One of the newest developments in floor cleaning technology is the home-version of an industrial steam cleaner, dubbed the steam mop. According to Good Housekeeping, there are now dual purpose steam mops on the market today that vacuum and steam at the same time, with many more in development. Steam mops operate in much the same fashion as a clothes steamer.
Steam mops are relatively new on the cleaning scene, and have come into fashion in the last five years as their presence on home shopping television has increased. They have slowly begun to replace traditional mops, where dirt and bacteria accumulate on the mop head. Steam mops are designed with convenience in mind, and have washable microfiber pads that attach via Velcro and detach for washing in a regular washing machine.
Water heats up inside the steam mop head, and is blasted out through jets located on the bottom of the head. A microfiber pad is attached that sweeps dirt and bacteria up, while the steam loosens the dirt and kills bacteria as the mop passes over the floor.
The major claim to fame for steam mops is their ability to kill 99 per cent of household bacteria and mould, and their ability to remove harmful residue on floors using the power of hot steam. Since plain water is used in these machines, no liquid chemical floor cleaners are necessary, making the steam mop a highly sought-after cleaning tool for environmentally conscious consumers.
In June of 2009, 580,000 Thane branded steam mops were recalled due to safety issues. According to Consumer Reports, the mops were recalled “because the power cord on the mop could unexpectedly wear down and expose the wiring, posting a shock and burn hazard.” Steam mops run on hot steam, up to 149 degrees Celsius in some instances. Burns can occur if the user is not aware of the proper way to use the steam mop.
Before using a steam mop on your laminate flooring, check with the manufacturer of your laminate flooring for warranty information. In some cases, using a steam mop may prove destructive to the glue that holds the laminate flooring together, causing buckling and bubbling. However, many manufacturers claim that properly sealed laminate flooring will not do this, and it is safe to use a steam mop on good quality laminate.
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