Do Steam Cleaners Work better than Conventional Cleaning Methods?

So which is the best method, using the traditional mop or the modern steam cleaner? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, one uses electricity and the other uses physical energy, it’s simply a matter of preference as to which you choose. Both methods get the floor clean, but the steamer cleans with ease, there is something very satisfying about cleaning the floor with a mop and bucket.

Old School

The traditional mop is a simple, practical tool in any household. The main feature is its high capacity of absorbance, which is why it has been and still is, the most traditional way to wash floors. Mopping requires a mop, bucket, detergent and plenty of hot water, not to mention a lot of physical energy. Having said that, many people still like to wash their floors this way; they feel there is nothing better than the smell of a freshly mopped floor.
Typically, mopping using this method can be hard work, depending on the size of the area to be mopped; you need to use both hands to apply enough force to get the mop to remove the dirt and spills. Mopping, especially with the rag/rope mop, entails dipping the mop in the bucket of hot water and detergent, wringing it out in the ‘sieve’ section of the bucket and wetting the floor. The downside is that mopping and wringing out the water many times over can be time consuming, especially if the water needs changing half way through. You then have to wait for the floor to dry before walking over it, which can consume more of your time. Although traditional mopping is a satisfying way to clean floors, it is incapable of reaching temperatures high enough to kill germs and bacteria and can leave a residue from the chemicals in the detergents, which could possibly be harmful to children and pets


Steam cleaners have been around for quite a while now, they are designed to take the hassle out of mopping floors, making cleaning jobs less time consuming. Using a steam cleaner on floors takes little effort and is quick and easy to use. It is a continuous cleaning process with no need to stop and either ‘wring out’ or replenish dirty water. There is no need to use pressure with a steam cleaner; it’s rather like pushing a light vaccum cleaner around the floor.
Steam reaches a higher temperature than hot boiling water so it can kill 99.99% of bacteria and germs, making floors a safer environment, especially where there are children in the household. It is more cost effective because most models don’t need added detergent, which also makes it more ecofriendly.
Steam cleaning floors is far quicker than the traditional method and most cleaners leave little, if any water behind so drying times are less. There is no need to ‘scrub’ the floors when using a steam cleaner as hard to remove stains and ground in dirt can be removed with little physical effort.
Although the initial outlay is far more expensive than a traditional mop, there is no other cost to pay out; one tool will steam clean all types of flooring, including carpet steam cleaning. Most models come with extras for cleaning worktops, appliances, bathrooms and kitchen sinks and you can even steam clean grout; the steam does the cleaning so you don’t need potentially harmful detergents.
Steam mops are a good alternative choice and can replace the traditional mop and bucket method. The cleaning advantages outweigh those of the mop and bucket and it sanitizes the floor for those who have allergies, or are sensitive to the chemicals in detergents. Steam mops are easier to use and take less effort, but they don’t give the user the satisfying experience like the basic rope or sponge mop.


The steam mop is an all in one tool, simply fill with water, plug it in and go. However, the ease of use and faster cleaning times sometimes leaves the user feeling as if the floor isn’t quite clean enough, because no extra physical exertion is needed. With the traditional mop, you will have to factor in the extra cost of detergent, bucket and maybe a scrubbing brush, alongside the effort and time it will take, including refilling the bucket, depending on how big an area you need to clean. With a steam mop, after the initial outlay, it is just a matter of filling with water and the cost of the electricity used and laundering the steamer cloths. Of course, having a traditional mop and bucket for cleaning up those messy spills and using a steam mop for deep clean and sanitizing, will give you the best of both worlds.
Thank you to Sam Socorro who wrote this article. Sam is a guest author from Clearwells and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under her belt.

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