With a device of this type, an alternative to the conventional vacuum cleaner is created within your own four walls. In addition, the steam makes cleaning particularly hygienic, not only on the sealed parquet floor of the home but also in the bathroom, garden, and car. Everything important when buying a steam-based cleaner is summarised here in the guide.
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Hygienic cleaning – what is a steam mop?
The use of a steam broom enables absolutely hygienic cleaning thanks to steam. The integrated container is filled with water that is heated. Afterward, the resulting steam is sprayed onto the surface using a nozzle. In this way, the dirt dissolves on various surfaces such as stone slabs, but also tiles in the bathroom or PVC in the kitchen.
With the wiper attachment at the end of the cleaning process, all softened dirt spots are cleaned directly. What cannot be removed by wiping is practically sucked in. What remains is a clean, germ-free surface. The devices differ mainly in handiness and size. There are also models that have the suction function mentioned above in addition to wiping. The Kärcher helpers are particularly versatile.
You are using steam mops correctly – Where to use them?
Hard surfaces, in particular, are predestined for cleaning with a steam broom. Such a device is particularly useful in the bathroom for corners and gaps, as well as for the shower cubicle and fittings. But also in the garden concrete floors can be easily cleaned of moss and stone slabs as well as paths are cleaned efficiently and quickly. In addition, the cleaning of rims, as well as hard plastic in your own car, is possible.
These are reliably freed from dirt. Likewise, the user can get to hard-to-reach and winding places with a steam broom. Even for removing dirt from windscreens, devices such as those from Kärcher would be conceivable. The steam from the nozzle should not damage the paint itself. However, the components of such a cleaner can cause scratches and scrapes.
Special care should, therefore, be taken. Hard surfaces can be cleaned in your own home without hesitation. Even with upholstered furniture or insensitive carpets, this is possible if the final temperature at the nozzle outlet is not too high. Do not use the nozzle if the surface is sensitive. This is because moisture and heat can quickly penetrate unsealed plank floors, parquet, or wooden floors and damage them. If there is any uncertainty, the material should first be tested in an inconspicuous place.
What are steam mops good for? You can expect these advantages
Since a device that cleans with steam works similarly to a pressure cooker, there are corresponding pros and cons when it comes to its use. A particular advantage of cleaning with steam is the fact that in most cases, no chemicals are needed. These are compensated by the high pressure generated by a device of this type. Another optimal aspect of this technology is that the user no longer has to worry about conventional house dust. This is bound by the water droplets and not, as with other methods, whirled up. It is also perfect for use in places where you don’t want to get your fingers dirty yourself or where a certain amount of spraying power is required to get the dirt out of corners and niches. Rubbish bins are typical things that are predestined for cleaning with steam. However, it must also be clear that electricity is needed to power these devices.
This consumes more energy than a bucket of warm cleaning water would require. If the dirt is particularly stubborn, it usually has to be wiped off again by hand. Apart from that, a steam-based cleaner makes cleaning windows, floors, the car, and your own garden child’s play.
Not only every housewife knows how tedious it is to remove stubborn stains. Cleaning in the household means not only investing a lot of time and energy but also possibly polluting the environment. With a steam mop, all this is much easier and more effective. At the same time, you are also protecting the environment, as no chemical cleaning agents are needed. Steam mops can be used in many different ways and not only in the household. The operation is very easy. The floor steam mop or also hand steam mop is also often used by men to clean the car and much more. If you look at the market for a steam broom, as such a device is often called, you will quickly notice that there are big differences in the accessories or especially in the heating time.
Cleaning is easier than ever
Everyone knows that cleaning can be very time consuming and that a number of chemical cleaning agents are usually used. If you want to do without chemicals completely, it is worth buying a steam machine.
The steam mop works without chemicals using only the power of steam. In order to clean large areas, you usually only need a few liters of water. The work of a steam mop can be divided into two stages. By means of the steam, the dirt is loosened from the surface, and with the generated pressure, the dirt is lifted from the surface. Note: The steam broom can be used in many ways. It is suitable for tiles, laminate or parquet floors, as well as for carpets and furniture surfaces.
