How To Choose The Best Steam Mop: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

We all love the traditional mop; it was an innovation that really made work easier for everyone. Unfortunately, conventional mops are also centuries old and globally outdated. And when you’re swabbing your grimy kitchen floors with sudsy, dirty water flying all over the place, mopping doesn’t sound that convenient all of a sudden. And honestly speaking, how much sanitizing and grime loosening can a lowly mop do? That’s why literally every home in the UK is now equipped with one type of steam cleaner or another.

In addition to being packed with a ton of fancy, squeezy, doodads designed to make cleaning easier, steam mops actually make use of steam to give your floors and other surfaces a thorough, intensive, hygienic, chemical free and eco-friendly clean.

But as always, the impressive array of steam cleaners available can be a tad overwhelming. That’s why we’ve done the hard yards to find the most highly ranked models. We’ve coated vinyl, tiles, hardwood floors, sinks, kitchen countertops, decks, walls, windows and mirrors with chocolate syrup, mustard, barbeque sauce, olive oil, toothpaste, pasta, and other unspeakable sticky household trash and let it all harden for a few days.

From that ordeal, we give you the top models of the year and a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best steam mop for you.

Steam Mops – Our Top 5 Picks [UK Market]

1. Vax S7 Total Home Master Multifunction Steam Mop

Powerful, affordable, ultra light and incredibly easy to use, the S7 Total Home Master steam mop is the ideal option for anyone looking for a cheap and cheerful steam cleaner for routing tasks around the house.

Being both a handheld cleaner and a standard steam mop, Vax has indeed designed an entirely new dimension into home cleaning.

The S7 steam mop lives up to its name by offering all-round cleaning with particular prejudice to dirt, grease, and grime.

Apart from a heating time of just 20 seconds, the S7 Home Master from Vax has one of the largest water tank capacities of 500 ml that lasts well over 15 minutes.

As one of the most affordable steam mops in the UK, it’s easy to see why the S7 is a reigning bestseller in Britain.

Frankly speaking, you won’t find better performance, capacity, or features at that price range. Read our full review of Vax S7 Steam Mop.

What we like about it:

  • Ultra light and easy to manoeuvre.
  • Incredibly vast array of tools and accessories.
  • Unrivalled performance for the cost.

2. The Vileda Steam Mop

While today’s range of steam mops incorporate a plethora of accessories with the aim of creating all-encompassing models, one brand still remains true to the original goal. If you’re looking for a cheap and simplified steam mop that will make quick work of your floors, then look no further.

The Vileda steam mop is a handy, convenient, stripped down and back to basics steamer designed exclusively for floors. As other brands are packing up the accessories, Vileda gives you something that is refreshingly simple yet highly functional.

Boasting of an industry leading weight of 2.2 Kg and a 400ml water capacity that only takes 15 seconds to get heated, you can clean 99% bacteria all around your laminate, wood, tiles and vinyl floors without getting fatigued.

Sure, the Vileda steam mop may not have all the fancy tools or flexibility of high-end models, but it’s damn great at the one job it’s designed to do – and that’s cleaning floors. Read our full review of Vileda Steam Mop.

What we like about it:

  • Unparalleled simplicity and user friendliness.
  • Lightest steam mop in the UK.
  • Extended handle for longer reach.

3. The Shark S2901UKCO Multifunction Lite Steam Pocket Mop

The name says it all; the Shark S2901 Pocket Mop is designed to scour wide and deep in all areas of your house killing off dirt, germs, grime and other messes. Besides being super cheap, the unit manages the industry standard heating time of 30 seconds and even converts into a handheld steam cleaner for reaching higher places.

However, the 3.4 litre water tank capacity has all the other steamers on this list beat by a mile. It allows for over 17 minutes of continued cleaning. Another area where the S2901 excels has to be the incredible array of included tools and attachments such as carpet gliders, microfiber pockets, squeegee, extension hose and several brushes.

So if your life could do with a bit of raw cleaning power, longer steaming times and versatility on the job, then the S2901 multifunction steam pocket mop is just what the doctor ordered. Read our full review of Shark Steam Pocket Mop.

What we like about it:

  • Comes with a generous assortment of tools and accessories.
  • Quickly converts into a handheld cleaner.
  • Higher steam flow rate of 22g/m.

4. Morphy Richards 720020 9 in 1 Steam Cleaner

There’s a good reason why the 9 in 1 steam cleaner from Morphy Richards remains among the most popular cleaning appliance in the UK. It could be because of the attractive white and green colour scheme that quickly grabs your eye. Then again, maybe it’s the wide range of accessories and elements required to give your home a deep clean.

