Can You Put Floor Cleaner in a Steam Mop?

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Steam mops are one of the best tools to make cleaning your floors easier. However, I always wondered if adding some strong floor cleaner to my steam mop would help clean the grout better, plus give the room a fresh smell. So I did some research on the subject.

You shouldn’t use any floor cleaner in your steam mop because it can do a lot of damage to the internal parts of the machine. Manufacturers recommend using only demineralized water in your steam mop. You don’t need any fancy cleaners to disinfect your floors; the heat in the mop will do that for you. 

So, cleaning your floors with a steam mop full of demineralized water is all you need for sparkling clean floors.

What is Demineralized Water?

Demineralized water is basically water treated to remove all the minerals that are present in regular tap water.  

The production of demineralized water is the result of the process of reverse osmosis. While it doesn’t remove all minerals in normal tap water, it removes enough that is still considered safe for your machine.  

The problem with using regular tap water is that as the water evaporates in the steam, the minerals are leftover and can build up in your steam mop.  

The minerals can also deposit minerals on your floor and leave a residue, which defeats the purpose of cleaning in the first place. 

Picture of a steam floor cleaner.

Benefits of Using Demineralized Water in Your Steam Mop

Steam mops clean and disinfect your floors using water vapor at 212°F. There are quite a few benefits to ditching the floor cleaners all together to opt for a steam mop instead. 

  • You can save money on overpriced specialty floor cleaners. Steam cleaning is inexpensive, and you can use it on many different floor surfaces. 
  • The heat from the mop kills germs and bacteria and acts as a deodorizer for your home, whether it’s odors from your pets or smoke. You get all the sanitizing benefits even without using harsh floor cleaners. 
  • It’s a chemical-free option, and you don’t have to worry about traditional floor cleaners affecting your pets or kids. 

Not only is demineralized water in your steam mop better for your home, but it also preserves the longevity of your mop. Using traditional floor cleaners like Pine-Sol or Mr. Clean and even tap water can cause build-up very quickly.  

In even as little time as a couple of months, your machine can start to malfunction and need replacement or repair.  

So, if you have any floor cleaner that you’re trying to use up, keeping it away from your steam cleaner is the best idea. 

New Scented Product Options

Manufacturers are starting to realize how much people appreciate the fresh scents that come with traditional floor cleaners. They have begun to develop demineralized water in various fragrances, such as citrus, eucalyptus, mint, and more.   

The benefit of using demineralized water with scents is that they are typically more natural, using essential oils or natural fragrances. It leaves out the harsh ingredients of traditional floor cleaners, leaving only the steam and the scent to freshen your home.   

  • You also have the option of diluting the scented demineralized water with the unscented version to avoid getting overwhelmed with fragrance.  

This often can’t be done with typical floor cleaners, and it can also make a bottle of the scented option last longer, which keeps money in your pocket. 

Alternative Option: Distilled Water

Distilled water is boiled water that’s been condensed into steam, creating nearly 100% pure water. While distilled water is highly purified and cleaner than demineralized water, the drawback is that it is more expensive.  

If this is still the option you prefer and you use your steam mop a lot, you can invest in your own water distiller.  

You can find a compact home water distiller that doesn’t take up too much space. 

You can also use double distilled water – which has gone through the distilling process twice – if you’re concerned about water purity.  

But it’s even more expensive than distilled water, and some argue that it doesn’t make all that much difference since the steam is so hot.

Final Thoughts

The consensus among steam mop manufacturers and users is that you should never use traditional floor cleaners in your steam mop.  

Always refer to your owner’s manual for instructions because the individual manufacturers know best about their machine.  

It’s best to cut the floor cleaners out entirely. They’re not doing your home or your machine any favors, and you could end up replacing your mops more often than you need to.  

Bissel, Hoover, and other companies are starting to create scented mineralized water specifically for your steam mop.  

If that’s the feature of traditional floor cleaners you’re seeking, this is a good option for you.  

If you want to use floor cleaner for the disinfecting capabilities, steam mops already have you covered. 

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