By means of a steam control on the handle, even sensitive surfaces can be freed from dirt. Steam mops are available in different versions. You can choose between hand tools, the so-called steam duck, or a versatile model that resembles a vacuum cleaner. Such models are also called steam mops because they can also be used to suck up the dissolved dirt.
Steam as a cleaning agent
When water is heated to 100 degrees Celsius and normal air pressure, water evaporates. These properties underlie all steam mops. Pressure, temperature, and steam are combined for the dust- and dirt-removing properties of a steam mop. This makes it easy to clean floors, upholstery, and other surfaces with a floor steam mop without having to use chemicals. The cleaning result is usually perfect, and you save a lot of time at work.
How does steam work?
The high temperature of the steam removes the dirt from the surface. After the dirt has been dissolved, the dirt must be removed with a clean cloth.
How does steam pressure work?
Steam alone is not enough to dissolve the dirt. The steam pressure lifts the dirt from the surface so that it can be picked up afterward. Therefore, the speed of the steam is very important for the perfect lifting of the dirt. As a rule of thumb – the higher the steam pressure and temperature, the better the cleaning effect of the steam unit.
Steam mop for sensitive surfaces?
With a steam mop, you can easily and effectively clean even sensitive surfaces. The appliance should have a step-less adjustment of the steam pressure because, for many cleaning jobs, the full steam pressure is not always required for good cleaning results. Especially with sensitive materials such as laminate, parquet, wooden floors, upholstery, carpets, and wallpaper, the infinitely variable adjustment of the steam pressure is of great advantage. So you can always choose the right steam level for every cleaning job. When cleaning with steam, sensitive surfaces are not damaged.
The different types and categories of steam mops
The hand steam mop
Such a device is considerably smaller than a floor steam mop and is very suitable for smaller areas. When working, the steam duck can be held in hand. However, the model should not be too heavy. For weight reasons, hand steam mops often only have a small water tank.
The floor steam mop
Such a model hardly differs from the classic vacuum cleaner, because it has a tube and a hose at the end of which the steam nozzle is located. In most tests, these devices convince by their versatility, which makes them also very suitable for cleaning different surfaces. Most floor steam mops are designed primarily to clean the floor, rather than a mop.
The steam broom
Compared to the floor steam mop, the steam broom has no hose and is therefore only suitable for floor cleaning. The nozzle is attached directly to the handle.
The steam broom
The steam mop combines steam mop and vacuum cleaner into one device. The dirt loosened by the steam is absorbed in a similar way to a vacuum cleaner. The steam mop is, therefore, far superior to the simple steam mop.
The window cleaner
Such devices are quite new on the market but are becoming more and more popular. They make it easy to clean windows and other smooth surfaces. The window steam mop is divided into two models. On the one hand, there is the window vacuum cleaner. Here the cleaning liquid must be applied manually to the window. Then you can clean the windows and suck off the dirty water with the window vacuum cleaner and the rubber lip. With the new all-in-one devices, spraying, wiping, and vacuuming is done with only one device. Such models have two tanks. A water tank for freshwater and a tank for the dirty water.
The industrial steam mop
This device is suitable for heavily soiled machines and equipment in the industry. They are always used when other cleaning methods fail. The industrial steam mops are ideal for all work where not much water may be used or where chemicals must be completely avoided. The devices guarantee a high cleaning performance and, at the same time, ensure optimum disinfection.
The advantages of a steam mop
It does not matter whether you use the cleaning device as a steam vacuum cleaner, steam duck, steam jet or steam broom, because you will always benefit from numerous advantages. At the same time, you will protect the environment with the best cleaning performance.
Advantage 1 – versatile application possibilities
The biggest advantage of the steam mop is the numerous possible applications. With its good dissolving properties, the steam mop easily dissolves dirt, grease deposits, and lime edges without the use of chemical cleaning agents.
The entire household becomes hygienically clean because a steam mop can be used to clean not only the various floors but also windows and upholstery. With the help of the hand nozzle and the various attachments, the complete cleaning of bath and shower, including the fittings, becomes a child’s play. A further advantage of the steam device is that the condensed steam does not leave any allergenic residues compared with numerous household cleaners.
Especially allergy sufferers and people with skin irritations and the like will appreciate this. The steam binds the dust so that it does not stir up any allergens, just like a conventional vacuum cleaner. At the same time, the room climate is significantly improved during cleaning. In the household with babies and small children, the steam mop is a valuable aid for everyday life.
