Steam mops and floor cleaners
If you are looking for a wood floor cleaning machine for your home, it can be a bit confusing at first because there are several different but similar sounding options.
The information here explains some basic concepts and terminology to help you decide if a steam cleaner or floor scrubber will work best for your needs.
Steam cleaners and steam mops
“Steam cleaner” is a general term that includes the two forms explained below. In a steam cleaner, only the steam itself is used as a cleaning agent, no detergents or chemicals are added.
Steam mops come mounted to mop handles to deliver steam directly to the floor.
Handheld steam cleaners go anywhere in the house and use various accessories to clean all surfaces, including countertops, curtains, upholstery, furniture, walls, showers, tile and grout, etc.
Wet / dry cleaners
Use moving scrubbing pads, brushes, or heads to clean floor surfaces
Use a cleaning solution (on the floor or added to water) to clean floors and other surfaces
Usually an upright machine and may have attachments to clean top surfaces like countertops, furniture, curtains, furniture, tile, grout, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages
Steam cleaners, both steam mops and hand mops, can sanitize surfaces in the home IF the steam reaches a certain temperature and is applied to the surface long enough.
Typically, the temperature of the steam should reach about 170 degrees Fahrenheit and remain against the surface to be sanitized for at least 30 seconds to effectively kill most bacteria.
Steam cleaners can produce a “dry” steam that has a low moisture content. Dry steam is useful for cleaning dust from painted walls or grease from surfaces and in other situations where excess moisture is an inconvenience.
Handheld steam cleaners can be good for cleaning vertical surfaces with large areas like walls and showers, windows and glass doors.
Steam cleaners that do not use soap and chemicals are ideal for the safe cleaning of pet cages and places where people, children and animals live. The absence of the use of chemicals also means odor, environmental toxins or waste added by the purchase of containers of cleaning chemicals.
The evidence for grout cleaning abilities goes both ways – some say steam cleaners work great, others have been unsuccessful. The differences are in the details of each situation, the machine used and the technique and skills of the user make it impossible to tell if steam is superior to cleaning grout between tiles.
Floor cleaning machines (wet / dry floor scrubbers)
Floor cleaners using a chemical cleaning agent can benefit from the cleaning solution’s additional cleaning capabilities, and some people like the “freshly cleaned” smell that is left behind. Of course, there are also the environmental drawbacks mentioned above.
Moving brush floor cleaners can provide additional scrubbing power against spills and dry materials (visible and non-visible). Rotating brushes also help clean textured surfaces and reach grout between tiles.
Floor cleaners that circulate the water on the floor and collect it again ensure that no dirty water remains on the floor. Some power mops also clean the floor and suck up excess water to leave the floor dry when they are done.
Floor cleaning machines with a vacuum function in addition to floor cleaning capabilities can reduce an extra step from having to mop or sweep the floor before cleaning.
Floor Cleaning Machine Overview
When it comes to floor cleaners, price is a partial indicator of a machine’s capabilities and the user’s eventual satisfaction and happiness with the results. In our reviews of steam mops and floor cleaning machines, those at the lower price end of the spectrum had more negative reviews than the mid-priced or higher-priced models.
Consider the true cost of low-priced options
Often times, negative reviews for cheaper machines were not due to poor cleaning performance, but rather because the machine never worked at all.
Obviously, buying a machine that never works, and then has to be returned, is a total waste of time. And buying a machine that works only once or twice or one that works badly all the time is also not a solution.
We are not suggesting that you buy the most expensive machine on the market, but we recommend that you read the reviews and carefully consider the time and frustration factors when looking for lower priced machines. In fact, you’ll probably notice that some of the cheaper ones, even from big-name manufacturers, are now on sale because they didn’t make it to the market.
Excellent options in a mid price range
We’ve reviewed great steam cleaners and floor cleaners in the $ 120 to $ 180 range that have hundreds of very positive ratings from real users. By avoiding the low end, there is definitely no need to turn too much in the other direction.
There are higher priced business options for people with unique needs. But for most homeowners, our advice is to avoid low-end and discontinued models, stick with a major manufacturer and trusted retailer, and you should find a great time-saving floor cleaner that leaves your home clean for his family.