Expert Compares: Steam Mops vs. Traditional Mops

One of the most common cleaning tasks is keeping your floors spotless. Maintaining a clean and hygienic home is a constant endeavour. Steam and traditional mops have dominated the household floor-cleaning arena for years. Choosing between them depends on your cleaning needs, floor type, and personal preferences.

To help you make an informed choice, we present an in-depth comparison between steam and traditional mop.

Steam Mops Pros and Cons

It is relatively new to the world of household cleaning, but steam mops have gained popularity quickly because of their innovative approach.

Effective Cleaning

Because steam mops use high temperatures to loosen and dissolve dirt, grime, and stains, steam cleaning is generally considered more efficient and effective than traditional mopping. Hot steam kills bacteria, germs, and dust mites, making it an ideal choice for households with allergies or pets. Aside from that, steam cleaning uses only water and no chemicals, making it a more eco-friendly option.


Steam mops have the advantage of requiring only water to clean effectively. In this way, you can avoid using chemical cleaners that may harm the environment or your health. For those looking for a greener cleaning solution, it’s a win-win.

Quick Drying

Compared to traditional mops, steam mops leave floors relatively dry. For households with children, the heat evaporates moisture quickly, reducing the risk of slips and falls on wet floors.


Attachments and accessories make steam mops versatile cleaning tools. With the appropriate extensions, steam mops are particularly useful for cleaning sealed hard floors, such as tile, hardwood, laminate, and vinyl. Additionally, they can be used on sealed surfaces such as countertops, shower walls, and glass surfaces. Steam mops often feature built-in scrub brushes and attachments, making removing stubborn stains or reaching hard-to-reach areas easier.

Effortless Cleaning

Generally, steam mops are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, reducing the physical effort involved in cleaning. Steam does most of the work, so you don’t have to exert as much effort. Steam mops help loosen dirt and grime, requiring less scrubbing and repeated rinsing than traditional mopping.

The Cons of Steam Mopping

Steam mops offer numerous benefits, but they also have some drawbacks:

  • Steam mops tend to be more expensive upfront. To maintain optimal performance, they may require descaling or filter cleaning.
  • Water and steam are heated with electricity, which could result in higher energy bills.
  • Steam mops are not suitable for unsealed wood floors or surfaces that are sensitive to heat or moisture.

Traditional Mops Pros and Cons

Households have relied on traditional mops for generations, often made of cotton or microfiber. The types of mops include string, flat, and sponge mops. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of these time-tested cleaning tools:


The cost of traditional mops is generally lower than that of steam mops, making them an affordable option for most households. Standard mop heads need only be replaced occasionally and only require regular washing.   

Easy to Use and Maintain

Traditional mops don’t require any learning curve. No special setup or electricity is needed to use them. It is easy to maintain a traditional mop. The mop head or cloth should be washed after use and replaced when worn out. You don’t have to worry about complex parts or components.

Suitable for All Floor Types

The traditional mop can be used on various floors, including tile, vinyl, and hardwood. Depending on the surface, you can switch between mop heads and cloths. Traditional mops are more versatile because they can be used on unsealed floors and surfaces that cannot withstand high temperatures.

The Cons of Traddional Mopping

Despite their long-standing popularity, traditional mops have a few downsides:

  • Standard mops use chemical agents, which can harm the environment and human health if disposed of improperly.
  • Traditional mops require more physical effort than steam mops since you must manually wring out excess water and scrub stains.
  • Even though traditional mops can clean effectively, they may not sanitise and disinfect as effectively as steam mops, especially if you don’t use disinfectant cleaning solutions.
  • The traditional mop leaves floors wetter than steam mops, resulting in longer drying times and an increased risk of slips and falls.

Ultimately, steam mops and traditional mops are effective in different cleaning situations, but each has advantages and disadvantages. Personal preferences, budget, and specific needs determine the choice.

Whatever mop you choose, a healthy, comfortable home starts with clean floors. Whether you choose a steam mop for its cutting-edge technology or a traditional mop for its tried-and-true simplicity doesn’t matter. Remember that a professional cleaning company can always help you with your cleaning chores when you need it

Can a Steam Mop Be Used on Carpets or Rugs?