Thanks to the child safety lock, you can be sure that there will be no unintentional accidents. For cleaning work in the household, the steam broom is suitable in addition to the steam vacuum cleaner. For smaller areas such as on fittings, a hand steam mop, also known as a steam duck, is very suitable. The window steam mop can be used very well for window cleaning.
Advantage 2 – saves energy and time
Steam cleaning is convenient because it saves time on the one hand and energy on the other. It is easy to reach hard-to-reach places, and cleaning corners, niches, and joints are no longer a problem. Powerful scrubbing and scouring are no longer necessary when cleaning floors. When cleaning the windows, you no longer have to polish the panes laboriously. This is done by the window wiper. For this reason, you should pay attention to the possible applications when buying a steam appliance. It is also important to have a wide range of accessories so that you can use the steam mop in all its facets. With versatile accessories, almost all household tasks can be done. A pure steam broom, on the other hand, is impractical for cleaning narrow places such as between the stove and the cupboard, because you cannot reach every corner with it.
Advantage 3 – Protection of the environment
If one looks at the scarce natural resources, it quickly becomes clear how important the ecological and economical use of water is. With a steam mop, you can save a lot of water when working in the household. One liter of water in the water tank produces around 1,700 liters of steam.
With one liter of water, you can work for about 20 minutes and thus easily clean a smaller apartment or a few windows. Just as important for the environment is the fact that no chemical cleaning agents are used.
About 99% of the known household cleaners can remain in the cupboard when using a steam mop. Everything gets clean because of the steam power and the high temperatures. Even the energy costs are kept within reasonable limits when using a steam mop.
Only energy is required during the heating up period. Many models of steam mops are ready for use after a heating time of only one to four minutes. This ensures low power consumption. The heating-up time of the steamer is strongly dependent on the boiler system used. Kärcher’s hand-held steam mops are equipped with a flow heater so that the steam duck is ready for use after just one minute.
What should you bear in mind when using a steam mop?
The steam mop offers a number of advantages, but there are also a few points to consider when using it, which may also have disadvantages.
You should not use a steam mop to clean oiled wooden or cork floors unsealed wooden floors or unsealed parquet. With temperature-sensitive materials such as upholstered furniture, curtains, wallpaper, and the like, you should test in an inconspicuous place to see whether the cleaning is without after-effects. While working with the steamer, remember that hot water vapor is escaping at the point jet nozzle.
This is important when changing cloth or brushes. The spot blasting nozzle must not be touched under any circumstances, as this will cause burns during handling. Tip: Sensitive surfaces can still be cleaned with a steam mop. The steamer should be equipped with a steam regulator. This means that less pressure is generated during cleaning.
The possible uses of a steam mop
The many possible uses of a steam mop include
- Bathtubs and showers
- Laminate and sealed parquet floors
- different surfaces of furniture
- Garden tools
- Cleaning work in the garden
Tip: Heat is a good way to control weeds. With the steam of a steamer, you can destroy the
a sensitive organism of weeds by scalding.
Cleaning of parquet and laminate flooring
Laminate that is coated can be cleaned with a steam mop. However, it is advisable to check in advance that the floor covering has been properly glued and that no cracks or joints have formed.
Otherwise, moisture can penetrate through these and cause the laminate to swell. You can check whether the laminate can be cleaned with the floor nozzle and floor cloth of the steam mop, as with a mop, in a small, invisible area. The first step is to vacuum the laminate floor with a vacuum cleaner to remove coarse dirt and crumbs. To clean the laminate floor gently, it is best to use a steam mop with different steam pressure levels or an integrated steam regulator.
Laminate flooring should never emit too much steam, so it is advisable to set the steam mop to the lowest steam level. It is even safer to use two or three cloths because then as little steam as possible gets onto the floor. The cleaning itself should be done quickly, and you should not linger too long in one place. No moisture should accumulate on the floor. If this is the case, wipe it off immediately with a dry cloth. This form of cleaning can also be applied to parquet and plank floors. Ideally, the parquet should be hard sealed. When cleaning carpets, use the carpet glider.
