When you first buy a steam mop, you will be faced with the question as to what kind of water can be used in the mop. It may seem easy enough to fill water from your tap, but is that the right thing to do?
After all, there are so many options even in water: filtered water, distilled water, bottled water and, of course, tap water.
Filtered water can be used in a steam mop and distilled water is best. However, if the water has high mineral content it can damage the steam mop and reduce its efficiency. This also applies to tap water, bottled water, hard water or well water.
In this article, we will be looking at what types of water are best for a steam mop and why. Steam mops are a great way to thoroughly clean your house and to efficiently kill germs and pathogens, so using the right type of water to protect your mop is vital!
Some people also like to clean with vinegar, so we’ll discuss if you can use vinegar in your steam mop.
We will be going over the generalities of steam mops and why they need water, so you can have a good foundation before we start talking about the best types of water for your steam mop.
Why does a steam mop need water?
A steam mop is an effective cleaning appliance and helps to keep your house clean from top to bottom. Just dry vacuuming will not remove stuck stains and gunk. Even if you use a vacuum cleaner that can be used for wet cleaning, it will only remove spilled liquids and not clean the stain or the area.
Whether you are a neat freak or just clean your house occasionally, you do want to do a thorough job when you do clean.
The steam mop needs water in its water tank so that it can convert it into steam. Unlike cleaning that uses liquid water, the steam mop changes it into a form of dry steam.
The steam produced by the steam mop may be 225°F or higher. At such temperatures, the moist heat is extremely effective as a cleaner and sanitizer.
A steam mop does not use a great deal of water. If you think that everything will become damp, that is simply false. In fact, the steam is actually a high temperature vapor that contains only 5-6% water.
This water vapor or steam moistens the cloth or pad that is part of the steam mop and this immediately cleans the surface you are using it on.
Steam cleans out dirt, grease and many other stains and also removes odors. It gets rid of 99% of various pathogens that can cause disease including bacteria, germs, dust mites and mold.
According to this study, using a steam mop effectively kills dust mites that are a source of many diseases.
When you use a steam mop regularly, you ensure that you have a cleaner house, and this also contributes to your family’s health.
Which kind of water is best for use in a steam mop?
You already know that there are many kinds of water that are used for different purposes and at different times.
You may drink water from your tap, you may have a water filter or water purifier fitted in your kitchen, you may use distilled water for specific purposes and you may buy bottled water when you are out and about.
Filtered water, distilled water, bottled water, and tap water are the most common types of water that people put into their steam mop.
But which one is best?
Filtered water is tap water that is filtered using a number of different machines. Ordinary filters may simply remove the sediments and dirt from the water. Other filters may purify the water using various mechanisms including reverse osmosis, ION exchange, activated carbon, RO (Reverse Osmosis) and UV (Ultra-Violet). Some filters may use more than one mechanism of action.
In many areas, you may get well water or hard water that is not great for drinking. Or you may want to use a water filter for your own safety so that water is healthier and safer to drink.
If you use filtered water for drinking and cooking, you may want to use it in your steam mop as well, thinking it is a good idea.
But is it really?
Unless your water filter is one that also removes minerals from the water – and most filtration machines don’t – you will be better off if you avoid the use of filtered water, particularly if you get hard water or use well water in your area.
Distilled water is pure and does not contain any contaminants, toxins or minerals. Contaminants and toxins can harm your environment and your health.
Minerals can cause a build up and even damage your machine. When there is a buildup of lime scale in the water tank of your steam mop, it will gradually lose efficiency. Mineral buildups can clog the filter and nozzle and even damage the heating element in the steam mop.
Distilled water is probably the best option and the safest. In fact, some steam mop manufacturers specify the use of distilled water if you want your steam mop to last a long time.
You may well think that bottled water is an obvious choice for using in the steam mop.
However, this is not true.
Not only is bottled water expensive and environmentally unfriendly, having a large carbon footprint, it is often mineralized or sourced from faraway places with the water having many health properties.
While bottled water may be good for health as long as you are drinking it or using it for cooking, if it has added minerals and even flavors, you can actually damage your steam mop if you use bottled water.
So, avoid using bottled water in your steam mop for all these reasons.
You can use tap water for your steam mop, provided you get a supply of potable and soft water in the area you live in. If you get hard water or the tap water contains calcium or iron, either of these can cause a buildup in your steam mop.
Using tap water, if it is hard water, will shorten the life of your steam mop. Over time, the mineral buildup can cause scales and stains inside the water tank and even clog the nozzles, rendering the steam mop ineffective.
If you do have soft tap water, you may well be able to use it for your steam mop, particularly if it is mineral and chemical free.
When your tap water is soft water, you still should make it a point to clean the tank often enough so that the steam mop lasts longer. You can use descaling liquids regularly to remove any deposits.
As you can see, if you want to err on the side of caution, it is best to use distilled water that is pure and free of all minerals and contaminants in your steam mop. This will ensure that there is no buildup and that your steam mop lasts longer.
Can you use vinegar in a steam mop?
Vinegar is acidic, disinfectant and also anti-bacterial. It is great for cleaning purposes. Many cleaning solutions contain vinegar or acetic acid because of its ability to cut through grease and remove or reduce stains.
While you can use a small percentage of vinegar in your steam mop, you should be aware that vinegar can damage hardwood and vinyl plank floors.
Wood can warp with water and heat and the steam mop can even break down the chemical coating on the wooden floor.
For vinyl plank floors, the steam can penetrate the gaps between the planks and again damage the flooring apart from loosening the glue that holds the planks together.
Advantages of a steam mop
If you are considering buying a steam mop and wondering if it is worth it, then keep in mind that using a steam mop has many advantages.
It is not only an effective cleaner but also kills many pathogens. According to this study steam kills many dangerous pathogens and is safer to use than many chemical disinfectants.
Chemicals are not only harmful to the environment but can also be dangerous to children and pets since they often stay on surfaces and even in the air, where they can impact your health.
If you’re thinking of buying a new steam mop, the Bissell PowerFresh steam mop is great. They are less than $100 on Amazon, and the replacement filters are cheap! If you want to take a closer look, I found Amazon had the Bissell PowerFresh steam mop for the cheapest price.
A steam mop has many advantages since it ensures cleaner and more sanitized surroundings and is easy to use on most surfaces.
Using the correct type of water for your steam mop will guarantee it keeps on cleaning and sanitizing your home.
Overall, using distilled water for your steam mop is best, but in any case, always go by whatever the manufacturer says in the manual that comes with your steam mop.