5 Best Steam Mops for Hardwood Floors (+Wood Cleaning Tips)

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steam mop for hardwood floorsCleaning hardwood floors may seem straightforward, but it can be a tricky process given the nature of these floors. Using the wrong tools can damage your floor as they allow excess moisture to seep in, which can damage the surface.

 A steam mop is an excellent cleaning tool as it removes more than surface dirt.  You can brighten the finish of the floors with the right tool. This ensures that you maintain the luster of your wood floors without using dangerous chemical cleaners. Moreover, you never have to deal with smears, footprints, or unpleasant stains.

Here is a detailed guide on what to consider before making a purchase, the 5 top steam mops for hardwood floors, and helpful tips when using a steam mop.

What to Consider When Buying Steam Mop for Hardwood Floors

A steam mop is an essential cleaning tool that you need to have as a homeowner. However, with lots of brands in the market, deciding on the best steam mop can be daunting.  You need to be picky when buying a steam mop as you need to ensure that it cleans your hardwood floors with ease.  Here are some essential things you need to look out for in hardwood steam mops. 

Size of the Unit

 Steam mops vary in size, and each has a different use.  Small units work well for homeowners with limited storage like those living in an apartment. Despite their small size, they have excellent cleaning power and are easy to maneuver than big units.

A bigger steam mop works well for those with a large floor surface.  Some models provide up to two hours of steam, which reduces the time spent on refilling. Also, some have more attachments like grout brushes, detail nozzles, and cleaning heads, something you won’t find in smaller units.

The Design of the Steam Mop

 Canister steam mops are of two type’s mainly wet steam and dry vapor.  Wet steam models have a boiler temperature of 212 degrees, and they are inexpensive. However, dry vapor models can go up to 320 degrees, and they are expensive. Both versions are versatile than ordinary mops.

Compatibility with the Floors

You need to choose a steam mop designed for hardwood floors. Some models can clean other types of floors like laminate.

The Brands Available

There are different brands on the market. It’s critical to know what brands offer excellent performance.  Going through steam mop reviews to see how they are rated will help you decide on a brand that best suits your cleaning needs. 

Adjustable Steam

 Adjustable steam helps you adapt your steam mop to various types of wood floors.  Steam mops with tile scrubbers and spray functions are ideal for wood floors.

Having different steam levels comes in handy if your house has several flooring types. You can turn the steam down when handling wood floors and crank things up when cleaning tile grout.

Look Out For Residual Moisture

Excess residual moisture not only leaves dirt sludge behind, but it also damages hardwood floors.  Check to see if the unit comes with absorbent cloths with fantastic steam control. 

Additional Features

Steam mops have various handy features all meant to make your work easier.  Some of these features include: 

Cleaning Pads

cleaning pad Cleaning pads have microfiber, and they are used to catch and remove dirt.  A few models have more than one cleaning pad which is useful when handling extensive cleaning. Also, the additional part is beneficial when you need to wash and steam clean at the same time.

Some steam mops only work with cloths recommended by the manufacturer, while others allow you to use any fabric. Make sure to check this feature and the cost of getting another cleaning pad before you settle on one model.

Water Tank

Some models require you to let the unit cool down before you refill them, this makes work difficult and consumes time, and however, there are steam mops that allow you to refill the tank while cleaning.

Power Cord

The size of the power cord may not seem like an issue, but it can affect how your clean your wood floors. If you only need to clean a small portion, a mop with a short power cord may work. However, if you need to move in between rooms, you need a cord that is long enough to fit your space.

Heat up Time and the Indicator

Manufacturers indicate the heat-up time on their models; this  can range from 25 seconds to a few minutes.  Be sure to check this if you need your mop to heat up quickly. Also, check the steam-ready indicator that shows when the steam generator has heated up and is ready for use.

Available Accessories

Some steam mops come with a brush or a jet nozzle that helps to clean grout and other hard to reach corners of the house. These extra accessories add to the versatility of your mop.

 Specific steam mops allow you to clean carpeted areas as they have spot-cleaning attachments.  You can easily freshen patches and remove stains when cleaning the wood floors.

Pad Rest

Cleaning can get tiresome after a while. You may need a steam mop with a padded rest as it allows the mop to sit without the risk of damaging the floor.

