8 Steam Mops That Will Get Your Floors Cleaner Than They've Ever Been

These expert-recommended mops use steam to sanitize and clean surfaces like tile and sealed hardwood.

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Composite of steam mops for flooring
Photo: Courtesy of Walmart, Amazon

A steam mop is a must-have tool that harnesses the power of steam to both clean and sanitize your floors. Unlike traditional stick or spin mops (which rely on the efficacy of your cleaning solution and good old elbow grease), steam mops use heated water vapor to loosen ground-in or stuck-on grime, easily removing it from surfaces with little to no chemicals.

Steam Mop vs. Regular Mop

The key difference between a steam mop and a regular mop is that the former doesn't require any chemicals or cleaning agents to do their jobs effectively, explains Val Oliveira, the CEO of Val's Services Cleaning. Steam mops work by drawing water from a tank attached to the appliance where it is heated and directed towards a microfiber pad, which makes contact with the surface that needs to be cleaned. "The steam, along with the microfiber pad, helps to loosen and remove dirt, grime, and bacteria from the floor," Oliveira says, making a steam mop an eco-friendly and chemical-free option for sanitizing and cleaning. "It is also generally more effective at removing stubborn stains and dirt compared to a regular mop," she says.

Can Your Steam Mop Replace Your Regular Mop?

Whether or not a steam mop can replace a regular mop depends on your cleaning needs, says Oliveira. "For everyday cleaning, a steam mop can be a convenient and effective option," she says. "However, for heavy-duty cleaning or for cleaning areas that are not suitable for steam cleaning, a regular mop may still be needed."

Surfaces That Should Not Be Steam Cleaned

You can use steam mops on many surfaces, like tile, linoleum, vinyl, and sealed hardwood floors. "They are also effective at cleaning grout. The steam can penetrate into the small crevices and help remove dirt and stains," Oliveira says. Avoid using steam on unsealed hardwood floors, laminate flooring, and carpeting. "Steam can damage the finish on unsealed hardwood floors, and laminate flooring can be easily damaged by moisture," she says.

Additionally, steam can also cause carpet fibers to become matted and can even potentially shrink certain types of rugs. For these jobs, skip the steam mop; your best bet is to use a shampooer or spot clean.

How to Pick the Best Steam Mop for Your Home

There are a lot of excellent steam mops on our list, but when it comes to choosing the one that's right for your home, keep a few key factors in mind, says Justin Carpenter, the general manager at Modern Maids. "Look for one with a large water tank so it can hold enough liquid to steam multiple rooms without needing to be refilled," he says, adding that you'll also want an option with a wider head to ensure you're making fewer passes on your floor as you clean.

Of course, if you're cleaning a smaller area, you may want to opt for a smaller machine. "A smaller mop may be sufficient for a small apartment, while a larger mop may be necessary for a larger home," says Hugo Guerrero, a certified house cleaning technician and carpet repair and reinstallation technician from New York and a consultant for Mattressive.Cleaning.

Finally, you'll want to consider the steam mop's included attachments, as these can be used for a range of hard-to-reach areas, like corners, under furniture, and even above door frames.

8 Expert-Recommended Steam Mops

Best Multi-Purpose: Light 'N' Easy Steam Mop Cleaner

Title Light 'N' Easy Steam Mop Cleaner
Courtesy of Walmart

Oliveira likes this five-in-one steam mop cleaner because it is truly multi-purpose. Not only can the ultra-wide floor attachment clean large floors quickly, but the five included attachments can also help you tackle stubborn messes on your stove, faucets, and even your toilet. Its quick heating setting—it only takes 30 seconds to warm up—ensures water reaches temperatures up to 320 degrees. The mop also comes with a machine washable microfiber pad.

Easiest to Use: Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket Steam Mop

Shark S5003D Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket Steam Mop
Courtesy of Amazon

This three-setting steam control mop by Shark has touch-free technology that will help keep the dirt and grime on the mop's microfiber pad and off your hands. Oliveira prefers this model because it offers chemical-free cleaning in an easy-to-use appliance. This mop can alternate between two different settings, offering a total clean for your floor or more targeted steam blasts for those really stuck-on messes.

Most Popular: Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing and Sanitizing Steam Mop

Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing and Sanitizing Steam Mop
Courtesy of Walmart

If you want a steam option that does allow you to use your favorite cleaning formula, the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop is your best bet, says Guerrero. It's a popular choice, since it's effective and easy to use. "It features adjustable steam settings and a removable water tank for easy filling and cleaning," he says.

When used as directed, this mop claims to kill 99 percent of surface germs and bacteria. It also has accessories that allows you to clean those hard-to-reach places, while offering SmartSet steam settings that tailor the amount of steam you use depending on the size of the job.

Best Value: PurSteam Steam Mop 10-in-1 Cleaner

PurSteam Steam Mop 10-in-1 Cleaner
Courtesy of Amazon

According to Jessica Samson, a cleaning expert with The Maids, this is the most versatile and best value mop you can buy. "It has functions like a handheld steamer. It's easy to use and it can be used on many surfaces," she says. "It is also very portable and lightweight, which makes it easy to maneuver around the house."

The additional attachments are designed for use on floors, glass and mirrors, garments, and more.

Best Cordless: Bissell 1806 PowerFresh Deluxe

Bissell 1806 PowerFresh Deluxe
Courtesy of Walmart

This mop may be incredibly lightweight, but it doesn't scrimp on performance, says Samson. "It is very easy to use, incredibly powerful, and functional," she says.

But the best thing about the PowerFresh Delux is that it's cordless; its power switch makes powering it off and on much easier (most steam mops come with a plug). This option also gives your home a fragrance boost thanks to its scent disks.

Best Accessories: Black+Decker 7-in-1 Steam Mop with Steam Glove Handheld Steamer

Black+Decker 7-1 Steam Mop with Steam Glove Handheld Steamer
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're looking for a few more bells and whistles, you might want to check out the Black+Decker steam mop. Samson says that this mop is worth the higher price tag, partly because of all of the attachments and cleaning options. "It comes with a handheld steamer, grout tool, plastic brush, copper brush, accessory hose, adjustable steam nozzle, steam glove accessory, and more!" she says.

This mop also has a large, but lightweight water tank that can heat up in just 20 seconds. The trigger free steam stream means less work for you as well, since you won't need to hold down a button while you clean.

Professional Grade: Bissell BigGreen Commercial Hercules Vapor Scrub Steam Cleaner

Bissell BigGreen Commercial Hercules Vapor Scrub Steam Cleaner
Courtesy of Bissell

If you frequently need to give you whole house a deep clean you may be looking for a more heavy-duty option. If so, put this professional steamer from Bissell on your radar, says Iris Weinstein, the director of strategic partnerships and trade show sales at ISSA Show North America.

Many of this machine's reviews come from happy homeowners who wanted to avoid frequent rentals while still getting a professional-grade cleaning. While this decidedly more expensive option delivers an impressive result, it doesn't come with any of the bells and whistles like accessories or multiple cleaning modes.

Self-Cleaning: Tineco Floor One S5 Steam Cleaner Wet Dry Vacuum

Tineco Floor One S5 Steam Cleaner Wet Dry Vacuum
Courtesy of Amazon

This model has a smart sensor that will automatically adjust your suction so you can get a continuous clean without having to adapt to a changing landscape. It also includes a dual-tank system that prevents dirty water from being pushed through the mop, ensuring you always get a deeper clean.

You won't have to worry about odors after cleaning, either; this mop has a hands-free self-cleaning and sanitizing option that will keep your rollers good as new.

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