Is Mopping Or Steaming Better For Floors?

Mopping floors is a necessary task for any home. Some people prefer the traditional mop and bucket, while others like using a steam-based system. Both will clean the floors, but which is best for your home?

Mopping is a great way to keep your floors clean. All you need is a mop, bucket, and some elbow greases. It’s an easy fix for quick touch-ups, but it isn’t as effective at removing tough stains or killing bacteria as steam mopping. However, you have to be careful when using steam because it can damage floors.

Today’s blog post compares traditional and steam mopping to help you decide which is better for your flooring. Additionally, you will learn what to avoid when cleaning various types of floors. Continue reading to find out more.

A comparison picture of a standard mop and a steam mop

Which Is Better For Floors, Mopping or Steaming?

Steaming floors is better than mopping for a few big reasons. A steam mop uses hot water to kill most bacteria and germs without any cleaners or chemicals. Traditional mops always have to be used with cleaners.

The steam mop pad is excellent at lifting and absorbing dirt, spills, and stains. Traditional mop heads aren’t very absorbent, and they don’t hold onto the dirt and a steam mop pad.

What Is The Difference Between Steaming And Mopping Floors?


Floor mopping is the process of cleaning floors with a solution of water and detergent. The solution is applied to the floor with a mop, and then the floor is scrubbed to remove dirt and debris. Mopping is a popular choice for cleaning hard surface floors such as tile, linoleum, and hardwood.

Similarly, floors can be given a “wet” mopping, which entails running water or water combined with soap through the head of the mop and then applying water lavishly on the floor while making many sweeps over regions that are not filthy. This method can be used to clean floors.


On the other hand, steaming uses a steam cleaner to clean floors. The steam cleaner takes regular tap water and warms it to a temperature typically slightly below the boiling point. This creates a superheated vapor that blasts away dirt and germs from surfaces.

Dust mites and other organisms that might cause allergies or asthma can be eliminated during steam cleaning by blasting areas with hot microscopic water droplets.

The steam cleaner also has a brush attachment, which helps to scrub the floor clean. Steaming is generally considered more effective than mopping, as it cleans more deeply and doesn’t require harsh chemicals. However, heavy-duty equipment is required.

What Are The Benefits Of Mopping Floors Compared To Steaming?

When it comes to cleaning floors, mopping and steaming both have their advantages. However, mopping has several benefits, making it the preferred method for many professionals. 

1st Benefit: Mopping is a more customizable option; different mops and cleaner solutions can be used on various surfaces. In contrast, steam cleaners are often limited in the types of floors they can handle. 

2nd Benefit: Mops also allow for targeted cleaning and spot treatment of stubborn stains, while steam cleaners require a more uniform approach and may not effectively remove all types of stains. 

3rd Benefit: Mopping tends to be less expensive in terms of initial equipment costs and ongoing cleaning solution expenses. 

4th Benefit: Mopping does not require specialized equipment and can be done with materials found in most households. 

Overall, while both options have their place in floor cleaning, mopping offers greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness for most situations.

Woman cleaning floor steam cleaning

Which Flooring Could Be Damaged By Steam Mopping?

Some manufacturers assert that using a steam mop on sealed floors will not harm if the pressure of the steam generated by the mop is kept low or medium. 

However, the vast majority of flooring specialists do not advise using steam mops on wooden or laminate flooring or on surfaces that could have gaps, such as vinyl tiles or vinyl planking.

Tile Floors Installed With Vinyl Adhesive

Suppose you make a mistake using a steam mop on any surface attached to the adhesive. In that case, you invalidate the use of all peel-and-stick products, which are popular because they allow for economical home improvement.

These tiles’ corners will become loose if steam and water are allowed to remain there for an extended period, and the glue will eventually break.

Laminate Floors

Steam mops generate excessive moisture, which can damage laminate flooring, which is frequently constructed with layers of compressed fiber or particleboard. The steam can cause the product to become distorted and bulge.

Painted Floors

It is dangerous to steam mop over a painted surface, regardless of whether or not the paint coat is sealed. The heat generated by the steam has the potential to produce bubbles beneath the paint, which may subsequently flake off. It is highly recommended to refrain from using a steam mop on any painted floor surface.

Engineered Hardwood Floors

The quality of the adhesives that are used to join engineered hardwoods can be impacted by steam cleaning. Engineered hardwoods are a type of composite flooring. Moisture can leak between the layers, which will weaken the adhesive and cause irreparable damage to the floors. When cleaning engineered hardwood floors, steam mops should not be used.

Hardwood floor

Small cracks in a hardwood floor may not be evident to the human eye if the surface is unfinished. When steam is forced into spaces like cracks and gaps, it can cause irreparable damage like swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation.

Now, after seeing the downsides of using steam mops in different types of flooring, check out our article: do steam mops really work

A woman mopping a laminate floor

Which Flooring Could Be Damaged By Mopping?

Floors made of wood

The general rule in this situation is that water and wood do not go together. When it comes into contact with liquid, wood can absorb it like a sponge. When there is too much of it, it will begin to swell. If not enough of it, the boards may become shorter as they dry out.

