With so many floor options at your disposal, tiles are among the easiest to maintain because you never have to worry about water damage. The quality and the fact that they’re very durable are what makes tiles an ideal choice for many homeowners.
However, if you don’t know how to take care of your tile floors, you’ll always have dirty looking floors around the house. One of the best cleaners for tile floors that’s a must-have is a steam mop.
What Is a Steam Mop for Ceramic and Other Tiles
When it comes to tile floors, one of the most important things you need to pay attention to is the grout. Grout is porous and as such absorbs grease, dirt and other debris easily leading to dingy looking floors.
Steam mops are different from the traditional mop and bucket in that they use steam to sanitize and remove messes from your ceramic and tile floors, offering the best protection for floors.
When using a steam mop, all you need to do is plug it in and then mop the floors. The good thing with these mops is that they work really well even with the toughest of grime as well as stains on the floors.
However, you need to be careful because not all steam mops will do a good job on your tile floors. Some tend to leave behind smudges, streaks and gritty sludge.
Benefits of Using a Steam Mop for Tile
A good steam mop can eliminate not only surface dirt but also bacteria, giving you clean floors, especially if you have little kids. The heat from the steam is enough to loosen dirt and kill bacteria in the process.
The good thing with steam mops is that you don’t have to use yours to clean the floors, but it’ll come in handy when cleaning different surfaces around the house. A steam mop can be used to remove dirt as well as pet and human hairs from floors, carpets and furniture.
No Chemical Residues
With steam mops, you never have to worry about chemical residues from cleaning products being left on the floor or the furniture. This is because steam mops don’t use soap, but instead rely on water to clean and disinfect the surfaces.
Steam mops are very portable in that you don’t have to drag a bucket of water with you when cleaning one room after another. Some even have removable handles so that the mop can be transformed into a handheld steam cleaner.
What Stains/Dirt Steam Mop for Tile Is Good and Bad For
Steam mops have a water reservoir that you fill with water which is heated up and left as a jet to the mop pad. The mop pad is then soaked and the steam can loosen dirt and grime off the floor.
Compared to the traditional mop and bucket, the steam mop head can absorb dirt and heat from the mop ends up killing bacteria as well as dust mites on the floor. While steam mops work on tile and ceramic floors, avoid using one to clean laminate or hardwood floors.
Manufacturers’ warn against using a steam mop on unsealed floors, but the truth is that no laminate or wood floor’s completely sealed. Though most hardwood floors have a polyurethane finish, there’s always space between the boards that make it easy for them to be exposed to moisture.
Laminate is water resistant, but not entirely waterproof, which means that water can still damage the floor when it seeps through the seams. You should also ensure that you don’t use a steam mop on any floor that shouldn’t be exposed to hot water like adhesive tiles that have lifting corners.
Types of Steam Mops
Depending on the steam mop you choose, the only things you need to purchase are mop pads once in a while. There are several types of steam mops available in the market:
Steam Cleaner for Hard Floors
With hardwood floors, dirt and grime will always be a concern, but luckily for you, there are specific steam cleaners that are meant for wood floors and require only water and power to get the job done.
Hardwood floors aren’t only expensive to buy, but also to install and as such you need to ensure that the steam mop you get will not ruin them. Steam mops for hardwood floors normally have two or three temperature settings where you can control the amount of steam you use to clean and disinfect the floors.
Wood is susceptible to water damage because water can seep through the joints and ruin it. There are several steam cleaners that’ll work on hardwood floors, and unless there’s a lot of debris, you should ensure that you’re using the lowest temperature setting so that you don’t soak the floor.
It’s also very important to ensure that the floors are sealed so that water doesn’t seep through the crevices.
Steam Cleaner for Carpeting
Carpets give a house a sophisticated and beautiful look, which is why some homeowners like to go with carpet floors. However, they get dirty quickly and can be damaged by water, stains and mold growth.
As such, you need to know how to maintain your carpet floors in order for them to last you for years. While vacuum cleaners will work perfectly to remove dirt and debris, there are some dirt and stains that the vacuum can’t work on and you may need a carpet steam cleaner or the best carpet stain remover.
Steam cleaners for carpet have enough power to get to the dirt, debris and hairs that are embedded within the fibers and kill bacteria in the process.
Convertible Floor to Hand Steam Cleaner
When looking for a steam cleaner, one thing that you should consider is versatility. There are steam cleaners that can be used not only to clean tile floors but also curtains, upholstery, and other furniture.
Such steam cleaners have removable or adjustable handles which allow you to convert the steam cleaner into a handheld one to make it easy to clean other surfaces besides the floor.
Such cleaners have just enough power to get through to dirt and hairs embedded on furniture and curtains without ruining your investment.
