Steam mops are electrically-powered implements that you use to clean carpets or sealed hard floor surfaces. They are popular not least because they require no chemicals. You simply fill the tank, or reservoir, with distilled water or tap water and after about half a minute, steam is produced and you can start cleaning. Some steam mops have interchangeable heads or other systems, such as carpet gliders, so you can use them on more than one type of floor covering.
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Fitness For Purpose
Most steam mops on the market are suitable for laminated floors, although several of them, such as the Bissell Steam Mop, stipulate the floor should be sealed rather than unfinished. This is because steam can penetrate unfinished wood through its pores, which could cause it to swell. Most laminated floors are made from pre-sealed boards. If your floor is made from unfinished wood, you might want to give it a coat of varnish, paint or lacquer first.
Several steam mops promise 99.9 per cent sanitisation, including the Shark Steam Pocket Mop with Portable Steamer. Look for high value sanitisation scores when choosing your steam mop, but also for instructions on how long you have to leave the mop head in place to achieve the sanitisation score. This is an indication of the mop's effectiveness at decontaminating surfaces of germs and bacteria. Left undisturbed, these microorganisms will breed and spread. A steam mop disrupts the microorganisms and lifts most of them from the floor onto the pad, which you can then wash.
Most steam mops have triangular or rectangular heads of various sizes, although the Thane USA H2O Steam-Cleaning Mop has more of an arrow-shaped head. Choose a mop with a head that suits the shape and size of your floors. Some have a 360° swivel feature, which gives you more flexibility when cleaning hard-to-reach places. Further, the manufacturers of one steam mop on the market claim its head can clean twice the area in equal time, because of a patented two-sided pad.
Other Things To Look For
A long power cord will let you clean various parts of your home without interruption. A steam mop's accessories pack should include two or more machine washable micro pads, so you can always have one ready to use. Look for a carpet glider or equivalent if you want to be able to clean carpet as well as laminated floors. A steam-on-demand trigger gives you extra steam power on stubborn stains. A high capacity water tank, 907gr or more, means you can clean your whole home, or a large section of it, before the need to refill. Finally, a well written owner's guide is always useful, such as the one that comes with the Eureka Envirosteamer.
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