This makes it easy to remove deep-seated dirt, which can then be vacuumed up with a vacuum cleaner or directly with a steam mop. Note: If unattractive streaks appear on floors when cleaning with the steam mop, this is usually due to old residues of cleaning agents. In such a case, the cleaning must be repeated until the floor is free of streaks. After such a basic cleaning, cleaning floors with the floor nozzle is much faster than with a mop.
Cleaning of tiles
Even with a simple model of steam mop without steam pressure setting or steam flow regulation, tiles can be cleaned quickly and easily. As a rule, tiles are insensitive to heat and moisture. To clean the joints of the tiles the hand steam mop is a good choice. For large areas of wall tiles or for floor cleaning, the use of a steam broom or a floor steam mop is ideal. The Cleanmaxx steam mop is very suitable for cleaning small and large areas, as it is a combination of steam broom and hand steam mop.
Cleaning of joints
Joints on both floor and wall tiles are real dirt traps. With the steam of a steamer, you can get to grips with this problem. To do this, you use the spot jet nozzle and steam the tiles at close range. With a small brush attachment, you can work the heat-resistant joints with full steam power. This is a very good way to remove mold, which often sits in the joints. With silicone joints, mold penetrates particularly deeply. Even with a steam mop, it is unfortunately not possible to remove it completely. Nevertheless, cleaning with a steam mop is useful, because the high heat prevents the mold from growing and prevents it from spreading so easily.
Cleaning of windows and glass surfaces
All glass surfaces in the household, such as windows, doors, showcases, and glass tables are moisture-resistant and can be easily cleaned with a steam mop. More and more households are using window steam mops, so there is a range of accessories available. For a perfect cleaning of the windows, all coarse dirt should be removed in the first step as part of a basic cleaning.
To do this, you can use the steam nozzle or the special window nozzle with a cloth to generously evaporate all surfaces. After the surfaces have dried, the actual window cleaning with the window steam mop takes place. It makes sense to use the window nozzle with the rubber lip. The glass surfaces are then evaporated in lanes with the window nozzle and then pulled off lane by lane with the rubber lip. To prevent streaks from forming, you can then wipe with a dry cloth.
Attention: In winter, you have to be a little careful when cleaning the windows with the steam mop. The hot steam on cold windows can cause cracks in the glass. This can be avoided by preheating the windows with the steam at a distance of 15 cm and then starting the cleaning.
Cleaning the car
With a steam mop, you can very well clean and maintain your car. Not only headlights and windows can be easily cleaned of dirt, but also dirty rims are cleaned by the steam pressure. Cleaning in places that are difficult to access becomes a child’s play. However, you should make sure that the dirt does not get into the groundwater. It is advisable to take up the dissolved dirt immediately with a cloth.
The upholstery in the car will quickly become clean and fresh again. To do this, first vacuum them with a vacuum cleaner or directly with the steam mop to remove crumbs and coarse dirt. Test the use of the steam mop on an inconspicuous spot to check the colorfastness of the upholstery. You can also get further tips on this in the operating instructions.
For cleaning, use a small brush attachment covered with a microfibre cloth or a round brush. With the smallest steam setting, you go like this over the upholstery. When cleaning, always work in the grainline and do not rub too hard.
After cleaning, the upholstery must dry well, but should not be placed in direct sunlight. Especially dog owners will appreciate the use of the steam mop because with a special additive in the water tank, the car smells pleasantly fresh again after cleaning.
By the way, this also applies to the upholstered furniture in the apartment. Even the paint of the car can be cleaned gently with the steam mop. When steaming, you should always keep a minimum distance of 20 cm and take up the dissolved dirt immediately with a cloth, so that it does not come to scratching. When cleaning the car, it is worth using a steam mop with a long cable length, because this increases the radius of action.
Remove mites and bacteria
One reads again and again that you can remove mites from mattresses and bacteria in the household very well with a steam mop.
This statement is only partly true. To remove mites from mattresses, you have to steam for a very long time, which means that they get very wet and cannot be used for a long time. If one believes the statements of Stiftung Warentest or other independent testers, then the growth of mites would be promoted in a moist, warm environment. Bacteria, on the other hand, can be fought quite well with a steam mop, because the high temperatures make surfaces hygienically clean. Extra tip: You can easily remove old wallpaper with a steam mop. To do this, steam the wall several times from top to bottom and then remove the strips easily.