Steam Cleaner Vacuum Combination
You’ll need a steam cleaner and vacuum combo if you have pets or small kids who keep creating a mess around the house. The steam cleaner and vacuum combination is designed not only to save you energy and time when cleaning but also to disinfects the floors in the process.
The way this steam mop works is when you glide it across the floors, steam is released and at the same time debris, dirt and food crumbs on the floor are sucked by the vacuum.
Once you’re done cleaning, you can empty the tank. When looking for a steam cleaner vacuum combination, consider its efficiency in cleaning and removing all of the debris from the floor.
Steam Mop vs Other Cleaning Tools for Tile
Compared to laminate or hardwood, tile floors are the easiest to clean. First, tiles are non-porous and as such you have more than one option of cleaning your floors since you don’t have to worry about water damage.
Steam Mop vs Spin Mop
A spin mop is one of the cleaning tools that work on tile floors with all the simplicity of the mop. Spin mops often come with a wring bucket that has an automatic wringer that you activate with a foot pedal.
The only thing you need to do is put the mop head into the bucket and press down the pedal to remove excess water.
The spin mop is convenient for cleaning tile floors and even under the furniture due to the swiveling handle and the triangular shape that makes it easy to clean corners as well.
Steam Mop vs Microfiber Mop
While a microfiber mop doesn’t produce steam, it does an equally good job in cleaning tile floors. The reason the best microfiber mops are popular is because the mop heads are easy to clean.
After cleaning, remove the mop head and throw it in a washer with other microfiber fabrics and you can use it again in a few days.
Steam Mop vs Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuuming your tile floors once every few days helps in getting rid of surface dirt and debris that may have accumulated. It’s this debris that makes your floors look dingy, which is why regular vacuuming or sweeping is important.
However, your vacuum cleaner can only do so much and in most cases, you’ll find that most cheap vacuum cleaners can’t remove the dirt and debris within the tile grouts and also have a hard time removing stains and killing germs.
This is where a steam cleaner comes in to remove those stubborn stains and dirt and grime that the vacuum can’t reach.
Steam Mop for Tile On Different Surfaces
Steam mops do a very good job of removing dirt and grime and also killing bacteria in the process. However, you have to be very careful if you’re dealing with different kinds of floors.
Laminate mimics hardwood floors and is one of the most common flooring types you’ll find in many homes. Laminate’s beautiful, but needs to be properly taken care of to last for years.
It’s resistant to water, but not entirely waterproof and prolonged exposure to water and moisture may cause the floor to warp. When cleaning laminate floors, therefore, avoid soaking the floor or letting the tiles or planks come into contact with water.
Avoid using steam cleaners on laminate floors as the steam, in the end, seeps through the crevices leading to damage the floor in the process. If you’re to use a steam cleaner, ensure that it’s at the lowest setting.
Hardwood floors are expensive to install but are still favorite to most homeowners simply because they increase the value of the house when re-selling. Hardwood floors are, however, susceptible to water damage, which is why you should only use a dry mop when cleaning them.
If water seeps through the wood, it will lead to floor damage. Avoid using a steam cleaner at all costs if you have hardwood floors.
There are steam mops and premium vacuums for hardwood floors however that come with two or three temperature settings. When using such a mop on your hardwood floors, ensure that you have set it to the lowest setting such that the steam will not soak the floor leading to damage.
Compared to other flooring options like laminate and hardwood, carpet floors are the hardest to clean. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with dirty looking carpets.
There are steam cleaners that work on carpet floors, but you have to limit the amount of steam produced so that you don’t soak the carpet which can lead to the fibers getting ruined or to mold growth.
The good thing about steam cleaners for carpet, shop vacs or a shark vacuum is that they end up killing not only germs and bacteria on the floors, but they also remove allergens which could cause allergic reactions in some people.
How to Choose the Perfect Steam Mop for Tile
To get value for your money, look for a steam cleaner that has additional accessories that you can use to clean the grout as well as other surfaces like furniture and curtains.
The power of the steam cleaner will determine how effective it is in removing dirt and debris. The tile grouts pose the biggest problem and you need a steam cleaner that has enough power to get through and remove all the dirt and grime stuck within the grits.
The last thing you want is a steam cleaner that’ll only serve you for a few months and have to be replaced after that. When buying one, therefore, go through online reviews to see what others are saying about different vacuum cleaners before deciding which one you want to buy.
The weight of the steam cleaner matters in the sense that you need a device that you can easily move around when cleaning. You also need a device that is light enough that it can reach even under furniture and be used on stairs and by older people.
Cord or Cordless
Steam cleaners are either cordless or corded. Corded steam cleaners have a cord that needs to be plugged in when cleaning.
In such a case, you need a steam cleaner that has a long cord so that you’re not limited when cleaning. Cordless steam cleaners, on the other hand, run on batteries and what you need to consider is the battery runtime.
