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's a few things you shouldn't do with one.
1. Never Plug in a Steam Mop Before Attaching the Mop HeadA 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 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 time to unplug it to fill.
2. Don't Idle the Steam MopYou'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 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 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.
3. Don't Skip the VacuumingIf you try and eliminate vacuuming or sweeping the floor first and going straight to steam mopping, any surface dirt present 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.
4. Never Put Anything in the Water Tank Except WaterSteam mops are designed to be used with water, nothing else. There's no smelly or expensive detergents to buy and the steam alone does a great job of cleaning the floor.
5. Don't Keep Cleaning With a Dirty Mop HeadIf 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.
6. Never Use a Steam Mop on Unsealed FloorsSimply 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.
7. Use it as a Wall Washer at Your Own RiskWhile 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 after, keep the steam mop for floors. And if washing the car with it has crossed your mind, vehicle repainting is expensive and not worth the risk.
8. Never Store the Steam Mop With a Dirty/Wet Mop Cloth AttachedLeaving 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.
9. 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 been thinking of getting one, you won't regret it.