I guess I’m always looking for the perfect cleaning system: ideally, one that does all the work automatically. Unfortunately, even in the age of Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri, we’re not quite there yet. I first heard that steam mops existed when I was looking for a better alternative to my Swiffer vacuum.
At my home, the floors vary between hardwood and concrete with some tile. I vacuum (not often enough), but with cats throwing up and making a mess while eating, some things don’t respond to vacuuming. Then, I’m left with mopping.
To break down conventional mopping:
- apply a cleaning solution plus water with the mop,
- squeeze the mop to move the dirt from the mop into the bucket,
- then repeat the mopping with plain water at least once until you have gotten the cleaning solution and dirty water mostly off, likely leaving a mixture of dirty water and cleaning solution each time.
So when I heard about a steam mop, it made sense:
- Use steam as the cleaning solution
- Absorb all the dirty water (all?) with a cleaning pad that can be reused.
Obviously there’s no “squeezing” the mop step and no need for a dang bucket.
In theory, I’m still left with leaving some dirty water on the floor, but at least no chemicals are left (other than the ones left behind from previous excursions with a conventional mop.)
After checking the reviews, I selected the Shark S5003.
Setup: Put the cleaning pad on the device, either the two sided large rectangular one or the smaller one-sided triangular pad. Fill the tank with distilled water (regular water leaves minerals as the water turns into steam) and turn on the intensity of steam: low, medium, or high. Naturally the user may want to vacuum and move things off the floor first.
Use: The steam is produced nearly instantly. The pad is microfiber and a bit rough so it chinks away at dried on cat vomit, food, mud, etc. The tank is large so I can get a lot done before it runs dry. The combination of steam and the pad seems to work well; after only a small amount of mopping the pad is turning brown with dirt. The floor is slightly damp after application, but it dries quickly, especially with fans and A/C on. Extra steam can be applied in a jet to resistant spots by just inverting the mop head (see the picture below). The cord is nice and long so that re-plugging the cord is at a minimum.
After use: The cord coils onto the back of the device when not in use. The dirty pads go into the washing machine with all the other dirty rags, separately from clothes. I think there will less of a tendency for the pads to grow mold because they may have been partially sterilized by the steam. The large rectangular pads fit on the mop by inserting the pad holders into pockets. The triangular pads are held on by Velcro.
Problems: Not many. I wish the tank was a bit larger and that there were more pads included (just one rectangular and one triangular).
Cost: The cost varies between $100 – $125.
Overall: I’m quite pleased with this device. It gives me clean(er) floors with no chemical residue. The device gets good reviews on Amazon. I would rate it 5 stars myself. Plus, if you like sterility (I’m not much of fan), then sterilizing with steam should rock your boat.
Unlike Siri or Alexa, the mop will not do the work. There’s still a noticeable strain on the lower back after using this device, just like the good old “hairy, string” mop. Good luck and have fun mopping. Ugh.
And, remember to get some extra pads.