Steam Mops and Floor Cleaners
If you’re looking for a hardwood floor cleaning machine for your home it can be a little confusing at first because there are several different but similar-sounding options.
The information here explains some basic terminology and concepts to help you decide whether a steam mop steam cleaner or floor scrubber machine works best for your needs.
Steam Cleaners And Steam Mops
“Steam cleaner” is a general term which includes the two forms explained below. In a steam cleaner, only the steam itself is used as the cleaning agent, no detergents or chemicals are added.
Steam mops come mounted on mop handles to deliver steam directly to a floor.
Handheld steam cleaners go anywhere around the house and use various attachments to clean all surfaces including counters, drapes, upholstery, furniture, walls, showers, tiles and grout, etc
Use pads, brushes or moving scrubber heads to clean floor surfaces
Use cleaning solution (on floor or added to water) to clean floors and other surfaces
Usually an upright machine and may have attachments for cleaning upper surfaces like counters, furniture, drapes, furniture, tile, grout, etc.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Steam cleaners, both steam mops and handheld, can sanitize surfaces in the home IF the steam reaches a certain temperature and is applied to the surface for enough time.
Generally the steam temperature should reach about 170 degrees Fahrenheit and remain against the surface to be sanitized for at least 30 seconds to effectively kill most bacteria.
Steam cleaning machines can actually produce a “dry” steam which has a low moisture content. A dry steam is useful in cleaning dust off painted walls or grease off surfaces and in other situations where too much moisture is a drawback.
Handheld steam cleaners can be good at cleaning vertical surfaces with large areas like walls and showers stalls, windows and glass doors.
Steam only cleaners that don’t use soap or chemicals are ideal for safe cleaning of pet cages and places where people, kids and animals live. No chemical use also mean odor, environmental toxins or added waste from buying containers of cleaning chemicals.
Evidence of grout cleaning abilities goes both ways, some say steam cleaners work great, others have not had success. Differences are in the details of each situation, the machine used and the user’s technique and abilities make it impossible to say whether steam is superior for getting grout between tiles clean.