Hardwood floors exude class, not to mention they can increase your home value by 2.5%. They are a substantial investment, so it’s vital to protect and preserve them.

One of the best ways to protect your hardwood floors is regular cleaning. Doing so prevents scratches and keeps dirt from building up.

Some homeowners swear by a mop and vinegar water or a sponge and soap, while others prefer cleaning with a steam mop. Each method is useful, but steaming has unique benefits that other methods don’t.

So, to steam or not to steam? Keep reading and decide for yourself!

Why People Choose Steam

Steam mops are an effective way to kill bacteria, but they offer many other benefits as well.

Here’s why many people choose to use a steam mop over other conventional cleaning methods.

To Save Time

The number one reason homeowners choose to clean with a steam mom is to save time. Steam mops are lightweight and don’t require the operator to lug a heavy bucket of soapy water around.

They Clean More Than Floors

Steam mops aren’t just for floors. Invest in a steam mop, and you can use it on tile and carpets as well. Go crazy – some ingenious people even use them to clean their drapes!

They Are Environmentally Friendly

Disinfectants and sanitizers are pesticides designed to kill microbes. When used in large quantities, these products are harmful to the environment.

Concerns Over Steam Mops

While many consumers rave over steam mops, some refuse to use them on their hardwood floors. Here are some of their concerns.

Heat Causes Long-term Damage

Steam cleaners clean with heat and water. If you use too much water and it sits on your floor, it can cause cupping and long-term damage. High heat is also a safety concern.

They Are More Expensive

If you have always cleaned your floors with a standard mop and bucket, you may scoff at the cost of a steam mop.

Steam-cleaning believers offset this concern with the reminder that you don’t need to buy expensive cleaners to use them.

The Results Don’t Last as Long

Because you’re not vigorously scrubbing your floor when using a steam mop, the results don’t seem to last as long as other methods.

Of course, individual results will depend on the type of flooring and machine you’re using.

Factors to Consider

So, have you decided that a steam mop is right for you? Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a mop:

Heating Time

If you have a particularly fast steam cleaner, it will heat up in five minutes or less. The average time is five to seven minutes.


Higher pressure is more effective when cleaning, but consistent pressure is more important. With steady pressure, you know you’re cleaning effectively every time.

With particular mops, pressure may not be a factor to consider – it all depends on the mop head.

Steam Volume

The nicest steam mops let you control the volume of steam used.

The amount of steam required depends on the job – some need a significant amount of steam, while others don’t require much at all.

The Verdict: It’s a Matter of Personal Preference

Whether or not a steam mop is right for you depends on your home, lifestyle, and what you expect out of your cleaning tools.

Whichever method you choose, you should feel good about researching to protect your investments!

Looking for smarter ways to design, decorate, and maintain your home? Keep browsing our “Houses” section for inspiration, tips, and DIY projects!