There are a lot of highly effective disinfecting tools and products available. One item that many people use for disinfecting a home is a steam mop. However, the jury is still out on the disinfecting capabilities of steamers.
Let’s take a closer look at steam mops to see if they really disinfect…
The truth is, yes, killing germs, eliminating bacteria, and generally disinfecting an area is possible with a steam mop, but you need to make sure you are using the product properly in order for it to be effective. In order to kill germs, you need to make sure you are getting enough heat, around 212-degrees Fahrenheit. Water can evaporate at any temperature, but it is more noticeable when you reach about 200 degrees, so just because you are getting steam does not necessarily mean you are thoroughly disinfecting.
Steam Mops Need Time to Completely Disinfect
A quick pass over an area with steam will not sanitize the entire spot. You will generally need to pass over an area for about ten seconds for all the germs and bacteria to be killed. This means you need to move very slowly in order to reach the desired result.
For homeowners with large areas, this can mean completely disinfecting a floor could take hours. Imagine if you have to spend ten seconds over every area. If you have a large kitchen, a long hallway, or a massive entry room, disinfecting your home could be an all-day project.
Combine with Chemicals for Thorough Disinfection
Completely disinfecting a home with a steam mop can be a lengthy but possible task. However, to kill all the germs, it is generally recommended that homeowners combine a disinfecting product with a steam mop. The best technique is to use your disinfecting chemicals like Zep Quick Clean Disinfectant or Clorox Disinfectant Floor and surface cleaner on the floor for thorough sanitization, then come back and clean with your steam mop. By using the chemicals first you kill many of the germs and bacteria, then you come back with the steam cleaner to give the area a spotless, picture-perfect finish.
What Not to Do While Disinfecting with a Steam Mop
You should always remember to never put chemicals or disinfecting liquids in the steam mop itself, unless otherwise notes by the manufacturer. These chemicals can clog the hoses inside the machine and cause damage to the inside of the steamer. This is especially true if the disinfectant is significantly corrosive. Even “all-natural” or “eco-friendly” chemicals should not be put into a steamer’s water tank.
Also, you should be careful to not damage flooring and other areas with extremely high heat. To disinfect an area, you may be tempted to turn the heat to maximum, and while this will help you kill more germs, it could cause damage to materials like laminate or wood finishes.
“Disinfecting” Probably Not a Steam Mop’s Strongest Benefit, But Useful Still
If you are purchasing a steam mop, remember that it is an effective and versatile cleaning tool that can be used for a wide range of cleaning tasks, but should probably not be your only disinfecting strategy. Quality steam mops like the Bissel Powerfresh 1940A and the Black & Decker BDH1850SM 2-in-1, when used in combination with the right techniques and products, however, will be one of the most important cleaning items in your home.