Steam Cleaning Floors vs Mopping

Steam Cleaning Floors vs Mopping: Things to Know Before You Choose Your Fighter

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While doing the tedious chore of cleaning the floors, you may ask yourself if steam cleaning is better than mopping. There is always a popular debate between the good old mop and a steam mop, but which one is better?

While steam mops sanitize your floors, traditional mops are better suited to clean spills and quick accidents. Let’s look into this battle in more detail before you choose your fighter.

Related Post: Steam Cleaning vs Hot Water Extraction: How to Choose [Pros & Cons]

The Steam Mop

Steam mops work with heating water in a section inside the mop to a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This creates a jet of stream down the mop pad that sits on the head. That’s what gives the mop its ability to get dirt and grime off the floor.

Unlike regular mops, the steam mop not only absorbs the dirt, the heat of the steam kills any bacteria and dust mites that are on your floor. This makes it a convenient cleaning option to brighten up the floors. It is both a fast method of cleaning AND added sanitizing.

The Classic Mop-and-Bucket Duo

wringing a red mop in a bucket - steam cleaning floors vs mopping
Wring, wring, wring your mop. Wring, wring, wring until you flop.

A mop and bucket would forever remain a classic in the cleaning world. It has become modernized with various sizes and shapes. You only need a mopping cloth, a bucket of water and a cleaning product of your choice.

It is the traditional cleaning method and has never failed us yet. It does not need a manual or electricity, allowing you to use it at any part of the house with no hassle. 

Read on to see the pros and cons of both cleaning accessories.

Pros and Cons of Steam Cleaning and Regular Mopping

 Steam MopRegular Mop
Pros1. Sanitizes the floors
2. Environment-friendly
3. Safe for children and pets 
4. Less effort needed 
5. Multiple settings, such as normal, deep, or dust cleaning
1. Great exercise if you cannot fit a workout in your day
2. Cost-effective 
3. Friendly on almost all types of flooring
4. Good for quick spills
Cons1. It is expensive
2. May damage certain types of flooring
3. Needs a power supply  
1. It easily becomes too much work and may hurt your body 
2. Detergents used may be harmful
3. While it does kill bacteria, it does not get all of them
Steam cleaning floors vs. mopping – pros and cons

Let’s Compare the Two Methods!


So you’re fond of the good ol’ mop. The problem is, your back would beg to disagree.

A mop needs both hands in a scrubbing motion, which becomes tedious, especially if the floor is dirty.

Meanwhile, you can glide a steam mop across the floor using even one hand. It is more effective than a regular mop when cleaning extremely dirty areas.


A steam mop is pretty pricey compared to a mop and bucket. Apart from this, it requires more care and might seriously impact electricity bills. 

A normal mop does not need maintenance (apart from changing the cloth) and does not burn a hole through your pocket.

Results after Cleaning

Steam mops have a natural sanitizing ability, killing bacteria, viruses, and germs. They can also eliminate dust, stubborn dirt, and allergens, which reduces allergies. Furthermore, you do not have to wait until the floor is dry, as it does all this with steam.

The regular mop wets the floor more, and while they kill bacteria, they only do it thanks to various detergents. This contains toxic chemicals and may cause breathing problems. Plus, you have to wait a long while before the floor dries.

How Fast Cleaning is Done

Unlike a steam mop, the traditional mop takes a lot of time and energy to use. A steam mop only needs a few minutes and very little energy to clean up.

Moreover, the normal mop must be constantly dipped and wrung each time you use it. (Not to mention ditching the water if or when it becomes all gooey and refilling the bucket.)

The steam mop, on the other hand, only needs a back-and-forth motion, and the floor is super clean.

Ease of Use

Both types of mops are not hard to use, as the processes are fairly simple to follow. However, a higher-end steam mop can come with extra functions and attention, which need the user manual and a bit of understanding. 

Not everyone needs a space shuttle with tons of bells and whistles when all you need is to clean your floor.

Must I Mop Before Steam Cleaning?

You can if you really want to, but I urge you to take my advice and spare yourself the toil.

For those who are recently making the switch to steam cleaning, you may feel skeptical that your floor is clean without using a traditional mop. However, steam mops tackle almost all bacteria, dust and germs while absorbing the toughest dirt, grime, stains, and dust.

If you want a thorough clean of your floors, a steam mop can provide exactly that. In a shorter while as well, which allows you time for other chores, or to relax.

The Verdict

The steam mop definitely wins the traditional mop by a long shot, as it’s so much more convenient.

Even if you like to clean your floor, there is no reason to throw out your back for it – which is likely with a regular mop.

In the steam cleaning floors vs mopping debate, steam cleaning definitely has the winning statement. It has a way of providing a return on the investment you make, as it completely sanitizes your home with just hot water. You are saving money (and your lungs) on various detergents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use my Shark steam mop on hardwood floors?

Yes, if you use dry steam vapor and your hardwood floors are sealed. Make sure that there are no moveable boards or gaps where water can potentially sneak through. Do not hold your steam mop on one area for too long.

Are steam cleaners good for tile floors?

Steam cleaners are the best for ceramic tiles and walls. Steam can get into the crevices and leave tile grout clean and free of sticky residue.

Is steam cleaning better than mopping?

The steam mop soaks up the dirt from the floor, leaving no residue. The heat can eliminate most of the bacteria that may be on the floor. Not only is it faster than regular mopping, but it also has a natural sanitizing ability.

Are steam mops more hygienic?

Thanks to its high temperature, the steam created kills bacteria and mold without detergents and chemicals. Regular steam cleaning can keep the house fresh and more hygienic.

Not to mention the fact that you’ll NEVER ever have to deal with dirty buckets and goo. For me, this reason alone is just enough.

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