5 Best Steam Mops for Hardwood Floors

BISSELL PowerFresh Steamer Cleaner

 BISSELL PowerFresh steam mop is not only a bestseller, but it’s one of the versatile cleaners in the market.  Its affordability guarantees value for money. As a must-have steam cleaner, the unit comes with mop pads that have all-round flexible attachments.

Also, you can find three stream control levels that range from light, medium, to high levels.  Bissell steam cleaner is your go-to option when you need to spot clean or eliminate tough grime with steam.

Features

  • Microfiber mop pads one for tough stains and another for regular dirt
  • Digital variable steam control
  • 1500 watts of power
  • Fragrance discs
  • 23-inch cord
  • 30-second warm-up time

Unlike other steam mops in the market, the Bissell  comes with anti-microbial protection which kills disease-causing microorganisms.  Also, it comes with an ergonomic handle which adds comfort. You can also clean other types of flooring like marble, ceramic, concrete, and tile floors.

You may not like the leaky caps on some units. Also, you’ll need to be careful when using the deep-cleaning mode as it generates lots of water. This means that your floors will take longer to dry.

Generally, Bissell PowerFresh is a perfect choice if you need a steam mop that will get rid of those tough stains on your hardwood floor. It has a scrubbing brush which makes scrubbing easier. You can have your floors clean in no time.

Shark Steam Pocket Mop

The Shark Steam Mop boasts of excellent features at an affordable price.   Its ease of use and efficiency means that you clean your hardwood floors without a struggle.  Furthermore, its lightweight design allows you to mop different rooms without getting tired. You’ll only need to wait for 30 seconds for the unit to heat up; then you can remove dirt grease in any area.

Features

  • Comes with a user guide
  • Lightweight design
  • 18-feet power cord
  • Removable and big water tank
  • Has an on-demand steam supply

However, one feature that you won’t find on the Shark Steam mop is the availability of more pads. You’ll need to buy more pads if you plan on washing bigger areas. Also, the cleaning pads are not machine washable like what other models provide.

Shark Steam Mop is an inexpensive, yet efficient cleaner that helps you remove dirt and grease in any area. With a big and removable water tank, you won’t need to refill after cleaning a single room.  You should get this unit if you need an easy to store unit that makes your work easier.

BISSELL PowerFresh Lift Pet Steam Mop

Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off pet steam mop has an attachment that can be used in various surfaces and it’s one of the best upgrades.   The 13 attachments allow you to clean areas with lots of debris.  Like other Bissell steam mops, this one has an odor-eliminating scent and comes with a flip-down scrubber for the times you need to get rid of tough stains.

Features

  • Flip down scrubber
  • Removable hand-held steamer
  • 25-foot cord
  • Easy to use control panel
  • Multi-functional trigger

Although the steam mop does a perfect job at cleaning, it has some minor flaws. It’s heavier than other steam mops in the market. Also, you may need to refill often as the unit  comes with a 13-ounce tank. 

The lift-off pet steam mop is a great choice if you want a cleaner that does more than cleaning sealed flooring.  The 25-foot power cord allows you to move in between floors.

BISSELL Symphony Hardwood Steam Mop

Bissel Symphony all-in-love vacuum and steam mop is an excellent option if you’re looking for a  steamer that comes with a vacuum to rid your floors of any pet dander. 

We all love pets, but not the fur they spread all around the house.  The symphony model allows you to steam clean and vacuum the floors.  Find easy touch digital controls that make it easy to switch between high and low steam. It also allows you to change between vacuum modes.

Features

  • Two tank technology
  • Pet hair strainers and multi-surface pet brush
  • Pet odor cleaning solution
  • Double action nylon brush
  • On-demand trigger controls

The SteamBoost disposable mop pads help you clean up any pet mess.  You can vacuum the floor and switch into a steam clean mode. This saves you time when cleaning.

It’s important to note that the pads don’t allow for excess scrubbing.  You’ll need to make some passes to clean the mess.  Unlike other models, the BISSELL Symphony doesn’t have an on and off switch. You might need to refill the water tank if handling large floors as the unit has a small water tank that gives you 15 minutes of cleaning.

