads when they start to get dirty. Well, the good news is that it is fairly easy to do this by choosing between machine-washing and hand-washing your steam mop pads. Of course, there are a few things to know about both of these methods in order to avoid damaging a perfectly good (but dirty) mop pad. 

Why Do You Need to Clean Steam Mop Pads?

dirty blue steam mop pad on a tiled floor

The way in which steam mops work enables them to clean more efficiently. This, in turn, means that they pick up and absorb more dirt and grime than your regular mops. Now, if you are attempting to clean your hardwood floor or tiled flooring with a soiled mop head, all you are really doing is pushing dirt around, as well as further into the mop pad. 

One clear indication that the mop pad needs cleaning is when it leaves behind greyish streaks. This just means that the damp dirt from the mop is being smeared around your floor! Another reason why washing the mop pad regularly is important is due to the fact that mould and mildew can develop as bacteria accumulates on the material.

So, to answer the question, you need to clean your steam mop pad because it picks up and absorbs more dirt than most other mops, and is susceptible to mould/mildew growth; this means that the pad will no longer serve its purpose until washed and sterilised. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Steam Mop Pad?

close up of dirty blue steam mop pad folded in half on a red tiled floor

Ideally, you should be cleaning the pad of your steam mop after every use. This ensures proper maintenance and hygiene, and keeps its efficiency at an optimum level. Of course, you needn’t give it a thorough clean each time you use it. In fact, most times, just a rinse is all it needs while a deep clean once every 5-7 uses is recommended. 

With that in mind, let’s get to the actual cleaning methods one can use to clean and disinfect a steam mop head.

Method #1 - How to Clean Steam Mop Pads in the Washer

white open front loader washing machine with clean towels hanging out of it

Obviously, machine-washing a removable mop pad is the easier and more convenient option, however, it is not as gentle as hand-washing. Therefore, if the pad of your steam mop is a little older or slightly worn, it is advisable to clean it by hand. Similarly, if the manufacturer’s guide advises against cleaning the product in a washing machine, or simply does not specify a cleaning method, go with the safer and gentler option. 

With that in mind, go ahead and follow the steps below to clean steam mop pads in a washer when suitable.

Step 1

Remove the pad from the mop head, and pick off any large bits of debris. It is also recommended to manually pull off entangled hairs, fur, or threads as they do not always come off during a wash cycle. 

Step 2

Even though many mop pads can be washed in a machine by simply tossing it straight into the drum, our cleaning experts advise placing them into a designated laundry bag (generally used for delicate items), and then putting it in the machine.

Step 3

Add regular, liquid laundry detergent to the load. If your chosen laundry soap is not a disinfectant, pour in 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to sterilise the mops pads. The ingredient also helps to soften and brighten up the material. 

Step 4

For a safe and effective clean, run a hot, gentle cycle with other small items. A small load or low tub is also recommended when washing steam mop pads in the washer.

Method #2 - How to Clean Steam Mop Pads by Hand

generic steam mop mock up on a blue background

As we mentioned earlier, sometimes cleaning a steam mop pad (depending on the model/brand) calls for a hand-wash because it is much less harsh than washing machines. For this, all you need is a basin/bucket, soft cleaning brush, liquid laundry detergent, baking soda, and hot water.

Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1

In a basin or bucket filled with about 2 litres of water, add in 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and liquid laundry soap. Give it a good stir so that everything mixes well.

Step 2

Submerge the mop pads in the solution and leave them to soak for at least half an hour. While in the water (when it is cool enough to touch), swish the pads around or agitate the water to help dislodge entangled debris.

Step 3

Drain the water and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the material on both sides, as well as the inner side of the mop head.

Step 4

Once cleaned, rinse each piece under cool, running water until the cleaning solution has washed off. 

IMPORTANT: Avoid using bleach or fabric softener when washing the mop pads either by hand or in a washing machine. If not rinsed thoroughly, the latter will leave a residue that interferes with the functioning of the steam mop while the former can damage/weaken the material.

How to Dry Washed Steam Mop Pads

close up of generic steam mop head on a blue background

Although it may be tempting to throw the pads in the dryer, it can be damaging to the construction of the material. Instead, give them a gentle press to remove excess water without rolling, folding, or bunching the material. Thereafter, place them over a rack to air dry before storing away or using again. 

If you’ve been asking yourself whether you can wash a steam mop pad, the answer is yes, and the cleaning methods above are the only two cleaning processes you need to know about! Depending on the type of mop pad in question, you can either machine-wash, or hand-wash the item. All you need to do is follow the step-by-step instructions, and your steam mop pads will be cleaning to perfection for a long, long time to come!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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