What should you pay attention to when buying a steam mop?
Steam mops offer a number of advantages. Stubborn dirt can only be removed with hot steam and without chemical cleaning agents. When using a steam mop, the dirt is softened and then removed with a cloth. This is a quick and efficient way to ensure a clean living environment. Especially ugly and difficult to remove lime stains in the bathroom, and shower can be removed effortlessly. This saves you the trouble of scrubbing.
Range of important accessories
As the steam mop can be used in many ways in the household, great importance should be attached to the accessories. There are special nozzles and attachments for tiles, laminate floors, windows, upholstery, and carpets. Some manufacturers have an Easy fix system so that changing the nozzles is easy. There are also special attachments for window cleaning and dry steamers. Before buying, you should check whether as many of the attachments as possible are included in the scope of delivery.
Such a high-quality appliance is usually a bit more expensive to buy. But this is worth it in any case. Many of the cheap steam mops drip and are therefore too wet to use. You cannot use them to clean laminate or wooden floors. On upholstery and carpets, mold can form due to the high humidity.
The heating power
A good steam mop can be recognized by its rapid operational readiness. Therefore the steam mop should have a good heating capacity. At least 2,000 watts are ideal here. Manufacturers specify the maximum heating capacity in watts and the heating time in seconds.
The stepless steam regulation
For models with a stepless steam regulation, you can individually choose how much steam should come out of the appliance. This helps to avoid stains and the resulting damage. In not all cases, the full amount of steam is required for optimal cleaning.
The safe steam mop has appropriate seals such as the TÜV seal or the GS mark. These institutes pay attention to safe handling in their tests so that under normal circumstances, you cannot burn yourself on the steam mop. Another important criterion is the child safety lock.
The vapor pressure and operating time
Compared to an industrial steam mop, the household models operate with lower steam pressure. However, this is perfectly sufficient for all household tasks. When buying, you should pay attention to a sufficient steam pressure, which is often also called boiler pressure, because this is the only way to dissolve dirt easily and the steam is very fine. Manufacturers specify the maximum steam pressure in the bar. Another purchase criterion is operating time. This indicates how long you can work with a water tank filling before you have to refill it.
Various equipment features
- Models with a single boiler system heat the water completely before it is discharged under pressure. Such steam mops can only be refilled after a certain cooling time. In addition, energy costs are higher because the entire tank content must be heated, even if it is not needed.
- Better are the models with a 2-tank system. Since not the entire tank content is heated, these are ready for operation more quickly. They can also be refilled at any time. Some of the models can also be connected to special steam iron. You then have an extra iron connection and save the purchase of an ironing station.
- The steam readiness display informs you when you can use the steam mop. Steam adjustment is made much easier with the steam regulator on the handle.
- With an appropriate filling funnel, you can refill the steam mop without annoying water stains, and the cable winder offers a clear advantage when clearing away.
- The parking system refers to devices on the appliance for storing the nozzles, brushes, and hose.
- If you also want to clean carpets with your steam mop, you should make sure that a carpet glider is included in the scope of delivery.
- The household helper is easy to carry with a handle, and the water level indicator informs you in good time when water needs to be refilled.
- The weight indication in kg is important if you have to carry the steam mop up or downstairs when working.
- With a large water tank, you can work for a long time without interruptions.
- Some models of steam mops are equipped with a decalcification system, a so-called self-cleaning system.
The most important safety features of a steam mop
- Indicator lights that provide information about the respective temperature.
- Child safety lock, which prevents children from using the steam mop.
- Safety valves to prevent overpressure.
- Safety closures, which prevent unintentional steam escape.
- Splash water protection
- Overheating protection, with which the temperature is throttled from a certain degree.
Advantages and disadvantages of cleaning with fleece cloths
The scope of delivery of a steam mop usually includes the floor cloth or the fleece cloth. Such clothes are attached in front of the steam nozzle so that they can absorb the dissolved dirt. It is very difficult to find a replacement for these clothes in the shops, which has big disadvantages, as one has to ask the manufacturer directly for suitable fabrics. Some manufacturers allow the use of microfibre cloths of commercially available brands, which are considerably cheaper to buy than the original fleece cloths.