When we purchased our house, the floors were spotless. Shiny. Perfect. While they are not the most expensive or nicest flooring ever, the clean look and sturdy material was one of the huge selling points of our home for me.
However it lasted about 36 hours after closing. Add moving and painting and a tiny bit of construction, and we had a mess to clean up.
I whipped out our handy Swiffer Wet Jet* and mopped, and mopped, and mopped. Our new home was easily twice as large as our previous apartment and it has absolutely no carpet. After the 45-minute ordeal, I was so bummed when all I saw were streaks. And not just faint ones that only a perfectionist would see. Even my laidback, exhausted-from-moving-heavy-things husband noticed.
Looking back, it’s no surprise our little Swiffer just wasn’t cutting it. It had been “repaired” with duct tape several times when the plastic head cracked. And since we’re too cheap to pay the ridiculous prices for refill solution and pads, we found some DIY hacks to make them ourselves. It worked for a small apartment but we needed something stronger, faster, better, and more sustainable for our new home.
After trying several methods of eliminating the streaks with our tools on hand (homemade cleaning solutions, vinegar, literally scrubbing the floor by hand) – I was intrigued when a friend mentioned how much they loved their steam mop.
I don’t love spending money or acquiring more clutter when it comes to cleaning gadgets, but I thought the extra power of heat, the more substantial mop pads, and the absence of chemicals might be exactly what we needed.
And it was.
If you’re looking for a better way to clean your floors, let me introduce you to the wonderful world of steam mops 🙂
*If you already know it’s a good fit for you, click here to skip to my recommendation for the best steam mop under $100 *
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Benefits of Using a Steam Mop
It only uses water.
This was a huge selling point for me! I love avoiding the use of strong chemicals in our home, and I love saving money probably even more 😉
Using the steam mop only requires a few cups of water, which is much less than cleaning your floors with a conventional mop and bucket AND much cheaper than purchasing cleaners all the time. Win, win for me!
It uses steam to clean but also disinfect the floors.
I love knowing that not only are our floors clean of dirt and dust- but that they are getting naturally cleared of any germs. Now that we have a little one, it gives me peace of mind about him crawling around!
It removes hard or sticky messes!
The steam loosens up whatever grime, dried spills, or mess may be on your floors (no judgment here!) just by leaving the mop over the spot for a couple of seconds. Plus it has a handy scrub brush you can pop down with your foot for extra removal if needed.
Of course the day I tried to get photos to demonstrate, I miraculously didn’t have many troublesome spots! But I hope you can see from this sticky residue that this mop really does get rid of it just with steam!
It is a one-time investment.
While “convenience floor cleaners” like Swiffers are cheaper upfront (around $25), you can spend $5/bottle to refill the cleaning solution and close to $0.50 per pad. We had to replace ours within 2 years because part of the plastic broke – so investing in a sturdier steam mop upfront definitely pays off!
The design is so versatile.
The head swivels completely from side-to-side, which makes it easier to reach smaller spaces. The handle bends almost all the way to the ground so you can easily slide under furniture.
PLUS, it easily moves between any sealed surfaces, like wood, tile, etc. I love using it all over my house on laminate** floors as well as the tile in our bathroom.
How to Use a Steam Mop
If you’re trying to picture the difference between using a steam mop instead of a mop/bucket or a Swiffer-like tool, here’s an idea of how it works.
1. Attach the mop pad.
Most steam mops come with reusable cloth mop pads, and you can even purchase different textures for deeper scrubbing. * The pads attach usually by an elastic band and go on dry- no prep needed!
2. Add water to the reservoir.
Like I said earlier, it really only uses a few cups of water to clean my whole house! Distilled water is recommended, and a gallon would last you several uses easily. (I’m not going to lie though, I normally just use tap water.)
3. Plug in your steam mop and wait until the light indicates it is ready.
With the Bissell version I recommend*, it takes about 30 seconds for the mop to warm up. When ready, the blinking light will stop and simply stay on to let you know it’s ready to go!
4. Once the light indicates the mop is warmed up, select from 3 levels of steam.
The lighter option uses less steam (and water) and the heavier option uses more steam to tackle larger messes.
5. Slide away!!
From here, you will hear the mop gurgling and hissing a bit- and you’re ready to go! Simply mop your floors as usual – pausing over stickier spots or scrubbing stubborn spots with the foot piece.
If your mop begins “sputtering” it probably just needs more water. Press the buttons to stop it, fill up the reservoir, re-insert it, and begin again.
If you need to change outlets to reach another part of your home, the mop will take another 30 seconds to warm up. (Although this tends not to bother me- I usually don’t mind the quick break when mopping!)
6. When finished, try not to tread on your floors as they will air-dry so perfectly Remove the mop pad and put away your steam mop.
You can simply launder these pads with the rest of your towels (just don’t use fabric softeners or it will affect the texture!) and use them over and over.
The steam mop has built-in hooks for safely wrapping the electrical cord, and it also comes with a small plastic base for storing.
The Best Steam Mop under $100
Now, if you want to make the switch to steam mopping but don’t want to break the bank, I wholeheartedly recommend the Bissell PowerFresh.*
There are several options, include a pet-specific mop, but I use the standard blue model 1940*. It has been listed as Amazon’s best choice for steam mops for several years now!
We purchased it in 2016 and have had no issues! We haven’t had to order any extra pads or replacement parts. I’ve even loaned it to friends so they can try it out!
Pros and Cons of the Bissell Steam Mop PowerFresh 1940*
|Cleans AND sanitizes floors without using chemicals Naturally eliminates 99.9% of germs through steam|
Includes high, medium, or low steam to tackle any mess
Features swivel steering and a 23-foot power cord
Does not require batteries, cleaning solution refills, or additional mop pads
Has accompanying fragrance discs if you love the scents of standard floor cleaners
Flip-down scrubber brush makes it easy to break down dried-up messes in seconds (with no bending over!)
Requires very little maintenance (see a quick guide here)
|Higher initial cost than other cleaning options|
About twice the weight as the Swiffer WetJet (but still relatively light at only 9 lbs)
Cord length – while able to span multiple rooms- will not likely span a whole house and will require multiple outlet uses
Requires a short wait once plugged in (30 seconds to warm up)
May not be the best fit for all types of flooring material **
**A quick word of caution: Consider if your floors respond well to water. Our laminate floors do not show any warping or negative effects to either the steam mop or spills. However, some types of laminate will definitely respond negatively to excess moisture so take this into consideration.
Where to Buy A Steam Mop on A Budget (Bissell Steam Mop)
Fortunately the Bissell PowerFresh is carried in many stores so you can compares prices, look for sales, or use your favorite rewards card!
I find that Amazon or Walmart typically has the best deal (although Walmart’s is just a slightly different version.)
Quick tip: If you don’t have Amazon Prime, click here to get a 30-day FREE trial so that you’ll get free shipping on your steam mop* (and whatever else you can pack into buying for a month .)