Cordless steam cleaners run on battery and as such, the last thing you want is a steam cleaner that gives you only a few minutes of cleaning or takes too long to charge.
The kind of floors you have will determine the kind of cleaning and steam cleaner you should buy. For tile floors, you won’t have a problem with wet cleaning, so you can buy a mop with different settings that you can adjust depending on how dirty the floors are.
For laminate and hardwood floors, dry cleaning is the best option as these floors are easily damaged by water. You, therefore, need a steam cleaner that has two or three settings that you can adjust to minimize the amount of steam produced.
Tank Size/Drain Plug
The size of the tank matters, especially when you’re cleaning different areas of the house.
The last thing you want is to keep re-filling the tank when water runs out. As such, go for a steam cleaner that has a big tank for convenience when cleaning.
If you have someone who suffers from allergic reactions or asthma, then a steam cleaner you choose needs to have HEPA filters. If it doesn’t have any filters, dust and allergens will be scattered around the house instead of eliminated.
When all is said and done your budget will determine the kind of steam cleaner you should buy. What you need is to avoid poor quality mops that don’t work for your kind of floor or that you’ll have to replace in a few months.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
With steam cleaners, more spending does mean more quality. You want a steam cleaner that’ll last you for years and thoroughly clean your floors.
With expensive models, you’ll be paying extra for additional accessories like the ones you can use to clean other surfaces and the grouts, longer battery life for cordless ones, a larger water tank and durability.
You should rather go for an expensive model that you know is suited for your floors, although there are cheaper models that can still do a good job.
How to Use a Steam Mop for Tile
Step 1 – Prepare the floor
Use a durable floor sweeper or vacuum to remove dirt, dust and other debris that may dirty mop’s head when cleaning.
Step 2 – Prepare the mop
Put the mop pad on the head before plugging in or switching on the steam mop. They tend to heat up very fast and you don’t want to get an electric shock or a burn. You can then fill the water tank to the indicated level.
Step 3 – Begin mopping
Steam mops normally have indicators that tell you that the water has heated up to the desired temperature and then you can start mopping the floor. Just push the mop back and forth like you would with a traditional mop.
Step 4 – Changing the mop pad
Steam mops normally come with additional mopping pads which you can replace when one gets too dirty. The only thing you need to remember is to unplug the steam mop and let it cool before changing the mopping pad.
How to Clean Your Tiles
Step 1 – Move the furniture
For efficiency and to ensure that you clean every area, remove furniture from the way.
Step 2 – Vacuum
Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove dirt, dust and other debris that may dirty the mopping pad when you begin mopping.
Step 3 – Prepare the mop
Before plugging in the mop, put the mop pad on the head and fill the water tank to the indicated level and allow it to heat up to the desired temperature.
Step 4 – Begin mopping
Begin with the farthest corner of the room, pushing the mop forward to release steam and backward to pick dirt and dust on the pad. When the pad gets too dirty, unplug the mop, allow it to cool, replace the pad and allow the water to heat up.
How to Clean and Maintain Your Steam Mop for Tile
Step 1 – Washing the dirty pads
While steam mops come with additional pads, you can still wash the soiled pads instead of throwing them away. Just soak them in water, add laundry detergent and baking soda and leave for 15 minutes before washing and rinsing them.
Step 2 – Drain the water tank
After cleaning, ensure that you drain the water tank before storing the mop to prevent corrosion and mold growth.
Step 3 – Clean the nozzle
After some time, the steam nozzle may become clogged with mineral deposits. When you notice that steam is coming out of the nozzle slowly, use a pin to clean the inside of the nozzle.
Step 4 – Don’t add soap or chemicals to the water tank
Steam mops are designed to work only with water, so you should avoid using soap or other cleaning chemicals like vinegar as these can damage the machine.
Step 5 – Change the filters
After a while, the mop filter may accumulate mineral deposits and dirt, which may affect its functioning. Ensure that you change the filter when that happens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spin mop versus pet hair
A microfiber spin mop is the best at getting rid of pet hairs as the hairs just stick to the mop head.
Are spin mops better than sponge mops or string mops?
Spin mops are way better than sponge or string mops since they require the sponge to be replaced every now and then and string mops have strings that come off easily.
How often do the mop heads need to be washed?
How often you wash the mop head will depend on how dirty the mop or floor is. However, you need to wash the mop head after every use to prevent bacterial growth.
How often should I change the water as I mop?
When mopping, change the water when it gets dirty as this will mean dirtying the areas you have already cleaned.
Steam mops are some of the best tools for cleaning tile floors as well as carpet since the steam loosens the dirt, removes stains and kills germs.
However, you need to know what to look for when buying a steam mop, how to use one to clean your floor and the proper maintenance tips.
Photos from: ymgerman / depositphotos.com, AllaSerebrina / depositphotos.com and sasimoto / depositphotos.com.