Top Product: Bissell Powerfresh Deluxe | $100 | Amazon
When my editor handed me this assignment, I was truly amused. What is a steam mop? I’d never even heard of one, let alone knew what to do with it. So I got to work, extensively researching all the contenders for the best steam mop I could find online, learning how and when to use it, and of course, figuring out exactly what it is, to begin with.
The best way I can describe a steam mop is a Swiffer, except with a cord. Instead of a reservoir filled with a chemical solution, it’s filled with water. When you plug the mop in, it quickly heats and disperses 250-degree steam into the mop head. Then you use that to easily clean the floor.
Here’s the thing: Unlike a regular mop or the old hands and knees method, you don’t use any soap or solution with a steam mop. According to The Spruce, it’s actually not for deep cleaning at all, contrary to my first impressions. This mop is used for maintenance or for killing bacteria after you’ve deep cleaned. The steam makes washing your floor easy if you choose to do it often. It’s perfect for rainy or snowy days, a lot of little ones running around, or just keeping those stubborn floors spotless.
Most people don’t actually need this mop. Since this doesn’t need any soap, it is a good option for folks who have a chemical or sent sensitivity or prefer to keep household chemicals to a minimum.
Using it is simple. Sweep the floor and make sure there is no dirt/debris. Make sure you have a few mop pads to use, so when one gets dirty, swap it out, and keep going. The mop pads are easy to clean, just pop them in the washing machine and you’re good to go the next time you need to use the steam mop. Most steam mop manufacturers recommend this mop for all kinds of floors, but the experts say it’s not as safe as people think it is and should be used for stone, tile, perhaps carpet but certainly not wood.
Best Overall: Steam and Go Multi-Function Steamer Mop
The Steam and Go Multi-Function Steamer Mop is a great garment and floor steamer all in one! It can even be used for cleaning glass windows, carpets, upholstery, and drapes. The foot pedal makes it super easy to spray water while you’re in deep clean mode.
This tank holds a whopping 350 mL of water and comes with a 300 mL detergent tank included. Plus, it comes with detachable accessories for its multiple uses and a 17-foot power cord. Note that the battery allows for up to 30 minutes for steady use.
Best Consumer Reports Pick: Bissell Powerfresh Deluxe
A Consumer Reports-approved steam mob, Amazon reviews of the Bissell Powerfresh Deluxe are shining stars as well. The 4.6- out of 5-star rating with over 6000 reviews speaks for itself. One of those reviewers, Erin B. Morrigan writes, “All I can tell you is, I actually feel legitimate love for this inanimate object. I have steam cleaned my entire house in the last 24 hours and I cannot believe how dirty everything actually was!! Even things I thought had been cleaned well.”
Best for Hardwood Floors: Shark Professional S3601
The Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop - S3601 is perfect for sanitizing and cleaning sealed hard floor surfaces, such as hardwood, marble, stone, tile, laminate, and bamboo.
This product leaves surfaces feeling cleaner than any traditional mop-and-bucket system. With three distinct steam settings, this mop is ideal for cleaning different floor surfaces across multiple cleaning needs.
Plus, the two-sided steam pocket pads allow for twice the cleaning area of other mops with just a quick flip. Get rid of tough stains, loose dirt, and grime in no time!
This story was originally published by Chaya M Milchtein on 10/21/2020 and updated with new information by Juliana Clark on 07/06/2021.