Whatever it is, it definitely has something to do with the 1500W power rating and different cleaning modes that let you move from sealed hard floors like wood and vinyl to surfaces such as upholstery, doors, bathrooms, ovens, sinks and pretty much anything else.

Likewise, users can look forward to a 400ml tank that is easy to refill. As long as you don’t mind the 3kg weight, the 720020 will impress you with its raw steaming power and endless list of accessories. Read our full review of Morphy Richards 9 in 1 Steam Cleaner.

What we like about it:

  • Fair price range for the quality.
  • Extensive list of accessories.
  • Instant conversion at the push of a button.

How To Choose The Best Steam Mop

As you’ve no doubt seen, steam cleaning has really taken hold of the markets and is changing the way we clean. I mean, that’s the main reason why you’re here today, right? Steam mops are proving to be a faster, more convenient, and eco-friendly way of dealing with tough household stains.

Now that you’ve decided to ditch your old mop and bucket, you’re no doubt looking for the ultimate steam cleaning appliance to get things done quickly. And like all other devices, there’s a very huge difference between the very best and absolute worst steam mops.

So please, don’t pay more thinking that it will guarantee better quality. Instead, why not find out what to look out for? Trust me, it makes your shopping experience a whole lot easier, and your user experience that much more satisfying. We’ve compiled a neat buying guide that should help you narrow down the perfect steam mop for the job.

What To Consider When Buying Steam Mops

i) Consider the Versatility

Most steam mops currently on the UK market are designed to be used solely on hard floor surfaces and materials such as ceramic, linoleum, tiles, hardwood and laminate floors. But if you know anything about steam mops, you’d know that those are just the basics. Today’s modern range of steam cleaners are able to transform into handheld configurations with just one click of a button.

This allows you to move from cleaning floors to steaming kitchen countertops, windows, sinks, walls, and any other areas that a handheld steamer can reach. And if you’re willing to spend just a little extra, you can get an army of tools and attachments that will help you achieve total cleanliness in all nooks and crannies of your home.

ii) Consider the User Friendliness

Handheld or upright, most steam mops are pretty easy to use. Of course, with the exception of the initial assembly straight from the box, using steam mops is for lack of a better word – a breeze. All you literally have to do is fill the reservoir tank with water, close it up, turn the appliance on, chill for a couple of seconds and voila; you’ve got steam.

So when you’re shopping, try to look for something simple that won’t confuse you. But still, even a feature packed steam mop is still lighter and safer than lugging around a large pail of water everywhere.

iii) Consider the Drying Time

Let me start off by saying that if you’re already used to cleaning with a traditional stick mop and bucket, then the drying time won’t even seem like a factor here. Soapy water and old mops leave behind what looks like a river of water which can be a slip hazard for anyone walking nearby. And if the floors don’t dry properly, you’re left with dirt streaks and spots all over your floor.

Steam mops cut down the drying time drastically so you don’t create any hazards. Although each brand rates the drying time differently, you’re going to want to go for a steam mop with the quickest drying time. Either way, the standard drying time is usually minutes.

iv) Consider the Features and Accessories

Like all other appliances, the more added extras your steam mop has, the more you’ll pay for it. As such, it’s better to know which features will come in handy so as to prioritize. We’ve compiled some of the most common features found in most UK steam mops and how they all help make your life easier. Make sure you keep an eye out for the following features and accessories when shopping for your steam mop.

  •  Large Reservoir Capacity – This simply implies to how large the water tank is in your steam mop. Some models can hold several litres with almost an hour of continuous steam while other smaller models hold only a few mls with under 10 minutes of continuous operation.
  • Variable Steam Control – If you’re cleaning different floor types or surfaces altogether, you’re going to need different steam levels and temperatures. Make sure you choose a steam mop with a trigger or dial that regulates the amount of steam produced.
  • Built in Power Switch – When you’re shopping, make sure you buy a steam mop with a built in on and off function. Without this switch, you’ll be forced to make frequent trips to the power outlet.
  • Faster Heating – Depending on the type of steam mop you choose, you could end up with a unit that requires several minutes to get steaming. If you really value every second of your day, then you’ll want a steam mop that gets the steam flowing in slightly over 10 seconds.
  • Carpet Glider – This is a simple attachment that allows you to refresh the carpet and clear light soiling on your rugs.
  • Cooling Pad – Just like your iron, you don’t want to leave a hot steam mop just lying around on the floor. A cooling mat offers a safe and stable place to cool down after use and before storage.