Steam mops are designed to be used on hard, sealed surfaces, not carpets or rugs. Steam mopping carpets or rugs can damage them. Heat and moisture generated by steam mops can penetrate deeply into fibres, causing overwetting, shrinkage, or distortion.

Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that they will be cleaned and sanitised effectively. Occasionally, steam mops have rectangular or wide cleaning heads that are difficult to manoeuvre on fabric surfaces.

It is recommended that carpets and rugs be cleaned using methods specifically designed for them, such as vacuuming, dry carpet cleaning, or professional steam cleaning.

If the manufacturer’s instructions are followed, small, washable area rugs may be cleaned with a steam cleaner designed for carpets and rugs.

How Often Should I Steam-Clean Floors?

Several factors will influence how often you should steam-clean your floors, including foot traffic, flooring type, and your preferences. Here are some guidelines for determining how often to do it:

  1. High-traffic areas. It’s recommended to steam-clean certain areas of your home more frequently, such as entryways, hallways, or living rooms. Steam-cleaning them every 1 to 2 weeks will help keep them clean and fresh as they accumulate dirt, dust, and stains.
  2. Moderate-traffic areas. Rooms with moderate foot traffic, such as bedrooms or dining rooms, can usually benefit from steam cleaning every two to four weeks. Maintaining their cleanliness between steam-cleaning sessions requires regular vacuuming and spot cleaning.
  3. Low-traffic areas. Steam-cleaning may only be necessary every 1 to 2 months or less often in areas with little foot traffic, such as guest rooms or formal living rooms. Nevertheless, regular dusting and spot cleaning will still be necessary.
  4. Allergy or pet concerns. When you have allergies or pets, steam-cleaning will be necessary more frequently to remove allergens, pet dander, and other pollutants from the floor, which will help create a healthier living environment. Steam cleaning will be most beneficial every 1 to 2 weeks.

Consider your specific circumstances in addition to these general recommendations. It is important to steam-clean your home more frequently if you have young children or if you regularly host gatherings at your home. Ultimately, you should observe the condition of your floors and use your judgment to determine when they need to be cleaned.

How to Prevent Streaking With Steam Mops

A steam mop shouldn’t leave streaks or residue when used correctly. Several factors can, however, cause streaking when steam mopping:

  • The steam mop may leave streaks or a wet residue on the floor if it releases too much moisture or the cleaning pad doesn’t adequately absorb the steam. Be sure to use the appropriate steam setting recommended for your floor type and not oversaturate the cleaning pad to avoid this.
  • The mop itself may not cause streaks, but the water used for cleaning may. Mineral deposits can accumulate in the steam mop’s heating element or the cleaning pad if the water is hard. These deposits can transfer to the floor over time, leaving streaks or a hazy residue behind. Keep your steam mop clean and descaled regularly to prevent that from happening.
  • When the cleaning pad becomes dirty or saturated with dirt and grime, it can leave streaks on the floor. For effective and streak-free cleaning, cleaning or replacing it regularly is essential, ensuring it’s free of debris and in good condition.
  • Furthermore, if the floor needs to be correctly prepared before steam cleaning, it can result in streaking or residue. Before using the steam mop, ensure the floor is free of loose debris, dust, and larger particles. Cleaning the floor beforehand with a vacuum or sweeping will help. Also, some floor surfaces may streak when exposed to high heat or moisture. Some types of laminate or glossy floors are more likely to show streaks.

Test a small, inconspicuous area before steam cleaning the entire floor to minimise streaking. It will help you determine the appropriate steam setting for your floor type and ensure compatibility. Wipe the floor with a clean, dry microfiber cloth if you notice streaks or residue after steam cleaning.

In Conclusion

There is no definitive winner in the age-old debate between steam cleaning and traditional mopping. Every cleaning method has its advantages and disadvantages. Steam cleaning offers sanitising power, eco-friendliness, and ease of use, while conventional mopping offers affordability and versatility. Clean and healthy homes are the ultimate goal; your chosen method should align with your needs.