If you use a lot of water when mopping wood floors, you risk damaging them. Here are some of the things that could happen if your wood floors get too wet:

  • Cause boards to cup or swell
  • A change in the color of the finish
  • Cracking

Laminated floors

Don’t over wet your laminated floors. Excessive water can seep into the seams of the flooring and cause swelling or floor bubbling. The presence of standing water might also result in discoloration or fading.

What Kind Of Flooring Is Best Suited For Mopping?

Because it does not scratch the glaze on the tile or the grout, a traditional mop is the best tool for cleaning tile floors. If you have major stains, you may occasionally use a steam mop, but using one too regularly will cause the tiles to become damaged due to the heat generated by the steam.

One problem I have with mopping tile floors is grout discoloration. If you don’t clean the water in your bucket, light-colored grout will darken and get dingy.

What Kind Of Flooring Is Best Suited For Steam Mopping?

Steam mops get into cracks and crevices that other cleaning methods would miss because they generate steam under pressure and ‘force‘ it into the surface of the surface they are cleaning.

Tiles Made of Ceramic and Porcelain

Steam mops should only be used on flooring that is wholly gap-free and does not have a tendency to buckle or expand when exposed to high heat. Ceramic tile floors respond exceptionally well to cleaning with steam.

The mop will clean the tile surfaces and the grout between the tiles, resulting in a character that is streak-free and disinfected. The fact that these tiles are implanted into a mortar and concrete board surface makes it possible to properly clean even older tiles that have cracked without the risk of causing lasting harm.

If you don’t know how to clean tile grout? Check out this article: Grout Cleaning Tips: The 5 Best Grout Steam Cleaners

Tiles or Concrete for the Floors

Steam mops are particularly effective in removing dirt and buildup from porous surfaces like concrete because steam can penetrate these surfaces more remarkably. Before utilizing steam cleaning tools on concrete, you should check with the product maker to determine the type of sealant used (for example, polyurethane or wax) and proceed accordingly.

Marble Tiles

Even while steam cleaners that produce high temperatures could potentially cause damage to porous marble flooring, steam mopping is still an undoubtedly effective way of eliminating dirt from the marble. 

Reduce the amount of wetness on the floor as much as possible and go for smaller steam mops rather than commercial-strength floor cleaners.

Woman cleans a carpet with a steam cleaning

Can You Use A Steam Mop On Carpets?

To answer your question, you can use a steam mop to clean carpets. Using the steam mop on hard surfaces such as floors, worktops, and carpets is possible. 

When used on the carpet fabric, the hot steam from the mops may also work excellent as a lightweight stain or spot remover, as well as a deodorizer, sanitizer, and dust mite remover. It can even give some life back to aged carpets if done appropriately and with care.

How Often Do You Need To Mop Your Floors?

Even though different types of flooring require different mopping schedules, those schedules can be adjusted according to the circumstances. Mopping should be done more frequently in high-traffic areas of the home than in other sections of the house.

In the majority of homes, the areas of the kitchen, entryway, hallways, and bathrooms have the highest foot traffic. It would help if you used a wet mop in any of these high-traffic areas of your home at least once weekly.

It is unnecessary to mop your floor regularly in the parts of your home that are not used very frequently, such as the spare bedroom or the guest room.

How Often Do You Need To Steam-Mop Your Floors?

If you’re like most people and use a steam mop to clean your floors, then it’s important that they be cleaned at least once per week. However, if you have children who track grime into our home frequently, you may need to mop more often.

1. The Quickness of the CleaningStandard mopping requires a significant investment of both your time and energy. When using a typical mop, you must first wet it with warm water, then wring it out, and finally, use it to scrub the floor twice during each pass.Steam mopping machine requires only a few minutes and very little energy to do the same operation. The steam cleaner requires one pass across the floor in each direction, and after that, the floor is clean.
2. The Price PaidThe standard mop requires almost no maintenance and relies solely on your effort to function correctly. It is not necessary to spend an excessive amount of money on it.A steam mop is significantly higher than that a standard mop. In addition to that, it necessitates maintenance and will affect your monthly electrical expenditures.
3. ResultsUsing detergents on a manual mop may effectively kill bacteria, but this approach is neither dependable nor kind to the environment. A significant amount of time is also needed to elapse before the floor can be considered dry.Nearly 100% of germs, bacteria, and viruses can be eradicated using a steam mop. Additionally, allergies, dust, and other types of dirt are eliminated. After cleaning, there is no need to wait for the floor to dry like when using a standard mop, which leaves the floor with more moisture.
4. The Required Level Of EffortUsing a standard mop puts a lot of strain on your back. In addition, it requires you to use both hands in an arduous exercise in scrubbing and wringing, which is especially necessary when your floor is filthy.
A steam mop only requires one hand to operate and can quickly push around the floor. In addition to being more effective than the manual mop, it is much simpler to maneuver around the base.

Wrapping Up –  Is Mopping Or Steaming Better For Floors?

The debate between mopping and steaming floors has been a topic of discussion for years. There are benefits to both methods, but it ultimately depends on the type of floor you have and the products you use.

Mopping is great for removing dirt and dust from your floors, while steaming is better at removing tough stains and killing bacteria and germs. If you have a sensitive floor, traditional mopping is likely better however, if you want to disinfect your floors, then steaming is the way to go.

-Both methods have their own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them all before deciding which one is best for your home.

If you want more information on which is better between traditional and steam mopping, watch the YouTube video below. 

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