Steam Mop FAQs

Q: Do all steam mops sanitize?

Yes, technically, all steam mops have the power to sanitize. The only difference is that others might need more time to do so. To sanitize floors, windows, walls or sinks, the surface needs to be heated to 90 degrees Celsius which kills off common pathogens like salmonella and E.coli.

However, it’s not an instantaneous process; it might take about 10 to 20 seconds depending on the temperature. Make sure you consult your users manual for directions on proper sanitizing.

Q: Are steam mops safe for all floors?

That’s a big fat NO straight off the bat. Steam mops can’t be used on all floor types. While different brands and manufacturers indicate which surfaces their steam mops are safe for use on, steam mops should only be used on sealed hard floor surfaces. This includes hardwood, tile, bamboo, marble, laminate, stone, and vinyl floors.

You should never use a steam mop on unglazed ceramic or unsealed floors since this could cause damage to the surfaces. Likewise, wood finishes with crevices and cracks might seep in and retain water causing wood rot from the inside. So make sure the surface you are steaming is entirely sealed.

Q: Why isn’t my steam mop creating steam?

There are numerous reasons why your steam mop could stop producing steam. For one, there could be a malfunction with the handle that could be remedied with a little repair. Similarly, there could be a clog in the nozzle causing a blockage in the system. This is mostly reported in areas with extremely hard water.

If your steam mop is prone to clogging, try switching from tap water to distilled water. Regular tap water has minerals and impurities that not only contribute to clogging up your unit, but also leaving ugly streaks on your floors. Make sure you read the manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Q: How to steam clean carpet with steam mop?

You may wish to do a patch test, if this is the first time you have used a steam mop, to ensure that your carpet won’t change colour or consistency. Choose an inconspicuous place to try out your steam cleaner.

  1. The first thing you need to do is move loose objects such as cushions, pet beds, kid’s toys and floor lamps. You can also move your furniture to get to places that aren’t usually cleaned – yes it’s a faff, but it will give you a better finished result.
  2. Next, vacuum your carpet, to ensure there are no bits of debris, hair or dust that may affect the performance of the steam mop.
  3. Next, fill the mop’s water tank with distilled water according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  4. Attach the carpet glider to prevent any damage to your carpet.
  5. Start your cleaning in the furthest corner so you don’t end up walking in places you have already cleaned.
  6. Clean in straight lines, as if you were mowing a lawn. This ensures that you get the most even coverage and the best results.
  7. Finally, allow your carpet time to dry – this can be anywhere from 4 and 10 hours. The carpet won’t be sopping wet, but you will get damp socks if you walk on it before it is dry, and a damp carpet will attract more mud than a dry one.

Q: How to descale a steam mop?

Lime scale can build up pretty quickly, like in a kettle, even if you are only using distilled water and not cutting corners by using tap water in your steam mop! Luckily, descaling is easy:

  • You can either buy a purpose made descaling fluid, or you can make your own using 1.5oz of baking soda mixed with around two pints of water.
  • Fill the empty tank with this liquid, then seal it up and turn on the steam cleaner.
  • Allow it to stay warm for a couple of hours, then use it for a minute or two, then unplug the steamer and allow it to cool for up to 4 hours.
  • Once it has cooled enough, drain out the descaling fluid. Rinse the tanks through with clean water, then use the steamer as you usually would.
  • Enjoy the improved results!

Q: How to unblock a steam mop?

If you steam cleaner is blocked, it will not work effectively. If you suspect that your steam mop has a blockage, this is relatively easily sorted:

  1. Unplug the mop and let it cool completely. These steam mops heat up water to above boiling point, so it is important to ensure that you don’t get burnt.
  2. Find the spray tip that expels the hot steam. This is usually at the base of the model; however you may need to check your individual model by referring to the manufacturer’s handbook or looking online.
  3. Insert a pin, or thin paperclip into the nozzle to remove any possible blockages. Do this gently, so as to not damage the mechanism.
  4. Once the nozzle seems clear, pour a little vinegar into the mop head. This will remove any blockages that you cannot see.
  5. Reassemble the mop, refill the reservoir, and use it as you normally would. If your spray mop still appears to be blocked, the next step is to take it to a repair centre, or even send it back to the manufacturer to have it fixed professionally.

The two above methods generally work well though, so you shouldn’t have to send it anywhere.