Steam Mops vs. Swiffer (Pros and Cons)

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steam mops vs swiffer

Steam mops and Swiffer wet jets are two very different products that want to accomplish the same goal. 

You are probably wondering how different they can be and why it matters.

Steam Mops

Steam mops are an innovative way of mopping your floor. You just plug it in and off you go, for the most part. 

However, steam mops are not for everybody and do have a few drawbacks.

Pros of a steam mop

Steam mops are an easy way to get your floor clean. They heat water held in a reservoir to over 200 degrees. This steam loosens dirt and grime to be absorbed by the mop head. Then, it quickly evaporates, leaving your floor shiny and clean. 

The steam doesn’t just make clearing stubborn stains an easy job, it also disinfects your floors without using any kind of cleaning agent. It does, however, do a deeper clean with less physical work.

By not using chemicals you don’t run the risk of damage to top coatings and protectants or dulling your floor by leaving a weird film wherever you go with your mop. 

Cons of a steam mop

The problem with steam mops is that they aren’t suited for all types of flooring

Vinyl flooring that uses adhesives should not be steamed. The heat will cause the corners to start curling and the glue to weaken which results in loose tiles.

Hardwood floors should also be avoided with a steam mop. Their protective coatings will weaken every time you steam it.

Also, leaving your steam mop in one place is like leaving an iron on a shirt too long. Not a good idea. 

Swiffer WetJets

Swiffer WetJets have been around for a long time. They do a good job at cleaning your floors and they leave a fresh and clean scent in the air. 

Yet, some people just don’t like them. 

Pros of a WetJet

Similar to a steam mop, a Swiffer holds the liquid used for cleaning in a container attached to the mop itself. You can easily apply detergent to the floor with just one spray. No annoying bucket of water needed.

They are extremely lightweight and easy to use. You can even do it one-handed. 

A difference is that they run on batteries instead of having to deal with a cord stretching across the room you are trying to clean. 

These, like the steam mops, use removable pads so that when one gets dirty you just take it off and use another one. This locks in dirt and grime and actually removes rather than just moving it to different parts of your floor like regular mops.

Not only are these easy and convenient, they are a cheaper option that can be used on practically any flooring surface. 

Plus, the Swiffer cleaner is tough on hard to clean spots and the pads are soft enough that you can really scrub without scratching up your floor. 

Cons of a WetJet

The biggest thing about a Swiffer is that it requires an actual detergent. A cleaning solution that contains chemicals, which some people can’t stand to use. Also, people have different opinions of what smells good or bad. 

This detergent is also designed to give your floor an extra shine. The problem here is that this same component makes it very slippery. Wherein a steam mop’s moisture immediately evaporates, Swiffer detergent hangs around for a good thirty minutes.

Also, a Swiffers pads can’t just be tossed in the washer to clean for reuse. They are throw-away pads and you will have to purchase more of them, along with more cleaning solutions. 

Though they are great to use, and don’t do damage to your floor, they can’t get quite as deep of a clean as your steam mop could. A deeper clean requires more physical work than a steam mop. 


Steam mops and Swiffers may have their differences but they both do a great job at getting your floor clean. 

Where Swiffers are a cheaper option that can be used on all kinds of floor surfaces, steam mops are not. They are more expensive, and you will need to take an extra step to make sure your floor won’t be damaged by the steam.

Swiffers and steam mops are two favorable options to an alternative way of mopping. 

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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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