What Can You Put in Your Steam Mop?

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what can you put in your steam mop

Steam mops are amazing at cleaning most hard floor surfaces. They naturally deodorize and disinfect and usually leave the floor sparkling.

However, if you’re new to a steam mop, one thing you’re probably missing is the smell of your favorite cleaner. Which might have you wondering – what can you put in your steam mop?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t dump your favorite cleaner in your mop’s reservoir tank – but there may be one suitable alternative. 

Here’s what you should know.

Can You Put Anything Besides Water in Your Steam Mop?

Generally speaking, you should only fill steam mops with distilled water. This is because putting tap water or cleaners in steam mops can cause mineral deposits. These deposits can clog and ruin your mop. If you’re just looking for a pleasant scent, try one of Bissell’s scented demineralized waters. 

How Does a Steam Mop Work?

how does steam mop work

Steam mops work by heating the water in the reservoir tank to a high temperature until steam forms. This steam is then forced out of the mop onto your floors. It can easily penetrate cracks and crevices, lift stains, and loosen dirt.

A cloth pad is attached to the bottom of the steam mop which picks up all the dirt the steam loosens up.

Steam mops are best for ceramic and porcelain tile, linoleum, and some hardwood floors. You should avoid using them on most natural stone, laminate, and vinyl adhesive tiles. 

(As a caveat, some mops with low heat settings will be okay to use on sealed stone and hardwoods. Check the user manual of your steam mop for specifics.)

Two of the most popular brands of steam mops are Bissell and Shark.

What’s Safe to Put in a Steam Mop?

If you’re wondering what to put in your steam mop, you don’t have a lot of options. Adding cleaners or tap water can cause major clogging, ruining your mop. 

Here’s what you can safely add to your steam mop.

Distilled/Demineralized Water

All steam mop manufacturers recommend that you use distilled water in the reservoir tank. Most suggest that this is the only thing you use.

If you decide to add cleaners or unapproved additives and your steam mop breaks, your warranty will be void.

Bissell Scented Water

Bissell has a line of demineralized scented water that is safe for Bissell and Shark steam mops. The scents are Eucalyptus Mint, Spring Breeze, and Citrus.

While these don’t aid in cleaning, they do leave behind a fresh scent.

Bissell also claims that their line of scented water will extend the life of your steam mop.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq what can you put in steam mop

Can I put vinegar in my steam mop?

Most manufacturers recommend you use nothing besides distilled water. Plus, even if vinegar was safe for the mop, there’s not much point in using it. Steam mops are already highly effective at disinfecting and loosening up tough stains.

If you do decide to put vinegar in your steam mop’s reservoir tank, don’t use it on your hardwood floors – it could damage your floor’s topcoat.

Can I put essential oils in my steam mop?

Along the same lines as vinegar, manufacturers warn against anything other than distilled water to be put in steam mops. If you want your steam mop to leave behind a fragrance, try Bissell’s line of scented demineralized water. These products are safe for Bissell and Shark steam mops.

Can you put disinfectant in a steam mop?

No, you can’t put disinfectant in a steam mop, but luckily, steam is naturally disinfecting. It can kill up to 99% of bacteria and dust mites on the floor.


So, what can you put in your steam mop? If you want to be safe and protect your investment, you need to stick to distilled water. 

If you’re craving a fresh scent to go along with your steam cleaning, try using Bissell’s line of demineralized scented water. Unlike other additives, it can prolong the life of your mop and is safe for Bissell and Shark models.

Photo of author


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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