Steam Mops vs. Regular Mops: Pros and Cons

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steam mops vs regular mops

If you’re looking to upgrade your mop, one question you might have is which is better, a steam mop or a regular mop?

And here’s the truth – they both are great choices. Choosing one over the other will come down to personal preference and the type of flooring in your home.

Here’s what you need to know about steam mops vs. regular mops: the pros and cons.

Are Steam Mops Better than Regular Mops?

Steam mops may disinfect better than regular mops, but that doesn’t mean they are better overall. Steam mops are great for sealed hard flooring surfaces such as linoleum, hardwoods, ceramic, and porcelain tile. Regular mops don’t have the power of steam but, unlike steam mops, can be used with the cleaner of your choice and are more convenient.

Steam Mops: Pros and Cons

Steam mops work by producing steam which then gets forced out of the mop and onto the floor. The steam helps loosen stuck-on dirt, and the mop pad absorbs it. Steam mops also disinfect floors while they clean.

You can use steam mops on most types of sealed flooring like hardwood, ceramic, porcelain, and linoleum. However, they are not safe for vinyl adhesive or any other kind of adhesive tile. This is because the steam can cause the glue to break down.

Other types of floor you may not want to use a steam mop on are laminate and natural stone. If you do use your steam mop on these types of floors, use the lowest heat setting.

The pros of steam mops:

  • Deep clean
  • Disinfecting power
  • No need to purchase cleaner – just distilled water

The cons of steam mops:

  • Can’t add any cleaners to the mop
  • Not safe for all floors
  • Not convenient for cleaning up spills quickly

Regular Mops: Pros and Cons

When it comes to traditional mops, you’ve got a lot of choices. You can opt for wring mops, sponge mops, or my favorite – microfiber mops.

These mops are safe for all flooring types.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of regular mops:

The pros of regular mops:

  • Can use any type of cleaner
  • Safe for all floors
  • Convenient for quick cleanups

The cons of regular mops:

  • May not clean as well steam mops
  • Doesn’t have natural disinfecting properties

Which Should You Choose?

Steam mops and regular mops both have a good set of pros and cons. 

If you have many different types of flooring in your home and are worried steam might damage some of them, choose a regular mop. On the other hand, you can go for the steam mop if you have heat-safe, sealed floors.

Alternatively, you could purchase both. You can find very inexpensive steam mops, even from top brands like Bissell and Shark. You can use a steam mop to deep clean and a regular mop for everyday messes.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq steam mops vs regular mops

Are steam mops bad for floors?

Steam mops are safe for most sealed, hard floors. This included hardwoods, ceramic, porcelain, and linoleum. In addition, steam mops may be safe for sealed natural stone and laminate if used on a low heat setting. You should avoid using a steam mop on vinyl adhesive tiles and engineered hardwood floors. (As well as anything unsealed.)

Why are my floors sticky after steam mopping?

The number one reason floors get sticky after mopping is from cleaner buildup. If you use any type of cleaner in your steam mop, you should immediately stop. You should only put water in a steam mop.

Is it worth it to get a steam mop?

If you’re looking to disinfect your sealed flooring surfaces, getting a steam mop may be worth it. Steam mops kill up to 99% of germs. They’re also relatively inexpensive.


If you’re wondering which is better, steam mops vs. traditional mops, they both have their purposes. Traditional mops are easy to pull out whenever needed and can be used on all hard floor surfaces.

Steam mops, on the other hand, are not safe for all flooring but are capable of disinfecting and deep cleaning. 

You need to choose based on the type of flooring you have in your house and your personal preferences.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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