Steam mops appeared around the year 2000. They were marketed as an effective and environmentally safe tool for cleaning floors. Unfortunately they are not appropriate for all flooring materials. But they are very useful for cleaning some floor surfaces.
Part of the appeal of steam mops is their ability to clean mites, mould and bacteria without the need of any chemicals. They manage to clean very effectively with only heat and water to make steam. The amount of water used in steam mops is minimal, and it quickly evaporates, leaving the floor quite dry.
Of course the heat, moisture and steam from stream mops is not good for some type of floors; there is a risk of damaged in the floor surface. In these cases Microfibre cloths and microfibre mops are a good alternative to steam mops, and they are extremely safe.
The use of steam mops on hardwood floors is a little controversial. Some claim that the heat and steam is bad for the wood. Certainly these mops would be bad for untreated wood (raw timber) floors. However, a sealed timber floor might be a different matter.
Some manufactures’ claim that their steam mops are designed for wooden floors. This should be acceptable if the steam is not too intense.
We suggest lifting the mop off the floor when pushing the steam button.
If in doubt about the safety of a mop on timber then do not use it.
Steam mops are not appropriate for bamboo floors. The steam, moisture and heat from the mop will quickly damage the bamboo floor, causing the bamboo boards to warp, shrink and distort.
Microfibre cloths and mops are a good options for bamboo. Vacuuming with a soft brush is another good option.
This is concern about steam, heat and moisture being harmful to the vinyl and the glue used under vinyl floors, especially if the moisture gets into the cracks between tiles.
Avoid steam mops on vinyl tiles.
Steam mops are a good option for tiled floors in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure the tiles and grout are properly sealed.