This may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out: I think steam mops are greener cleaning tools than the low-fi bucket method that we’ve used for centuries.
Sure, steam mops use electricity, but they require a fraction of the water that you’d use with the bucket method. Another benefit of using steam mops is that they require no added detergents or bleach, which means no lingering harmful odors in your home and no chemicals to dump down the drain. Also, because steam does all the work, there is no residue on the floors when you are done.
Steam mops and their washable pads are more effective germ-killers than spreading the same dirty water around with your musty mop. The intense heat of steam can kill up to 99 percent of bacteria and dust mites with none of the harmful effects associated with bleach or detergents. Steam mops disinfect floors, restore shine, and remove stains.
My favorite thing about having a steam mop is that you can switch out the mop pad as often as you want and it is like having a brand new mop. Most steam mops come with extra washable pads – but I like to buy a few extra to have on hand so I don’t have to wash them as frequently. I’ve been using steam mops on my wood floors and tile floors with fabulous results for years. I’ve heard they work wonders on laminate too.
Before you invest in a steam mop, do your research. You get what you pay for. The heating elements in the less expensive models have been known to burn out in about a year’s time. My Bissell “Green Tea” steam mop stopped producing steam a little more than a year after I purchased it. (It lasted just long enough for the warranty to expire.) I’ve read Shark steam mops also have short life spans. After my first steam mop stopped working, I purchased the Haan Slim & Light in 2011. I’ve been very happy with it. It has a pretty long cord and I use distilled water to keep it free from mineral build-up. I would also suggest looking at the Oreck Steam-It, which was rated best steam mop by Consumer Search. Both Haan and Oreck seem to make products that outlast the other brands on the market.
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