How to Use a Steam Mop

Using a steam mop is a simple matter of filling the unit with water, heating it up and allowing it to use its steam to lift dirt from your sealed floors. This environmentally friendly cleaning option requires nothing but water and heat to get the job done, making it a safe way to clean around children and pets. If you encounter tough stains, simply linger over them a bit longer with the mop to let the steam do its work.

Using a steam mop
credit: ymgerman/iStock/GettyImages
Steam mops need only water to shine sealed and tiled floors.

Step 1

Sweep or vacuum your floor to pick up any loose debris. Removing loose dirt ensures that it doesn't get caught up in the steam mop and damage it.

Step 2

Prepare the mop by placing a freshly laundered cleaning pad onto the bottom of the unit. Fill the water reservoir with distilled water to the fill line and then plug the steam mop into an electrical outlet and turn it on.

Step 3

Wait for the indicator light on your steam mop to illuminate. When it does, your mop is hot enough to produce steam and is ready to use.

Step 4

If you are using the steam mop on a wood or laminate floor for the first time, test the mop on an inconspicuous area. If not, begin mopping the floor using smooth, even strokes. The mop should automatically emits steam as you move it forward and picks up dirt as it slides backward. If the steam doesn't emerge from the mop head, push the steam button or pump the mop handle a few times to get it going. If you encounter a tough stain while mopping, simply hold the mop over it for about eight to 10 seconds to allow the steam to loosen it.

Step 5

When you finish mopping, unplug the unit and allow it to cool. When the mop has cooled down, remove the cleaning pad from it and put the steam mop away. Wash the cleaning pad in the washing machine with warm water—it's best to clean the pad by itself rather than mixing it with other laundry items. Use liquid laundry detergent rather than powder, and avoid fabric softener. Hang the pad to dry or place it in the dryer on the lowest setting.


Michelle Miley

Michelle Miley

Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.