Nowadays, steam cleaning is becoming a major topic amongst housewives and cleaning experts, because of how well it cleans surfaces in comparison to a regular mop and bucket. However, not many are aware as to why steam mops are capable of cleaning better than traditional mops, and if they really work on surfaces that regular mops have difficulty cleaning.
Do Steam Mops Work, Really?
Steam mops, as the name implies, uses steam to clean up messes naturally and leave no scent behind, in comparison to traditional mops, where users use various cleaning agents on the affected surface to clean a mess. Using cleaning agents often causes problems for many people, especially for children, due to their scent and components.
For steam to be produced, users would need to put water in the steam mop’s tank and heat it up to 200-degrees Fahrenheit or more, before you can use it. Creating steam up to this temperature helps in sanitizing the affected area and helps peel off tougher messes.
The amount of steam generated by steam mops vary depending on their price, but it does not change its effectiveness. Cheaper types of steam mops may only produce one strong jet of steam that would dampen the mop pad for cleaning. Expensive and high-quality steam mops may produce as much as 15 jets of steam to dampen the microfiber pads.
Some mops have vacuum capabilities to help them clean messes, while others require users to sweep the affected area first, before using the mop. In the case of steam mops, you simply run the mop head over the floor and let it collect and clean the dirt or stain on the floor.
Steam mops also come with their own disposable or washable pads, to help collect the stain or dirt being cleaned up, like regular mops. These pads installed in steam mops are dampened by the steam produced by the mop and helps clean the flooring.
Steam mops are also quite notorious for cleaning areas without leaving marks on the surface, unlike traditional mops. They also do not leave any residue behind, in comparison to their traditional counterparts.
Reviews on steam mops have varied extensively over the years, especially when it comes to how well they work against stains and germs. They also differ in terms of how well steam mops can work on various surfaces.
In terms of stains, steam mops are quite capable of cleaning simple messes like dirt, juices, and sodas in a flash. Simply glide onto the affected area and clean the mess. For some stains, like sauce stains and others, some groups – such as Good Housekeeping Magazine – discovered that steam mops would need a few swipes on an area before it can clean any stains, immediately. Some steam mops are noted for their capability to pick up very fine hair from pets.
In terms of killing germs, steam mops from various companies undergo stringent tests by the EPA, to ensure that they are capable of sanitizing surfaces and that they can kill germs efficiently. If they pass the test, they are given their respective EPA registration number to prove that their claims of sanitizing surfaces are warranted.
While there are some steam mops that do not undertake this test, they still are capable of eliminating germs in affected areas. Based on the analysis of the Center for Disease Control, steam with temperatures of around 130 degrees Fahrenheit can kill dust mites, 165 degrees can stop food-borne viruses and higher temperatures can kill all other viruses and bacteria.
In order to get a maximized cleaning and sanitizing effect from your steam mops, it is advised that users hold the steam mop over the affected area for at least 20 seconds. Doing this ensures that the steam would be able to sanitize the affected area and maintain the temperature consistency of the steam, without fearing it to cool immediately after passing in the area.
In terms of working on various surfaces, some steam mops come with two-sided cleaning heads to help clean out messes. The first side is a soft mop pad that works well on hardwood and laminated flooring. The other side has a more abrasive surface and works well with tile and in cleaning tougher messes. It can also get rid of stains pretty easily.