Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

The 4-Step Method to Use a Steam Mop Efficiently

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In the household cleaning department, steam mops are highly rated for their efficiency and ability to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, some homeowners end up disappointed that they're not getting the same results that they would with a cleaning company simply because they are not using it correctly. 

While these electric cleaning devices are pretty straightforward to use, there are a few do’s and don’ts to follow in order to get the most out of them. This, in turn, will help you maintain the overall quality and condition of the steam mop, thereby extending the life of the device, and allowing it to work efficiently for much longer!

How Steam Mops Work

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Fitted with a water reservoir, one must manually fill the tank with the recommended amount of water, and then plug in/switch on the mop. Most steam mops come with different settings which include the level of steam that is emitted. 

Once on, the water heats up and produces steam that makes its way down to the head of the mop; the heat and steam loosens grime and stains on the floor which are then absorbed by the mop pad. 

Overall, steam mops are much more convenient and almost effortless to use. They offer quick results with the added bonus of sterilizing your hard floors.

Things to Keep in Mind When Using a Steam Mop

Sticking to the topic of using a steam mop to the best of its ability, there are some very helpful user tips one must be privy to before, during, and after mopping the floor with one. At this point, it is important to note that there are many different brands and manufacturers of steam mops, therefore, some models may come with slightly different user instructions.

Nevertheless, if you want to know how to use a steam mop, listed below are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Sweep or vacuum the area to remove loose debris before using a steam mop on the floor.
  • Avoid using your steam mop on very dirt floors unless you plan to use multiple mop pads to clean the area. This is because a dirty mop pad will no longer absorb loose grime but rather spread it around. 
  • Use the right mop pad for the job. Regular mop pads are advised for maintenance while scrubbing mop pads are more suitable for mopping up spills or stains.
  • Replace the mop pad with a fresh one as and when it gets dirty.
  • Remove and wash mop pads after every 1-2 uses, and deep clean the pads when needed.
  • Consider the material of your flooring before using a steam mop on it. Some floor types (especially if unsealed) and specific finishes can get damaged with steam or high temperatures.

How to Use a Steam Mop

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Now that you’ve learnt how steam mops work, and how they work best, it’s time to go into detail for a better understanding of exactly how to use your steam mop. The 4-step process explained below ensures that the mop is used correctly, safely (to prevent floor damage), and efficiently for a truly clean and sanitary hard floor. Take a look.

Step 1: Clean Up Loose Dirt and Debris

While it may be tempting to steam mop a floor knowing that any grit on the surface will get trapped and picked up in the mop pad, this is never a good idea. For starters, that grit can cause scratches on the floor as you continue mopping; secondly, this loose debris can damage the fibres of the mop pad, and lastly, you will need to replace the mop pad sooner than usual if it picks up surface dirt that otherwise should have been removed prior to mopping.

With that in mind, we advise sweeping or vacuuming the floor thoroughly before using your steam mop to clean up stuck-on dirt or stains.

Step 2: Place the Mop Pad On

Most steam mops come with extra pads but you can also purchase additional pieces which is advised in homes that require regular mopping. Depending on the level of cleaning your floor requires, choose an appropriate mop pad (regular or scrubbing pad), and fit it onto the mop head by simply pulling it over. You might want to check the user manual before doing this as some models may have a different fitting mechanism than the next.

Be sure to keep at least one fresh mop pad at hand as you may need to put on a clean one if the current pad gets dirty quickly.

Step 3: Switch On and Mop

Steam mops are available in wired and cordless designs, and generally have 3 steam settings. After you have filled the reservoir with water, switch the mop on and adjust the level of steam to the desired setting; there should be an LED indication for when the steam mop is ready to use. 

Proceed to mop the floor in a back and forth motion, one small area at a time. Avoid leaving the mop in one place for too long (while it is still on and emitting steam). Keep a check on the mop pad as you continue to clean the rest of the floor, and replace it if/when it gets soiled. When you are done, be sure to turn off the mop and/or unplug it.

Step 4: Remove and Wash the Mop Pad

After what we can confidently assume to be a satisfactory clean of your hard flooring, it is imperative to remove the mop pad and clean it. This may not be necessary if you have used the mop to spot clean a tile or small area, however, even then it is advisable to rinse the mop pad and dry it. 

The easiest way to clean your mop pads is to machine-wash them by following the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you choose to, you can also wash the mop pad by hand using a soapy solution of dishwashing liquid and water

There you have it; four simple steps that will leave your floor clean and sterile, and keep your steam mop ready to use until next time!

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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