Steam Mop Vs a Regular Mop

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Using a mop is one of the best ways to clean your floors and improve the environment of your house. If you’re planning to buy a new mop and can’t decide between a steam mop or a regular one, this article is for you.

Here, we’ll compare a steam mop and a regular mop in detail, along with their advantages and disadvantages. It’ll help you make the most informed decision based on your unique needs.

Steam Mop Vs Regular Mop

A regular mop is a cleaning tool that you need to use with some sort of cleaning solution to clean floors. Think of a standard, old fashioned mop like you saw at your grandmother’s house.

A steam mop uses water to create steam to perform the same job. Because it uses steam, it cleans a lot deeper and gets far better results. But, it is much more expensive to purchase.

Here’s a full comparison of a steam mop vs a regular mop.

Cleaning Process

Understanding the differences between a regular mop and steam mop is important to choose the right type of mop for your home.

Regular Mop

A regular mop comes with a thick mop head made of stings of highly-absorbent material, such as microfiber or cotton. Here’s how you can use a regular mop to clean your floors.

  1. Use a broom or dust mop to sweep your floor to remove loose dirt and debris.
  2. Add about a gallon of hot water to a mop bucket and pour a few drops of cleaning solution.
  3. Dip your regular mop head in the solution and let it soak.
  4. Remove the mop head from the solution and wring it thoroughly to make it damp.
  5. Place it on the floor and start the mopping process. Work in small sections and dip and wring the mop head again once it becomes dry.
  6. Discard the mop water and rinse the mop head and bucket properly after cleaning the floor.
  7. Let the mop head and bucket dry before storing them in a cool and dry spot.

Steam Mop

Compared to a regular mop, using a steam mop is very different. It actually more closely resembles using a vacuum, except you’ll be steaming your floor. Here is how to use a steam mop:

  1. Open the water tank of your steam mop and fill it with distilled water.
  2. Close the water tank properly and attach the pad to the mop head.
  3. Plug your steam mop into a wall outlet and let the water boil. It’ll take about 30 seconds to two minutes. Most steam mops come with an indicator light that turns on when the mop becomes properly heated.
  4. Place the mop head on the floor to start mopping. The forward motion releases the steam and the backward motion collects dirt.
  5. Remove the mop pads once the mopping process is completed.
  6. Wash the mop pad and store your mop on a cool and dry stop.

Type of Cleaning Solution

Typically, you need to use a store-bought cleaning solution to clean your floors with a regular mop. These cleaning solutions can contain abrasive chemicals to kill germs but they can also be harmful to your health.

With a steam mop, you use distilled water to use a steam mop, making it environmentally friendly. 

Important Note: While you can use tap water, we recommend against it as it can lead to mineral buildup inside the water tank.

Ease of Use

You need to put a lot of effort into cleaning your floors using a regular mop. 

  • First, you need to make a cleaning solution in a bucket and then you need to move it around while mopping.
  • Additionally, you need to wring your mop head every time you need to make it damp. 
  • Lastly, it’s also important to rinse your mop head and bucket thoroughly before storing them.

Using a steam mop is easier as you don’t need to make and move cleaning solutions while mopping. You don’t need to use force to clean, as you do with a regular mop. The process of mopping with a steam mop also doesn’t involve dipping and wringing the mop head.


You can use a regular mop on all types of floors. It provides you with the option to use it dry or wet.

If you have wooden floors, you can use your regular mop dry to get rid of dust and dirt. But if you have any other type of flooring, you can make your regular mop damp to clean it.

You can only use a steam mop on floors that aren’t moisture-sensitive such as sealed grout and tiles. You should not use a steam mop on wood or laminate floors as it can lead to water damage.

But, steam mops are the best to clean epoxy garage floors and sealed linoleum flooring.

Cleaning Quality

While both mop types clean floors effectively, a steam mop beats a regular mop when it comes to killing germs.


The steam that a steam mop generates can reach a temperature of up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria. It makes them a better option for homes with kids and pets.


A regular mop makes for a more budget-friendly option than a steam mop. That’s because it doesn’t have expensive parts, such as a water boiler. It also means that you won’t need to spend a lot of money to fix your regular mop if it becomes faulty.

Steam Mop Vs Regular Mop: Pros and Cons

Steam mops and regular mops come with their own pros and cons and you need to understand them before making your final decision.

Steam Mop

Easy to useHigher price tag
Offers better cleaning resultsCan’t be used for all types of floors
Environmentally friendly and safe for kids and petsNeeds a power source to run
Floors dry almost instantly after steam moppingCan be heavy

Regular Mop

Budget-friendlyRequire cleaning solution that can contain harmful chemicals
Can be used on all types of floorsCleaning process can be tiring
Highly absorbent and works better for quick cleanupsFloors take more time to dry

Final Words

Both steam mops and regular mops clean floors effectively and have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re on a budget and need a mop that you can use to clean all types of floors, you should go with a regular mop.

If budget is not a problem and you want an environmentally friendly cleaning tool that cleans floors quickly, then a steam mop will suit you better.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.