The BISSELL symphony steam mop is a must have as a pet owner. It’s a versatile machine as it has a vacuum and a mop, which makes work easier. The unit is also expensive, though this is attributed to the 2 in 1 feature.  While you may not be able to get to those tight corners, the steam cleaner works well for small jobs on hard surfaces.

Light N’ Easy Steam Mop Multifunctional Handheld Steamer

The Light N’Easy steam mops  weigh four pounds , and its design makes it portable to carry around. Its budget-friendly price makes it a winner for anyone looking for a unit that provides impressive cleaning abilities.

Features

  • Ergonomic design with a comfortable handle
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Excellent sanitation
  • Has a microfiber pad that dries the surface in no time

Being a small unit, you’ll have to deal with a  small tank which has a capacity of 7 ounces.   This means that you can clean for at least 10 minutes at a single time.  Also, you may find it difficult to get rid of tough stains as the microfiber doesn’t have profound cleaning abilities like what you’d see in Bissell models.

Although you may need to pump the handle to get the unit to produce steam, you can expect value for that price. It runs hotter than other steam mops which help to kill bacteria and ensure high levels of sanitation.

The Light N’ Easy mop is an easy to use unit with power to clean and sanitize hardwood floors. As a homeowner with a small area to maintain, the mop works well in small cleaning tasks.

Tips for Using a Steam Mop on Hardwood Floors

As a beginner, understanding how to properly clean your hardwood floors with a steam mop may be confusing.  Here are some essential tips for using a steam cleaner on hardwood floors. 

Vacuum or Sweep the Floors

vacuum or sweep the floors You should vacuum or sweep the floors before cleaning.  Some units have carpet gliders which help to freshen carpets and eliminate odors.

Only Use the Mop on Sealed Wood Floors

Having floors that are unsealed only makes them vulnerable to moisture.  Using a steam mop on the floors leaves some water on the floor, which could lead to damage.   Replacing this type of flooring is expensive. That’s why most steam mops will recommend that you only use the machine on sealed hardwood floors.

Test the Cleaning Pad on a Small Area of the Floor

First time users have a hard time using the steam cleaner, and this leaves their floors with scratches. The only option left to cover the ugly marks is to have the floor refinished. Fortunately, you can avoid the hassle by  testing the cleaning pad on a hidden area of the floor.   After, you can clean the rest of the area knowing that there are minimal chances of getting scratches.

Also,  avoid getting your cloth too wet as this increases friction and works less efficiently. 

Use Distilled Water

Distilled water provides perfect results than tap water.   Tap water has hard minerals that leave streaks, not to mention they could damage your mop. 

Use Detergents Carefully

You might  consider using less of laundry detergent when using a steam mop.  It may leave streaks once the floor dries up.

FAQ For Steam Mop for Hardwood Floors

Here are some frequently asked questions about steam mops for hardwood floors.

Does steam work on hardwood floors?

Steam works perfectly on wood floors as long as you know how to use it. You’ll need a thick absorbent microfiber pad to ensure that you leave the surface dry to avoid damage.

What is the best way to clean hardwood floors with a steam mop?

Cleaning hardwood floors is not a difficult task. You’ll need to dust the floors daily to avoid dirt and dust buildup.   Use the steam mop on a weekly basis.  Avoid using harsh cleaners in your steamer. Items like lemon juice and vinegar can strip off the protective coating off of your floor.

Also, ensure that you keep the steam mop off the floor as you trigger the steam.  High steam heat can damage the floor.  Always use a clean mop pad before steaming the floor.

Can Steam Mops Help with Pet Odors and Stains?

remove pet odors and stainsSteam mops are efficient and robust at removing pet odors and stains.  The mops also work well for sticky messes, and you won’t need any harmful chemicals to get rid of the tough stains.

With Different Models in the Market, How do I Choose the Right One?

Steam mops vary in regards to tank capacity, accessories, and features.  Determine what you’re looking for and choose a model that fits your needs and budget.  Consumer reviews are also helpful when making a decision.

Why Does My Steam Mop Leave Streaks?

A wet mop pad only leaves streaks on the floor. You’ll need to  change the pad more often to prevent this.  It’s critical to note that streaking is more of a problem with some models than others as the quality and thickness of the pads differ.

For more Steam Mop reviews check out our post on the Best Steam Mops of 2021.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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